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How is Mark Sanford a Serious Candidate for Anything?

In about a week, South Carolina will pick between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

As we all know, when Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina, he vanished for a week -- after telling staff he was off hiking the Appalachian Trail, a lie they repeated to the press.  He had actually used his official plane to fly off for a visit with his "soul mate" mistress in Argentina.  As someone who remembers Rudy Giuliani's nasty divorce announcement, which was made more painful to watch as his then wife's interview where she said they were "trying to work things out" was preempted by his announcement that he had just served her with divorce papers.  Ouch.  So watching Sanford tell the press, presumably before he told his wife, that his mistress was his soul mate seemed more mean than anything.  To his credit after divorcing his wife he married his real soul mate and I really mean it when I say I wish them the best.I do.

That doesn't mean he belongs in Congress.  To be fair, I would also prefer to never see a mention of John Edwards again.  For the record, I worked for him several times and am still bitter about it.  Again, his affair was only the beginning of his douchiness.   I mean the affair was the start but then he dragged out the process of denying the paternity of his child so long that it felt like my soul was being slowly pulled out through my nose.

So Sanford's affair isn't my problem.  That he voted to impeach President Clinton is part of it (the hypocrisy).  That he saw no problem lying to his constituents and using state funds for personal purposes is my real issue with him.  That he sees no contradiction in how he has judged people and how he has acted bothers me. Falling in love with someone who is not your spouse is not a crime, it happens.  It sucks for the other person but it happens.

But I remain confused about something.  David Vitter broke the the law by frequenting prostitutes in Washington, DC and Louisiana.  The only thing that kept him from being prosecuted was the statute of limitations had run out.  Where is he today?  The US Senate and his name is being floated as a possible gubernatorial candidate.  John Ensign had an affair with a staffer and tried to pay her and her husband to keep in quiet and he is also still in the Senate.

Anthony Weiner did something incredibly stupid when he tweeted photos of himself but he broke no laws and his wife is still with him.  Why  is his comeback so far fetched if Sanford's can be deemed realistic?  I know President Clinton recovered politically from his indiscretion but there still seems to be a double standard.  The party of "family values" seems all too willing to forgive each other when they cheat and lie but hold Democrats to a higher standard and I don't get it.

I hope South Carolina bucks that trend and sends Elizabeth Colbert Busch to Congress.  We need more women there anyway.

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