How the GOP Will Spin Mark Sanford’s Affair (Against the Democrats)

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There are many, many ways that political affairs come to light. Spitzer. Vitter. Paterson. Edwards. And now, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. We’ve discussed the (obvious) ethical issues brought up by cheating on your spouse. But with the GOP in full talking point force, it was only a matter of time before “architect” Karl Rove piped up after Sanford revealed his true family values. And by matter of time, we mean: hours.

A guest on Hannity last night, Rove is the ultimate kingpin of spin. His tales are not remarkable for being tall; they are remarkable for being believable. Responsible for issuing talking points to his fellow Republicans, Rove made clear how the GOP will recover from Sanford’s shaming. It’s (at least) a two-parter.

1) Denigrate Sanford. While some (liberal) talking heads branded Sanford as a “raising star” in the GOP and a name often tossed around as a possible presidential candidate for 2012, Rove is shutting that down. Mustering all the surprise he can, Rove insists Sanford was never a real contender for the top ticket, given all the other more promising Southern conservatives available. By branding Sanford as a minimal Republican creature, Sanford’s affair becomes that much less important to GOP politicking. Read: Why should you care when even we don’t care?

2) Make sure everyone knows Sanford’s transgressions are not unique — especially to the GOP. Rove spits out a brief list of politicos involved in sex scandals, from Republican Louisiana Sen. David Vitter (he of 2007’s D.C. madame prostitution scandal) to Democratic Rep. Barney Frank (he of the “paid $80 to a hooker who ended up seeing other clients in my basement” scandal from the 80s). By reminding Americans that Sanford, while committing wrongdoing, is not alone in his sex scandal, Rove neutralizes Sanford’s criticism by prohibiting liberals from jumping down his pants.

And that’s just the strategy Rove is revealing publicly.

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  • galefan2004

    I really hope they get right in there behind Sanford and use as much spin as they possibly can. You see, the problem with Repug spin (not our problem but theirs) is that they often spin themselves right out of the freaking office they are running for. The majority of this country is still completely moderate, so I’m all for anything that makes the Repugs look more extreme.

  • Celia

    Barney Frank’s rent boy scandal is now old enough to vote. Republicans, of course, find it so exciting that they like to bring it up at the first possible opportunity. It must be something about Barney’s animal magnetism and sex appeal – it gets them all hot under the collar, I’m sure.

  • Thom Freeheart

    This is spin showing how the GOP will spin.

    Spin, spin, spin, spin, spin!

    Everybody spin! It’s fun!

  • frisky

    They should just keep playing the tape of Sanford telling Clinton to resign from office back in the 90s. Classic!

  • Thom Freeheart

    Sanford should do what Clinton did when he perjured himself under oath in the 90s – just claim that it is a personal matter between him and his wife.

    Spin, spin, spin!

  • unclemike

    It’s not the act, it’s the hypocrisy. Barney Frank never set himself up as a paragon of virtue, or a shining example of a real true god-blessed marriage. Republicans, with very few exceptions, did and do.

    Schadenfreude is delicious.

  • Thom Freeheart

    I would like a link to where Sanford held himself up as a paragon of virtue and a shining example of a real true god-blessed marriage.

    That would be awesome.

  • cufflinks

    Stanford is finished. And the republicans will distance themselves and remain relatively unscathed (“we are conservative but we, as Christians, believe in forgiveness…blah blah blah”). But the real consequence of this bizarre story is that the GOP is without yet another contender for 2012. They are dropping like flies. It’s still down to Palin, Romney and Huckabee.

  • InExile

    Why is this scumbag not in jail?

  • galefan2004

    @InExile: What exactly has he done that is jail worthy? Unless you mean misappropriation of state funds. Its not very often that elected officials go to jail for misappropriation of funds; however, if he was in the private sector he would probably be in jail for that very thing.

  • DM73

    Would forgiveness be there if he cheated with an Argentinian Male?

  • AlwaysGay

    Barney Frank’s scandal happen 23 years ago. The only reason Republicans/ Conservatives/ heterosexuals continue to use the scandal is because Barney Frank is gay and liberal.

  • Jaroslaw

    Everyone please Read UncleMike #6 again. The “family values’ hypocrisy is what we need to concentrate on.

    I’ll go further – YES many people have cheated, lied about affairs etc. but IF YOU do that, you DON”T get to vote about other people’s sex lives. Or if even if you don’t, consenting behavior between adults should NOT be subject to government legislation. PERIOD>

  • InExile

    @galefan2004: Outting a covert CIA agent (Valerie Plame) for one thing should have sent him to jail. Not to mention all the crimes of the last administration.

  • Cam

    @Thom Freeheart: you said “I would like a link to where Sanford held himself up as a paragon of virtue and a shining example of a real true god-blessed marriage.

    That would be awesome.

    Hi Thom,

    Here is a link that shows that the Family Research Council had sanford listed as one of the speakers for the “Values Voters” Summit. They have no of course removed his picture. To be invited and agree to speak means he was holding himself out as a values politician, so much so that the FAmily Research Council thought he would inspire others in that area….guess they didn’t check the travel log. ;)


  • simon

    Karl Rove needs to just zip it

  • gray hunt

    RE: Inexile….”why is this scumbag not in jail?” I guess you were speaking old Barney, what he did is illegal. Sanford is just stupid and not a crime, if it was we would (including you) all be in jail. OH, Barney is still a cock sucker then, now, and hopefully not much longer (longer?)

  • Lance Rockland

    Am I the only one who finds Karl Rove irresistable?


  • TomTom

    @galefan2004: if he was in the private sector he would probably be in jail for that very thing

    Riiight. Like all those Wall St. crooks that are serving hard time.

  • Disgusted American

    the GOP can say whatever they want – but WE know the truth…..Barney frank never legislated againt LGBT rights…thats the difference…and them trying to twist into something else…doesn’t make it the same.

  • osocubano

    @gray hunt: C’mon, hon, sucking dick is only a crime when you don’t know how to do it. I don’t think that’s your problem.

  • galefan2004

    @InExile: You and I both know that as far as the rest of the nation is concerned, anything that happened under Bush and Chenney that benefited Bush and Chenney was perfectly legal. We impeached Clinton for telling lies about banging a chick, but we let Bush and Chenney have a pass on everything they did that was totally illegal and immoral. The Democrats have a way of just wanting to sweep everything under the rug while the Republicans are completely confrontational on issues that matter.

  • TikiHead

    This all just shows how sordid the heterosexual lifestyle really is!

    Seriously, Sanford left the state leaderless for several days, with no way to contact him. That’s really the issue: he’s unfit to be governor.

  • michael

    They are all scumbags whether they be Republican or Democrat. They all lie, cheat, misrepresent and play their little Reindeer games. Its all about money, power and most of all self importance. Politicians are the biggest collection of egos on the planet. There is no such thing as a selfless public servant that has anyone but their own best interests at heart. But the Gods put one little wrench in their little game that keeps them sweating, they keeps them nervous wrecks and that is the fact that every 2 to 4 years they have to publicly fight to keep their jobs and do it with an opponent that is an equal scumbag and the people that they are elected to serve are actually nothing but an annoyance and pain in the ass to them. And that is where the beauty in all this lives for us. We get to make them fucking crazy and that is why we must ride Obama’s ass like a bathhouse bottom!

  • hyhybt

    @osocubano: Suppose you don’t kno how but are willing to practice until you get it right?

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