Cheating is bad, but disappearing is worse

Mark Sanford is being called out on the infamous extramarital affair he had while serving as South Carolina’s Republican governor.

He now wants to return to Congress, representing his state in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served before becoming governor. Sanford is facing Curtis Bostic in the state GOP primary runoff on Tuesday.

Bostic calls Sanford a “compromised candidate” because of his affair. I hereby submit that the affair – by itself – wasn’t Sanford’s worse transgression as a public official.

Yes, breaking his sacred marital vow is an egregious sin. He promised his wife, Jenny, to be faithful for as long as they both lived. He broke that promise. Shame on him for that.

But the worse thing he did was to disappear from public view for days. You’ll recall that over Mothers Day 2009 his publicly paid staff put the word out that he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” when, in fact, he was way down yonder – in Argentina – cavorting with his mistress.

How does someone justify duping the public in such a manner? Whether he instructed his staff to lie to the public or whether he lied to his staff is immaterial. The fact is that Sanford broke the trust – not only of his wife – but of the public that paid his salary.

Either one of those foul-ups should be a deal breaker. But both of them? At the same time?

And to think this guy actually is favored to win that runoff next week. Incredible.

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