That was him, this is me 

That was him, this is me

When Bill Clinton was president and Mark Sanford was in Congress, the South Carolina representative and moralist was unforgiving of Clinton's marital misconduct. Reports of the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky were “very damaging stuff,” Sanford said, expressing particular concern for the president's family. Of Clinton himself, Sanford said “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally [to resign] … I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he'd be gone.”

That was then, this is now. Having discovered the pleasures of adultery himself — for the first time, surely — and been caught, Sanford says he won't resign the South Carolina governorship, not even to ease the pain of his own wounded family. Resigning, he says, would be “the easy way out.”

It would be easier for his constituents, certainly, to be rid of this cynical slacker. Clinton was a hard-working chief executive, whatever his other failings. Sanford violated the trust not only of his wife but of the taxpayers, disappearing from the office for days at a time, telling no one where he'd be, leaving his state leaderless while spending public money on assignations. And Clinton didn't bawl about other people's failings. Clinton was just horny; Sanford is horny and hypocritical.

The Republican Party seems to have not much left in positions of leadership except scoundrels such as he. A gang of publicly pious Republican officeholders have been surprised lately with their Bibles raised and their pants dropped. The whole party needs to repent, and take a cold shower. And try to win back some of the kind of people it's chased off in recent years, the Colin Powells and Arlen Specters.      

Incidentally, the last sentence of that statement Sanford made about Clinton remains as it was then, completely untrue. Corporate bosses are not fired for philandering, they're fired for not making enough money for the company. The market has no morals. It's like a Republican convention.

Sanford has resigned as president of the Republican Governors Association, more concerned for his party than his state, and been replaced by Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former Republican national chairman. Barbour said of the Democratic Clinton in 1998: “And now we have this president who treated Monica Lewinsky in such a way that it makes prostitution look dignified and ennobling.” Barbour says of Sanford in 2009: “I've been in politics a long time. I've made it my policy, I just don't talk about people's personal problems. I don't think it's appropriate, I don't think it's polite, and I don't think it achieves any purpose.” A worthy successor.



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