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Sanford Affair Brings Emergence of Team Jenny

11:45 AM, Jun 25, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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It was to be expected that the American people would sympathize with Jenny Sanford after her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, admitted to an affair with an Argentine woman named Maria. The affair, and its odd revelation, took over the national news cycle for several days as the South Carolina governor went from "missing" to "hiking the Appalachian trail" (in what will surely become the next unfortunate sexual euphemism guffawed about ad nauseum by Washingtonians who inexplicably think they're the first to make the joke) to "reportedly spotted at the Atlanta airport" to "returning from Argentina" to "estranged from his wife" to "crying for five days" in a foreign country, and finally, to tearing up for the cameras in his home state. Whew.

But Jenny, who declined to play the hurt-but-loyal wife at her husband's press conference, has gotten a warm reception in places unexpected.

Her graceful statement, which I'll print in its entirety below the fold, was lauded by all on the Right, and in glowing terms by several on the Left. Michael Roston, a liberal writer at True?Slant, offered the party some advice for 2012:

Mrs. Sanford should divorce her husband immediately, and open a political action committee. She ran her husband's campaign for election as governor, and re-election, and was Vice President for M&A at Lazard Freres & Co. She QUOTED THE BIBLE in her statement explaining why she kicked her cheating husband, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, to the curb.

Even the normally snarky and left-leaning Gawker was short on snark for Jenny.

And, it being the Internet age, Jenny has already inspired an online campaign in support of her. She has a Twitter account in her honor, @TeamJenny, which is a nod to the pop-culture practice of picking sides in a celebrity break-up, ala "Team Jen" or "Team Angie" and "Team Nick" or "Team Jessica."

The irresistible combination of the sad absurdity of Sanford's Argentine affair combined with the pop-culture tie-in with the musical "Evita" has earned Jenny Sanford her own t-shirts and branding already: "Team Jenny: Don't Cry for me, Argentina."

The aftermath of Sanford's revelation will be, at many turns, very public and very ugly for his family. There should, of course, be consequences for Sanford himself, and there will be, especially given new reports that he may have used taxpayer money to travel to Argentina. But one can recognize Sanford should suffer consequences and simultaneously regret that that means his family will, too. The search "Mark Sanford mistress photo" is already the third-most searched term on Google. As soon as she and her picture are revealed, the coverage will intensify. His love letters to Maria are being parsed and parodied enthusiastically, and one can hope his kids are being shielded from all of it.

Given all the rudeness and invasiveness the Internet age is capable of inflicting on Jenny and her sons, it's nice to see that even the Internet recognizes a heck of a woman when they see her. Jenny Sanford's statement is below the fold:

I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.