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Last week I was working on the second issue of Late Night Penis Diaries (still a work in progress), when it became so dominated by Governor Sanford that I decided this needed to spin off as it's own diary.

My apologies for another condescending, sanctimonious rant (and a bit tardy because I spent the holiday weekend sans technology), but when a Governor insists on playing out his midlife crisis on the public stage, there is no avoiding comments from the peanut gallery.

First of all, Governor Sanford, a man of your position should understand the rules of communicating sensitive information. Here's a refresher course:

Never say it if you can nod, never put it in writing if you can say it, and never email anything.

- Source: unknown

Love letters? Seriously? You were born three months before me. The closest I've ever come to a love letter is a Hallmark card. Real men don't eat quiche, drink blush wine, or write love letters (unless they are wooing a teenager on the internet). Still, if you insist on writing love letters, you really need to do better than "tan lines in the faded glow of the night's light" (unless it is intended as satire).

But that is a minor quibble. I really wish you would stop publicly humiliating your good wife and mother of your children.

I'd like to remind you that you have a staff. A Governor has communications people and something called a "spokesperson". When it comes to embarrassing personal matters, this is how a professional politician handles it:

A) No comment
B) A comment from a spokesperson that has the discipline to not stray from the script.

Psychotherapy sessions with reporters and/or cameras are strictly prohibited!

Your private life is your own. It's none of our damn business, but you are also a public figure. It is your responsibility to make some effort to keep certain stuff private. Don't talk about all the women you've "crossed the line" with, and make a distinction between that undefined line and the "ultimate line". It only spawns more questions. Did you kiss them? Fondle them? Skinny dip? Was it mutual masturbation? Walking 69? Are you applying the Bill Clinton definition of "sexual relations"?

Honesty is generally a good thing in politics, Governor, but there are some places you just don't go. Admitting you are a serial philanderer is one of them, especially since you are implying that because you found your "soul mate", that somehow mitigates or even excuses your affair. Elvin Bishop put it this way: "I fooled around and fell in love"...you see, if you don't fool around in the first place, it's pretty hard to mate with someone's soul. I think you can find that somewhere in the personal responsibility chapter of the Republican ownership society manifesto.

You've announced your "forbidden love" for a "soul mate" (which comes dangerously close to presenting yourself as a victim), admitted you don't love your wife, but are supposedly "trying to fall back in love with her".

Isn't that special.

I've got news for you, Governor, that ship has sailed. Not so much sailed actually, more like you personally unravelled the rope from the cleat and gave it a good hard shove off the pier. In fact all of your efforts seem to be directed at eliminating the possibility of reconciliation.

You made it very clear that you knew the "risks", and that your adulterous affair was more important than your responsibilities as a Governor, husband, or father. The only thing that has changed recently is that your woman on the side has progressed from a private matter to a public one. I fail to see the connection between that event, and the potential for reconciliation.

Your friend Senator Graham saw fit to appear on national television and nonsensically declare "reconciliation" a pre-requisite for remaining in office. Huh? It seems to me that a single man would have more time to immerse himself into affairs of state. And wouldn't repairing a marriage that has been mangled this badly require some serious effort? I think the Senator has it precisely backwards. Resigning as Governor, which incidentally is the wish of a majority of your constituents including a majority of Republicans, is the very thing needed to salvage your marriage were that your goal. You have already indicated that your affairs of heart trump your responsibilities as Governor. I can only infer that your refusal to step down is simply an exercise in avoiding your family.

"Forbidden love"? Are we suppose to be sympathetic? Is this your justification? So you weren't seeking this, it just happened, like an avalanche. It was an unstoppable force. For heaven's sake, Governor,  Romeo was 16 and fictional. You are a 49 year old responsible for a family and an entire state. Grow the hell up!

To your credit, Governor, one might argue, you showed humility at your press conference. No. What we saw at the press conference was a child sorry he was caught, admitted only to what was already known or sure to come out, and lied where he thought he could get away with it: "I was really going to go hiking, really, I was, but at the last minute getting laid sounded better" (known lie)..."she was the first person I've cheated on my wife with" (probable lie). Call me a skeptic, but I suspect it is your long standing practice of having affairs that made jotting off to places by yourself a convenient tradition, not the other way around.

I'm not even sure you were sorry you were caught. I think you subconsciously or maybe even consciously sought it, which is why you progressively went further and further out on the risk ladder.

Your wife is handling this beautifully. Either she really is the most pious, forgiving, dutiful Christian I've ever heard of, or she is a shrewd banking tycoon turned campaign manager that is mercilessly letting you twist in the wind while denying you the one thing you most desperately want: a way out of your marriage. Either way, I have the utmost respect for her.

It in fact is not the case, in my opinion, that you want out of your marriage because you've found your soul mate. That you more than anything in the world want out of your marriage is the cause, the existence of a South American lover with "exquisite somethings" is the effect. You needed to find a "soul mate" because it is the best you could come up with as a justification for bailing on your family. "Forbidden love" wasn't some organic, random happening, it was a choice, and a means to an end.

Nevertheless, be it the consequence of virtue or vengeance, Mrs. Sanford doesn't appear to be in a mood to let you off the hook anytime soon.

Good for her.

Originally posted to Sarge in Seattle on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 09:31 AM PDT.

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