One of my first memories of the S.C. Senate was the farewell address from Senate President Pro Tempore Rembert Dennis, in which he told his colleagues he would always think of himself as a senator. I feel certain he even instructed them that they should always refer to him as senator, but I didn’t include that in the news article I wrote about it, so I can’t say for sure.
Of course they would have done that whether he asked them or not, because the “once a senator, always a senator” mentality is pervasive at the State House, or at least inside the Senate chamber.
But that has been a courtesy, much like the way people refer to former governors by the honorific. And it largely has been confined to people who escaped the Senate with their reputations intact.
Until Robert Ford.
Mr. Ford, whom you might recall resigned suddenly last year after members of the Senate Ethics Committee told him he could either do that or be kicked out, for converting campaign funds to personal uses, among other things, apparently hasn’t gotten the message that he’s not really still a senator.
I am reminded of this every time Mr. Ford sends out one of his mass email missives, as he did twice today (see an example below). Not only do the emails come from an email address that in a very Charleston way reflects the past rather than the present, but they feature letterhead to match:
I never can decide whether this is outrageous or funny or sadly delusional.
Perhaps it’s all three.