Friday, December 11, 2009

Jenny Sanford files for divorce

Photo of Jenny Sanford by Heidi Heilbrunn of the Greenville News.

I had other obligations on Wednesday night and missed Jenny Sanford's TV-interview with Barbara Walters. But several of the local news outlets covered it, as well as national blogs like The Huffington Post:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Even if her straying husband had asked her to, South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford says she wouldn't have stood with Gov. Mark Sanford when he faced cameras to tell the world about his affair with an Argentine woman.

Jenny Sanford told ABC's Barbara Walters for a special airing Wednesday her husband's actions have caused consequences but not robbed her of her self esteem. Excerpts of the interview were released Tuesday.

As she has said in earlier interviews, Sanford told Walters she found out about her husband's affair last January and forbid him to see the other woman. She said she told him not to see his four boys or her for a month last summer as well.

"My hope was that he would wake up from whatever he was in the throes of and maybe see what he might lose," she said.

"Certainly his actions hurt me, and they caused consequences for me, but they don't in any way take away my own self-esteem," she said. "They reflect poorly on him."
But the best part? She said she wouldn't stand there like a prop.

This quiet dignity is why Jenny is loved by the women of South Carolina and the USA:
But Jenny Sanford was not beside him and she told Walters that the governor never asked her to appear.

"I wouldn't have. If he had asked me, I would have said no," she said.

It is my fervent hope that Jenny's patent refusal to physically stand beside her husband like an obedient little Stepford Wife, will catch on. NO MORE USING POLITICIAN'S WIVES AS PROPS!

I am more than a little thrilled that it is a southern woman who has finally put the kibosh on this terrible tradition. I have always thought it was an added, horrific humiliation to make wives stand there mutely while sleazemeisters like James McGreevey, Larry Craig, Elliot Spitzer, et. al. make their various confessions. Their wives were used as moral set-decoration: Looky here, I have a WIFE, I am not a sex pervert!*

This is an ethical variation of woman-as-ornament, woman-as-arm-candy: Woman as TAMER of men's collectively untamed, wild, crazy libidos. It is offensive as hell and always has been. Bravo to Jenny for NOT PLAYING ALONG!!!!


And today, we get the news that she has filed for divorce. If she has a publicist, I say, give that girl a raise! Great timing, right after a well-received national interview.

The Greenville News reports:
COLUMBIA – Gov. Mark Sanford said this morning that he takes “full responsibility for the moral failure” that led his wife, Jenny, today to file for divorce.

“While it is not the course I would have hoped for, or would choose, I want to take full responsibility for the moral failure that led us to this tragic point,” Sanford said in a brief statement. “While our family structure may change, I know that we will both work earnestly to be the best mom and dad we can be to four of the finest boys on earth.”

The complaint filed this morning by First Lady Jenny Sanford in Charleston County Family Court is brief and accuses the governor of having sex with another woman but provides no other details or discusses divorce issues other than to note agreements are expected to be filed in the matter sometime in the future.

Jenny Sanford announced this morning she was filing for divorce “after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation.”
And meanwhile, although the SC House censured Sanford, and the impeachment resolution may go to the full house floor--it appears totally stalled for now, and Mark Sanford has no intention of leaving office any earlier than required.

Stay tuned, sports fans!

*Technically, I think the first person to successfully employ this strategy was Richard Nixon during the Checkers speech. Pat Nixon sat there like a mannequin (barely breathing or blinking, it seemed) as Nixon told the country she didn't own a mink, but instead, "a respectable Republican cloth coat" ... using his wife's humble nature as somehow proof of HIS humble nature, which as we all know, was nonexistent.

Thus, the first modern example of wife-as-moral-prop was not a sexual scandal, but it was a scandal. Richard Nixon never referred to "Pat" publicly (in contrast to other presidents who called their wives by their first names in speeches), but always publicly referred to her as "Mrs Nixon"... which I found strange even as a kid. "Mrs Nixon likes... Mrs Nixon says..." as if she really had no other identity besides his misses.


D. said...

Just saw this and was coming to witter at you. Whew!

To this day, the thought of Nixon as a sexual actor -- no. And yet there don't seem to have been affairs on either side. They seem to have genuinely, though not demonstratively, loved each other. Whereas every pol now who starts up about family and morality is almost guaranteed to have a cemetery's worth of skeletons out back.

Anyway, good for Jenny Sanford.

Ann ODyne said...

Ms Sanford is a class act and he didn't deserve her. Why on earth did he continue the adultery after her wake-up call? men like that are too common.
On the topic of arm-candy: that Mrs Woods is a pin-up girl and I cannot believe she worked as a 'Nanny'.
Whose Nanny?
Her nocturnal club-swinging compares poorly with Ms Sanford's approach to infidelity.

Mama Moretti said...

I hope Jenny finds a decent man who appreciates her. She's made of iron. If I was in her position I'd be in the rubber room by now.

sheila said...

I stand and clap loudly for Jenny! What a smart woman. Great way to make a statement to others in the same situation! I thought of you as I heard the news! lol. So I popped on over and sure 'nuff'! Here's a post! lol.

Everything you said is DEAD on. Shane and I were discussing this with our college age daughter today. I made the comment that I applaud Jenny...but I would have contemplated a Lorena Bobbit scenario before leaving. She's like 'What? What's that?'. OMG, I said I was just joking and then had to explain that WHOLE thing to her. I forgot she was just a wee one when it happened.

Great post Daisy!

sheila said...

OMG! I just noticed I referenced 'wee one' and John Bobbit in the same paragraph, lol.

thene said...


I am trying to imagine a reversed scenario, with husband-as-prop, and coming up blank... Has it ever happened?

MissMud said...

Yeah, I was wondering that too about the "husband as prop or object" and I can't think of any examples either.

Good for Ms Sanford, finally a woman who is just not going to stand next to a creep and get humiliated.

D. said...

thene: Probably Dennis Thatcher, but we didn't get those videos here.

white rabbit said...

Is this something to do with Tiger Woods?

*puzzled look*


Sungold said...

Great post, Daisy. As soon as I heard about the divorce filing, I hoped you'd weigh in - and you didn't disappoint.

I love your formulation of wives as moral props. I wouldn't have thought to connect this to the Nixons, but yes, I remember the scene you describe. In fact, I can't remember Pat Nixon ever speaking on TV, though I'm sure she must have ...

Anyway, the way you frame it shows that the use of political wives is about more than sex (though sex seems to feature in every scandal du jour, these days). It's about constructing a fake morality.

Bryce said...

what took her so long?

Lindsey Graham is their kids godfather you know. *snort*

JoJo said...

AGREED!!!!! I'm so glad that Jenny is dumping his sorry philandering ass.

Viagra Online said...

Does everyone knows what causes that Jenny Sanford signed for divorce? I heard it was more like political issue or so but might be wrong.