This week on As South Carolina Turns…
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
Governor Mark Sanford calls his former (current?) Argentinian gal-pal Maria his “soulmate” but still insists he is “trying to fall in love with his wife again”. Doesn’t sound like a guy who is ready to move on and forget his past relationships. But what do I know? I’m not a marriage counselor or anything. There’s no way he saves himself by continuing those truth-serum injections, and at some point (if we are not there already) it becomes too much to absorb by the voters and citizens of this state. As I’ve previously said, politicians have extramarital affairs. It happens quite often. It happens to average people every day from the most innocent of circumstances, just the way Governor Sanford’s affair started. But this is only partially about the affair.
I still think he should resign. Not for the affair, but for his behavior before and after this affair was revealed. South Carolina isn’t like other states, in that we are one of the reddest red states still standing after President Obama’s election. This is probably one of the places left in the US where the voters would actually care about the affair as well as Sanford’s recent reckless behavior. His refusal to resign could end up costing Republicans the governor’s mansion in 2010. We could have a Democrat governor next election – in South Carolina! Hard to say what kind of Democrat could beat some otherwise strong Republican candidates, but given the right environment, it could happen. It’s time for Sanford to stop being selfish and consider the consequences of his actions to the state Republican party before he totally commits to staying on as governor.
Here’s my advice: Just shut up, Governor. Stop talking to the media. Let the investigations go forward. If you aren’t really committed to saving your marriage, then maybe you should be honest with your wife about that. If you are sincere, then you might want to act more concerned about your wife than you are about your job. It’s obvious you have created your own obstacles to staying in the Governor’s mansion for the remainder of your term. And BTW, it’s awfully convenient of you to be concerned about these things now, when it’s clear that you didn’t care much about your job and your marriage when you took all those risks and cheated on your wife. Self-sabotage? That’s for the politicos to debate. All I know is that you did a very stupid thing and you don’t seem to be sorry enough to change.
First of all, I want to make it quite clear that these opinions are my own, as a resident of South Carolina, and not as a member of any political party. I don’t speak for the leadership or the membership of the SC GOP, although some of them may share my views on the Sanford affair. I represent no one other than myself in taking this position, and I trust that everyone reading this will take my comments from that perspective. With that disclaimer out of the way, here we go…
I am calling on Governor Sanford to resign. My initial reaction to the revelation of his affair and his lies to cover his trail when he left to visit his mistress in Argentina was shock, disappointment, and frustration, as well as anger at his stupidity. I still have all those feelings. Watching the majority of the news coverage gave me the impression that he was sincere in his desire to reconcile with his wife, and to repair the damage he has caused to the local Republican Party as well as to his own reputation. After reading the transcript of his press conference and watching the small clip of him during that cabinet meeting today, I am no longer convinced that he is interested in changing direction or even breaking off the relationship with the woman in Argentina. That is a point he might want to clarify in the attempt to hang on to his job.
Governor Sanford has lost our trust. He has lost our confidence by his reckless behavior. There needs to be more significant consequences than the possibility of losing his marriage. The only appropriate course of action for someone who hasn’t chosen to come clean and then fly straight is to lose his job and political future. That’s all I have to say.
I’ll get the joke out of the way early – Governor Sanford is still saving me and my fellow conservatives money. He has now saved us money on Sanford ’12 buttons, hats, and T-shirts. I guess I have to pick another horse. But let’s be honest here. Does anyone seriously believe he could have been the Republican nominee even without the affair? I seriously doubt it. My party toys with real conservatives like Sanford before picking someone totally boring and conventional. That’s just the way the Republican Party operates. So his chances went from around 10% to 0%. A guy like Sanford would be much happier staying out of DC, so the end of his political future might end up working to his benefit. It could even save his marriage.
