Ringside Seat: Cry for Sanford, Argentina

Mark Sanford is getting desperate.

At the beginning of this year, the South Carolina Republican looked like a good bet for the congressional seat that was vacated by Tim Scott after he was appointed senator (to replace arch-conservative Jim DeMint). Yes, the primary field was crowded, but he was a former governor who stood a chance at winning back voters alienated by his hike-not on the Appalachian Trail. And while he had a potentially strong Democratic opponent in Elizabeth Colbert-Busch—sister of comedian Stephen Colbert—odds were on his side; suburban South Carolina is tough territory for a Democrat.

Sanford won the primary in a run-off earlier this week, which was followed—almost immediately—by the complete unraveling of his campaign. First came the revelation that Sanford was regularly trespassing on the property of his ex-wife Jenny Sanford, in direct violation of their divorce decree. The most recent trespass came in early February, when Sanford was still fighting in a primary.

In response, the National Republican Congressional Committee took the step of withdrawing its support from Sanford’s campaign with a single—cold—comment. “Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election." And after that, a new survey from Public Policy Polling had Sanford down nine points against Colbert-Bush.

For now, it looks like the former governor is in free fall—again. To wit, he spent a chunk of today arguing against a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi, in a strange political stunt.Meanwhile, not coincidentally, Colbert-Busch was meeting with a group of local Republicans endorsing her campaign.

So They Say

"What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you’re going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo in the same place. And we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo."

President Barack Obama, bestowing modern parenting advice


Daily Meme: You Don't Know George

  • The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opens in Dallas tomorrow, and the requisite wave of opinions, questions, and retrospectives is accompanying the event.
  • So: What's the building like? According to Peter Baker, "No president produces a museum known for self-flagellation, and Mr. Bush’s is no exception. It does not ignore controversies like the weapons of mass destruction that were never found in Iraq, but it does not dwell on them either."
  • The center's editorial director says, “One of the instructions that he always gave throughout was that this museum is not a monument to him, but a monument to principles that brought him into public office. And that’s what inspired him, and that’s what still inspires him."
  • These 24 charts of his presidency are also not a monument to him. Also quite short on inspiration.
  • Ed Gillespie, a former Bush counselor, sees the library as an opportunity to sit in the Decision Points Theater and bask in the light of the salad Bush days—a nice time to think about, apparently, during the gosh-darn-terrible Obama presidency.
  • Keith Hennessey, another former Bush White House hand, seeks to dispel all the "Bush is dumb" rumors. Heck, he's not just smart—he's smarter than all of you!
  • But, Ezra Klein replies, even smart people make big mistakes. Look at Wall Street crumbling in 2007, with some of the smartest people in the country at the helm. "These are stories about how smart people can lead themselves and others down the wrong paths. To a large degree, they wouldn’t be able to do it if they weren’t smart, but that just proves that not all mistakes are dumb, and that being smart isn’t the same thing as being wise, right or capable."
  • Whatever. Dubya doesn't care. As a friend told the National Journal, "He's enjoying the hell out of life. He's his loosey-goosey self again, the way he used to be."


What We're Writing

  • David Dayen reports on the alternate reality where Treasury officials live, a beautiful land where Dodd-Frank is the bank-reform holy grail and additional whacks at Wall Street are unnecessary.
  • Abby Rapoport reports on the alternate reality in which gay marriage may pass in Rhode Island with unanimous support of the GOP senators ... wait, what? No, this actually might happen!

What We're Reading

  • Will the SEC actually make public corporations disclose all their political spending? Nick Confessore reports.
  • The American Spectator puts the words "Sarah Palin's Rack" on its cover. (What kind of rack, you ask? See, they've got you where they want you!)
  • Ann Friedman issues some #realtalk on the gossip about New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson.
  • Richard Socarides wonders if the Supreme Court will join the bandwagon for gay marriage that is currently touring the globe.
  • In an excerpt from his new book Dirty Wars, Jeremy Scahill reports on the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki. 
  • Alex Seitz-Wald asks an expert, "Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?"
  • Anthony Weiner says there might be more dick pics in his future.

Poll of the Day

Pew just released a poll on the public's reaction to the dearly departed gun-control bill. Unsurprisingly, there's a partisan split. Two-thirds of Democrats are either disappointed or angry by the outcome, while just over half of Republicans are happy or very happy in the aftermath of the legislation's demise. If you look at the population at large, 47 percent expressed a negative reaction following the Senate's gun vote, while 39 percent had a positive reaction.

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