The Other McCain

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South Carolina Debate Aftermath

Posted on | March 29, 2013 | 26 Comments

CHARLESTON, S.C.
There is a golf course in the back yard of the mansion where I’m staying here, guest of a prosperous family who are supporters of Curtis Bostic. Whatever mental image is conjured by the phrase “Christian home-schoolers,” it probably doesn’t match this family’s reality: Truly blessed by the Lord, not only with seven children but also ample means for their support. The father of this evangelical brood is a civil engineer of some eminence in his field, and his gracious wife — currently scrambling eggs in the kitchen — is scarcely the grim suffering victim of the theocratic patriarchy that feminist theorists might imagine.

So I’m writing this at the kitchen table while the home-schooled kids are chattering happily away around me — the baby of the brood is gobbling bacon for breakfast — and outside is a glorious spring morning with azaleas blooming beneath the pines beside the 15th fairway. Ah, the arduous existence of the campaign correspondent . . .

The best headline to come from last night’s debate:

Oops: Mark Sanford Attacks Opponent
for Taking Care of Cancer-Stricken Wife

Kind of a failure of oppo-research for Sanford: He was talking about Curtis Bostic having missed meetings of the Charleston County Council, and Bostic was like, “Unfortunately, my wife has had cancer twice . . . ” And Bostic’s son Daniel was pretty indignant about it, too.

Having myself immediately called the debate a win for Bostic, I checked around at other outlets and, while they’re less emphatically judgmental about it, the coverage is generally favorable toward Bostic. I’ll quote CNN’s Kevin Liptak at length:

The two Republicans vying for a spot on the ballot in South Carolina’s special U.S. Congressional election traded barbs Thursday over former Gov. Mark Sanford’s history of marital infidelity.
Opponent Curtis Bostic claimed the former governor was a “compromised candidate” because of an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina in 2009 during his tenure in the state house. “Trust is a crucial issue. In fact, it has become a crucial issue in this race,” Bostic said during Thursday’s debate. A former Charleston city councilman, Bostic will face Sanford in a runoff vote on Tuesday because neither candidate received a majority in last week’s primary.
The seat up for grabs is South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which Sanford represented from 1995 to 2001. He went on to become the Palmetto State’s governor, during which time his affair became public.
He and his wife divorced in 2010, and Sanford completed his second term in 2011. He’s now engaged to the woman with whom he had the affair.
During his primary campaign, Sanford told CNN he was seeking “redemption” by running for office again, a sentiment he returned to Thursday.
“The events of 2009 absolutely represent a failure on my part, for which there were and probably always will be consequences,” Sanford said. “But that does not mean, because you have had failure in your personal life, that you cannot step back into life again.”
Bostic, however, argued that the congressional seat – which has been held by a Republican since 1981 – would become vulnerable if Sanford becomes the GOP nominee.
“A compromised candidate is not what we need. It’s just not what we need. We need to secure this seat. It needs to be red,” Bostic said, citing polls showing that Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch is leading Sanford.

What jarred me during the debate was how people in the audience enthusiastically applauded Sanford. My column at The American Spectator:

Republicans here applauded Mark Sanford at the end of a sort of sermonette in which the former governor discussed the Argentine sex scandal that led to his being censured by the state legislature.
“I failed. I failed very publicly,” Sanford said during Thursday’s debate, referring to “the events of 2009” as he pleaded that “because you have had failure in your personal life” it does not mean “that you cannot step back into life again.”
Whether stepping back into life can also mean trying to step back into Congress, less than four years after an adulterous affair that made national headlines, is the question that faces voters in next Tuesday’s Republican runoff in South Carolina’s 1st District. Democrats have nominated the sister of cable TV comedian Stephen Colbert as their candidate, ensuring widespread attention to the May 7 special election to fill the seat vacated by Tim Scott’s appointment to the Senate. Will GOP voters here really choose Sanford as the face of the party in this high-profile race, perhaps even risking defeat in the Lowcountry district that has been safely Republican? This was the concern raised in Thursday’s debate by Sanford’s opponent, Curtis Bostic.
“A compromised candidate is not what we need,” said Bostic, the Marine Corps veteran and former Charleston County councilman who emerged from a 16-candidate GOP primary field to face Sanford in the runoff.
“Trust is a crucial issue,” Bostic said, adding that the possibility of Sanford winning the Republican nomination has made Democrats “excited about the possibility of taking this seat back.”Citing polls that show Sanford vulnerable against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Bostic warned that if 1st District voters choose the scandal-stained Sanford, “We will lose this seat and lose it needlessly.” . . .

Please read the whole thing. I’ll update to add more reaction in a bit. First I have to finish my breakfast and enjoy this fine Carolina morning.

