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Wingnut Week In Review: Return To the “Appalachian Trail”

With one bizarre Facebook post Rep. Mark Sanford (R, SC) dis-engaged his “Appalachian Trail” “soulmate,” and went from comeback kid to punchline. And that’s not even the crazy part.

Dumping someone via Facebook isn’t new. Countless teenagers do it every day. It’s just not something you’d expect from a grown man. Then again, Mark Sanford doesn’t do the expected. Back in 2009, nobody expected then South Carolina governor Mark Sanford to go MIA for more than four days over Father’s Day weekend, leaving his hapless staff to tell the media that Sanford was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

No one expected one of the top 10 modern political sex scandals, or one of the longest, most painfully awkward press conferences ever.


No one expected Sanford to battle back from scandal, disgrace, and divorce to ever hold office again. But the philandering father of four boys managed to escape impeachment, held on to his office, and even won a special election to fill the House seat vacated by Sen. Tim Scott. Sanford found his way from the Appalachian Trail to the comeback trail, and got engaged to his Argentine mistress — María Belén Chapur — along the way.

No one, not even his fiancé, expected the rambling, 2,346-word Facebook rant (since deleted) about his court battles with his ex-wife (more on that in a minute), in which he broke up with Chapur almost as an afterthought.


As for Sanford’s court battles with his former wife, Jenny, the two are headed to mediation over the latest dispute over the terms of their divorce. He wants regular visits with their 16-year-old youngest son. The former Mrs. Sanford wants the Republican representative to undergo a psychiatric exam and take parenting and anger management classes, in complaint that also cited her son’s exposure to Ms. Chapur, and demanded that Rep. Sanford refrain from “consuming or being under the influence of illegal or unprescribed prescription drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol” while the kid’s around.

Sanford’s ex has accused him of violating the terms of their divorce in several ways, from repeatedly failing to pay his child support or pony up for the eldest son’s tuition, to entering her home without her permission. But the real humdinger is the stipulation that “no airplanes will be flown at the children”:

During her testimony, Jenny’s attorney, Deena S. McRackan, introduced into evidence a photograph taken at the farm and asked Jenny to describe it.

This is a game of chicken on the Coosaw air strip. And it is Mark Sanford with a pack of children. And the plane is a Mooney. They fly 175 to 200 miles per hour and they fly straight at the children. And the game is to see who can stand up the longest.

It turns out, the plane flown at children was no toy plane. It was an actual plane, owned and operated by John, another member of the Sanford clan, whom Mark described as the “crazy cousin with an airplane.” But, Mark insisted, while Jenny might not have approved of this “game,” she’d spent decades at the farm and was well aware of what kind of reckless “fun” occurred there, so it was sort of unfair of her to object to it now.

Well, that’s one way to get out of paying child support. But it kinda makes you wonder: Where does the GOP find these people?

On that note, here’s the best of the worst in wingnuttia this week.

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