Romance writers get out your pads and pencils ’cause I just read the emails between South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his Argentinean paramour and you’re gonna want to take notes.
Steamy is one word that comes to mind.
Sad is another.
Sad that we are even able to read and gawk at such a private correspondence. The State, a newspaper out of Columbia S.C., deemed this email exchange newsworthy. The love notes began over a year ago and displays in embarrassing detail how quickly grown-ups revert back to adolescence.
Yes, reading a grown man wax poetic about a woman’s "curves," "tan lines" and "two magnificent parts" is now newsworthy.
But hey, the personal failings of politicians have long been fair game. Paging Ken Starr. Remember him? The man who helped expose President Clinton in his personal affair. Governor Mark Sanford does because in 1998 he called for President Clinton’s resignation, saying, "The issue of lying is the biggest harm."
For Governor Sanford, this should be a "live by the sword die by the sword moment," meaning "turn in your resignation buddy," but I expect he will see an exception to his rule for his own case. He has a promising political career in the Republican Party, recently grabbing attention for his initial rejection of the federal stimulus package, and he will not want to let go of that without a fight.
The media is showing no mercy, and why should they?
A sex scandal is red meat no matter what direction it comes from, but since it happens to be this particular governor, the governor who in 2002 ran a campaign on "Christian values," and "keeping his word," and a "return to real honest leadership,” well let’s just say the hypocrisy is icing on a cake the media and public will devour.
Telling folks you are going for a walk in the woods, when you are flying down to Argentina to be with your curvaceous "soul-mate," is not honest leadership.
Conservatives have for too long claimed to be the party of "family values," which is as good as painting a bull’s-eye on your head. What some conservatives are finding out of late is that when you raise yourself up on a higher moral plane, you are much easier to shoot down, you are going to be held to a higher level of accountability.
The reason why the teenage pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter was the target of so much criticism and late night jokes was because she belongs to a party who eschews funding for birth control preferring, as many conservatives do, the road of abstinence, an approach that tends to works better in theory than in practice.
Or how about Senator Larry Craig who preached anti-gay policy and then gets caught in an airport restroom, a restroom by the way that was nowhere near his gate, soliciting a man for sex? The hypocrisy is too rich.
When the great classical hero Odysseus said, "tie me up" he was talking to his ship’s crew. Confronted with the upcoming temptation of the siren’s song, Odysseus asked, no, he demanded, to be tied to his ship’s mast. Modern day politicians might want to take their cue.
Instead of trying to be holier than thou, maybe guys like Sanford should admit to themselves that they, just like liberals, are vulnerable to human frailty, because Democrats and Republicans alike have one thing in common, and that one thing, well, it tends to make men stupid.
Admitting a potential for weakness is the first step, that way, if they happen to see two magnificent headlights coming down the road, they have a better chance of getting out of the way.
On the upside, this latest scandal could be an opportunity for conservatives to finally admit they don’t have the corner on the moral market. But should such an admission come, would we even hear it over the shameless gloating?