by J Scott Christianson, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist
It’s award season again, and there are a number of awards to hand out for the best and worst our political system had to offer in 2009.
Worst biblical role model for modern-day politicians: King David. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Colorado Sen. John Ensign have both compared their “plight” — getting caught breaking their marriage vows — with that of King David. “I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in the Bible, who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand,” said Gov. Sanford.
Sanford and Ensign are part of the ultra-conservative Fellowship Foundation, commonly known as The Family, which focuses its energy on helping those who have been chosen by God to be rich and powerful, like Ensign and Sanford. “King David,” explained Family leader David Coe, “liked to do really, really bad things. Here’s this guy who slept with another man’s wife — Bathsheba — and then basically murdered her husband. And this guy is one of our heroes.”
Why? Because David was chosen by God, just like Ensign and Sanford. And for the chosen, resignation is not an option.
Of course, it is easier to recognize the kingliness in oneself than in others. When President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was exposed, both Ensign and Sanford called for his resignation and then-Congressman Sanford voted for his impeachment. Said Sanford at the time: “The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of democratic government, representative government, because it undermines trust,” he told CNN. “And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.”
See you on the Appalachian Trail, Governor.
Worse disappointment in a Missouri senator: former Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis. The inability to judge the difference between campaign antics and perjury puts Smith ahead of several other strong competitors in this category.
During his 2004 congressional campaign against Russ Carnahan, Smith’s campaign distributed negative fliers about Carnahan without providing any information about the source of the flier or who paid for it, an illegal act that is punishable by a scolding and slap on the wrist from the Federal Election Commission. This first sin is…