I hate to admit it, but I feel kind of sorry for the guy. Usually, a Republican caught in a sex scandal fills me with a kind of giddy exhilaration; there's nothing like seeing somebody who rants and raves about morality exposed as a gigantic hypocrite. Sanford certainly fit that bill, having previously spoken out against Bill Clinton and Larry Craig during their respective scandals. The fact that recently he had unsuccessfully attempted to deny stimulus package money to his state's education system in order to make some kind of point doesn't make him any less sympathetic.
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As much as I try, I really can't feel to smug about this one. His confession during the news conference was probably the first one I've ever seen that truly seemed heartfelt and sincere. He didn't try to dodge responsibility or be vague about what had happened. Neither did he pull that "If I hurt anyone" crap. He came right out and listed the people his behaviors had hurt, and he firmly apologized for his actions. I also give him credit for not dragging his wife or kids in front of the camera with as support, a scumbag attempt by other lecherous politicians to imply that if his family supports him, the voters should as well.
The whole Argentina escapade only endears me to him more. This was obviously the self-destructive act of a desperate man burning out under the weight of his own duplicitous shenanigans. His wife has apparently knew about the affair for awhile, but was suffering along with it for the sake of the family and Sanford's office. From the sincerity of his confession and apology, I get the feeling that he regretted what he was putting her through.
It was a poisonous relationship that wasn't doing anybody any good. But he was getting away
Image via Wikipediawith, and was even being allowed to do so by those who already knew. So, with the decision made to stop it all, Sanford literally disappears and creates a series of events that will guarantee that he will get caught. That's why he held the Press Conference without even waiting for anyone to follow the breadcrumbs and break the story.
Even the press conference was the last act of a desperate man. He could have easily released a statement and went into hiding. Instead, he held a public press conference and bared all to anyone willing to listen. This is a guy burning bridges because he doesn't want to live the way he has been, but knows he will continue to do so if he keeps getting away with it. The only way to come full circle was to botch everything beyond recognition, and give himself the excuse to come clean. The Press Conference wasn't for his constituents or the news media; it was his own personal purge and cleansing, a self-motivated emancipation from the sordid mess he had gotten himself into.
Like I said, I hate to say it. But I feel sorry for the guy.