Gov. Mark Sanford’s extramarital “summer adventure to Argentina” is more than just a personal embarrassment, said Dan Balz in The Washington Post. The South Carolina Republican’s infidelity (read an excerpt of Sanford's e-mail to his mistress), revealed a week after a similar confession by Sen. John Ensign (R, Nev.), is another bit of “unwelcome publicity” for a “down on its luck” Republican Party. It not only “further damages the GOP brand,” it also benches yet another “new-generation GOP leader.”
Sanford’s national political career is dead, said John Dickerson in Slate. But his affair and accompanying “erratic behavior” makes things “only marginally worse” for the GOP. The party has no leader, and “I don’t think the GOP is going to solve its problems with a white man from the heart of the Confederacy. They have that vote covered.”
GOP kingmaker Rush Limbaugh bemoaned the loss, said David Paul Kunh in RealClearPolitics, saying the fiscally conservative Sanford “could have been our JFK.” But it’s hard to see how his sexual indiscretion is “reason to write another GOP obituary.” For every Sanford “there is a John Edwards. For every David Vitter there is an Eliot Spitzer.” None of these men “hurt either party’s brand.”
Now that we’ve “pretty well established that sexual stone-throwing is a dangerous sport” for both parties, said Gail Collins in The New York Times, “it’s time for the Republicans to apologize for putting us through the Clinton impeachment.” Still, the GOP might have dodged a bullet here—infidelity isn’t Sanford’s problem; it’s that he’s a “complete loony.”
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