2013-05-17 / Commentary

Rebirth of Mark Sanford

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation
Mike Cox

In this age of anonymous email trashings, un-informed blog posts, and you tube mistakes that last forever, we rarely see political second chances. But last week a disgraced public servant rose like a Phoenix from the ashes to reclaim former glory in the political arena.

Mark Sanford has been elected to represent Charleston, and South Carolina, in the United States Congress. In a room where everyone is addressed as “honorable,” Sanford will have an opportunity to regain the revered glow that accompanied him during his magical time as governor of one of the great states in this country and finally become the Tea Party darling he was projected to be when misfortune struck.

Sanford’s story is well-known here in the Palmetto State and everywhere people can view The Daily Show. A former congressman who captured the governorship during the Republican heyday in 2002, he nevertheless had a contentious relationship with a state legislature dominated by his own party. Despite frequent public and ugly clashes, Sanford was easily re-elected. Then he decided to go hiking.

The governor disappeared from sight just before Father’s Day weekend in 2009, ostensibly to walk the Appalachian Trail. Instead, he was eventually discovered returning from Argentina, where he had spent time with a woman named Maria Chapur. No details were given as to what sights the governor saw while visiting South America.

In defense of Sanford, wife Jenny had four sons to keep her occupied and probably didn’t quite seem as enticing in her bathrobe and curlers as the recurring fantasy of a hot-blooded Latin Lovely. Besides, the new woman turned out to be Sanford’s Soul Mate. Who knew? Maybe there is an abundance of soul mates closer to the Equator.

Sanford tearfully confessed, resigned from his job, and quietly endured the wrath of every female talk show host in America. But while he was doctoring his wounded pride, Sanford was hatching a plan for resurgence.

He spent many months getting re-acquainted with voters and the Lord. And he waited. Soon a spot opened up when Jim DeMint retired: Sanford’s former congressional seat. After defeating several unknown opponents in the Republican primary, Sanford only had to vanquish a woman known primarily for being Stephen Colbert’s sister. The final tally wasn’t close.

Lots of folks both inside and outside South Carolina have a problem with Mark Sanford representing constituents in Congress, especially so soon after his indiscretions. Many people, especially women from somewhere other than Dixie, felt Sanford’s indiscretions nullified future opportunities to serve the people.

But those folks don’t understand how things work down south. Since all of us are considered sinners, forgiveness is offered to almost anyone who shows humility and regret. Sanford has done this a lot since he reappeared publicly. He even got his ex-wife to manage his campaign. In the end Mark Sanford was re-elected because he worked hard to gain redemption and South Carolina voters forgave him.

Adultery and bearing false witness aren’t as serious to some folks as things like cussing around women and living an alternative lifestyle. Victory was also made easier because Sanford’s Congressional opponent is guilty of one thing South Carolinians seldom forgive.

She is a democrat.

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