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.