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June 25, 2009

Inevitable "Look at Mark Sanford's Lover" Post

She's been named, and now her photographs are popping up.

A pretty minor detail, but everyone's linking it, so.

Via Allah, by the way, is this rumination on what's worse -- having empty, loveless sex with an adulterous partner, or falling in love with her?

Saletan echoes my post yesterday by comparing the kick-'em-to-the-curb strategy usually chosen by adultery-apologizers with Sanford's, um, more nuanced approach.

Again, I don't say this makes it better or worse. It's bad either way. But I do think there is some strangeness in the press and commentators demanding the typical quickie "lapse in judgement, I love only my wife, who is this foul temptress who so bewitched me" false resolution. That's sort of a sit-com wrap-up -- a major life-altering decision is quickly posed, resolved, and forgotten forever after 22 minutes (for a comedy) or 44 minutes (for a one-hour drama).

That might be quick and clean but it's not always, or even often, honest.

Of course, the fact that Sanford is still in love with the woman, and hedging as to whether he intends to reconcile with his wife or pursue his new romance, does mean he's not really contrite at all. Or at least not acting in a contrite fashion.

The Real Sin: Well, one of them. The one that is most important to the public. Or should be, at least.

On the affair, shit happens. I've seen friends go through it, they're not happy and whimsical, they are in pain most of the time.

That said, Sanford's 'crime' is dereliction of duty. He couldn't keep his personal life from interfering with his sworn obligations. He wasn't a fry cook who skipped a shift. He is the only man empowered to exercise certain responsibilities. You don't get to AWOL because your life is in the trash.

I'd have less scorn for him if he had done the transfer of power to his Lt. Governor (or left a fucking number where he could be reached).

He flaked out over his personal turmoils and that's the end of that when it comes to ever getting the keys to government responsibility again.

That's DrewM. writing. I agree, but I'm not stressing it because I think it's indisputably accurate.

The personal angle, the psychological and moral angles, are more interesting to me because they pose questions with arguable answers.

Is he better or worse because he's in love? And, whether better or worse, is the press wrong to demand the typical "Begone foul temptress" response from him?

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posted by Ace at 03:33 PM

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