Perhaps Mark Sanford is best understood as a professor lecturing the world on the subject of realpolitik, a brand of politics devoid of ethics.
In his first seminar he taught us that taking an unannounced leave of absence doesn’t necessarily mean he no longer loves his work or his constituents. He is simply demonstrating that voters bear no malice when his libido hears the siren call of a long-distance paramour.
God is standing at the ready to forgive any peccadilloes voters may find offensive. And that handful of voters who are indignant at the hubris, the insult to the state and the abuse of the body politic will inevitably prove at least as pliable as God.
Lesson two, delivered on the occasion of the prof’s long-awaited return to the realpolitik classroom, was eerily similar to lesson one. God and constituents will forgive a politician for breaking the law if he does so under the guise of love for his children. Aren’t these the same children he abandoned in order to indulge his lust in an extramarital affair?
Simply because a man betrays his marriage, forsakes his children, treats the state he is responsible for recklessly and then lies about it, that should not reflect negatively on his character. Obviously, as demonstrated in his recent primary victory, his God-fearing fellow Republicans hold him in high esteem. Wait. This just in: The national Republican Party wants nothing more to do with him.
But South Carolinians are not easily intimidated. Sleaze, violations of the law, dereliction of duty — these are the qualities called for in a representative of a state that makes a national sport of thrusting its middle finger in the direction of the federal government. Go, Mark! You are a representative worthy of your state.