South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) was charged with 37 counts of breaking state ethics laws, including using state aircraft for personal trips, flying first class on the taxpayers’ dime, and illegal use of campaign funds. The GOP-controlled state legislature is now considering impeaching Sanford before his term ends in January 2011, for the ethics violations and/or going AWOL for five days to visit his mistress in Argentina. Is impeachment really the right response? (Watch MSNBC discuss the Sanford case.)

Impeach the lame duck: Sanford’s lawyers call the infractions “minor and technical,” says South Carolina’s Pee Dee Morning News in an editorial, “but they’re enough to merit impeachment hearings in January, in our opinion.” That would give Sanford a chance to clear his name, and Sanford’s opponents a stage from which to publicly expose his lack of ethics, judgment, and respect for the law.
“Gov. Sanford’s actions have been damaging”

Impeachment is not the answer: “Moral outrage” is not a proper basis for impeachment, says the Anderson, S.C., Independent Mail in an editorial. If the House finds “legitimate and legal reasons” to impeach Sanford, rather than just “indignation over his infidelity,” we might change our mind. But otherwise, let’s spare South Carolina “yet another public embarrassment.”
“What’s next in the Sanford Saga?”

It’s not worth the effort: You’d think Democrats at least would want Sanford impeached, says Jamie Sanderson at Daily Kos. But despite “how nice it would feel,” it wouldn’t be good for the state, or even the party. Another Republican is in line to replace Sanford, and it seems like a waste of time and energy to kick out a “worthless politician who has already sealed his fate,” when South Carolina has much more pressing problems.
“Let’s talk about this Sanford mess, shall we?”

Sanford should resign: If Sanford had any sense of shame or decency, says Jo-Ann Armao in The Washington Post, he’d “spare himself, his family, and his state further agony” by resigning immediately. But maybe that’s too much to expect of “a man who thinks nothing of leaving his four sons over Father's Day to travel to another time zone for a tryst with his mistress.”
“Where is Sanford’s shame?”