Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

There’s Justice for the Mark Sanford’s and Then There’s Justice for the Rest of Us

“The vices of the rich and great are mistaken for error; and those of the poor and lowly, for crimes.”
— Lady Marguerite Blessington

The Tattlesnake isn’t quite as forgiving as was Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown June 26. Alter said he felt sorry for Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and concluded he was a ‘nice guy.’ Sanford’s having an extramarital affair is really none of our business, and even his lying about it, to an extent, is understandable, but there are some other dimensions to the lurid Sanford saga that display a ‘public servant’ who is considerably less than what most would consider a ‘nice guy,’ aside from his towering hypocrisy.

First there was his attempt to deny $700 million in federal financial aid to South Carolina’s schoolchildren and unemployed, merely to score political points with the GOP base with an eye to a 2012 presidential nomination. That doesn’t sound very ‘nice’ to me.

Then there’s the fact that, after all of the soap-opera revelations regarding his affair with a married Argentinean woman, and outrageous lies concerning his whereabouts as he disappeared for seven days, followed by tearful public apologies, he still refuses to resign.

Moreover, he has confessed to violating South Carolina state law prohibiting misuse of public funds and adultery yet Sanford has not been arrested for either.

Many years ago, someone I didn’t know well, but well enough to verify that this happened, broke up with his wife and went on a three-day bender he didn’t call in to work, he didn’t tell anyone where he was. When he reemerged sick, sorry and sober on the fourth day, he discovered he had been fired and no amount of pleading or apology was going to get his job back. It’s not hard to imagine that most of Sanford’s constituents would be in the same sorrowful unemployed state were they to vanish incommunicado for a week from their workplace. Yet Sanford still has his job. Incredible, but a perfect illustration of the two tiers of social justice in modern America: one for the rich and celebrated; another for the peons.

In another case, the wife of a friend, desperate to pay the family’s bills, developed the bad habit of ‘borrowing’ money from the petty cash box at work, which she always dutifully replaced when she got paid. Then one day she was caught red-handed. Not only was she dismissed from her job on the spot, but she was charged with petty theft and had to appear in court. Even though she offered to pay back what she had stolen, and begged the company to drop the charges, her boss was adamant she had to be found guilty in court to teach her a lesson, and also to make it damn hard for her to find another job.

Sanford sails through over $8,000 in state funds obtained for the fraudulent purpose of visiting his South American firecracker and he doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist. Not only that, but I have yet to read one report emanating from our Big Media demanding that he be charged with any crime. Sanford has announced he’s going to pay back all or part of it, no one’s sure at this point how much, but there will apparently be no day in court for this louse.

My friend’s wife took a couple of hundred a month, which she paid back at the end of every month, and she gets a criminal record; Sanford purloins $8K that we know of so far — and no one even calls for his arrest. This is justice?

And let’s not even get into Sanford violating the South Carolina state law banning adultery; we can be pretty sure that only applies to the poor and middle-class and not Republican Grandees like the Governor.

The AP reports that, on Friday, Sanford compared his pathetic transcontinental bedroom farce to the Biblical story of King David; is he really trying to goose up sympathy for himself among the Religious Right in this way?

Alter’s wrong as they say in Brooklyn, Sanford is definitely no nice guy.

And, as they say most everywhere else but in the Big Media ‘Village’ of Washington, when you do the crime, you should do the time.

Or, at least, resign.

Contact the author at

2009 R.S. Janes.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ana Grarian
15 years ago

I’m sure tired of all this. Seems like while the rest of us are shakin’ in our boots over layoffs etc, the powers that be are playin’ Animal House.
It’s time for these boys to become men. While these guys are bust crying crocodile tears for the cameras, the wives are stuck with their pasted on faces trying to keep their children’s world together.


RS Janes
15 years ago

Nixon once said he would ‘accept the responsibility, but not the blame,’ which never made any sense to me, but I think he was trying to say that he was willing to be criticized, as long as he didn’t have to pay for what he did in any material way. (Even after he resigned to escape certain impeachment, Nixon shamelessly still collected nearly half-a-million a year of our money in presidential pension for the rest of his life. Imagine the average mope quitting his or her job after being caught committing crimes on the job, and then asking for a lifetime pension!)

The scenes of Sanford just ‘moving on’ and getting back to work as governor makes me want to grab for the vomit bag. Vitter, Craig, Ensign, Gingrich, none of these Republicans have really paid any price for their actions except some public embarrassment and, IMO, they are beyond embarrassment.

You’re right, Ana, these hypocritical boys should just grow up, suck it up, and take their lumps, which would include resigning from their cushy jobs and refusing their extravagant pensions and perks of office.

Anything short of that is not justice, it’s just political theater.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x