Mark Sanford smacks down GOP establishment

In a special election to pick a new congressman to represent South Carolina’s first congressional district, Mark Sanford soundly defeated the sister of  Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. In the process, he gave the GOP establishment a smack down that should bring joy to the hearts of Conservatives everywhere.

When Sanford’s sordid affair as governor became the primary weapon of attack by Cobert-Busch in their only debate, and his ex-wife accused him of violating the guidelines of their divorce just days before the election (which has been settled), Sanford found himself abandoned by much of the South Carolina congressional delegation. He was also abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee, who took their ball—a euphemism for their money—and went home, allowing the Democrats to outspend him nearly three to one.

But he won the election anyway, which is significant for two primary reasons:

  1. Karl Rove, through his misnamed Conservative Victory Project, has declared war on Conservatives and the TEA Party. According to a recent New York Times article, this new group is dedicated to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s effort to win control of the Senate.”
  2. Though not a Senate seat, Mark Sanford had the endorsement of  far-right conservatives and the TEA Party.

Since 2010, we’ve had House Speaker John Boehner leading like Nancy Pelosi—having passed several bills without a majority of Republicans—and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor arm twisting fellow Conservatives out of their committee positions.

It would appear that when inside-the-beltway Republicans talk about creating and protecting jobs, they mean their own.

I can’t say that Mark Sanford was my first choice to fill this seat. His past indiscretions damaged his credibility in a way that made it hard to say, yes, I trust you. But I am also a firm believer in second chances for those who acknowledge their mistakes and take steps to make up for them, such as he has.

And even when it done with a less-than-perfect candidate, it always warms the cockles of my heart when there’s a smack down of the GOP establishment.


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