Governor Sanford, Republican from South Carolina, stood alone at a podium and admitted to having a year-long affair with a beautiful reporter from Argentina.
The media vultures were awakened from their sleeping perches, tired of covering ho-hum stories like Climate Change legislation and Health Care Reform. The last time they were this excited was when they went to New York with Barack and Michelle on their little date night.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on this story of lust, infidelity, and betrayal.
Everyone, that is, except for Bill Clinton.
Or Barney Frank.
Or Teddy Kennedy.
Or Hillary Clinton.
Or John Edwards.
Where are these democratic leaders when you need them?
I have a sneaking suspicion that we won’t be hearing from them anytime soon, especially on the issues of infidelity or sex.
You see, as a democrat, a politician can easily survive a sex scandal, although in all fairness, some have suffered more than others. The typical explanation given as to why it’s acceptable for a democrat to engage in reproachable activity, but not a republican is because ‘republicans preach “family values” and democrats don’t.’
What do democrats preach?
Do they preach the value of having an affair in the oval office with an intern and then covering it up with perjury? Do they preach running an illegal gay prostitution ring out of your own basement? Do they preach having an affair with a campaign aide and getting her pregnant while your wife is home getting chemotherapy? Do they preach bolting from a car which has just plunged into a river, leaving a woman to die, and trying to deny it happened?
Gosh, if that’s what they preach, who wouldn’t want to get on board with that party. I guess it’s “anything goes” with them. How fun!
As Governor Sanford made his statement about his affair, his wife, Jenny, made a very important statement of her own simply by being absent from his side. She told the world that she didn’t approve. She told the world that her children needed to see the difference between right and wrong, not a sham. She made it clear that her husband got himself into this mess, and her husband was going to have to get himself out of it.
I say, good for her.
What has been amazing has been her demeanor and actions since her husband’s announcement. Jenny Sanford has been forthright and strong. She hasn’t cast her husband aside as a heathen, in fact, she admits that she loves him and wants their marriage to move past this.
But she won’t make it easy for him. If their marriage survives, it will be on her terms.
Again, I say, good for her.
And I hope for her sake that she gets whatever it is that is best for her.
As for Governor Sanford, he’s lost a lot, hasn’t he? He was touted as one of the brightest hopes for the Republican party in the presidential election of 2012. He was looked up to as a hero during the stimulus bill passage, telling the president that he could take his stimulus money and “shove it”. He’s now lost all credibility as a true, values-based conservative, and will never again be looked at the same.
It goes to show what a little power will do to a person.
Take away Governor Sanford’s title and his power, and let’s see if Maria from Argentina finds this man nearly as attractive. Take away the secrecy and the excitement of deceit and see if this affair’s steam continues to grow. Maybe Jenny, back home, will start to look better and better to the ex-governor.
There’s another issue at play in this whole mess, and that is one which may actually take down the current governor. Reports seem to indicate that state funds were used to finance his trip to Argentina, although he now claims that he will pay most of it back. What made him think that he could use these funds in the first place, and what if he hadn’t been caught? Would he still have reimbursed the taxpayers of South Carolina?
Me thinks not.
Lost in all of this is the irony that Jenny Sullivan Sanford came into her marriage a millionaire. She helped finance her husband’s rise to the top, and has been a major part of getting this man to where he is. She helped to get him the power that he used to entice another woman into his bedroom.
When asked about his political career, Jenny eloquently stated: “I’m going to do my best to work on my marriage. His career is not a concern of mine. He’ll have to worry about that. I’m going to worry about my family and the character of my children.”
Think this Republican party doesn’t include people with good family values? Look to Jenny Sanford, a woman who is holding her husband accountable, and teaching her children how NOT to act someday. Look to a woman who is standing on principle, facing her challenges head on, and telling the truth.
Maybe she learned those things from democratic women like Hillary Clinton who called her husband’s affair a “right wing conspiracy” or Elizabeth Edwards, who allowed her husband to continue his presidential bid knowing full well that he was cheating.
Or maybe not.
Maybe this Republican party of ours still has a value system, yet as in life, includes flawed individuals as members. At least we scrutinize the scoundrels, chastise them, and demote them.
The democrats, on the other hand, use a sex scandal as a promotion.
Just ask Bill, Teddy, and Barney.
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