Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina supposedly considered resigning and decided not to. He seems to expect that repeated apologies and likening himself to King David of Biblical fame gets him off for poor behavior. What more is there to say about this self-serving hypocrite who was leading the charge against President Clinton and shouting “Impeachment” and calling for his resignation?
Well, there’s plenty more to say. In this year of indiscretion where disclosure of another peccadillo may leave the public jaded and bored, Sanford stands out. Beyond his repayment of the public cost of his fling and the adultery notwithstanding, though particularly embarrassing in his case considering his past sanctimonious statements, there is another issue.
Sanford is guilty of a serious dereliction of duty. As governor of South Carolina, he was unavailable for five days. Incommunicado. In this age of cellphones and Internet, he “disappeared.” AWOL from office. If there weren’t enough, this is not the first time he’s pulled a vanishing act, and the last time was during a crisis, when there was a raging fire in South Carolina.
If the chief executive of the state takes his duties so lightly that he feels he can disappear without even notifying his Lt. Governor and others who rightfully need to be able to reach him, he has no business being in the gubernatorial office. The public has a right to know who’s minding the store. They deserve to have someone in fact minding that store!
Sanford’s decision to retain his office is not only the height of hypocrisy but also irresponsible. He is not exempt from the rules, and he is certainly not above the law he no doubt feels is meant for everyone else.
There are voices in the GOP already calling for his resignation because they realize he has become a liability to the party. He was already a liability and embarrassment to his state; his refusal of the stimulus package was a horrific grandstanding example of carelessness as well as contempt for many of his constituents.
If he does not resign, the State Legislature should impeach him. It is painful to see yet another governor impeached. But that is certainly a better scenario than his continuing misbehavior in office.