Henry McMaster Campaigning on a “Sink Sanford” Platform

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) is running for governor.  He knows it, citizens know it.

Although he hasn’t officially declared his candidacy, McMaster’s campaign is in full swing.  Moments ago I received a press release from McMaster for Attorney General announcing his mission to have the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division comb through Governor Mark Sanford’s travel records.

McMaster Requests SLED Review All Sanford
Travel Records in Light of New Revelations

Columbia, S.C. June 30, 2009 – “In light of the governor’s disclosure of additional travel today, I have requested that SLED conduct a preliminary review of all Governor Sanford’s travel records to determine if any laws have been broken or any state funds misused.”


A review of Governor Sanford’s records is completely appropriate given his recent admission of international dalliances with his girlfriend.  But Henry McMaster’s use of the inquiry to troll for political contributions is classless politicking at its worst.  McMaster for Attorney General distributed the press release about the Sanford investigation just hours after sending out a plea for second quarter campaign contributions to be made before midnight tonight.

Henry McMaster’s intent is completely transparent, but that’s not the sort of transparency we need in South Carolina government.

Mark Sanford Didn’t Cheat on You

Clucking hens and crowing roosters, go back to your coops.  Unless you’re Jenny Sanford, it’s time to forgo the unseemly impulse to tar and feather South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for his marital infidelity.

Governor Sanford engaged in what might be the most vanilla extramarital affair in recent political history.  His sexual liaison did not result in a federal probe, the payment of hush money, or any of the truly illicit scandals that have surfaced among politicians lately. Barring the disclosure that his girlfriend is actually an Argentine farm animal or underage hooker, the public has no business using Sanford’s affair to oust him from office.

If there’s any truth to the gossip about Governor Sanford’s official conduct, the people of South Carolina will hold him accountable.  To that end, the rumors oozing from the Columbia political grapevine should be addressed as soon as possible.  But if we determine that Sanford maintained appropriate contact with his staff during his trip to Argentina and did not misappropriate state resources to fund his trips, his affair is no reason to abridge his gubernatorial term.

The governor experienced a moral lapse.  But this isn’t some fable in which the king’s transgressions expose the entire kingdom to drought and famine. Mark Sanford broke vows he made to his wife Jenny, not to his supporters and not to the people of his state.

If you don’t like a guy who cheats on his wife, don’t marry one.  Don’t befriend one.  Go ahead and sympathize with his wife. Call him a hypocrite and a scumbag, and be grateful he’s not your spouse.  But remember that point: he isn’t your husband and you’re not his jilted wife.

There’s no reason to assume infidelity in marriage is a precursor to a politician’s betrayal of his constituents.  Violation of marital trust is a very different animal than violation of public trust. And personal integrity just isn’t a reliable measure of professional integrity.

Can a man act as a politically principled, trustworthy leader while betraying his wife’s trust and his own ideals?  Distasteful as it might seem, the answer is yes.  The pacts we make are independent of each other, and we’re capable of maintaining surprisingly rigid compartmentalization in our lives.  It is entirely possible to be a loyal friend and a cheating spouse, a diligent employee and an unreliable friend, or even a successful governor and an unfaithful husband.

South Carolinians voted for Mark Sanford believing that his moral compass pointed in the same direction as their own.  His compass spun out of control for a short time, but that doesn’t mean his values and vision for the state are any different than when he was elected.

Mrs. Sanford may or may not be able to forgive her husband’s affair. But for the rest of us, there’s nothing to forgive.  Did citizens go to the voting booth looking for husband material or to elect a principled conservative to lead a reform movement in South Carolina?

I don’t need my politicians to lead by example, I need them to be exemplary leaders.

So let’s quibble about whether Mark Sanford is a good governor.  Let’s pick apart his conservative principles and see if his achievements measure up to our expectations.  And if and when he runs for office again, we can decide whether to hold Sanford’s moral failures against him.

But let’s leave these affairs of the heart to be sorted out by Mark and Jenny Sanford.  They don’t need our input and scarlet letters are simply passé.

