To a large extent, Mark Sanford is responsible for the public embarrassment he now suffers for his extramarital liaison with an Argentinian charmer. In an ideal world perhaps, a politician’s privates affairs should not be made public unless they impact his professional duties. (Well, in this case, they did with the governor going incommunicado “for the better part of a week.”)
We, however, do not live in an ideal world. The reality, as the Anchoress puts is that media are “just lying in wait for the chance to expose . . politicians, particularly politicians on the right.” She is baffled that men like Sanford don’t “think long and hard, not just twice but a dozen times, before they indulged themselves in behavior that can only blow up in their faces.” Michael Barone echoes this incredulity at Sanford’s folly, “I can’t understand why so many men thinking about running for president commit adultery.” Jim Geraghty, while still critical, is a bit more sympathetic, wondering if maybe the Republican, as many men do, met his true love only after marrying another woman (a notion, I should note, behind the primary theme of my novel).
Given the gossipy, melodramatic aspects of this story (it almost reads like a plot from a daytime soap opera or mediocre movie), the media are likely to make much of it for the new few days, if not weeks. And I dare say they would do so even if it were not for Sanford’s political affiliation, yet that affiliation certainly accounts for the better part of their glee. (The MSM doesn’t seem nearly as gleeful about the extramarital indiscretions of one of the leading Democratic contenders for the California gubernatorial nomination.)
Yet, this glee, as Roger Simon reminds, comes at the expense of attention to more pressing items of national interest:
At this moment, the eyes of this country should be fixed on the horrific events coming from that company [Iran] and the struggle for freedom against all odds by many of its brave citizens. They need our support more than anything. Instead – and it doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict this – our cable networks will be treating us to wall-to-wall Argentinean hanky-panky cum gubernatorial soap opera when an historical event of titanic proportions is taking place.
Not just that, while the media dwell on this “sexy” scandal, they all but ignore scandals more relevant to politicians’ service in office involving (as they do) politicians’ abuse of public trust and squandering taxpayer dollars.
Maybe it’s because the politicians involved in those scandals don’t have (R)s after their names.