Listening to Republicans Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker on the panel of This Week practically swooning over Mark Sanford's emails to his mistress and excusing his behavior was truly a sight to behold. They both looked downright giddy this morning while dismissing his actions because he was in love.
Paul Krugman and Michael Eric Dyson do their best to try to point out that the trouble is not so much the cheating since it is human nature which is not reserved for one party, but the hypocrisy of the Republicans being the party of family values and people like Mark Sanford's words coming back to bite him. Of course Noonan and Parker were having none of that.
Noonan: Ooohh...I never think that when politicians, Democrats and Republicans get in these stories, that the story itself, the sin itself if you will, undermines what the politician stands for necessarily. Mark Sanford's Libertarian/traditional views are right or wrong on their own. Um..I must say I've been thinking about Clinton a lot and it seems to me that in the Clinton era, during that famous story, a new devilishness was unleashed, especially in the media where a new meanness took style.
And I feel like in every one of the scandals of the past few months, and we've had so many of them, the political sex scandals, the level of meanness of the response, publicly, and on cable and the newspapers, gets meaner each time. It seems to me that we are coming, we are reacting as almost as a nation, but certainly in the media as kind of Puritans without faith, which is the worst of both worlds. To be Puritanical and not even have faith.
I'm sorry Peggy, but the treatment any of the Republicans of late have gotten in the press pales in comparison to what the media did to Bill Clinton. And the media are not the ones being Puritans. The Republicans are the ones who have held themselves out there as the party of virtue and family values. The press didn't invent that.
When asked if hypocrisy is the problem for Mark Sanford, Parker replies:
Parker: I don't think hypocrisy is the big issue for Mark Sanford. I think Mark Sanford's weirdness is the big issue. He's just acting rather strangely and I attribute this, I've taken the romantic view...I think he's..he's truly in love. You know if you read those emails, and I think it's appalling that they were posted, but since they were there, we went and read them, didn't we? And you know what was so clear is that this is not a bad man. This is not somebody who's using women and casually discarding them. He's not emailing interns and hanging out in bathroom stalls. You know he actually fell head over heals, blindingly, crazy in love and I don't know if you all remember that feeling. I have a vague notion of it. But I think I remember that you think you're invisible. (laughter) No one else can see you and you don't care.
Well that's all very sweet Kathleen, and so nice to see you get a shot in at Bill Clinton there, but Mark Sanford isn't in high school any more. He's a grown man and the Governor of a state, and I don't think it's asking too much not to have him go running off to another country where no one knows where he's at, pretending he's "invisible". Wow.
Of course Noonan doesn't think that Republican hypocrites who have strayed should change their ideologies or their rhetoric. They should just follow the example of European Catholics, and try to govern well, and go to confession a lot. Well that might be nice Peggy if they also cared about governing well, as well, but they don't.
And Parker says that the "person who most wants to be good is also going to be the one who falls the hardest". So the poor Republicans are going to look worse when they fall. I'm sorry Kathleen, but wearing your Religion on your sleeve to win votes when you don't believe your religious doctrine should apply to yourself, is worse.
All the confession in the world that Peggy Noonan prescribes isn't going to change that.