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Bleak House Redux: Sanford gets his apology from Massa

Well well well – in a turnup for the books that Pyrrhus himself would have found difficult to swallow, Sanford has extracted an apology from non-Congressman Massa following the slanderous claims he made about Sanford’s character and conduct.

The original case is linked in Sanford’s publication of their joint statment of toadying reconciliation, but – like cheap air freshener – this release simply disguises the one rank smell with the whiff of accommodation.

I initially commented on this case – which is pretty off-topic for me – because I know Sanford and respect his energy, enthusiasm and 110%+ commitment to all the causes into which he throws himself. I’m no softy when it comes to political machinations and manipulations, but I was stunned and disappointed that someone who was standing for a position of trust and authority would use defamation, slur and the conduct of his son in to wheedle out of his agreement. The whole thing reminded me of Jonathan Aitken’s brazen challenging of the media with his sword of barefacedness and the trusty shield of a false familial alibi.

The intervening year or so has simply shown the potentially ruinous costs of defending one’s good name (the maxim seems to be that if you can’t afford redress then you’re not deserving of it), the toll on one’s well-being and two new pressures of our age: an active, vitriolic and partisan blogging community that uses news snippets as excuses for point-making; and the ‘eternal memory’ of Google – a libel, once in the gCache, is there for ever.

My over-riding thought was one of relief for Sanford that the whole process was over, with all of the claims against his character unreservedly withdrawn. It’s a pity that there’s such a frothy love-fest of mutual adoration to pad out the thing: I’d have preferred a more simple “I told porkies thinking I could bully, bluster and slander my way out of trouble but now I’ve been called and I’d rather apologise than lose comprehensively in court”. Or even “Sorry”. Still, maybe his wishing “Sanford Dickert well in his continuing capable national service to Democratic candidates and campaigns” will do.

No, it won’t.

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