We now ask the same with regard to the nomination of Mark Sanford for Congress.
The disgraced former South Carolina governor and one-time congressman recently won the Republican nomination to fill his old seat, vacated when Tim Scott was appointed to replace Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate.
What in the world are voters thinking?
Have they simply forgotten Sanford’s extensive transgressions? Have they truly forgiven him? Or did they just pull a lever for the most familiar name?
It’s hard to believe they’ve forgotten; Sanford’s stunning disappearance and infidelity with an Argentinian woman while governor was an international sensation.
As for forgiving, that’s certainly the compassionate thing to do. But forgiveness doesn’t require trying to make someone whole again. In the case of a politician, it’s not necessary to return him to office to forgive him.
We forgive Mark Sanford. We just wouldn’t want him to be our congressman, and we can’t imagine why anyone else would either.
If voters worked through all this and simply decided to overlook Sanford’s trespasses in the hopes he’ll do a good job, we would return you to Question No. 1 above: Does anything matter?
This isn’t even about Sanford’s infidelity to his wife. His betrayal of South Carolina was just as pronounced. He just flat disappeared at one point, leaving behind a fantastic fib about walking the Appalachian Trail – when, in truth, he’d gone south to see his mistress. He left behind no one in clear charge of the state, and a cadre of assistants who were put in the untenable position of having to lie to the press and public about his whereabouts.
If someone can do all that he has done and still be rewarded anew with a prestigious elected position, where is the line? Precisely what kind of behavior disqualifies you for high office in this country?
Anyone who voted for Sanford in the runoff and who also wanted Bill Clinton impeached, get your hypocrisy level checked immediately.
If we continue ignoring the behavior and records of political candidates and officeholders, voters will lose any right to complain about what they might do to us.
Some of them have pretty clearly established ahead of time what that is.