Can’t say that I agree with this observer, but this is an interesting read:
Maybe he doesn’t really want the job
The quick spin after Mark Sanford confessed his sins on Wednesday was that he wrecked his chance to be president.
Here’s another thought: Maybe he decided he doesn’t even want to be governor.
He lied to his staff, left South Carolina without a chief executive, betrayed his wife, abandoned his kids on Father’s Day and took off to Buenos Aires to be with his mistress. James Bond couldn’t pull that off without getting caught.
It’s the kind of thing you do when you don’t care if you keep your job or not.
He didn’t resign (although he did step down as chairman of the Republican Governors Association). He may well hang on for the year and a half left in his term. But whatever grand ambitions he had for his political life are gone.
And maybe he’s OK with that.
When you’re a politician on the national stage, you take a lifetime seat in the dunk tank. You sign up for a daily dose of criticism from political opponents, activists, bloggers, radio and TV yappers, newspaper writers, and the guy at the next table in the restaurant. You probably get death threats, and because of that you get the joy of a security detail that waits outside the door when you go to the bathroom. You can go on vacation, but you can never get away, not completely, not even for a day.
In return you’re famous, you’ll probably get rich, they might name a bridge after you, and maybe – if you navigate the system, learn to compromise, and occasionally wield your power like a poleax – you can do a little bit of good.
Not a word of that excuses Sanford, or any other politician who sleeps around. At some level they reduce to the same image – that great New York Magazine cover that featured a full-length photo of Eliot Spitzer and an arrow pointing to his crotch with the caption: BRAIN.
The State newspaper in Columbia got ahold of e-mails from Sanford to the woman in Argentina that date back to last July. He moons over her gentle kisses, the curve of her hips, the “two magnificent parts of yourself” that she holds in the faded glow of the light. (Probably not her elbows.)
You have to wonder if he ever wrote a note like that to his wife.
That’s only the bottom half of the e-mail, though. In the top half Sanford talks about a weekend in Aspen with John McCain. That visit – remember, this was last summer, during the presidential race – “kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home,” he writes.
Think about that. In a secret note, written to a woman he lusts after – and maybe even loves – he starts off by talking about his job.
Could be that the only thing that truly turns him on is his own power. That’s the stereotype we like to drape over the politician who cheats. But what if it’s more than simple ego? What if Mark Sanford finally got the job he wanted, only to find out the job’s got him?
If that’s the case, Argentina won’t fix it. He could go to the moon and it wouldn’t matter. The only way to deal with it is to give up the job, turn off the lights and go home. And before long, I suspect that’s what the governor of South Carolina will do.