The Sanford Business


I don’t much care that Gov. Mark Sanford had an affair.  It’s really none of my business.  So when I hear people saying he should resign because of it, I don’t get it.  In terms of governing, Sanford’s affair is just like Clinton’s; neither of them had anything to do with their ability to govern.

Sanford’s problem, of course, is that he was a congressman at the time of Clinton’s affair, and was one of those calling for Clinton’s impeachment.  That looks bad.  It, along with the affair and so forth, would presumably prevent him from getting re-elected next time.  And it probably spells the end of his presidential hopes, though one shouldn’t assume it will.  Newt Gingrich cheated on two wives, and he’s still in the GOP’s presidential running.  John McCain cheated on his wife, and it never even came up during the GOP primaries.

These reporters and pundits who are writing Sanford’s political epitaph are way, way premature.  Much as the GOP loves to rant about family values, cheating on your wife isn’t taken seriously.  Give it 4 or 8 years, and if the guy looks like he could beat the Democrat, they’ll happily welcome him back into the fold.

All that’s not to say I don’t think Sanford should resign.  I do.  But not because of any of that.

He should resign because he bugged out and left his state without a legal head of state.  If there had been an emergency of any kind, South Carolina would have been up crap creek.  There are lots of things only a governor can legally do.  And since Sanford obviously didn’t empower the lieutenant governor to act in his stead while he was “on vacation,” nobody could have done them.  That’s why the guy should resign: reckless negligence of his duties.

If Sanford’s political career really is over, that will be why.  Not the affair.

One other thing about this story.  It seems obvious to me that the GOP state legislator who first announced to the press that the governor was missing, who forcefully insisted all along that none of the explanations were true, who called all of them “cover-ups” and “lies,” is also the guy who leaked the naughty emails between Sanford and his mistress to the press, and told them when and where to meet his plane.

The reporter who met Sanford at the airport said both the emails and the governor’s flight-plans were anonymous tips.

I’d lay money that state legislator has known about this affair for months.  When Sanford went out of town, he stood the governor up and knocked him flatter than hammered cabbage.  Leak the emails, alert the press the governor is missing, tell the press when and where to meet the governor’s plane.  He really couldn’t have done it any better.

One other other thing about this story.  How long, you figure, before somebody in the GOP — probably Michele Bachmann — comes up with the following argument:  “No wonder we’ve had such a rash of infidelity among our politicians!  When President Clinton got away with it, everybody realized all the rules were off.”  GOP infidelities are Clinton’s fault.



One Response to “The Sanford Business”

  1. Creeping Excuse-ism « Hungry Hungry Hippos Says:

    […] By urbino In a previous post, I asked: How long, you figure, before somebody in the GOP — probably Michele Bachmann — comes […]

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