Cross-posted at Eclectablog.
For several days now I've been expressing my disgust at Governor Mark Sanford. According to his wife, Jenny, they were in a trial separation to help "strengthen their marriage" and then, less than a week later, off he goes to Argentina to be with his squeeze. Chances of their marriage succeeding after he pulls that little stunt? Oh, I'd say about ZERO percent.
Turns out that Ms. Sanford knew about the affair for several months and, according to her, "He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her."
"I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."
The Associated Press interviewed her this week and there are some interesting new details in his interview.
South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford sat in her oceanfront living room Friday, recalling how her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.
"I said absolutely not. It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press
I'm trying to imagine this and, well, it's pretty easy. My ex-wife did pretty much the same thing to me. I discovered her in an affair with a good friend and she repeatedly asked to go see him. I thought it was an aberration, that she was unique in being so clearly unbalanced enough to ask such a thing of me. Well, either she's not unique or Governor Sanford is equally unbalanced.
In the interview, she goes on to say:
The Sanfords had separated about two weeks ago. She said her husband told the family that he wanted some time away to work on writing a book and clear his head. The first lady said, "I had every hope he was not going to see her."
"You would think that a father who didn't have contact with his children, if he wanted those children, he would toe the line a little bit," she said.
Yes, you would think that, wouldn't you? You would think a man so vocally judgmental of others' moral position would have enough self-control to try to work through his fuck-up and keep his family together. This is, after all, the family he mentioned all the time when he was slamming others for their indiscretions and when he ran for office. But no. On Father's Day weekend he makes the ultimate Booty Call, half a continent away.
Turns out his paramour isn't exactly Ms. Morality, either. She was dating another man at the same time she was carrying on with Mark Sanford and "the other man" was, according to the New York Times, apparently the one who leaked Sanford's steamy emails to the The State newspaper:
Last December, the executive said, Ms. Chapur was dating a young Argentine a few months after her affair with Mr. Sanford began. The man happened to see the e-mail messages being exchanged between the governor and Ms. Chapur, said the executive — who said he had direct knowledge of the situation — and hacked into her e-mail account to see the rest.
Infuriated, the man sent the messages to The State, the newspaper in South Carolina’s capital, Columbia.
I feel sorry for Jenny Sanford. Like my situation, she found out about the affair when she came across some emails:
Sanford said she discovered her husband's affair early this year after coming across a copy of a letter to the mistress in one of his files in the official governor's mansion. He had asked her to find some financial information, she said, not an unusual request considering her heavy involvement in his career.
That's a tough moment. What's tougher is hearing the promises to quit having the affair only to see them broken. In Ms. Sanford's case, she has the much more excruciating pain of having the entire sordid affair played out in the national spotlight.
Here's my message to Ms. Sanford: You may feel like a bit of a fool right now but you are handling this the right way. You threw his ass out when he wouldn't give up trying to see his mistress. You didn't stand next to him during his ridiculous confessional press conference. And you are behaving with dignity and respect now. It's tough. There will be days when you feel like the biggest chump around. But know this: you will be glad later that you held you head up high and didn't embarrass your four sons.
Meanwhile, Governor Sanford, resign. Leave the office and don't come back. You clearly don't have the judgment or temperament to be a leader. For the same reasons you judged others so vociferously, you yourself must now exit stage left, never to return. And take your hypocrisy with you. Maybe, just maybe, if you do the decent, moral thing now, your sons will glean some semblance of a positive lesson from all of this.
That is the least you can do.
UPDATE: I actually didn't think this diary would get much attention, much less hit the Rec List. I actually thought my last couple of diaries, like the one where I discussed the press release put out by the Republicans that compares our national healthcare system to the fast food industry, neighborhood babysitters and Major League Baseball, would be of more interest. Clearly there's more in this discussion than I realized and the whims of the Rec List are a mystery for us to ponder.
While I have personally been on the receiving end of an unfaithful spouse, one who wished to continue seeing her boyfriend even while she was still married to me and living with me, the pain of that is now a fairly distant memory. I will be celebrating my five year anniversary to my wife, a beautiful and very talented photographer (her blog is HERE) and have never been happier or more in love in my life. You may have seen Anne's Obama photomosaic poster and the two-page spread of it in Time magazine.
This diary is, at the end of the day, about infidelity, poor character and extremely bad judgment. Sanford's dereliction of duty by itself is enough to disqualify him from continuing to serve as governor, in my opinion. His hypocrisy on so-called moral values takes it to another level entirely. And, finally, the way he treated his wife and family and the lies he told to them, his constituents and the nation are the final evidence that he has neither the judgment or the character to be a public servant.
Without the other things, his infidelity is, again in my opinion, none of our business. But in combination with his history of casting stones at others in a similar position and the advantage he took with his position as governor to deceive and even steal from the public make it a public thing and worthy of being discussed. It is in that light that I wrote this diary. Thanks for reading it.