Poor Mark Sanford. The former South Carolina governor, who has been struggling to mount a comeback after–as a DCCC ad recently reminded us–“hiking the Appalachian Trail” a few years back, just can’t catch a break lately.
After the congressional hopeful was caught trespassing at his ex-wife’s house, the National Republican Congressional Committee last week decided to cut off financial support to his campaign against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, having concluded that “he has no plausible path to victory.” Which is, it appears, fairly close to the truth—the Democrat has opened up a sizable lead in the polls, and Sanford just keeps doing everything in his power to lose the special election slated for May 7.
“Oh dear. He can’t possibly do anything crazier,” you might be thinking. Oh, but you would be wrong. Sanford has ratcheted up the crazy, Clint Eastwood-style, by inexplicably “debating” a life-size photo of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
We’ll try our best to unravel the “logic,” but we make no guarantees. See, Sanford is miffed that Colbert Busch supposedly “refuses” to debate him, although a debate is scheduled for next week, and the two candidates will also appear together at a Chamber of Commerce event and an NAACP forum.
“My opponent continues to run a stealth campaign, avoiding public appearances and refusing to commit to televised forums for the benefit of 1st district voters,” he explained, before attacking said opponent for taking donations from Democrats and labor groups. “Since Elizabeth Colbert Busch refuses to articulate her views publicly, we are left to draw inferences for what she stands for on the basis of the groups that have made substantial monetary investments on her behalf.”
Confused yet? Well, here’s some background. The Machinists Union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in 2011, “claiming Boeing’s plans to build a plant in right-to-work South Carolina were in retaliation for labor activities at its Washington state plant.”
Colbert Busch accepted a whopping $5,000 in donations from the Machinists Union and the endorsement of the state chapter of labor union AFL-CIO. This prompted the Sanford campaign to release a TV ad insisting she is “fighting for big labor… in Congress, she’ll return the favor.”
The Machinists Union released a statement saying Sanford “provided incorrect information about labor unions, specifically regarding the Boeing facility in North Charleston,” and has asked him to pull the ads.
“Not once did (the union) request a ‘shut down’ of, or any jobs from, the North Charleston facility, which had nothing to do with its complaint. At no time were any South Carolina jobs at risk,” said Charleston Central Labor Council president Erin McKee.
The complaint was dropped, and on Wednesday, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley signed legislation to grant Boeing $120 million in bond money to expand the North Charleston plant in question, a job-creating move lauded by both Colbert Busch and Sanford.
Which brings us back to the heated debate between Sanford and Rep. Pelosi’s cardboard likeness. For some reason, he’s still sticking to his story that the NLRB is trying to block the Boeing plant—which, as you will recall, has been built and is being expanded. And the voices in Sanford’s head, it seems, are telling him that Nancy Pelosi, as a Colbert Busch backer, should serve as her stand-in. “Since Elizabeth won’t debate,” he reasoned, “I’m allowed to debate Nancy.”
The Colbert Busch campaign, understandably, is not amused. “While Mark Sanford continues his desperate campaign to deceive voters, Elizabeth Colbert Busch is spending her time with real people who support her campaign,” said campaign spokesman James Smith. “She doesn’t have to resort to phony cardboard cutouts to talk with the people of South Carolina.”
Sadly, we have video of this pathetic spectacle. Watch and weep: