The Spectacle Blog

Sanford and Sons

By on 6.24.09 | 2:59PM

The Mark Sanford news is profoundly sad on so many levels. Sanford was one of the only Republicans who has been a consistent defender of limited government. During his time in Congress in 1995-2001, he racked up a solid economically conservative -- even libertarian -- voting record, slept on the couch in his Washington office to save money on housing, and kept his pledge to only serve three terms. As governor, he's been at war with the Republican-controlled legislature, vetoing one spending bill after another, in a battle that culminated with his valiant fight to reject the stimulus money. During an era when most Republicans talked a big game, he repeatedly put his career on the line to fight for smaller government. Today, conservatives everywhere should be mourning, because we lost the man who was in the best position to run for president in 2012 articulating limited-government philosophy. As I followed this week's story, I thought Sanford handled it poorly, but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he just took off to clear his head. I chalked it up to his eccentric and intospective nature. Unfortunately, once again it turns out you can never be too cynical as a political reporter.

It's absolutely disgraceful not only that he had an affair, not only that he lied about it publicly, but that he put his staff in a position to lie about it. And anybody who has followed Sanford was given the impression that he was a family man. Always close to his sons, so tight with his wife that she managed every one of his campaigns and even served temporarily as his chief of staff while he was governor. And yet he abandons them on Father's Day weekend to fly off to Argentinia to see his mistress, and now forces them to live through all this emotional pain in the media spotlight.

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