After this week’s congressional election between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert-Busch it is hard to think of the Republican Party standing for anything. The Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower has fallen to new lows in the election of often disgraced Mark Sanford, but it is the South, and politics below the Mason Dixon line is far from mainstream in any sense of the word.
The ex governor asked the people of South Carolina for forgiveness and they answered him by sending him to Washington to represent them. His redemption was secured in a resounding vote by the same people he had once abandoned. He looked to the people of his beloved state with his sad eyes and in his smooth Charlestonian accent begged for a second chance. They obliged him without reservation as they all knew he would preserve their Christian ‘values’ and biblical morality.
Politics in the south is rooted in the Bible, segregation and the status quo of white domination and nothing much has changed. In Mark Sanford, the people elected a man who pleaded guilty to ethics violations for using public funds for his own benefit, and he walked away from his responsibilities as chief executive of the state by going MIA for close to a week. His closest advisers were unaware of his whereabouts but thinking he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. This would not be the first time a politician has resurrected his political career after what seemed to be inexcusable personal and political behaviors, but for Mark Sanford it has come rather quickly, and his reclamation from the trash heap of disgraced politicians should come as no surprise to anyone.
The election of Mark Sanford is a microcosm of the disease of the Republican Party and in opportunistic career politicians of any affiliation who use every advantage for their own personal gain. It’s akin to vulture capitalism on a personal level; whatever it takes to turn a profit goes and, in their case, their profit is their power and wealth.
In today’s GOP you get bible-thumping fiscal conservatives, only on paper. The personal failing of today’s Republican Party leaders is nothing in comparison to the public failings of their policies, votes and allegiances. Today’s GOP is steeped in ideology, fraud and lies.
This past month ex President George W. Bush was honored by the dedication of his Presidential Library as a tribute to his presidency, as detainees at the Guantanamo detention center refuse to eat after years of incarceration without a hearing, trial or judgement against them. The focal point of the Bush Library is a girder from the World Trade Center — a reminder that the greatest act of terrorism happened on George W. Bush’s watch. There is nothing in the library about the failed intelligence, or the inflated cause for the war with Iraq or the death of over 4000 Americans who lost their lives fighting for leaders who manipulated facts, created fear and did nothing to find those responsible.
Mark Sanford and George W. Bush, both used the public trust for their own personal or ideological gain. They hoped the people who support their positions would either not care or were disengaged and oblivious to their actions. Their hope was and is that people will forget the pain their actions caused. They hope Americans have weak memories — and their beliefs will allow them to manipulate and misinform the masses of their actions while using forgiveness and ignorance as a crutch to success.
It really does not matter what the GOP says to its constituents; they will say and do anything in the name of Republican values. Values that they say were created by God himself, but have no connection to the reality of their votes whether it be gun control or the federal budget.
Years ago there was a political sex scandal in the UK, where a couple of prominent MPs were involved with a prostitute. They did not fight the charges or invoke Jesus, they simply resigned and went away, never to be heard from again because of the embarrassment they caused their families, their party and their constituents.
I often thought American politicians should have the guts to stand up and do the same, but no, Americans are saddled to the likes of Mark Sanford. In ‘The Prince,” Machiavelli portrays politicians at their worst; they proceed through life at the bequest of importance, they forsakes principles, morals and scruples in the name of ego, greed and power. The end does justify the means, especially in Republican politics. Just ask Mark Sanford, he will make any prince or Koch a happy man.