Cal Thomas Has Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do

In his Friday column, Cal Thomas discussed how we all have a little Mark Sanford in us:

The first thing that should be acknowledged about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s admission to an extramarital affair is that it could happen to any of us. That is not an excuse (and no, it has not happened to me, or to my wife). Every married person has heard the voice; the one that says you deserve something “better.” [emphasis added]

Most of us have wandering eyes and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Some marriages survive even when it’s other parts that are doing the wandering. To be human is to be fallible.  But my guess is that Thomas’ little voice that says “you deserve something better” reveals a lot more about him than it does about “every married person.”

Anyone want to bet Cal Thomas will be sleeping on the sofa this weekend?

Desire and Yearning, Burger King Style

I present you with reason number 247 to stay away from Burger King:

Others have noted that the woman in this ad resembles a blowup doll, but the problem with the image goes beyond the objectification of a woman by reducing her to a single orifice.  More disturbing is the juxtaposition of blatantly sexual ad copy with a wide-eyed woman who looks utterly horrified at the “Seven Incher” headed toward her open mouth. That’s not the look of a woman who’s happy to be there.

If you can’t quite make out the ad copy, here’s what it says:

Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER.  Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A.1. Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce.

Desire? Yearning? I’m not seeing it.

In addition, there’s the main ad copy: It’ll Blow Your Mind Away.  Not, it’ll blow you away, but it’ll blow your mind away when it’s shoved down your throat and chokes out the back of your skull.  This ad isn’t merely sexually suggestive; it’s evocative of sexual violence.

I’m not opposed to sexual innuendo in advertising, especially if the ad campaign is unlikely to be seen by children.  Depictions of sex don’t make something sexist. But I like my sexual imagery to portray all parties, men, women, and phallic sandwiches, as if they are fully enjoying themselves.  This ad doesn’t come close to cutting it.

Apparently Burger King didn’t learn from the widespread outrage and boycotts following their Spongebob/Sir Mix-A-Lot mash up.  Please let them know that their latest ad campaign isn’t an improvement:

Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Dr.
Miami, FL 33126
Consumer Relations (305) 378-3535, M-F, 9am–5pm EST
Investor Relations: investor@whopper.com

Confessions of a Lapsed Atheist

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new readers from American Thinker.  Please take a spin through the links in the sidebars to see more of my writing.  If you’re so inclined, you may subscribe via RSS or email.

The following essay first appeared on AmericanThinker.com on June 21, 2009.


Do you believe in God?  Really?  And you’re willing to admit it in public?

Oops. Sorry, for a moment I slipped back into the arrogant Atheism of my youth.

Before my parents had children, they decided to raise their kids in a secular home.  We had gifts at Christmas time and chocolate covered matzoh during Passover, but there was no religion and certainly no God.

When I was in grade school, God was just a kind of nondescript character who popped up in Little House on the Prairie books from time to time.  He seemed like a decent enough fellow, but was more or less a bit player who didn’t have much to say.

After my grandfather died when I was seven, his Baptist minister lifted me up in his arms and told me, “It’s all right, Grandpa’s with God now.”  At that moment, I could feel my dress was hiked up in the back and all I could think about was pulling it back down.  But later, I asked around and discovered that God was our Heavenly father, whatever that was supposed to mean.

I figured, who better to ask about my Heavenly father than my earthly father, but when I did he laughed.

He wasn’t amused in a “kids say the darnedest things” kind of way.  He was laughing derisively at the idea that my mother’s family believed in God.  And thus began my introduction to Atheism.

There are people who call themselves atheist who are simply nonbelievers, and then there are the big “A” Atheists for whom Atheism is almost a religion.  This quasi-religious doctrine isn’t neutral on the existence of other religions; rather, Atheism is a virulently anti-theistic creed characterized by sneering contempt for religion and a profoundly dogmatic bigotry toward people of faith.

Want to know how Atheists see the rest of us?

