June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford "D'oh!"

Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, once a contender for the GOP nomination for President in 2012, just torpedoed his own chances, not to mention his own family by divulging that he'd had an affair.

Needless to say he's out for the GOP nomination. As he should be. Also needless to say is that this will get lumped in with the stupidity of Senator John Ensign of Nevada admitting to having had an affair last week, by the left of the blogosphere, not to mention NBC, CBS, ABC, and of course MSNBC (aka "The Mouthpiece" or "Mouthpiece NBC").

The problem with that is that the scandal is specific to Mark Sanford (as is Ensign's to him). The Democrats were wise to distance themselves from Rod Blagojevich and then Roland Burris (before they decided to embrace him and then re-distance themselves).

As conservatives, we need to distance ourselves from Sanford because he has betrayed our values. No one is perfect, and he may deserve to be forgiven if he truly works to fix the damage he has done to his family. But he does not deserve their forgiveness - they can forgive him if they feel the want to forgive him. Similarly he does not deserve to be a standard bearer for the Republican party or for conservative values. He has betrayed those values, regardless of whether he firmly believes them or not. Actions speak louder than words. Sanford's actions right now are drowning out anything he's ever said and his previous words, by this action have lost credibility. Let's not let the same thing happen to a Republican party by preaching family values and then ignoring them out of some sort of imagined convenience.

Let's also be clear - not every conservative is an adulterer just as not every Democrat is a tax cheat. This is a distraction from the real issues of the day - Iran, the economy, North Korea, deficits etc. Sanford was wrong, just as Jon Edwards was wrong. How we prove we mean what we say is by distancing ourselves from Sanford's behavior as opposed to the way Democrats for the most part remained silent on the Edwards affair.

That is the only way to move beyond this black mark on the GOP. And it will force Sanford to focus on reconciling with his family, which is something he should have been doing all along.

UPDATE: The Sanford and Hon fallout starts - Campaign Spot on National Review Online

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