So, now it’s Mark Sanford’s fault that Katie Arrington lost?

In her defiant concession speech Wednesday, the perpetually victimized 1st Congressional District candidate blamed her defeat on the incumbent congressman. Who, you may remember, she beat in the Republican primary in June. “We lost because Mark Sanford could not understand this was about the conservative movement and not about him,” Arrington said.

Funny she would put it that way, because throughout the campaign Arrington made it clear she believes everything is about her.

This was her dream. She was destined for Congress. The president signed her cast!

She couldn’t even talk about downtown Charleston flooding without pointing out that it was a problem chiefly because floodwaters might have prevented her from getting to the hospital after that horrible car accident in late June.

Narcissism much?

True to form, Arrington’s concession was filled with venom toward poor ol’ Sanford. She was outraged that he wouldn’t endorse her, upset when her campaign ran low on funds and the congressman wouldn’t share his bountiful war chest (which suggests she asked).

So, entitled and scorned, Arrington urged Sanford donors to request that he return their contributions.

It’s hard to imagine why voters in the 1st District didn’t want this petty egomaniac representing them in Washington.

A one-way trail

Throughout the campaign, Arrington supporters constantly lamented Sanford’s selfish refusal to endorse her.

Why, they asked, wouldn’t he get with the program?

Perhaps it had something to do with this: During the primary, Arrington aired an amazingly nasty attack ad on Sanford that evoked the former governor’s infamous affair and the Appalachian Trail scandal.

“Mark Sanford and the career politicians cheated on us,” she says in the spot. “We sent him to do a job but he left his post and set off down a long trail of obstructionism. Bless his heart, but it is time for Mark Sanford to take a hike — for real this time.”

Give Arrington credit. It takes gall — or something alliterative of that — to hit a man below the belt and then get offended when he doesn’t respond like a supplicant. You know, like Ted Cruz did after President Trump called his wife ugly and linked his dad to the JFK assassination.

Sanford has far too much dignity for that sort of groveling. And of course, he was his usual no-drama self about all this. He’s become quite philosophical since the life-changing events referenced in Arrington’s insidious ad, and often talks like a spiritual guru.

“I respect the fact that it’s a normal enough, very human reaction to blame someone else or something else for something that doesn’t go right in our lives. I get that,” Sanford said Wednesday.

Which is Sanford-speak for, “Katie, bless your heart.”

Wanted: civility

Arrington didn’t lose because Sanford refused to kneel by her side like a whipped dog.

This is why she lost:

On Wednesday, congressman-elect Joe Cunningham talked to reporters about his victory. He thanked Sanford for his service, called him a patriot and true defender of the environment.

He said he was eager to “work with both sides of the aisle” and that his campaign was about unity, something sorely lacking in this country right now. Amen.

Cunningham even thanked Arrington. He called her a fighter who ran a spirited campaign. He said he admired his opponent for soldiering on after a horrific accident and the death of her mother, and promised to keep her family in his prayers.

That display of empathy, of basic human decency, is something that has largely gone missing in America of late. And Cunningham campaigned respectfully while Arrington ran bad, cartoonish attack ads and carelessly tossed around terms like “good and evil.”

A lot of people, including a sizable number of 1st District Republicans, are sick of the name-calling, the fear-mongering and the general nastiness of politics these days.

Arrington embraced all that, just as she did Trump, and it reminded a lot of people of exactly what’s wrong with politics.

So if Arrington wants to blame someone for her humiliating defeat in Tuesday’s election, she should fall back to her default setting.

It was all about her.

Reach Brian Hicks at

Reach Brian Hicks at