When President Clinton admitted his affair with Monica Lewinsky, a backbencher Congressman remarked to CNN in 1999, ““If you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.”
That Congressman represented Charleston, S.C. at the time. He went on to become the Governor of the Palmetto State. His name: Mark Sanford.
Upon hearing of his admitted affair with a former Argentine journalist, I called for his resignation. In my view, that’s the best way for him to salvage what’s left of his relationship with his wife and his kids. Some day, those kids are going to read what they father did and they will know that he put his job before them, even after it was clear that their father’s political future was ruined. Resigning now would be the right thing for Sanford to do personally.
As for the politics, the state’s newspapers are standing by their man. All except the Spartanburg Herald Journal. They wrote that:
As a father and a husband, Sanford is the only one who can work through this with his family, minimize the damage to his sons, make amends to his wife, and determine whether his family can be held together. He must be focused on those tasks.
He is not the only one who can lead this state through the current recession, and under the current circumstances, he cannot lead the state.
The Greenville News basically said they don’t think Sanford should resign because Andre Bauer, the state’s Lt. Gov., would assume the top job and he would have an unfair advantage going into the 2010 elections. (Boy, that Bauer dude must really suck.)
The Charleston Post & Courier says the people of South Carolina, “should be willing to move on” following Sanford’s cabinet meeting where he compared himself to King David. (He didn’t resign, why should I?)
The Anderson Independent Mail stops short of calling for the Governor’s resignation saying:
We hope Sanford will remain on the job, if he can. We are tentative about Bauer ascending to the governor’s office in this manner and for such an extended period. If he is duly elected by the people in 2010, so be it. But he is not ready for the position now.
As for me, I am with Maureen Dowd on what Mark Sanford should do next. She writes in today’s New York Times:
The Republican Party will never revive itself until its sanctimonious pantheon — Sanford, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Palin, Ensign, Vitter and hypocrites yet to be exposed — stop being two-faced.
Amen. The next step for Sanford is to step aside and focus on fixing his tattered personal life. With that kind of distraction, there’s no way he can fix the problems facing South Carolina.
He must resign.