South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has just resigned as head of the Republican Governors Association after revealing he had an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.
Governor Sanford went missing on June 18th. His whereabouts were unknown to his wife and family for five days including Father's Day. Very disconcerting. What if something horrible had happened to him?
Of course, he did not meet foul play. He had gone hiking in the Appalachians. Or did he?
Then came the revelation he was in Argentina.
It gave me a very uneasy feeling. If Sanford was in Argentina without telling anyone it could be for only two reasons a) he was undergoing an experimental medical procedure or b) he was having an extramarital affair.
Sanford had been one of President Obama's toughest critics on the Stimulus Package even refusing to federal funds and was touted as a possible GOP nominee in 2012. But Sanford backed down on refusing to accept federal funds and now this mess. Needless to say his political career is over.
Sanford's term expires in early 2011 and he had already indicated he would not be seeking a third term next year. I cannot help but think there will be calls for his resignation due to the manner in which all of this came out. I don't think his actions are as egregious as those of John Edwards but his conduct was unbecoming enough that he has rendered himself politically unviable. Last week, Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign admitted to an extramarital affair without any stories about hiking. While a White House bid might not be feasible, Ensign's political career has a chance to recover while Sanford's does not.
Of course, this does not preclude Sanford from personal redemption.