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Jewish Journal

The Mark Sanford sex scandal

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 24, 2009 | 5:19 pm

Photo: AP

I used to think it was only a scandal when conservatives sin. After all, hypocrites make the best villains. But the downfalls of John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer, not to mention the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, proved otherwise.

Today we have South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Not only is a Sanford a Republican, but he was the leader of the Republican Governors Association. And not only did he have an affair, but he initially tried to cover it up by going AWOL for a week. He had been in Argentina, not on the Appalachian Trail, having a little sexual rendezvous:

“I’ve let down a lot of people, that’s the bottom line,” the 49-year-old governor said at a news conference where he choked up as he ruminated with remarkable frankness on God’s law, moral absolutes and following one’s heart. His family did not attend.

The woman, who lives in Argentina, has been a “dear, dear friend” for about eight years but, Sanford said, the relationship didn’t become romantic until a little over a year ago. He’s seen her three times since then, and his wife found out about it five months ago.

He told reporters he spent “the last five days of my life crying in Argentina” and the affair is now over. Sanford, a rumored 2012 presidential candidate, refused to say whether he’ll leave office.

“What I did was wrong. Period,” he said.

Is Sanford really sorry? That’s for God, and his wife, to decide. But Michael Muskal at Top of the Ticket nails the heart of Sanford’s story:

Today’s news out of South Carolina is a reminder of three important rules in politics: It isn’t the incident, it is the attempted coverup. It isn’t about sex, it’s about hypocrisy. Schadenfreude always wins in the end.

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