COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Governor Mark Sanford has disgraced his office, betrayed and publicly humiliated his wife and four sons, and seriously damaged his reputation. The admission that he left the country to visit a secret lover in Argentina has damaged him both politically and personally.
In my view, his offenses include dereliction of duty, lies and deception, and hypocrisy. First, it seems indisputable that the governor of a state must always be accessible in the event of an unexpected crisis. Our state has seen several of these in recent years, and Governor Sanford was out of touch for days without a clear chain of command in place.
Second, the stories he concocted to cover up his whereabouts made liars of his staff and misled his constituents -- and the world. And third, there's hypocrisy. Mark Sanford ran for Governor and for Congress as a man of high moral standards. He called for President Clinton to resign over the Monica Lewinsky affair, and called on another Republican congressman to resign for cheating on his wife.
Now as we deal with the aftermath of this latest bizarre and tragic event, we should respect the privacy of a family devastated by its circumstances. But we also have the right to insist that our Governor make full disclosure of any other actions in pursuit of this extra-marital affair that may have tarnished his office or used state funds for his own benefit.
This is not about adultery or even the shame that Governor Sanford has brought upon himself and our state. It's about integrity. Mark Sanford has placed his integrity in question, and it's up to him to show that he deserves our trust for the final 18 months of his term. That's my perspective. I'd like to hear yours.