June 26, 2009

That a man whose entire career had been defined by his staunch fidelity to the American taxpayer would throw it all away by committing infidelity seemed like a fate fit for some other politician. In his political life, Sanford had never been a scumbag like Eliot Spitzer, a hack with something to hide like Larry Craig, or even remotely in the same universe as the modern standard bearer for secret sexual affairs, Bill Clinton. Lying seemed a natural fit for all these men. It was not a surprise that these elected officials, whose only guiding principle at the political level seemed to be self-empowerment, would be just as selfish in their personal lives.

But Sanford was a surprise. Here was a Republican who could have easily taken the same career path of most Republicans, but instead spent much of his time fighting his own party, taking the GOP to task at both the state and national level for betraying its conservative principles. Sanford took the hard road, standing up for limited government when no one else would. He was decidedly an unconventional Republican for all the right reasons. And yet last week, by his own actions, Sanford ended up in the same sort of tawdry, sleazy, and politically predictable place typically reserved for less sincere, less principled and simply, lesser men.

But sadly now, the conservative hero that could have been probably never will be. And more sadly, due entirely to his own actions, it’s almost as if he never was.

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