Larry Flynt endorses ‘America’s great sex pioneer,’ Mark Sanford

Gina Smith really buried the lede in that story.

I read this morning her account of Mark Sanford’s visage being used by a website that promotes extramarital affairs (she also mentioned his endorsement by Rand Paul, which is about as startling as the fact that the Club for Growth still loves him).

That was interesting, but I didn’t get to the jump page. So I missed this news:

Today, the endorsements have been rolling in. The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled its support for Sanford but, this morning, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered his backing, and the conservative group FreedomWorks followed suit this afternoon.

So did Larry Flynt.

The noted porn king, candidate and political agitator released a sarcastic YouTube endorsement of Sanford as “America’s great sex pioneer,” announced a donation of a legal-maximum $2,600 to Sanford’s campaign, and invited Sanford to “meet with me, man to man, for a photo opportunity and to shake my hand in gratitude for my endorsement.”…

Either falsely or earnestly, Flynt praised Sanford for exposing the “sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today” – and praised pro-Sanford voters for their willingness to allegedly reject those values in favor of Sanford’s candidacy…

First, I didn’t know Larry Flynt had a sense of irony, much less one that extended to self-deprecation. He sort of has to know he’s a sleazeball, and mock himself for it, in order to mock Sanford.

To be called a “pioneer” by the guy who made his rep publishing pictures too dirty for Penthouse (which made its rep publishing pictures too dirty for Playboy) is indeed a rare honor.

Sanford loyalists — and I know they are out there, such as the guy in the audience who kept going “Whoo!” to every other thing his candidate said in the debate Monday night — will say it is unfair for such distractions as this to prevent people from focusing on their man’s good qualities.

And in one sense it is a distraction. All this focus on Sanford’s continuing relationship with his soulmate from Argentina distracts us from the stark truth that well before he slipped away from his post in June 2009, Mark Sanford had demonstrated amply that he should never again hold public office, by all he had done and all he had failed to do, as congressman and especially as governor.

But in another sense, it’s perfectly relevant. It’s just another foretaste of the mockery to which South Carolina will subject itself if its 1st District voters elect this man again.


24 thoughts on “Larry Flynt endorses ‘America’s great sex pioneer,’ Mark Sanford

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    You know, it’s really tough to satirize this stuff. You can’t exaggerate it, because it’s so extreme. All the jokes have already been made by the people making the news.

    I mean, if Hugh Hefner had endorsed Sanford, you could sort of make a joke by saying, “What’s next? Larry Flynt?” But we start out at the extreme end of the sleaze spectrum, and there’s nowhere left to go. If Flynt had endorsed Sanford earnestly (I can imagine him praising his “devotion to the principle of liberty,” for instance), but Flynt went ahead and made all the jokes to be made about a Larry Flynt endorsement.

    Again, there’s just no place left to go…

  2. Mark Stewart

    I think I feel the same way about these “endorsements” as I did about Jenny Sanford sandbagging him out of what looks like simple vindictiveness. There is enough – should be enough – in Sanford’s own record to torpedo his candidacy for Congress. He already failed in the US Congress. Then he did it as Governor. Why would anyone think it a good idea to elect him a third time? It isn’t like he has clearly demonstrated that he is a changed man who has also learned to turn his slogans into actual follow-through.

    It seems like the only way to get his remaining supporters to re-evaluate is to present them with the facts in a way that isn’t mocking or alienating. These attempts at humor are not going to do anything but harden some of his otherwise unsure remaining supporters.

    Larry Flynt is the ultimate example of our belief in the right to freedom of speech, that’s been proven often. But the affair website and billboard ads are just really inappropriate and, well, an offense to society. It bums me out that Sanford will likely see a benefit from the publicizing of these “endorsements”.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    And that was my first point. This kind of stuff DOES distract from Sanford’s awful record.