Read more

Four Essential Stops in the Righty Blogosphere

Some of the most incisive political analysis and cultural criticism on the right side of the blogosphere can be found on blogs that aren’t getting the attention they merit.  These sites are the B-side of my blogospheric desert island disc.  While they may not pull in the traffic of The Corner or Instapundit, they deserve a place in your feed reader (right below JennQPublic.com, of course.)

Autographed Letter Signed is an intensely personal and passionately political blog written by Afrocity, a Democrat turned PUMA turned conservative.  You’re as likely to read stories about her childhood and conflicted relationship with her mother as you are her “Irritable Obama Syndrome” and “Diversity Fatigue.” Somehow she frequently manages to weave these subjects together seamlessly into the same post.  From her reflections on a recent trip to Thomas Jefferson’s estate:

Collective life demeans and stifles freedom. People who rely upon the government are slaves. Forgive my proselytizing but my rant is simply my shocked reaction to Americans who feel that it is the job of government to be our master and guide. When I see the slave quarters at Monticello, I intuitively respond with anger and strong justification to be proud of my life’s accomplishments- post poverty, post welfare.

Monticello is a gorgeous home. Thomas Jefferson was a great man, a scholar, a man of books. Despite his faults he is a founding father of my country. He may not have wanted me, an African American woman to stand before his great home a free woman. I walked through his dining room as a guest, not a servant. I did not use the slave entrance and when I was finished with my visit, I did something that Jefferson’s slaves could not do…I left on my own.

The Skepticians is written by James Richardson, a former RNC staffer who doesn’t always swim with the RNC tide.   He’s an equal opportunity critic, and I always look forward to getting an email about how much hate mail his latest post is likely to generate.  James doesn’t post very often, but when he does, it’s always something I wish I’d written.  From his latest post on LGBT anger at Obama:

The exact number of “gay” persons living in the U.S. is quite subjective—some studies arguing one in ten, while others, more accurately, note one in twenty. Gays are, ultimately, an insignificant political group, at least in terms of sheer voting numbers.

The collision of Obama’s shallow campaign promises with gays’ limited ability to affect elections suggests but one thing: Gay outreach and token appeasement will always be subordinate to Obama’s determined outreach to larger identity groups—namely, African Americans, Hispanics, and Evangelicals.

Red Alerts covers the many ways in which politics, crime, and religion intersect in American society, all from the perspective of the “Web’s most popular Bi-racial Republican Pagan,” Rob Taylor.  He has little patience for the liberals who often show up at his blog to call him a race traitor, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy his talent for dressing them down in his comments section.  His opinions on news and culture are also worthwhile, as are the over-the-top titles of many of his posts.   Here’s a portion of his commentary on the recent news that the Holocaust Memorial shooter’s computer was swimming in child pornography:

Shocking? Not so much.  Neo-Nazism and sexual degeneracy go together like Progressives and racially-tinged misogyny. A Neo-Nazi is someone who has already decided they will not respect societal boundaries or common decency, which is exactly the attitude those who exploit children sexually adopt. Why should it shock anyone that there would be a crossover in the two groups’ memberships?

No Bull Mom is the blog of Suzanne Venker, an author, speaker, and former teacher who opines on culture war issues without ever devolving into distracting, inflammatory rhetoric.  She’s a tough critic of mainstream media bias after having experienced it firsthand following the release of her first book.  Her commentary is informed by a right of center, libertarian/conservative philosophy. Here’s a taste of Suzanne’s recent post on baby boomers and guilt:

The boomer philosophy is simple: Thou shalt not make anyone, women in particular, feel guilty about their life choices.

How did this happen? Simple. The boomer philosophy I discussed in the last post — the ethic of being “true to oneself” as opposed to adhering to a universal moral order that makes demands on us — eradicates any semblance of guilt. Think about it. If every decision we make is ultimately the right one because at the time we made it we felt good about it and were simply being true to ourselves, then no one can ever be blamed for making a bad decision. If, on the other hand, we admit we made a bad decision and that the decision was wrong, then we must take responsibility for it. But modern liberals don’t believe in personal responsibility. They don’t want people to ever feel bad about themselves; to them this is the hallmark of a bad society.

Please see the links in the sidebar for many other excellent blogs.

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