Anything Happen While I Was Away?
I was out this morning until now, anything up?
Anything at all?
After going AWOL for seven days, Gov. Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair. Wiping away tears, he apologized to his wife and four sons and said he will resign as head of the Republican Governors Association.
"I've been unfaithful to my wife," he said in a bombshell news conference in which the 49-year-old governor ruminated aloud with remarkable frankness on God's law, moral absolutes and following one's heart. He said he spent the last five days "crying in Argentina."
Sanford, who in recent months had been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012, ignored questions about whether he would step down as governor.
At least one state lawmaker called for his resignation. As a congressman, Sanford voted in favor of three of four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, citing the need for "moral legitimacy."
Oh, that. Anything else? Slow news day.
OK, a few things. First, powerful men thinking they're invulnerable? Go figure. These things are actually not widespread; despite the anecdotal evidence, a small percentage of politicians have affairs on their spouses. But to the extent that they are, they are internal matters between these people and their families. Nobody really knows what goes on in someone else's marriage, and I really don't care about my representatives' faithfulness. In fact, none of us should. But where this breaks down is when these sanctimonious "family values" types want to police personal behavior of their constituents when they cannot keep it in their pants themselves.
That's the usual disclaimer. But this Sanford case is much, much different. He left his state, in fact he left the country, for seven days without telling anybody. Setting aside the fact that going to Argentina to "say goodbye" for seven days doesn't make any kind of sense, and if he got away with this I'm sure there would be additional hikes on the Appalachian trail, so to speak, in the future, leaving the country with no proper explanation is a severe dereliction of duty. He apparently lied to his own staff, lied to the Lieutenant Governor, and left his state in the lurch, despite the unpredictability of events (aren't we in hurricane season?). That's probably a firing offense. If I was a South Carolinian, it would be to me, regardless of party.
The larger story is the complete ineptitude of this crop of Republicans to capitalize on what could actually be a treacherous road for Barack Obama in 2012. Sanford has an affair. John Ensign has an affair. Bobby Jindal does an impression of Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock in his coming-out party. Newt Gingrich calls Sonia Sotomayor a racist. And on and on and on. If the economy fails to improve, and if health care fails to pass, Obama is actually vulnerable. That is, if there was a second political party in this country.