    It allows his defenders to moan that he’s being persecuted for a sin for which he’s repented (even though I’ve seen no sign he’s done that), and how it takes away from his wonderful record. And people who don’t pay close attention (which unfortunately makes up a significant portion of the electorate) can fall for that, neglecting to notice that his record as a public official is atrocious.

    Just as Will Folk’s allegations helped catapult Nikki Haley to the front of the GOP pack in 2010, this kind of stuff can conceivably help Sanford quite a bit.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Because we are still talking about him. Not about his record of non-existent positve accomplishments in office.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      One, The State isn’t reporting anything. That’s a story they picked up from the Island Packet, written by former State reporter Gina Smith (who caught Sanford coming back from Argentina).

      Two, everybody who reported it reported it yesterday. Today is the day that stories written yesterday appear in print publications.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, it was outrageous that Sanford got away with this stupid line in the debate the other night:

    “Do you think that President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?”

    That was offensive on so many levels, including:
    1. His willingness to so easily forgive Clinton — or for that matter, his implication that he HAS been forgiven. My answer to the question is, “Yes, in terms of the degree to which I would trust him. Any other questions?”
    2. His implication that people who are condemning him MUST be the same people who forgive Clinton — which is to say partisan Democrats. I’m pretty sure that was the emotional center for the people who cheered this line in the audience. (“Yeah, hell yeah! I guess he told you liberals!”)
    3. The fact that it so completely avoids the fact that Clinton was impeached for his offense, unlike Sanford.
    4. Bill Clinton, as much as I opposed him (and called for his resignation), was a far, far more effective president than Mark Sanford was a governor or congressman — pretty much regardless of what yardstick you use to measure it.
    Those are some of the things I would have said, had I been his opponent…

    1. Mark Stewart

      While cheating on your spouse is cheating on your spouse, there is otherwise no comparison between Bill Clinton’s behavior and Mark Sanford’s.

      One showed himself to be of infirm character, but the other showed himself to be of no character.

    2. bud

      The question was about Sanford’s vote to impeach wasn’t it? He did not say whether he did or did not regret that vote nor did he say if his own behavior was hypocritical. In effect he made an irrelevant statement that did not address the question. It’s both possible to forgive Clinton and still find his answer lacking. It’s also possible to forgive Clinton (and Sanford for that matter) without supporting their continued survival as politicians. Yes there is a lot of nuance here but Sanford really failed to come across as anything but a narcisist.

  5. Juan Caruso

    Flynt is a Democrat and “Arena” magazine listed number one of the “50 Powerful People in Porn” list.

    While most SC voters know that SC Dem. Party Chair Dick Harpootlian would never suscribe to “Arena” magazine under his own name, they also know Democrat Elizabeth Busch would vote the Obama agenda.

    Just saying.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Surely he’s not STILL one of the most powerful people in porn. That’s probably just name recognition. Today’s kingpins are probably some website owners we’ve never heard of…

    1. Juan Caruso

      Flynn’s is an atheist porn king. He deserves that immutable legacy and will take it to his death, though Dems would rather he were a lawyer.

      1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

        Why are you bringing the fact he is an atheist into this. Are you one of those bigots who believe being an atheist makes you inherently a bad person? If he was a Southern Baptist porn king would that make him better in your eyes?

    2. Silence

      I think he’s expanded into video production and distribution, websites and that kind of stuff. According to Wikipedia, Hustler magazine still has a circulation of 500k. I’m not sure who still pays for porn these days though. Pay pornography, whether online or on paper has gotta be a business model headed towards oblivion.

      Of course, once the apocalypse comes and the net shuts down, the value of paper-based pornography will quickly appreciate, along with coffee, bullets and food.

  7. Burl Burlingame

    Porn makes a lot of money by pandering to debased desires, while treating its own “workers” terribly. Flynn is a Democrat on free-speech issues only, and only because free speech helps him move his product.

    1. Juan Caruso

      Not exactly, Mr. Flynt is a registered Democrat, and comfortable with both pornography and exceptions for the elite (i.e. – those who can afford to retain corporate attorneys).


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