Mark Sanford admitted today to having an affair with woman from Argentina he's known for eight years as a "dear friend."
The odd events surrounding this admission, and the lies and coverups associated with it have completely and utterly destroyed his chances of running for president in 2012. Handled differently, this could have been a blip on the radar or a minor speed bump.
First there was the report that he was missing and not answering phones or emails. Then there was his wife saying that she didn't know where he was but wasn't concerned. Then his staff said he was hiking in the Appalachian Mountains because he wanted to take a break from the "tough" legislative session that just ended. Then the FBI spotted him in the Atlanta airport boarding a flight to Buenos Aires.
No governor should disappear like that for a week and without anyone able to contact him. No governor should express that a simple legislative session was so tough that he needed to disappear for a week. What would happen if he were president and an enemy threatened war? Would he head to the beach for a week to think about it? So, this was so much more than an affair announcement. Today's announcement was the culmination of some very odd and disturbing events.
This is a huge, huge story for the GOP and our nominee for 2012. There was a large contingent hanging their hats on Sanford. He had a phenomenal fiscal conservative record in South Carolina. He has an engaging personality and could have had mass appeal as a nominee. He embraced the far right and didn't show RINO tendencies. I thought he could be a good VP pick for Palin, his only fallback being that he (nor Palin) didn't have a strong foreign policy record.
I think our friend Jerry Taylor needs a hug today. During my email exchange with him in February, he said that Mark Sanford was his "hero." Poor, poor Jerry Taylor - he always used Sanford as the example for how Palin should be - who will he have to do that now?