I don’t feel good about any aspect of this story. Gov. Mark Sanford disappears for five days (not the first time this has happened, mind); his staff says he’s “hiking the Appalachian Trail” when in fact he was in Argentina (Argentina? Isn’t that where Nazis discovered a congenial hiding place after World War II?) with his mistress. The fact that he owned up on-camera without his wife was at least something, but the whole story’s simply painful and, no matter what it means politically, whether Sanford resigns as governor or stays on, it’s terrible for everybody involved.
I don’t see how he hangs on in his post, though. As difficult as the future will be for them all—his family, the other woman involved, and her family—the specific pressures of that job might be more than Sanford will want to deal with. Often it seems as though he could pack it in anyway; and now….
Again, I’m not cheering. Had Sanford been caught in some sort of political underhandedness, sure, then we’d have a right to cheer. Not when it comes to families. I was glad to see that a number of Sanford’s in-state adversaries revised their statements about his disappearance following the news conference. It was the grown-up thing to do.
I’ve had lots of reasons not to like Sanford’s policies; that fight over the stim was as ridiculous as it was damaging to his career, and if that means he’s out of the mix for the Repub nomination in 2012, I don’t have a problem with it because it all showed he was in no way ready even for Repub consideration, tho let’s face facts here—choices are getting pretty thin on the ground on that side, and our old jokes about Jeb Bush being all they have left by ’12 might not be jokes by then.
But then, I’m also in agreement with Bill Maher: the Dems are a center-right party at the moment, and there’s no one there who represents a true leftist agenda. If only there was….
So, folks, don’t toast this development. It’s a reminder to all of us about the pressures of political life; it brings out the very worst in some.