Mark Sanford ignores minor annoyance; world comes to an end

Congressman Mark Sanford voted for John Boehner to continue as Speaker of the House this week - a move that apparently riled some of his constituents.

We now return you to Congressman Sanford's Facebook page, better known as the "Everybody Hates Mark" message board.

"Double speaking back stabber." Like comment

"Mark Sanford is a spineless, yellow-bellied COWARD." Like comment

"PLEASE KEEP YOUR RELIGION OUT OF POLITICS." Like comment

"Ask his wife and children how reliable he is." Like comment

And on and on it goes.

Rep. Sanford received these lovely sentiments - and nearly 500 others - within a day of posting the reasoning behind his vote to re-elect John Boehner as U.S. House speaker.

In fairness to his critics, it was a typically rambling defense. But Sanford's rationale was firmly rooted in political reality: No last-minute coup to replace the tannest man in America for some wacko out of Texas was going to succeed, so why waste the vote?

All the 1st District needs is for its congressman to be in the doghouse with leadership.

But a lot of these tea party types don't believe in reason, just like they don't believe in compromise (even though that's the very definition of politics).

What's most frightening is that these people sit around listening to each other scream so much, they actually believe they represent the viewpoint of the vast majority.

Truth is, they don't even represent the majority of Republicans.

The gist of all this anger is that Boehner is a RINO (Republican in Name Only) in league with that socialist Obama, and he supports Cromnibus.

Which may or may not be a Transformers villain.

Many of these comment-board critics say Sanford betrayed his oath of office because he didn't listen to his constituents - some 300 of which called to tell him not to vote for Boehner.

"So what you're actually saying is even though you're a representative of your constituents and they overwhelmingly asked you to vote a certain way, you chose to ignore them," one fan wrote.

Actually, the way it works is that people are supposed to elect someone who reflects their values and then trust that person to make decisions. If this was a call-in show, we could abolish Congress and just let American Idol set up 800 numbers to determine policy.

And, in truth, 300 calls are not "overwhelming" - they amount to .04 percent of the 1st District's population. That's less than one-half of 1 percent of the people.

That is not a mandate, even if someone with the caps lock key on claims it is. It is a dustup, another moment of false outrage sparked by talk radio buffoons.

So why all the sudden hate for Boehner who, yes, is just another hack politician? Well, for one thing, he allowed some bill to pass that keeps the government open. Why would he do that, when the last shutdown worked so well for the GOP?

Then they say Boehner "appeases" Obama. Yeah, how many pieces of legislation has the president passed since Republicans took over the House? And didn't Boehner just sue Obama?

Do people actually think they're buddies?

Yes, some do - because a lot of folks have been brainwashed to believe compromise or capitulation on any single point is an unforgivable sin.

Even Sanford, who has a long history of cutting off his nose to spite his face, can see how foolish that is.

A lot of these folks grousing about Sanford say they are not only through with him, but the entire Republican Party.

Some say they will form a third party, vote Libertarian or even Democratic.

Promises, promises.

Here's a little secret: the Republican Party would like nothing more. The vast majority of Republican officials, and voters, cannot stand these tea partiers.

They are hard-headed, petulant children who believe everything a former disc jockey tells them. They are a miniscule minority of the population but think everything has to go exactly according to their will or the Constitution is being violated.

They are to blame for gridlock in this country.

Congress was never a model of efficiency, but there was a time when Republicans and Democrats could find common ground, at least enough to keep the trains running. It was never perfect, but that's a democracy.

These Ted Cruz worshipers don't want democracy, they want a ruling class of people who have nothing better to do than sit around listening to snake-oil salesmen on cable TV and the radio.

Well, the rest of the country has had about enough of this incessant, manufactured drama.

Bravo to Sanford for having the guts to ignore it.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com