The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Comparing Our Two Most Recent Improbable Comeback Attempts


The Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt features a lot of discussion on what we know, and don’t know, about the Boston Marathon bombing, and then this gradual return to “normal” politics:

Contemplating the New Sanford-Weiner Era

Oh, goodness, do we need a lighter, sillier topic.

Anthony Weiner, you’ll do.

As a guy who was not opposed to Mark Sanford attempting a political comeback, I suppose I should attempt to extend the same mentality to Anthony Weiner.

But he’s not going to make this easy.

Anthony Weiner sounded contrite in his first TV interview in two years, as the disgraced Democrat considers whether to run for New York City mayor.

“I think I’ll be spending a lot of time, here on out, saying I’m sorry,” Weiner told New York 1 in an interview that aired Monday night.

Weiner’s political future is now a source of fascination and speculation, following a lengthy New York Times Magazine cover story and the release of a 64-point plan to improve New York City. The Democratic primary for mayor is in September.

Weiner, 48, declined to go into detail about the sexting scandal that led him to resign from Congress in 2011. When asked by the 24-hour news cable channel to go into some of the specifics — such as how many women received lewd photos and messages from him — Weiner would only say “more than one person, several people.”

“I have been excruciatingly honest, in letter by letter, detail by detail, with my wife,” Weiner told New York 1. “An embarrassing amount is in the public domain … But out of respect for the idea that I’ve laid it all out for her and out of some respect for the privacy of the people who were at the other end of these correspondences, who had their lives turned upside down, I am not going to go into the details of every bit of it.”


From Andrew Breitbart’s book:

The next twenty-four hours—even though it was Saturday of a Memorial Day weekend—were going to be critical. We knew that the organized left was going to wage war, and by the time I woke up the next day, after launching the story, I realized that the Democrat-Media Complex was playing for keeps. For starters, the Daily Kos, the proto–Huffington Post whose founder, Markos Moulitsas, is still granted Meet the Press airtime, published a post immediately declaring war on me. Without bothering to investigate the veracity of our allegations, the Kos post simply declared: “Breitbart to use SEX SMEAR on Rep. Anthony Weiner.” The post was later updated to accuse me of faking the photograph. (Kos, months earlier, led the charge on another Saturday morning when he tried to blame me for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by the insane Jared Loughner. Within these battles against prominent Internet lefties, there are no repercussions when their side lies, cheats, and attacks. How could Kos get away with publishing a declaration of war, without having the facts, even after having been proven so egregiously wrong in trying to connect a political enemy to the despicable behavior of a lone, crazed gunman? As Dennis Prager often says, being a liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.) …

On day two of the Weiner scandal, conspiracy theories were building steam suggesting that there had in fact been a hacker, or hackers. One such theory was that PatriotUSA76—the still-unnamed person who drew my attention to Weiner’s errant re-tweeter—was the alleged hacker. The second one, which was started by the Daily Kos and took on a life of its own, became the narrative Congressman Weiner was hoping would stick—namely, that I was the alleged hacker. While I was screaming back into the phone, amid picturesque cacti and red, rocky terrain, I put the phone on mute and looked at my wife and friends and emphatically told them: “I have no choice. I apologize profusely. I’m fighting for my media life.” At one point, I tried to explain to the other two husbands what was going on. “Have you ever heard of Congressman Anthony Weiner?” I asked. Both had a passing knowledge of his existence. “Well, I’m in the middle of breaking a story that will be huge, if I can just get past Memorial Day and into the real news cycle.”

Affairs are bad; I think the wrongdoing is exacerbated when you attack, or let others attack, the folks who are telling the truth about you.

For contrast, once confronted with his wrongdoing, Mark Sanford didn’t deny it. He laid it all out, in cringe-inducing detail, at the South Carolina State House upon his return from Argentina. In fact, within a few days, most people, left, right and center, wanted him to please stop talking about it and going into the way-too-personal details.

(I’m fascinated by which details of the Sanford story entered the national consciousness and which ones didn’t; when I mention that Jenny Sanford had known about the governor’s mistress in Argentina for six months before the public revelation, that the pair had begun a trial separation and that the pair had not spoken for two weeks before that day, most folks are surprised. All of these facts are written on page one of the prologue of Jenny Sanford’s book, Staying True.)

Anyway, this is why I… oh, for heaven’s sake, Governor, what have you done now?

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford must appear in court two days after running for a vacant congressional seat to answer a complaint that he trespassed at his ex-wife’s home, according to court documents acquired by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The complaint says Jenny Sanford confronted Sanford leaving her Sullivans Island home on Feb. 3 by a rear door, using his cell phone for a flashlight. Her attorney filed the complaint the next day and Jenny Sanford confirmed Tuesday the documents are authentic.

The couple’s 2010 divorce settlement says neither may enter the other’s home without permission. Mark Sanford lives about a 20-minute drive away in downtown Charleston.

Jenny Sanford said Tuesday that she has custody of the couple’s four boys.

She said the complaint has nothing to do with her former husband’s efforts to rebuild his career in politics. She said it was filed with the court the day after the incident and when a family court judge last month set the case for the docket, it happened to be two days after the election.

“I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford told the AP. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

Tags: Mark Sanford , Anthony Weiner


Subscribe to National Review