6.26.2009

Come again?

I've had rather a trying day at work, and I'm on call this weekend, and so I decided to indulge in one of my more leisurely and relaxing pass-times -- reading the Huffington Post and looking for really, really dumb celebrity opinions about things. It's always good for a giggle, and thankfully Alec Baldwin comes through.

Alec Baldwin is a very, very funny actor. He is also, from what I gather, considered one of the "smarter" celebrities out there. That wasn't necessarily the impression I got from his rambling, incoherent defense of Mark Sanford.
So South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford had an affair.

Big deal.

Now is a wonderful opportunity to show the country what Democrats/liberals/progressives/unaligned learned from the Clinton era. Whatever personal problems that public officials deal with privately, leave them alone. This could happen to anyone, in any state, regardless of party. Why make the voters of South Carolina suffer while Sanford is skewered? If he wants to resign, so be it. If not, let him deal with it in private.

Well, no. I don't really agree that this could "happen to anyone." Earthquakes happen to anyone. Strep throat happens to anyone. Love affairs happen to those who choose to sleep with people other than their spouses, which we tend to attribute more to a combination of libido and free will than to happenstance.

I understand why Baldwin is defending Sanford, because dude has been there himself, you know? And I agree that cackling and rubbing our hands with glee at the lurid details of the affair is unseemly, and is an impulse we should try to rise above. But, as I said elsewhere, the voters of South Carolina are also entitled to a governor who doesn't vanish into thin air, or spend their taxes on questionable junkets to other countries where his mistress just happens to live. There's more than just the extramarital shenanigans to consider here, Mr. Baldwin.

What really caught my eye was this particularly startling description, however:
The Clinton scandal was one of the most horrific political episodes I have ever witnessed. Henry Hyde and Richard Mellon Scaife and Kenneth Starr, the right-wing's goyish Roy Cohn, chasing down Arkansas state troopers and bank records and real estate documents until they found what they were looking for in Monica Lewinsky's closet. [emphasis mine]
Uh... what? I don't really understand quite what point Baldwin is making by highlighting Starr's gentile status. First of all, the right wing already had a Roy Cohn -- Roy Cohn. Baldwin's formulation is odd, in that most people would use similar phraseology to describe someone similar on the opposite side, as in "the left wing's Latina Scalia" to describe Sonia Sotomayor. Is he implying that the right wing plans to collect an ethnically diverse number of Roy Cohns? Are they scouring Liberty University for a Laotian?

But, more than that, what is Baldwin trying to say about Starr that he clarifies by mentioning his non-Jewishness? Because, to me, it seems like a gratuitous and confusing ethnic dig, made even weirder coming from a fellow gentile. It certainly doesn't enhance an opinion piece already lacking in rhetorical precision.

7 comments:

  1. sorry danny, but falling in love with someone other than your spouse can happen to anyone. It never happened to me, but I did cheat once on a girlfriend of mine and opened up a whole can of shitworms in all of our lives. It was that life lesson that made it so that I avoid close friendships with any woman whom I feel attraction towards.

    I certainly don't think Sanford should resign, he made a big mistake but he didn't do anything illegal, and please don't say he misappropriated funds, he did do work in Argentina and it seems up and up when he did it that no one questioned why he went there. It is only "questionable" since he was caught just doesn't tip the scale for me. Besides, we are talking about at most a misdemeanor.

    The guys political career is pretty much over. Let him finish out his term, he hasn't betrayed anyone but his wife.

    And as far as cheaters go, he is a damn sight more sympathetic than Newt, or Clinton, or Spitzer, or Ensign, ad nauseum, whose actions suggest they had nothing but contempt for women.
    Sanford at least admitted he screwed up 2 womens lives. And as far as hypocrisy goes, it looks like he had his affair much after he lambasted Clinton. A hypocrit is someone who says one thing and does another, not said. The better word for him is fallible.

    charo

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  2. Whether or not it could happen to anyone (I don't know the details of the affair or ther marriage, except that he does seem quite in love with his mistress), I agree with Dan that being out of reach of one's state or five days is under one's control. He should go for that, possibly the junket, if not for the affair.

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  3. Charo, I don't think his affair is, in and of itself, reason for him to resign. And I'll even cut him some slack for the junket, though it certainly doesn't reflect well on him.

    But he was completely cut off from his state for the better part of a week. When fellow elected officials in the state reasonably demanded to know where he was, his staff (presumably at his direction) lied about his whereabouts. The Lieutenant Governor, the man who would be responsible for running the state had something happened in his absence, did not know where he was, and would have had no way of communicating with him had it been required.

    This strikes me as egregiously selfish and irresponsible, and is the basis for my belief that he should resign.

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  4. Dan, but he wasn't totally out of reach, his own staff told him to get his ass back to SC. If you were to go out of pocket for 5 days because of relationship troubles, should you be forced to give up your practice? Granted, a lot of people will be po'ed at you but that is part of life. The way people can get back at him is not to vote for him ever again, which I find perfectly reasonable.

    charo

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  5. If I were to disappear entirely, leaving not only my patients but the partners in my practice to wonder where I was, then I would reasonably expect to get canned upon my return.

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  6. yeah, but he told his staff he was going hiking. If you did the same, and they knew you were going away, but you went somewhere other than where you said you were going, would they still can you?

    charo

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  7. "Well, no. I don't really agree that this could "happen to anyone." Earthquakes happen to anyone. Strep throat happens to anyone. Love affairs happen to those who choose to sleep with people other than their spouses, which we tend to attribute more to a combination of libido and free will than to happenstance."

    Whaaaa? Of course it could happen to anyone! (And as for the question of free will, well... don't get me started.) You know, there has been so much closed-minded moralizing about the Mark Sanford case that all I feel now is bad for the guy.

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