Unless you’ve had your computer and televisions off this week, you know by now that South Carolina governor Mark Sanford has confessed to cheating on his wife with an Argentinian woman he apparently met on the interwebs. While I hesitate to weigh in on the issue at all, since it seems to be the only newsworthy item this week, I just can’t keep my mouth shut.
First, let’s recap. Over the weekend there was much local buzz over the fact that Gubna Sanford was “missing.” I failed to see what the big deal was–even Governors are entitled to a vacation, and this one did just lose a contentious battle over stimulus dollars. His wife said she didn’t know where he was, his staff said he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
When we flew to California a few weeks ago, I saw Sanford getting off a plane, alone, and remarked that it seemed odd that he wasn’t with any security detail or other entourage. This week, reporters found his car at the airport, which seemed to shatter the story that he was off hiking. I joked that he was probably just jetting around to have an affair.
The good Gubna was spotted at the Atlanta airport, and when pressed by reporters, indicated that he had changed his mind about hiking and flown to Argentina instead. “I wanted to do something exotic,” he said. In a press conference yesterday, he revealed that the exotic thing he was doing was an Argentinian woman with whom he had an 8 year email “friendship” that culminated into a sexual affair about a year ago. His wife has known for five months, and he hopes for her forgiveness.
Now, I have long shook my head at the political wives who will stand there like a bobble headed doll while their husbands admit to affairs, hookers, and wide restroom stances. But not Jenny Sanford. Ole Mark stood up there and bawled his eyes out alone. Take note, political wives. In a statement later in the day, Mrs. Sanford said “We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.”
Girl kicked his ass out! I can not think of another political wife in recent history who has shown that kind of backbone. And while her statement went on to say that the couple hopes to reconcile and that “I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.” I have to wonder if the ink isn’t already drying on the divorce filing. How does a man earn such a chance when his ass just flew to Argentina THIS WEEK? That doesn’t appear to be the actions of a man bent on saving his marriage.
Sanford has resigned as head of the Republican Governor’s Convention, but apparently has no plans to resign from his position as Governor. And I am fine with that. While I think in many ways he has screwed South Carolina like it was his Buenos Aires mistress, his personal failures have no bearing on his job performance. (Although it might be noted that he is technically a criminal now, as SC statutes call for a 6-12 month prison term for adultery). As a Congressman, Sanford voted to impeach President Clinton in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal–a vote we have to wonder if he now regrets since he finds himself in much the same situation. And while Sanford has gained respect for his firm fiscally conservative policies, he has taken a lighter approach with the polarizing social issues that many conservatives use to rile up their base. Still, as recently as two weeks ago he was urging for the protection of the ole “sanctity of marriage” (You know, marriage is one man and one woman, but what happens in another hemisphere ain’t nobody’s bidness.), a cry that is way beyond hypocritical.
Once on the short list of McCain’s Vice Presidential picks, and considered a sure fire contender for the 2012 Presidency, most now conclude that Sanford’s politcal aspirations are over. Perhaps he has a future as a trashy romance novelist though, as emails from the Governor to his paramour read like something that ought to have Fabio on the cover:
“You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty.”
“I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light”