Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why Sanford Should Go

Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina should not resign his office because he had an affair with a woman in Argentina. Governor Sanford should not leave because he admitted the affair and is apparently trying to reconcile with his wife:

Later in the day, Jenny Sanford said in a statement she asked her husband to leave their Sullivan’s Island home two weeks ago.

“This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage,” she said

How Mark Sanford and his wife choose to deal with his infidelity is their business, but how that infidelity may impact Sanford's ability to do his job is the business of the sovereign people of South Carolina. The damage that Mark Sanford has done to the Republican party nationally by his actions (as he has been seen as a rising star in the national GOP) is a concern for every one of us going into next year's election.

Sanford's actions were beyond selfish. The Governor didn't only endanger his marriage and his relationship with his sons, and he didn't merely ruin any chances he might have had at the Presidency in 2012. Mark Sanford left his staff, the General Assembly, and the people of South Carolina wondering where he was and who was in charge for four days. Because South Carolina law does not allow for the transfer of power unless the Governor authorizes it (or unless he or she dies), had their been some catastrophe that required leadership from executive authority immediately, Mark Sanford would have left South Carolina without a leader.

Governor Sanford has also sullied his party and the conservative movement by enhancing the reputation that while the movement speaks of strong family values, our conservative men can't keep their pants on. As readers may recall, I have been openly critical of Republican leaders who I actually know because of their propensity to fool around while putting their political careers at risk.

When you are involved or connected to politics in any way, shape, form, or fashion, and you are male, the devil comes to you in the form of someone looking very attractive, being very sweet, and wearing great perfume. For some reason that I will never understand (neither will anyone else who has tried), there are women in this world who live to be the "other woman" in the life of a man in a place of political authority. As many times as it has happened throughout history that a woman has been the undoing of great political figures, one would think that political men would know by now that when the pretty girls come calling, just stay away if you intend to remain in public life for very long.

Back when Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, it was common to hear the Democrats say "it was just sex!" The sex was something to be dealt with between Bill and Hillary, but the lying under oath-the perjury-was the problem that made it our business. Similarly, Mark Sanford's Buenos Airies friend became our business when he abandoned his duties for four days and harmed his party and perhaps his country, and maybe even some Iranian protestors who were counting on the news coverage to stay with them in order to keep their movement alive.

It is for those reasons, and not merely because he had an affair, that Mark Sanford should resign.

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At Thursday, June 25, 2009 4:29:00 PM, Anonymous Blake said...

I think it has to do more with the type of people that are attracted to public office.

At Friday, June 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM, Blogger Matt Daley said...


I have to agree with everything you said here.

However, I also believe that this (along with the Senator Ensign drama) is a perfect example of what I've been telling you about the Republican Party's problem with putting social conservatism at the centerpiece of its platform.

While I agree that we cannot give up the culture fight, we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot as a party. These imperfect men (aren't we all) have not only destroyed themselves, but they've sullied the party and also managed to take the public eye away from our fiscal and national security problems.

Rather than see the media and our brothers and sisters talk about the economy or the situations in Iran, North Korea, and at Gitmo...they're talking about how hypocritical and sanctimonious guys like Sanford and Ensign are.

It's high time that the Party realize that a centralized focus on social issues is suicide for the party on a national least, it is until we begin electing people who aren't going to betray their words.

The social issues are much better suited, at this point, for the state and local level. As I have said repeatedly, the national focus should be on fiscal issues and national security. THOSE issues are going to be what win us back the White House and a Congressional majority, and as long as you continue to have to write these type of stories, this is going to be the case.

Every time a Mark Sanford or John Ensign falls, the positive social message we try to promote gets lost. We become an untrustworthy laughingstock. Our message gets lost. The debate gets re-framed. It's incredibly self-defeating...especially now, when cable news outlets with national audiences can get their staffers to type in a few words on the internet and come up with old campaign commercials that make our guy look like a complete fool and total hypocrite.

All I know is that this is incredibly frustrating. It had appeared to me that we were taking a big step forward this summer with the economy and the international situation...but now, we've taken two steps back.

That has to change, or 2010 will be just like 2006 and 2008.

(One thing is for's looking evermore like 2012 will be between Gingrich, Romney, and Huckabee. Unless a darkhorse like Perry or Barbour decides to run, one of those three will probably be our 2012 nominee...)


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