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Beyond irresponsible: Step down, Sanford

leighbc made an excellent point about the hypocrisy of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford opposing gay marriage because it threatens his own marriage.

On the outside chance that you don't know what I'm talking about, click the link below. The man has been missing since June 18th.

South Carolina Gov. Sanford admits extramarital affair

I am so very tired of politicians on both sides of the aisle philandering. Bob Barr, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford, and the rest need to grow up. If they claim to be responsible enough to represent us, then they certainly should be responsible enough to be worthwhile husbands. That is, after all, a vow they took well before attaining office, in most cases. If we can't trust their sworn oaths of marriage, how can we possibly trust their oaths to work in the best interest of the citizenry? Running off, without contact for days ... on Father's Day weekend, for crying out loud! How do you do that to your children? It is utterly disgraceful.

He should do one of the last honorable things available to him, and step down as governor. He cannot deny that his extracurricular activities have impacted both his job performance, and the performance of his staff.

I have the greatest sympathy for his wife and children. They are innocent bystanders who in no way deserved this. I hope the media will leave them alone, and let Sanford stand for what he has done.

Why do so many politicians seem to have this particular weakness? Why do they seem to care so little for the consequences and the collateral damage?

Sanford's wife Jenny told CNN on Tuesday she had not talked to her husband since he left last Thursday and did not know where he went.

"I am being a mom today. I have not heard from my husband. I am taking care of my children," she said outside the couple's beach home on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina.

Note the words my children. Not our children.

Those poor kids. So much unnecessary suffering.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 24th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
I do not recall you doing anything so radical as asking - to take your other examples - Bob Barr, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and Newt Gingrich to step down. Did I miss it, or is this a change in position?

Mind you, I'm not defending Sanford. I don't care if he stays or goes ... just curious about the position you are taking.
Jun. 24th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
You missed it, actually, but it's not your fault. :) sailormur could back me up on this, except for the fact that she's not on LJ much anymore. Back in 1998, which predates the origins of my LJ, she and I were on a mailing list group together (remember those?), in which I was in the teeny minority ... heck, I might've been the lone voice ... railing against Clinton and saying that he should step down. D. and I are about to go out to dinner, but I believe somewhere, if you dig back through my politics/government tag, somewhere, there's a previous post about it because I seem to remember Mur (who gently disagreed with me), responding something to the effect of, "My father said this about Clinton. Would I trust him alone in a room with you? No. Do I trust him to run the country reasonably well? Yes."

Anyway, you couldn't possibly have seen my posts back on the mailing list. I might still have them in e-mail somewhere. Maybe. I can try to dig them up, if you'd like?
Jun. 25th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
OK, interesting. Here's why I asked:

I never much cared who Clinton slept with, so long as it was voluntary. I wanted Clinton to step down, or be run out of office, only because he committed perjury about one inappropriate relationship in order to obstruct justice in a lawsuit concerning an alleged far more seriously innappropriate one. Yet every argument I had about the issue with someone on the left I was accused of being a prude, that I only cared that he had sex. Anyone who knows me knows that's absurd.

So I was bemused to realize that, essentially, you're saying that you wanted him out of office for the sex; somehow I don't think you're quite what the left had in mind when crafting that argument.
Jun. 26th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
Why is it interesting?

No, it is not about the sex. Not precisely, anyway. There are several reasons.

However, my response will be long. I almost think it should be a new post unto itself. I'm going to type it up, and see if LJ chokes on it.

10:05 pm ...
Hmm, it's as I guessed. "Your comment of 7736 characters exceeds the maximum character length of 4300." A new post it is. :)
Jul. 1st, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Lapses in good decision making
Your point is good if and only if bad choices and poor impulse control are traits that transcend the domains we're talking about. But I suspect they don't.

For example, I think that physical impulse control, that which would be used for resisting sexual temptation, would be the same control you'd use to avoid eating too much.

Such decisions are made by a competition between the older and newer parts of your brain. The (evolutionarily) older part wants the sex and food, and the newer part in the front knows that it's not in your long-term interest. Some people's forebrains can't beat the old brain in these competitions.

However, most of the important decisions a president has to make are not ones that get the old lizard brain begging for a treat. Such choices are more deliberate and loosely tied to physical pleasure. Should the interest rate be 5.0 or 5.1? The lizard brain doesn't give a shit. Neither one's going to get him a chesseburger, or laid. It's a job for rational thought, which some people are good at and some people are not.

Therefore, it is not surprising to me that someone could be a great leader for a country and a compete asshole at home, beating his wife, screaming at his kids, and drinking too much. Should he step down for how he acts at home? I don't think so; it's not a part of his job. Maybe he should step down from what's relevant: his marriage. Should everyone who cheats on their spouse step down from whatever job they happen to have, because they are hopelessly untrustworthy with whatever they are doing?

On another note, you asked a question: "Why do so many politicians seem to have this particular weakness?"
I have two responses:
1) I'm not sure they are more susceptible than anybody else. They certain get *reported*, which brings in the availability heuristic on you making you think it's more common. Infidelity is very very common. Men aren't always to blame either-- 10% of babies born do not have the DNA of the fathers waiting in the waiting room (I know this sounds unbelievable; I can track down the reference if you like).
2) The evolutionary psychologists say (and I'm not sure I agree with them) that the main reason men try to be successful is for reproductive success. So asking why a man of power would want to cheat on his wife with some young thing is like asking why a rich man would want to spend his money.


Jun. 25th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Re: Lapses in good decision making
Hey, much of the time, I'd rather sleep in than face my commute, but there's this whole roof-over-my-head thing that I've come to enjoy. I see your point, but every day, reason and good judgment override immediate gratification for most of the population. And sure, people call in sick from time to time when they aren't -- but it's comparatively rare for someone to take off a whole week without reporting in.

My call for Sanford to step down is based on exactly what I said: his extracurricular activities have impacted his judgment as governor. If I left for a week without letting anyone know where I was or had someone lie for me about my whereabouts and then the truth came out, I'm pretty sure I'd be fired or, at the very least, up for disciplinary action at my job. I can't just take off for that length of time without pre-arranging it with my manager unless it's a family emergency. My job is way less important than that of leading an entire state.

Re: #1 ... Let me see ... without spilling too much dirt, I'm basing this in addition on some private information about two friends of the family, one of whom actively served as a representative, and one of whom ran and lost. Both were heavily rumored (and on one, I'm pretty sure it was fact) to have had affairs. Outside of the two politicians, believe it or not, I can only think of one other family acquaintance, a doctor, who is known to have had an affair. Anecdotal evidence, I know, but I do find it interesting.

Of course, men aren't always the only ones having affairs, but, as you say, we are dealing with the information that's been reported. However, what's been reported is a rather star-studded list: In addition to the ones mentioned previously, add Eliot Spitzer, David Vitter, Gary Hart, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry Craig, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, LBJ, Warren Harding, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

2) Sanford has four sons. The woman with whom he had the affair has two children, one of whom is a teenager, so she's probably at least in her early forties -- not exactly blossoming childbearing years. Exactly how much more reproductive success was he hoping to have?

(Edited to remove an extraneous "however.") :)

Edited at 2009-06-25 04:36 am (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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