Editorial: Sandford wins. Why?
A few weeks ago, Mark Sanford, the supposedly disgraced former governor, remarked to a reporter, “South Carolina is the land of strange politics.”
He was right on the mark. Sanford just won election in a special election for a vacant seat in the US House of Representatives.
Driven from politics by a notorious extramarital affair with an Argentine mistress — during which he tried to hide a tryst by claiming he was hiking the Appalachian Trail — Sanford spent months appearing before audiences in his state, claiming to seek forgiveness for what he called “my fall.”
And, despite being outspent by his Democratic opponent, abandoned by his national party, held at arm’s length by state GOP officials and drawn back into court by his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, he prevailed.
“Strange politics,” indeed.
But remember, Sanford was running in South Carolina, an historically eccentric part of the US. It is, after all, the state that first attempted to “nullify” any federal law it disagreed with and then led 11 other states into secession, which triggered the Civil War.
And it’s also true that Sanford probably won’t stand out in the House, which is full of people who have had their brushes with lapses in morality and ethics.
Still, it’s sad to see that even lying publicly to your constituents, disappearing from the office of governor for days, using taxpayer’s money to visit your mistress, admitting to numerous affairs and then abandoning your wife of 20 years isn’t enough to turn off the state’s voters.
What WOULD it take?