Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sanford Going Back to Congress With All That Baggage

Congressman-Elect Mark Sanford
The voters in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District spoke on Tuesday.

They elected former Congressman and former Governor Mark Sanford to Congress completing an unlikely political comeback.

When he was Governor of South Carolina, Sanford had been seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. It was thought that eventually he might be a Presidential candidate. Those plans took a detour when the Governor disappeared without explanation. His aides tried to cover saying that Sanford was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Turns out that the Governor had hopped on a plane and was visiting a mistress (now his fiancee) in Argentina. It led to a divorce from his wife and a political career that seemed to be over.

This is America, and we believe in second chances. Before you could say Anthony Weiner, Sanford was a candidate again for Congress. He defeated the candidates in a competitive primary to advance to the general election fight against Elizabeth Colbert Busch, this sister of Stephen Colbert.

Even in this election cycle, Sanford has shown that all may not be right under that perfectly coiffed head of hair. Before he ran, he practically begged his ex-wife to run his campaign. She turned him down. Jenny Sanford then found her ex-husband trespassing on her property in violation of their divorce decree in February and filed a lawsuit against him.

None of that seemed to matter to the voters that elected Sanford. In a special election, he was a known name, and, in an especially conservative district, a Republican. Colbert Bush clearly had little chance.

Sanford now has his second chance, and he can make what he wants out of it. For the voters in the 1st District of South Carolina, you know exactly who you elected to office. Now you have to live with the consequences. If Mark Sanford does something stupid, you knew he had the propensity to do it.

We did that in Indiana in 2010. The Hoosier State elected the walking circus that is Charlie White as Secretary of State. Convicted of voter fraud and other felonies, White was tossed from office and was replaced by Connie Lawson. His opponent in that campaign, Vop Osili, serves with distinction on the Indianapolis City-County Council.

I hope Sanford has cleaned up his life. I wish him the best as he's sworn in next week, but I won’t be surprised in the least if his antics lead to something crazy happening. It is Congress, after all.

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