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Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry July 2, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in 2012, Christian Right, National Politics, Politics, Republicans.
Tags: , , , , , ,

SC Governor Where?Or does it?

If you are Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, love is apparently ALL about apologizing – to your wife, your children, your constituents, your colleagues, and your buddies – while throwing a few tears in for good measure. 

In case you have been living under a rock or are simply saturated with Michael Jackson overload, the family-values Conservative admitted to an extramarital affair in a tear-stained press conference last Wednesday (June 23).  The admission came after the governor, who is the father of four young sons, disappeared over Father’s Day weekend without leaving so much as a beeper number with his family or staff.   Sanford’s wife told reporters even she didn’t know where he was.  The official story was that he went hiking on the Appalachian Trail to clear his head after losing a court fight over federal stimulus money – a story that started to unravel after reporters spotted his (state-issue) car at the Atlanta airport.

As Sanford stepped up to then podium to give his confession, nobody had any idea of the admission that was about to come forth.  I certainly didn’t.  My guess was that he had been in a detox somewhere. 

After a rambling travelogue about the charms of the Appalachian Trail, the governor told the nation that he had been “crying his eyes out in Argentina” for the previous five days, apparently in the arms of one Maria Belen Shapur – a divorced resident of Buenos Aires.  According to Sanford, he and Shapur (whose identity was not revealed until last Friday) fell in love last year after an 8-year friendship.  Sanford’s wife Jenny, a former Wall Street executive and Skil power tools heiress, was made aware of the affair some 5 months ago.  She reported that she and the governor had been living separately for a few weeks.

On Thurday, a series of romantic and explosive e-mails between Chapur and Sanford were released by the media.  In them, it is clear that Sanford is absolutely besotted with the woman – “my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul” – one of the e-mails says. 

As the days have gone by, Sanford has made the situation worse by refusing to step down as governor – quoting the Old Testament and the story of King David in the process – and has revealed intimate details of the affair and his feelings toward Chapur.  In one statement, Sanford said that he “wanted to fall in love again” with his wife, but that Shapur was his “soul mate”.  Let me tell you, if I had been Jenny Sanford, I would have been at the lawyers filing papers within minutes of hearing that gem.  He later announced that he had “crossed some lines” with other women during his marriage, but not the “ultimate” line.  Doesn’t that sound a little like, “I did NOT have sex with that woman”?

Republicans have been cringing for a week over Sanford – and not just because of his “diarrhea of the mouth” as my Dad used to call it.  Sanford has been widely touted as a 2012 presidential contender and was viewed to represent the Christian Conservative base of the party.  Sanford’s implosion, coming on the heels of Senator John Ensign’s (R – NV) admission of a long-term extramarital affair, has left the once-proud party in further disarray.  Though many South Carolina Republicans have been calling for his resignation, Sanford stubbornly refuses to budge.  He remains a visible embarrassment to his state and the Republican Party.

There is a part of me – the dominant and cynical part –  that is absolutely enjoying this whole charade.  When people like Sanford hold themselves out as examples of morality, values, and decency it is as if they are lecturing the rest of us who do not hold the same opinions of life as if we were lesser people.  To see these hypocrites hang themselves with ropes of their own making is oddly delightful.

That being said, however, the hopeful romantic in me finds something rather touching about Sanford’s admissions.  It is obvious to anyone watching that the guy has deep feelings for his Argentine flower – and the feelings for his wife are much less so.   It happens all the time.  I feel sympathy for Jenny Sanford  but at this juncture she’s probably very unhappy as well.  Life is too darned short to spend it tied to someone who is only there because he feels obligated.  Jenny deserves a chance to fall in love again, too.

Sanford should take the advice of his peers and resign.  He and Chapur could be the love story of the 21st century; by giving up his ambitions for the woman he loves they could be the new Duke and Duchess of Windsor living out their fabulous lives in exile in Argentina.  Then, Progressives can strike Sanford off the list and concentrate on worrying about Mitt Romney.

It really is romantic when you think about it.



1. Flash - July 7, 2009


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