Friday, June 26, 2009

Acting like adults about adultery

Mark Sanford, politically, has made news for some truly great silliness. All his posturing about whether he would accept federal stimulus funding cravenly played to all that's most misanthropic and uneducable in the Republican base. It did get him a lot of national attention from a media that is dying to anoint the next conservative saint.

Now, of course, Sanford is making tremendous gobbets of tabloid news for his disappearance into a love affair. The only reason any of that matters should be the disappearance, not the affair. He did fail to discharge his duties for a week, but lots of people cheat, and we really cannot afford to have all of them resign their positions of responsibility, even if they've been exposed as arrant hypocrites. (Hey, they're Republicans. Hey, they're politicians.)

Fred Thompson, with his own checkered romantic past, belabors Sanford in the great mosh pit of American sexual politics:

I don’t have any sympathy in a situation where you’ve got a wife and four fairly young kids . . . don’t play it out in public.
Lots of others are shocked, shocked that Sanford would betray his wife. More than anything, they're shocked that he would betray them - or, if Democrats, shocked and delighted at the opportunity to kill off a rival. For the Republicans, it still mostly seems to be about the sex:
One county GOP leader said the governor “talked about how our leaders have stepped away from our core values, and said one thing on the campaign trail or out in the public and did something different in the background.’’
As time passes, we will again find out that some of those calling loudest for Sanford's resignation are even now conducting their own affairs. We could do without this hypocrisy by letting even politicians have a private life with - or, in this case, possibly without - their families.

Update (6/28): I've been corrected on this with a reminder that Sanford himself campaigned on family values, which makes the GOP leader quoted above correct. There does have to be accountability for hypocrisy on all sides.

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