Governor Mark Sanford is latest politician to admit to having an extra-marital affair. He made a tearful confession apologizing to his wife and family. The apology to his wife is all well and good, but should not be made in public. That is something private between the two of them. The act in and of itself is also between them. Her decision to work out the problems or file for divorce is hers alone and should not be discussion for public consumption. She has been humiliated enough.
That being said, he needs to resign. We can start with the hypocrisy of his attitudes towards the actions of former President Clinton. He used his platform as a politician to state that the then President needed to leave office for the good of the country. With that logic, for the good of the state of South Carolina, he needs to live by his words. The Governor also took off without telling anyone where he was, let alone how he could be reached. Text messages and phone calls from his staff were left unanswered. The Lieutenant Governor had no way of reaching him and did not know where he was. What if there were an emergency? The Lt. Governor would have no power legally to do anything. Luckily for the people of that state that did not happen. The evidence seems to mounting that state funds were used to fund his forays to Argentina to meet his lover.
Gov. Sanford has stood on values of families, fiscal responsibility, and integrity. The Governor has lived up to those values until recently. He had promised he would not serve more than three terms as a congressman, when his third term came to an end he did indeed leave congress. Mr. Sanford stood up to the grossly irresponsible strings attached to the stimulus money. In the end he lost that battle, but not due to his own actions. Another troubling aspect of this story is that he was rumored to be on the short list for consideration of VP on the McCain ticket for president last year. We will never know for sure if he would have accepted the nomination, but what if he had? This type of information would blow up and turn an election into a joke. Obviously McCain lost the election, but that really isn’t the point.
I personally find this a depressing situation on many levels. I respect Governor Sanford’s form of leadership. I felt that he could be a future leader in the republican party and would have added a great deal to the debate in 2012 had he chosen to run for the nomination for president. His views on fiscal responsibility is exactly what this country needs; especially right now. I am making no judgment on his affair. These things happen all the time. But it does become a question of character. If you are willing to lie to people you love the most, you will lie to me; someone you don’t even know. I felt that President Clinton should have resigned and deserved to be impeached, so must Governor Sanford. President Clinton broke the law by committing perjury. Governor Sanford disregarded his responsibilities as Governor and left the people of South Carolina in a lurch in case of an emergency, and apparently used tax dollars for personal use. None of these things should be acceptable in our leaders. This isn’t about sex, it is about character. That is not too much to expect from our leaders.