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Mark Sanford and Joe Riley – World Class Hypocrites
Lee Walton

It must be something in the vapors peculiar to the evenings on the Isle of Palms that have created not one, but two pathological liars that also happen to be prominent, nationally recognized politicians consistently reelected by the voters of this State and the City of Charleston. As their real characters finally wear through the slick, polished veneers that both Sanford and Riley have made their public image trademarks, the citizens of this State and the Lowcountry are finally seeing the deep, hidden flaws in their personalities and glimpses of their secret, darker motivations. It’s bad enough that each has consciously and diligently fabricated grandiose stories to hide their own obsessions and weaknesses, but to systematically and blatantly lie to those who placed their faith, trust and lives in their hands is truly unforgivable.

Governor Sanford’s unfaithfulness to his wife, sons, and personal friends, however unforgivable, pales to near insignificance to the dishonor he has brought upon the State of South Carolina. The citizens of this State are still dazed by the utter lack of self-control that drove him to abandon his sworn duties as chief executive officer in exchange for a clandestine weekend tryst in a foreign country. This from the same hypocrite that made a fan-fair of pinching pennies while in congress, sleeping in his office on an air mattress, and self-righteously clamoring for Bill Clinton’s resignation or impeachment over the former President’s sex-scandal with a porky White House intern.

Fortunately for the Republican Party and this nation, Sanford decided to self-destruct this past Fathers Day before being almost certainly tapped as a Presidential candidate in 2012. Over the past 100-years there have been many presidents lacking in marital fidelity, but none abdicated their sworn duties to the country they served to be in the arms of a paramour. Sanford hopped on an airplane and abandoned both his family and duties as governor. How could anyone ever depend upon such a tormented psyche in a moment of international crisis? Better we all know now the demons in Sanford’s mind before he could be elected to higher office and do immeasurable harm to millions.

As for Charleston’s Mayor Riley, South Carolina ducked a bullet a few decades ago when former Lt. Governor Nick Theodore “cleaned his clock” in a Democratic gubernatorial primary and stopped Riley’s madness at the Charleston City Line. Riley, Charleston’s own self-professed Pericles, continues to live in his own mystical world of shimmering cities on hills of artistic grandeur unfettered by the everyday trappings of the humble citizens as they struggle to provide better lives for themselves and their families. Riley’s monuments to his madness and the squandered wealth of Charleston is exemplified daily by the crumpling infrastructure, flooded streets, empty storefronts, and criminal elements that dominate large sectors of the City.

Riley’s grasp upon what he perceives as reality is best exemplified lately by his response to the mother of Billy Hutchinson as she demanded accountability for those responsible for the tragic death of her son and eight other brave firemen whose lives were needlessly wastes by the incompetence of Charleston’s former fire chief and lifelong Riley crony, Rusty Thomas.

To the utter astonishment of those attending the last City Council Meeting, Riley responded that “They were well led and everybody did the best they could.” These are the same lies that Riley has spewed for over two years in his carefully orchestrated cover-up of the now obvious failings of his “Best Fire Chief in America and World-Class ISO 1 Fire Department.” But for the reporting of one local TV station, this latest retelling of the Big Lie would have gone unnoticed. As is always to be expected when anything unflattering is said of their protector and benefactor, the Palter and Chatter printed not a word about Mrs. Hutchinson’s demand for accountability following the unpardonable death of her son.

Notwithstanding the blatant fact that these two elected liars should be unceremoniously tossed out on their backsides, at least Sanford’s leadership transgressions didn’t result in the tragic loss of nine lives.

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