I think South Carolina Democrats have a lot to cheer about if Mark Sanford is seriously considering running for Congress. I think South Carolina Conservatives, if they want to win that seat, can do better.
The primary issue is the one everyone will be talking about, and I think itâ€™s a fair issue that goes beyond the matter of personal privacy. Just as Bill Clinton disgraced the Office of the President with the Monica Lewinsky affair, Sanford disgraced the Office of the Governor.
There are certain issues that are a matter of personal privacy, but the moment those issues bleed into matters concerning the public one is supposed to be serving, voters rebel. An extramarital affair, such as Sanford had, is devastating to oneâ€™s character as it involves direct and multiple lies to oneâ€™s spouse. If a Governor is lying to his own spouse, he has no problem lying to the electorate. Then again, all politicians lie to the electorate, so perhaps thatâ€™s a wash.
Except Sanfordâ€™s lies were pretty egregious. The man literally vanished for several days, returned, lied about it, and then admitted the affair. Thereâ€™s a difference between a lie and a breach of the public trust. Sanford committed the latter. Ironically, itâ€™s also a testament to the fact that Sanford really isnâ€™t that intelligent, if the scenario he concocted was the best he could do. In the weeks following the incident, Sanford admitted heâ€™d â€œcrossed the line but never had sexâ€ with other women during foreign trips with other men to â€œblow off steamâ€.
Although he is a fiscal Conservative, he has voted for increases in benefits paid to government employees, which is hardly necessary or sound. He vetoed several common sense provisions as Governor which, to me, made no sense. This included â€œChandlerâ€™s Lawâ€ which prohibited kids under age 6 from operating, you know, an all-terrain vehicle. He vetoed a bill requiring those arrested for a felony to submit a DNA sample. Call me crazy, but the DNA sample can help convict someone deserving of conviction, or confirm innocence. That veto was wisely overridden. He vetoed changes in the stateâ€™s film incentives program, which would have encouraged Hollywood filming in the state, bringing it additional revenue. This â€œfiscal Conservativeâ€ vetoed a bill that would have exempted the proceeds from the sales of precious metal bullion from sales tax. Itâ€™s a fiscal mistake to tax the sale of commodities like these, when people want to convert cash into hard assets.
The GOP establishment currently holds the House, with the Tea Party being in the minority. Speaker Boehner has proven to be a weak leader, easily bullied, and too fearful for his job to stand alongside the Tea Party. For Conservatives to truly make any headway in Congress, the establishment must go. Mark Sanford is not only not the kind of full-on, proud Conservative that is needed in Congress, but heâ€™s erratic and has shown an inability to be trustworthy. The last thing the GOP needs in Congress is for a scandal that would result in Sanford being pushed out. The electorate in his district would almost certainly vote in a Democrat. That, of course, is assuming he even wins. I donâ€™t think the electorate wants a disgraced Governor running in their district.
The GOP can do better here. They need a true Conservative with a clean record.