Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Speechless (well, not quite)

Governor Mark Sanford (R, S.C.) has admitted to an extramarital affair. And he disappeared--with apparently no one knowing where he was, and with no way to contact him, either by his family (he has four young boys with his wife) or by his staff--for five or six days. Over Father's Day weekend. To visit his mistress. In Argentina.

Wow. Just wow.

I think he needs to resign as governor. (Not that it is really any of my business, never having ever set foot in South Carolina before.) Oh, sure, he has resigned as the chair of the Republican Governor's Association. It's a start, but not good enough. Governor Sanford allowed his tawdry situation come between him and his duty to the citizens of his state. He allegedly was totally incommunicado for five+ days! I'm pretty sure I would be steamed if President Obama did that. Or if my governor did it. When you become a chief executive, that kind of thing is a luxury you don't get.

Senator John Ensign (R, NV) admitted to an affair about a week ago. Senator Ensign resigned as chair of the Republican Policy Committee, but won't be resigning from his senate seat. I think he should resign, too. (If he doesn't, I hope that the voters will take care of that for him. I know my mother vows never to vote for him again, even if she agrees with his politics.) My feelings are slightly less strong about this situation, though. At least when fallout from the affair threatened his ability to do his job (reportedly blackmail), he stepped up and admitted to the affair. (Still, I think: Resign, sir!)

These two politicians are following in the footsteps of far too many. (John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich come to mind.) Why does it seem that the majority of politicians have extramarital affairs? Is it just because we hear about them more, because they are in the public eye? Or is it a result of the power they get in office? Or are men with the tendency to stray more likely to become politicians?

Whatever it is, it ISN'T all right. We shouldn't turn a blind eye to it, or excuse it because the "other" side does it, too. I want men and women of strong moral character to represent me in the government. If someone can be tempted to break his/her marriage vows, what's to stop him/her from accepting a little bribe here, a little pay-for-play there?

Throw the bums out.