Political sex scandals have been a staple of American politics since America’s founding. But the story of South Carolina Mark Sanford and his clandestine trip to Argentina to meet an Internet girlfriend has to be one of the most bizarre in history.
The story of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford started several days ago when the Governor inexplicably disappeared to parts unknown, even to his wife and some of his aides. When Mark Sanford reappeared he told a story that he had gone hiking along the Appalachian Trail to “clear his head” after a particularly rough legislative session.
There had been a rumor at that point that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford had been hiking naked, following some kind of local custom. Mark Sanford might have wished that he had been going on walkabout in the nude after what followed.
A press report appeared that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford had been spotted at the air port shortly after he had disappeared. Mark Sanford then changed his story by saying that he had taken an impromptu trip to Argentina.
Inevitably, the story concluded with the tearful press conference that we have seen so many times before, most recently with Senator John Ensign of Nevada confessing to his girlfriend. Everything proceeded as normal, including the apologies to the family and the people of South Carolina and the invocation of God and His admonitions against adultery. The only thing missing was Ms. Sanford, who seems to have declined to appear beside South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as the dutiful, forgiving wife.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for President in 2012. That certainly is no longer the case. Mark Sanford will resign as head of the Republican Governors Association. The question of whether Mark Sanford will continue as Governor of South Carolina is an open one.
One can, one suppose, forgive South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for the sin of adultery. Too many people have succumbed to temptation, especially men in positions of power. Indeed, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton thought that easy access to women came with the big house and the air plane.
But what one cannot forgive is the utter stupidity with which South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford conducted his affair. Jetting off the Argentina out of the blue without any planning or a cover story would seem to constitute political seppeku. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford makes Gary Hart or Larry Craig seem personifications of discretion.
Did in fact South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford actually think he was going to get away with it. Or was he following a subconscious desire for suicide? Either way, it is fortunate that he has self destructed now and not during the 2012 Campaign or, God forbid, after he were nominated.
Source: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: ‘I’ve Been Unfaithful to My Wife’, ABC News, June 24th, 2009