Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On the Corrupting Influence of Power

Key quote from Vogue Magazine's interview of Jenny Sanford (wife of philandering South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford):
Politicians become disconnected from the way everyone else lives in the world. I saw that from the very beginning. They’ll say they need something, and ten people want to give it to them. It’s an ego boost, and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid.
Of course, there's also the Vogue interviewer's attempts to qualify Mrs. Sanford's devout Christianity in these 2 excerpts:
Her one-page statement saying as much was written without the help of spin doctors or media consultants. It came from her heart and her head. It mentioned God without making you squirm.

The Sanfords are conservative Christians, but they’re not the teetotaling, proselytizing sort. There are bottles of wine on the kitchen counter. Ayn Rand is on the bookshelf, but so is Gabriel García Márquez. The Bible sits front and center on the coffee table, alongside Forbes magazine. “You could be friends with her for 20 years, and she would never bring up the religious stuff,” says her friend Marjory Wentworth, poet laureate of South Carolina and a self-described liberal who once worked for The Nation.
In other words, "she's devoutly Christian, but she's cool", unlike all those other scary zealots. This betrays the interviewer's prejudices, which appear to be based more upon the straw man of religious conservatives painted by the left and their media cohorts than it does any actual experience the interviewer may have had with actually meeting and getting to know any religious conservatives. So, it's not surprising that, upon having the opportunity to ... you know ... actually speak with a devout Christian conservative, the interviewer is surprised that she doesn't fit the stereotype and therefore assumes that she must be different from all those other yokels. In fact, if the interviewer had bothered to get to know any other Christian conservatives, she would find that the majority of them are no different than Mrs. Sanford in how they live out their faith.

But for pure unadulterated media bias, this passage takes the cake:
Before Jenny Sanford came along, the options for wronged political wives were pretty poor. You could suffer silently (see Silda Wall Spitzer), deny everything (hello, Hillary), or make catty asides about the harlot who caused your husband to stray (Elizabeth Edwards). Then came Jenny Sanford.

Early this past summer, just as the world was savoring the news that yet another conservative Republican politician had tumbled from grace ...
The author of the piece starts off mentioning 3 Democrat sex scandals - by name - right off the bat, but then follows up with a reference to "yet another conservative Republican politician" who has disgraced himself. I make no apologies for the Republicans and their scandals, but that passage is just brazenly pathetic.

All in all, the key take-away from this interview, apart from Mrs. Sanford's quote about the corrupting influence of political power, is that Mrs. Sanford is a beautiful and dignified lady, and that her husband's greatest sin may be his rank stupidity in not recognizing and appreciating what he already has.

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At 8/18/2009 10:41 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

I want to know: Do the Sandfords actually have Ayn Rand on the shelf, or did the reporter just add that in as a "scarry, evil free market" author? And does the reporter have any idea that Rand totally rejected Christianity?

The stereotypes through which liberals address conservative Christians would be clear proof that if anything the progressive community is more close-minded than the conservative one -- except that they're so assured in their prejudices it's impossible to make people realize that they've even peddling in stereotypes.

Agreed, though, Mrs. Sanford sounds like one classy lady -- and the governor comes off as a record breaking moron in light of that.

At 8/18/2009 11:20 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Yeah, I found that reference to Ayn Rand rather puzzling in that particular context, and assume that the reference merely betrays the interviewer's literary ignorance.

At 2/06/2010 2:36 AM, Blogger Patricia G. said...

I think it's quite possible that the Ayn Rand book really was on the bookshelf -- there's a kind of eclectic spirituality one finds in Jenny Sanford's book Staying True that makes me think that she might well read things in many different directions. There doesn't seem much of a Catholic world view, even though she was brought up Catholic; in the book, one has the idea that her way of prayer is primarily walking on the beach or sitting alone in a quiet room, as opposed to anything that might involve the Church.


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