According to the Daily Beast,
It’s official: Mark Sanford is running for his old congressional seat in South Carolina.
The former governor, who ended his second term in disgrace after admitting to an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman he described as his “soulmate,” had previously been considered a leading potential contender for the 2012 GOP nomination before the scandal consumed those ambitions.
But suddenly Sanford is back. Among many locals, he is considered the frontrunner in the special election to fill the congressional seat held by Tim Scott before he was appointed to the U.S. Senate.
There is a grave sickness among social conservatives within the United States. That sickness is the tolerance of rank frauds and hypocrites among our midst, people who claim to represent us and our values, but who only ever care about gaining power, money, and glory for themselves. While people call it “grace” to leave such men in their positions or to continue to elect them even after they have proven themselves unworthy, to call it “grace” cheapens the meaning of the word. Because we tolerate such men, we allow them to bring everything we believe into disrepute. When people knowingly make a hypocrite their leader, effectively they are saying that they themselves have no real standards, that they themselves are hypocrites.
As I wrote 2 1/2 years ago, when I first started this blog,
Yet, the question remains, were Sanford and Ensign really all that conservative, or have they just been playing to the crowd? This question cuts to the very heart of the problems that the GOP has been having.
The GOP, from the very beginning, has always been a party of conviction, while the Democrats has been a party of sentiment. Compare the two earliest flag-bearers of both parties to see what I mean.
In the Democrats’ corner, we have Thomas Jefferson, the great champion of freedom, who romanticized and approved of the blood-soaked, tyrannical French Revolution, and who kept slaves until the day he died even while trying to put anti-slavery provisions into the Declaration of Independence. Though his political ideology was guided most of all by his moral beliefs, he knowingly slandered his political opponents, and may have had an affair with a female slave. While Jefferson is remembered for his stirring words, it needs to be kept in mind that, though he was proud of his moral consistency, ultimately he had no moral sense at all but was ruled purely by sentiment. He was led by what felt right to him at the time, rather than what was right. This is the heritage of the Democratic Party, and is still true of Democrats today. It is not a heritage of strong conviction based upon set principles, but a heritage of sentiment and wishful thinking, where stated political beliefs often contradict personal lives. People usually do not call Democrats hypocrites, whether they be Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, or Barack Obama, because the whole point of the party has always been to look and feel good, to sound as though they are on the right side of history, rather than actually be on the right side of history. Hypocrites all of them, but no one cares.
In the Republicans’ corner, we have Abraham Lincoln, the great champion of freedom who actually freed the slaves and did not just talk about it. Nuff said.
The Republican Party is big enough to accept people who have less than stellar reputations as social conservatives, and this is only right. Most Republicans have no problem with Ruddy Giuliani, because he has never pretended to be anything he wasn’t (except when dressed up as a woman). This does not mean that most Republicans would vote for or agree with him, but it does mean that he still retains at least a modicum of respect within the party.
What the Republican Party cannot survive is cognitive dissonance–where people claim to stand for one thing, but have personal lives that belie this. For Democrats, this has always been par for the course. But Republicans are a different kid of animal. People both within and without the party demand more of them.
If a Republican candidate really thinks that adultery is not a sin and that his personal life is no one’s business, let him say so and stand by it. Let him explain his position, and run on it. He might lose some votes, but he will gain everyone’s respect and avoid a scandal later on. At least everyone will know where he stands. This goes for every other social and moral issue as well. We need our candidates to stop pretending in order to get votes–it is wrecking the party. If you think the party needs to have a discussion on certain issues, then let’s have it, but stop saying one thing and doing another.
On the other hand, if a Republican candidate really thinks that adultery is a problem, let him live by his words. This is the least he can do.
People say that such things as adultery are human failings that can happen to anyone. So true. There but the grace of God go I. But really, how hard is it to not get on an airplane and fly to Argentina? To not write e-mails to a mistress? To not hop in bed with a woman in a foreign country when a man should be at home taking care of his wife, and doing his job?
Either the man so lacks self-control that he should not be governor and should be in counseling, or he has been playing everyone for rubes all along. Sadly, I can’t help but think that many of the Republican leaders think exactly that–that the rank and file members of the party are rubes that will believe anything they are told, and who will not actually require their candidates to live or vote according to their stated convictions.
This has to stop, or the Republican Party will be destroyed.
If Sanford absolutely has to run for office because he has nothing better to do with his life, then he should be true to his convictions and run as a Democrat. The Republican Party has had enough of men like him.