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TWO WORDS: JENNY SANFORD

You can’t negotiate with terrorists … something Mark Sanford is learning the hard way.

The former South Carolina governor – improbably elected to the U.S. Congress in 2013 after his spectacular fall from grace four years earlier – has run into the very buzz saw he was hoping to avoid.  We’re referring, of course, to a huge public blow-up with his ex-wife Jenny Sanford, who divorced him in the aftermath of his affair with Latin lover and soulmate Maria Belen Chapur.

Chapur and the “Luv Gov” announced their engagement in August of 2012 – although more than two years later no wedding date has been set (more on that momentarily).

The former first lady – a brilliant investment banker and scion of a wealthy Chicagoland family – seems to be painting a disturbing picture of the man whose political destiny she guided for more than a decade-and-a-half.

According to court papers filed by her attorney, Marie-Louise Ramsdale, Mark Sanford needs to undergo psychological and psychiatric examinations and take anger management courses.  The former first lady also wants to limit his access to their 15-year-old son, Blake Sanford, and have a guardian ad litem  appointed by the court to watch out for the boy’s best interests.

Not only that, she requests a restraining order barring Sanford from her property without “explicit prior written approval.”

Meanwhile, in hushed tones, sources close to the former first lady whisper of troubling “facts” about Mark Sanford that will soon come to light.

The goal of these filings appears to be simple: Paint the politician as a mentally unstable, potentially dangerous man.

But is Sanford – whose chronic narcissism has been extensively documented by this website – really crazy?  Or dangerous?

In a statement provided to members of the press, Sanford pulled no punches.

“Since the time of the divorce I have tried to do everything in my power to be both a good dad and a former husband,” he said. “It seems that nothing I can do at this point is enough, appropriate or adequate. The different accusations and requests made are, by their very nature preposterous, crazy, and wrong.”

At a hastily arranged morning meeting along Interstate 26, a source who has known both Mark and Jenny for years – and who has conversed with both Sanfords extensively during the current drama – sat down with FITS founding editor Will Folks, who it’s worth pointing out spent four years working for the Sanfords (only to become of the former governor’s harshest critics).

Visibly upset by the recent tension – the source is extremely nervous.  On the one hand they don’t want to be too specific with certain information for fear of being outed.  On the other hand, there is an overriding sense of loyalty to both Sanfords that makes every word, every observation offered a struggle – a frequently-aborted attempt to reconcile reality with their genuine affection for these two fundamentally flawed human beings.

They fidget.  Hem.  Haw. Obfuscate.

Eventually, we get to the heart of the matter.

“Access to the children has been held over (Mark Sanford’s) head,” the source told us. “He would have married (Maria) Belen by now were it not for Jenny’s threats.”

What sort of threats?

“Public humiliation,” the source said. “And turning the boys against him.”

The source adds that current S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s famous snub of Mark Sanford – in which she refused to accommodate a request for football tickets and a lunch at the Governor’s Mansion on behalf of the Sanfords’ eldest son – was done at the direction of Jenny Sanford.

“Nikki asked Jenny what to do – and Jenny said ‘No,'” the source reveals.

The objective?  To prevent Sanford from “scoring points” with his sons.

The former first lady was also reportedly “furious” at Sanford taking his eldest son on a taxpayer-funded trip to China (a move this website also criticized, albeit for different reasons).

“Here is what you have to understand about Jenny,” the source says, finally opening up a bit. “Her competitiveness is the reason he won all those races.  It was part of her identity – same as her marriage.  But now he’s won without her.  And he’s got the younger, more attractive woman by his side.  And if that weren’t enough – it all came at her expense.  He humiliated her, replaced her – and got away with it.”

“Can you blame her for anything she’s done?” the source asked.

The source also referred to the timing of the latest dust-up as “being driven by Mark’s ambitions,” adding that Jenny Sanford has previously sought to create problems for her former husband based on the trajectory of his political star.

According to a source close to Jenny Sanford, the former first lady is not the vindictive bitch she’s being portrayed as … far from it.

“The media is completely blowing this case out of proportion,” the source said, referring to the court filings as standard documents that are being misinterpreted as some sort of vendetta.

“This case is simply about permitting the child to have input as to the time he spends with each parent,” the source said.  “He is of the age where that is appropriate – and that is what the court is being asked to do.  Simple.”

On September 15, a court will rule on Jenny Sanford’s requests to seal the case – and to appoint a guardian for her youngest son.  Visitation will not be addressed, at least not initially.

Cameras will flock to the courtroom.  National reporters will likely attend.

As much as South Carolinians might wish otherwise, the “Sanford Circus” remains in town.