UPDATE: A reporter at the Patch.com quoted a notorious weirdo’s heinous reaction, requiring me to inform the jackal via Twitter:

Memo to deranged cyberstalker Bill Schmalfeldt: @Bostic4Congress‘s wife is still very much alive, praise God.

UPDATE II: Becca Lower’s reaction to Sanford’s apologia:

There’s a difference between acknowledging that we all sin, that we’re all flawed individuals, and breaking the vow you’ve made to your spouse and the pledge you’ve made to your state.

UPDATE III: Danielle Saul’s verdict:

I believe that Bostic proved he is the best candidate to defeat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Bostic has a proven record of standing firm in conservative principles. We need to start sending good people like Curtis to Washington D.C. that say ‘enough is enough’ and start getting things done.

UPDATE IV: You gotta admire Quin Hillyer’s expertise at headlines: “Don’t Cry for Him Carolina.”

 


 

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Comments

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    What I would like to know is who is funding Sanford’s campaign. If he wins the primary, the general voting public of the district might well decide to punish the state GOP, as well they should.

  • Barbara Espinoa

    It seems it’s not OK to forgive a Republicans transgression but if he was a Democrat he could go on to become a Statesman ie: Bill Clinton. Show me a man whose zipper works that at the right time and place would not be agreeable to an little on the side. I don’t think there is many saints walking this earth. Doesn’t the Bible tout forgiveness?

  • robertstacymccain

    Who’s funding his campaign? Well, last year, Fox News paid Sanford $140,000 as a “contributor” and you may not have noticed, but I did, that the name Curtis Bostic hasn’t been mentioned once on the “fair and balanced” network.
    The top-down meddling of the elite is not confined to liberals, you know.

  • Barbara Espinosa

    Question would these good people open their home to you if you were not blogging for the Bostic campaign.

  • robertstacymccain

    Hi, Barbara!

  • robertstacymccain

    For obvious reasons, admirers of the Appalachian Trail hiker have not welcomed me to Charleston with the customary Southern hospitality, but I am entirely sympathetic to their discomfiture. “Meddling outsiders” and all that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003232872834 Becca Lower

    “ad Bostic was like….” :) Just the one. Not bad, when you’re distracted by azaleas and pine trees…

  • http://www.politisite.com/ Albert N. Milliron

    So, Robert you where in SC and didn’t tell me?? We Didn’t send a reporter to the debate this time. Hope you enjoyed your stay

  • Quartermaster

    Yes, but one must look at the context of that forgiveness. One does not just say “I’m Sorry” and go back to the ways things had been before the transgression. IN the case of Sanford he breached faith with his constituents as well as his wife. Trust has to be re-established and even then he will bear the taint of actions the rest of his life.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    The important thing, of course, is that the Dems won’t use Sanford’s misbehavior against him, because they aren’t hypocrites.

    Er…?

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  • smokedaddy

    Look, maybe reasonable people can disagree on what a sufficient quantity of penance should entail. For me, a public humiliation and resignation from the state’s governorship, and three and a half years out of office suffice. Now, yes, he will need to build back lost trust while serving as a freshman congressman from SC. OTOH, Sanford was a Tea Partier before there was a Tea Party and has loads of street cred in his willingness to take on our own party’s poobahs on the core principle of limited government, whether in Charleston or in DC. Now Bostic, OTOH, I’m sure is a fine man, dedicated marine & public servant, and a better husband & father than Sanford. I’ve no doubt Karl Rove & others of his ilk would love to see him win this nomination, hire the Boehner recommended staffers and get with the party program.

  • http://profiles.google.com/exxo03 richard mcenroe

    Sanford should pull a Profumo and retire from political life with some shred of dignity left. Profumo led a life of good works and achievement outside of politics.

  • http://profiles.google.com/exxo03 richard mcenroe

    Watch out for dudes dressed like Ned Ruffin…

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Hell, I knew that a long time ago. The GOP party elites don’t want anybody that might threaten their hold on the power structure. Sanford can be controlled.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Exactly. You don’t just toss up your hands and say, “Okay, you got me.” and then expect life to continue exactly the same as before.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rob5136 Rob Crawford

    In short: forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Or in trusting without a lot of work done to prove you’re trustworthy.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Indeed. Unlike Sanford, he truly redeemed himself.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Agree with QM, K-Bob, and Rob.

    Also: frankly Sanford is not, it seems, a very stable person.

  • http://twitter.com/DaTechGuyblog Peter Ingemi

    That Sanford may in fact get a second chance in the future is not a bad thing.

    That he uses this seat as the stepping stone for that chance is foolish for the GOP

    Sanford should start either with some kind of think tank, make one of his own or perhaps do something useful on the state level to start, and then grow into something, because then he can point to service.

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  • Dandapani

    A scandalized Republican cannot win over the Democrat. They’ll eat him alive. A scandalized Democrat always wins. :)

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