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Dionne on Sanford, (Stephen) Colbert on S.C.

Now on the homepage, E. J. Dionne Jr. assesses the victory of former governor Mark Sanford in South Carolinas special congressional election:

"I want to publicly acknowledge God's role in all of this," declared a victorious Mark Sanford as he celebrated an unlikely political rebirth Tuesday night with a sermon praising the Supreme Being and the many "angels" who helped the once-disgraced former governor along the way.Perhaps the Almighty did inspire those who drew the boundaries of South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. They packed it with so many Republicans that Sanford was able to engineer a comeback in the polls by debating a flat piece of cardboard bearing the image of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.Voters in the Lowcountry may have been weary of a man who made a national spectacle of himself by covering up an affair when he was chief executive and then hanging around in office. But when called to arms against liberals and spending and big government, they were prepared to forget Sanford's hike on the Appalachian Trail, the one that never happened but was his attempt at a false alibi for being in Argentina to see his lover-now-fiance.

Of course, Sanfords Democratic opponent was Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who tried everything she could to shove party and philosophy out of the voters' minds and keep them focused on the man they had once loathed and laughed at. Her loss has her brother Stephen thinking of becoming a tar heel: 

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Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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South Carolina is a freak-show*. Welcome to Cackalacka, Stephen: the line to remove your shirt, twist it around your hand, and spin it like a helicopter forms to the right.

almost makes me want to consider becoming an atheist.

It's kind of amusing, because there are rumblings in the Gospel Coalition-ish crowd about the fact that Sanford has been talking about the role of Buddhist meditation (or whatever he thinks that that means) in his rehabilitation.

Speaking of those (including our bishops) united in the Gospel to defend the traditional family, this vote may explain better than anything else why it is that, in the eyes of the Gospel coalition, gay folks in a permanent relationship are the biggest threat to families today. If the alternative is to campaign against your allies, why not blame the gays? They catch it for everything else.

Hope he doesn't try to play golf at Hilton Head in his district. They frown on do overs.

First Strom Thurmond, now Mark Sanford. South Carolinians have forfeited any right to sneer at Bill Clinton's peccadilloes.

Dunno if it will factor in Stephen's considerations, but North Carolina does have better basketball teams.

Nate Silver linked to a polling source that found this election went about as expected. A sex scandal will swing about one-seventh of the voters against the offender, and this election went pretty much down the middle on that.Like I've told my daughter. Bad decisions have consequences. At the very least, Rep Sanford is fodder for comedians and other entertainment sources. And is a living, working example that immorality knows no ideological bounds. At some point, that might be more important for Americans. One can hope.

I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, Sanford said in his victory speech in Charleston, referring to his first TV ad in which he asked voters to support him despite his past problems. But a God of third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth chances because that is the reality of our shared humanity. "...THAT IS THE REALITY OF OUR SHARED HUMANITY. How clever!

I think this district is pretty solidly Republican so whoever gets the nomination is going to get the seat. I think this says more about the local Republican perspective on the personal lives of candidates not being relevant to public office. In the main, I agree that personal issues should be private unless they reveal something pathological (Kennedy, Clinton) or a pattern of behaviour that is erratic and impulsive (Gingrich, Weiner)

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