I think there’s a quote somewhere in the Bible that says something like this: To whom much is given much is also required / expected. Governor Sanford is a talented politician, and as a politician, one of the skills most of them have is to give a good impression. In his case, it was one heck of an act. I had always viewed Sanford’s inclination to ditch the security people and to tweak the press and the politicos as the most attractive thing about him. Little did I know that there was an ulterior motive to some of this. I had no clue he was cheating on his wife. Nor do I believe it was any of my business. Now that I know, I feel betrayed — not anywhere close to how his wife and kids must be feeling, of course — but still betrayed. It’s not just that he cheated on his wife. That’s become a pretty common tale these days, with Republicans and Dems alike. I don’t like the way he attempted to handle all the pressure he was feeling from the Dems and Columbia politicians by escaping to Argentina to be with his mistress. I don’t like that he allowed his staff to lie for him while all this was going on. Now admittedly, he has taken full responsibility for that. It’s still wrong, and I don’t condone any of it.
The reaction from SC politicos, including the Lt. Governor Andre Bauer (who very clearly is after Sanford’s job), is typical outrage. Those who know the Governor personally have a more sympathetic response to Sanford’s confession today. My inclination is a combination of both these reactions. I’m shocked, disappointed, and flat out angry that I have invested so much time and energy promoting this guy, and that he has not been what I expected him to be. But this shouldn’t be about me and how I feel. What’s important now is that Governor Sanford makes a clean break from this woman, and that he now concentrates on holding on to his wife and becoming a better example for his kids. We all fall short of the expectations of others, but unfortunately for him, he has to go through that failure in public.
One final thought about all this — the fact that he cheated on his wife doesn’t have anything to do with his views on the stimulus, on Washington spending, and on President Obama. He’s right on all these things, and he deserves credit for making the case for them on cable news. I’m thankful that we had his voice for as long as we did, and I’m sorry to see that his time appears to be up, at least for now. Pray for the Sanford family. They need our prayers more than our political speculations.
Former VP Cheney provides an impassioned defense of Bush administration foreign policy.
President Obama continues to insist that Gitmo must be closed, even as the Senate attempts to block funding for his grand scheme.
Senator DeMint writes an NRO op-ed critical of government-provided health care.
And my great gov Sanford continues to fight the state legislature after they overrode his veto of most of the stimulus money. I’m cheering him on, but I’m not sure how this will all play out in the end. He does tend to get a little scorched-earth about the things he passionately believes in, and some supporters might be turned off by his approach. But he’s right in what he’s doing and the people of this state who aren’t brain-dead sheep (or dependent Democrats – same diff) will support our governor.
Nothing wrong with my state…the Republican Party here in SC is alive and kicking. We have thrived under the outstanding outgoing Chairman, Katon Dawson, and our red state status will continue with our new Chairman (chairwoman?) Karen Floyd. However, Senator Graham still has some work to do with the conservatives in this state, who he continues to tweak, even though we decided to vote for him in spite of a couple serious disagreements we had with him.
I love this guy. Send him to D.C.
Governor Sanford says — we don’t want your money, feds:
In 2008 bailouts became the first resort. Over the past year the federal government has committed itself to $2.3 trillion (including the tax rebate “stimulus” checks of last February) to “improve” the economy. I don’t see how another $150 billion now will make a difference in a global slowdown. We’ve already unloaded truckloads of sugar in a vain attempt to sweeten a lake. Tossing in a Twinkie will not make the difference.
However, there is something Congress can do: free states from federal mandates. South Carolina will spend about $425 million next year meeting federal unfunded mandates. The increase in the minimum wage alone will cost the state $2.6 million and meeting Homeland Security’s REAL ID requirements will cost $8.9 million.
Based on what I saw in Washington, the bailout train is being loaded up. Taxpayers will have to speak up now to change its freight, tab or departure.
Everybody wants a free lunch. It’s hard for governors to turn down money from the feds, especially because, as Governor Sanford says, there are plenty of federal mandates that state governments are responsible for implementing even if they have to pay for them out of their own state budgets. I applaud Sanford for continuing to do the right thing, and for standing up for the taxpayers of this state. We need more Republicans like him at the federal level. I suspect this will be a tough goal to reach, because the Democrats will be given another chance to prove that this Congress will not be as worthless as the last one was. The national Republican party has some work to do to regain the trust of the country, and it can start with its own membership.
As long as Republicans refuse to learn from 2006 and 2008, continue to bury their heads in the sand, and continue to reshuffle the deck chairs of the SS GOP to put the same people who gave us John McCain in charge of our next election campaign, WE WILL CONTINUE TO LOSE ELECTIONS.
More on this in a future post…