If you love Mark Sanford, primary him.
Mark Sanford is unfit to serve in Congress and it is shame that the voters of South Carolina were faced with such dismal choices in the last election: a vacuous leftist versus a verminous righty.
Of course, Republican primary voters brought it on themselves by not voting in the lower-turnout primary for his opponent. For all we know his opponent would have been forced to resign in disgrace, but at least we would not have been sure he would abuse the public trust.
Mark Sanford is morally unfit to serve in Congress, even though Congress frequently is the home of the morally dubious. In a house of crooks and liars, his only virtue will be that everyone will know he will betray his values and his voters beyond a shadow of a doubt. His election is foolish. One might anticipate being ripped off by yet another crooked used car dealer having tried hard to find a good one, but returning to the last shyster four years later hoping he had improved since the last car is not wise.
And saying to yourself after he robs you again: “But he said he was sorry,” it pitiful.
Our goal as voters should not be to perpetuate the worst politics, but support the ideal where we can. In his entire district there must be a man or woman who has given decades to the military, to public service, to private charity, or to the good of his fellow citizens who has not had to resign as governor under threat of impeachment.
Mark Sanford as a leader of the GOP is not aspirational, but decadent. The problem isn’t that he is a rogue and a crook, but that he is our rogue and crook. We cannot primary Nancy Pelosi successfully, but we can send Sanford home without harm to the Republic or the Republican cause.
He betrayed his oath to his wife, admitted to stealing tax payer money, and lied about it. This is not ancient history, unless 2009 is a long time ago. People who think 2009 is ancient history are the sort that generally call Avatar a classic of “that era” of film making or wonder Neil Gaiman can relate to today’s youth after his success in 2009 forever dated him.
Christian forgiveness does not require electing a man to Congress: the prodigal son after all did not demand that the Father give him another half of the farm and a seat on amongst the respected elders of the city.
But won’t Sanford vote “right?” So he might, but so will anyone who wins in his district and this someone will not taint conservative values by association.
The usual retort is that the man without sin should cast the first stone, a line that sounds better coming for the Son of God, but is still true. I am not without sin, so I will not advocating stoning him or even punishing him. In fact, I promise I too will not serve in Congress, or even seek to serve in Congress.
Voters should “move on,” choose someone else, and allow Mark Sanford to flourish as a man and as a private citizen in a job outside of national leadership.
In fact, in Sanford’s case, the more we forgive him and love him the more we should primary him.
Voters of South Carolina should act for their good and Sanford’s and primary him home. My intent is not to stone Sanford, but to help him.
Power went badly for him and brought him down and now he will be near power again: an alcoholic near unlimited muscatel.
Think of how good a primary will be for Mr. Sanford.
Having lost his seat in one and one-half years, he can retire to the family plantation or his comfortable condo with his “fiancee,” a woman he loves so much he could betray his family and his state, but has not managed to marry yet. His extra time may enable him to finally seal the deal.