Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sanford Should Leave

Josh Marshall wrote yesterday that he thinks Gov. Mark Sanford should leave his wife for this woman in Argentina, who he calls his "soul mate."
But am I the only one who thinks that he appears to be deeply in love with this woman and should just go be with her?
No, Josh, you're not the only one thinking that. I agree. What seems increasingly unusual about this scandal is that Sanford is actually in love with her. He really went out of his way to see her. In just about every other political sex scandal I can think of, the other woman (this feels a tad perverse, but I am somewhat looking forward to a sex scandal involving a woman politician and another man - a milestone for equality!) was fairly close geographically and professionally. Except in the case of Eliot Spitzer, obviously, but at least those women were within a few hundred miles, on the same continent.

One great question, of course, is whether or not he can save his marriage. Josh doesn't think so.
The marriage seems clearly to be over. And if it wasn't on his first day back from Argentina, it's hard to conceive how it isn't now.
Jenny Sanford released a statement today opening the door to reconciliation. She's in a little bit of a bind. If she lets him go, she retains some dignity, but she also gets rejected for another woman. OTOH, if she keeps him, people will forever wonder about her motives for doing so, although she is apparently very successful on her own. Look at Hillary. She's stayed with Bill, but she's also paid a price for it - there are a number of people - primarily women - who just don't trust her because of that.

The best outcome for Jenny Sanford would probably be to divorce Sanford, extract a good settlement, and then go find another man. I'm sure she will not have much trouble in that regard.

Sanford is quickly losing support among Republicans in South Carolina. Jim DeMint, A Republican senator from South Carolina, is quoted at length in an article in The State, South Carolina's major newspaper, about Sanford. DeMint uses just about every rhetorical trick in the book to call on Sanford to resign without actually using the word "resign." It's a textbook example of spin.
“I have just encouraged him to do what’s best for the state and if we give him a little room, I know he will”
. . . . .

“A lot of us are talking to him behind the scenes in hopes that he’ll make the right decision about what needs to be done.”
. . . . .
“They say, when you are explaining, you are losing. And particularly on that subject, I think, he was,” the senator said. “I’m concerned of whether or not he is in a position that he can continue to lead the state.”
Protocol demands that a senator, in some respects senior to a governor, be the last person to demand a resignation like this, because as soon as he does, it's over. A senator is one of the only people besides the governor who represents the entire state, and therefore has his pulse on what everyone in the state is thinking. DeMint clearly wants Sanford gone, but he also doesn't want to be the one to pull the trigger. He would like Sanford to "do the right thing" and thereby retain a shred of dignity. DeMint is pretending to have some respect for Sanford, probably because he's known him for a while, and it's the decent thing to do. But Sanford is toast. The only question is, when does he realize it and act accordingly?

So why exactly do I think Sanford should give up his marriage, his kids, his career? He is apparently deeply in love with this woman, but he has spent years building this life - there might be some way to salvage part of it. She lives in a different country - all kinds of logistical problems immediately loom large. So why exactly should he give up everything for her?

Because he already has.

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