Voters in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District have every reason to be disgusted with Rep. Mark Sanford. More than five years after his Appalachian Trail misadventure, four years after his divorce, and three years after his ex-wife Jenny's devastating book about their marriage, the Luv Guv is back in the national spotlight, thanks to his Sept. 8 Facebook post.
It was an amazing 2,346-word ramble, announcing the end of his engagement to María Belén Chapur — the origin of this ongoing melodrama — and to whine about his ex's insinuations in her most recent court filing over child custody. Yes, Sanford shared it all with us in a passive-aggressive rant which invoked God and Jesus and proved once again that one need not learn to spell or punctuate to be elected to Congress.
The post went viral and moved the self-absorbed buffoon from the back bench of the House of Representatives to the pages of The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Hollywood Reporter. The congressman eventually pulled the post down, but that horse was long gone and preserved for posterity on countless websites, including The Post and Courier.
Speaking of which, the P&C astounded me and many others last year when it refused to endorse Sanford in a special election for his old House seat. After supporting him three times for Congress and twice for governor, that stodgy, old Republican rag apparently felt that Sanford had forfeited any entitlement to public trust when he abandoned his post as governor, left the state, lied about his whereabouts, then staged a tearful meltdown in which he confessed his marital infidelity and his love for Chapur in a nationally televised press conference at the Statehouse.
But not only did the P&C refuse to endorse the Republican, they gave their editorial blessing to Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a political newcomer and well-regarded businesswoman who also happened to be the sister of television comic Stephen Colbert. It was all for naught. The white people of the 1st Congressional District decided they would rather have a lying, philandering, AWOL-taking, professional politician represent them than anyone with a D in front of her name.
In light of Sanford's latest gaucherie, the P&C has given him the cold shoulder once again. But this time they have lowered the tone of their editorial from wary opposition to something like contempt.
With elections barely a month away and no Democrat on the ticket to oppose Sanford, the P&C came out on Sept. 20 to call for a worthy volunteer to step forward and run as a write-in candidate. "If Mr. Sanford had an opponent in the coming election," the editorial said, "the voters might even be sufficiently fed up with his self-absorption to send him home to the family farm instead of to Washington."
Well, Mr. Sanford does have an opponent, and if the clueless commentators at the P&C would open their eyes, they'd see him. I wrote a column in May about Dimitri Cherny, the truck-driving engineer, environmentalist, and novice politician who has taken it to Mark Sanford in a write-in campaign.
You can get a taste of Cherny's words and ideas at his website, cherneyforcongress.us. He is a very smart guy who sees the big picture. As Cherny told me last week, there are two great threats that challenge our nation and our civilization. One is climate change; the other is wealth inequality.
"Capitalism is so screwed up to favor the winners," he said. "It's up to us to change the rules of the capitalist game," to level the playing field and let more people compete. Capitalism needs to be fixed before it destroys our biosphere and our democratic society.
Unfortunately, the P&C has a policy against covering independent candidates who are not on the ballot. That's ironic, because the last sentence of their editorial reads, "Maybe there's a serious candidate out there with a taste for the long shot and a willingness to risk the write-in route."
That describes Cherny.
Like Strom Thurmond in his first Senate race, he wants voters to write in his name. Why will the P&C not give him some ink? I don't expect the old buzzards to endorse him — just cover him! Let the public know they have an alternative to Mark Sanford, and his name is Dimitri Cherny and he has been running since April.
I challenge the editors at The Post and Courier to go to chernyforcongress.us and see for themselves if this is a "serious candidate." And I challenge the readers of City Paper to do the same. If you like what you see, tell folks about him. That's what social media is for.
We have a congressional election in five weeks, and thanks to Dimitri Cherny, we now have a choice.
Will Moredock blogs at willmoredock.com