What's the difference between Mark Sanford and Bill Clinton?
By Selwyn Duke
With the victory of disgraced former governor Mark Sanford in the recent South Carolina congressional race, there are bound to be those who would equate his supporters with Bill Clinton's. After all, both men were unfaithful to their wives. Both men lied to their constituents about it. And both men had supporters who voted party over principle, didn't they? Not exactly.
For sure, there are Republicans imbued with the libertine spirit of the age who, often sexually compromised themselves, can easily justify Sanford's behavior. There are Republicans who buy into the tripe that a politician's "personal life" should have no bearing on his fitness for office, as if the personal doesn't influence the public. There are even more Republicans who rationalize their vote by saying that Sanford has confessed his sin and must be forgiven, ignoring that we don't know if he truly is a changed man and that forgiveness doesn't obviate worldly consequences. Yet there are many other GOP voters — and they may be in the majority — who take another position. And it's one that well illustrates a profound difference between liberals and conservatives.
I supported Mark Sanford against his opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, with no regrets or apologies. Why? Well, I think I speak for millions of conservatives when I say that what cost Sanford his governorship was absolutely wrong and not to be excused under any circumstances. I would prefer that candidates such as him get primaried out of the equation, but this didn't happen, perhaps because SC has open primaries (how many Democrats voted for Sanford in the primary to give Busch a vulnerable opponent?). And while what he did was a sin, there are other kinds of sins as well.
One of them is advocating nation and culture-killing leftist policy.
SC's special congressional election didn't give us the choice between an angel and demon or even an angel and sinner. Rather, on one side we had a man who was unfaithful to his wife, a red flag telling us to watch him even more closely. On the other we had a woman who is unfaithful to Truth and everything good and great for which America stands, a redder flag telling us she should be dismissed promptly. For people such as Busch are ensuring that America won't stand for long.
But Bill Clinton's voters were generally different. Far from hating the sin and supporting the sinner, too frequently these ideologists became apologists and promoted the sinner by rubber stamping the sin. How often did we have to hear nauseating refrains such as "It's only sex" or "Who cares if he got a _______ in the Oval Office?"? Why, one liberal man even said to me, quite passionately, about Slick Willie's affair with Monica Lewinsky, "He did the right thing" (hey, who wouldn't abuse his position and debauch a young intern if given the chance?). And then, of course, there was the truly idiotic rationalization "Character doesn't matter," which, of course, may seem an attractive philosophy when you haven't got any.
Then there is the Sandra Fluke factor. Where is the conservative equivalent of Nina Burleigh, who in 1998 said about Clinton, "I would be happy to give him a _______ just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs"? While liberal women certainly don't like being the betrayed wife, a noticeable number of them seemed to like the idea of being the Slickster's other woman. And then they get upset when the Rush Limbaughs of the world call them sluts.
The bottom line is that Bill Clinton's supporters were willing to define deviancy downwards just to lift a reprobate upwards, as they moved their nation closer to permanent moral defeat in the name of temporary political victory.
Of course, a major reason why this didn't bother them brings us to another difference between liberals and conservatives: liberals dislike the morals that condemn things such as adultery in the first place. Thus, while we may view their actions as the "sacrifice" of virtue on the altar of political success, to them it was something quite different: the killing of two Bald Eagles with one stone.