Governor Pledges to Weather the Storm
Following an absence of 5 days from the state and admitting an affair with a “dear friend” in Argentina, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has apologized to his family and constituents, and announced his decision to reconcile with his family and submerge himself into the business of continuing to serve the Palmetto State as Governor for the next 18 months.
The State newspaper has published embarrassing personal emails allegedly written by Sanford and his Argentine lover the newspaper claims they have had since December, 2008. Unconfirmed reports indicate the emails were obtained by another male friend of the woman in Argentina.
Democrats and the national media are having a field day with the episode. Enemies of the Governor in the Republican Party are piling on. It has become clear that the controversy is not going away.
Three State Senators offered their opinions on the subject to The Times Examiner Monday.
Senator Philip Shoopman who represents Senate District 5 in the Upstate of South Carolina advises resistance to jumping to conclusions about forcing the Governor to resign. “At this point we remain in the fact finding mode. We need to ensure a crime was not committed by the Governor.” Sen. Shoopman sees the time between now and beginning of the next legislative session as an opportunity for healing.
Senator Larry Grooms representing District 37 in the Low Country will soon formally announce he is a candidate for Governor in the 2010 election. He has serious concerns about the future of Governor Sanford and his impact on the people of South Carolina.
“As a candidate for Governor, I don’t think it is appropriate for me to call on the Governor to resign. But what I will say is that Leadership in a public official is a sacred trust, and when a leader cannot become effective he probably needs to go. And Governor Sanford, whether he likes it or not, is the moral leader of the state of South Carolina and he no longer has the ability to be a credible moral leader, and any agenda item he wishes to pass will not pass. All of his critics now have all of the ammunition they need to trash him and the reform agenda.
“I have been fighting for conservative causes well before Mark Sanford even thought about running for Governor. And the reform conservative agenda is now at risk. And any leader that believes in that reform agenda, if that leader is standing and preventing that agenda from passing, I believe that leader has an obligation to remove himself.
“I’m not calling for him to resign, but I will say that any leader with credibility that is hurting a state should consider doing the right thing.
“With the situation we have right now, if the Governor should resign and all the Republicans are very happy and holding hands and singing Kumbaya.
I don’t think the national Democrats will let this lie. They see this as a failing within our party, and I think they are going to put pressure on the Democrats in this state to exploit this as much as possible.
“The Obama administration is going to take a lot of hits over trying to push the largest energy tax even conceived by mankind and the people of this country. They are going to take some hits for trying to nationalize health care so you can no longer choose your own doctors. They are going to take some hits over these things and the only things they will have to counter would be the indiscretions of the South Carolina Governor, and they are going to pressure Democrats in SC to keep this argument alive.
“To keep having hearings and calling for investigations, they are going to make life for Republicans miserable whether he decides to stay or go. This issue is going to be forefront in the media for at least another year through the next election cycle which is unfortunate, because there are a lot of good and decent Republicans that would not want to see the headlines they are going to be reading in the paper.”
Sen. Grooms was asked if he had spoken to the Governor since the incident.
“I spoke with the Governor last Thursday. He asked for my forgiveness. I said ‘Governor, I can forgive you because you have not personally hurt me,’ but I said, “Governor, your behavior has now called into question your ability to lead this state and I am asking you to take a few days and do the right thing for the people of South Carolina.’
“I said, ‘I am not going to specifically ask you to resign, but I am going to continually be asking you to do the right thing for the people of South Carolina.’
Grooms concluded: “I don’t know how he can lead.”
Senator “Danny” Verdin who represents Laurens and part of Greenville County minced no words.
“A man that will compromise his family will compromise his constituents. Whether they be friends, staff, employees, cabinet secretaries, legislators or Joe citizen here in South Carolina, a compromised relationship with those near and dear to you can only surmise that those out here in the countryside are subject to being compromised.
“I am afraid that Governor Sanford’s relationship with all South Carolinians has degenerated to the point that he is no longer capable of providing leadership and if he is no longer beneficial or a blessing to us, he is a detriment.
“I wish only the best for him and the best for him is reconciliation with his God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Reconciliation with his family through that same spiritual relationship that is paramount in this situation. Short of absolute reconciliation, I don’t see how he can have reconciliation with the rest of us”
Senator Verdin said he would feel comfortable asking the governor to resign, although he has not had an opportunity to do so to date.
In conclusion, Sen. Verdin said he admires and appreciates Jenny Sanford’s “fortitude, grace, discernment, and commitment to her sacred relationship both with her husband and with her Lord based on her testimony. I feel compelled to hold her up before the throne of grace for her physical and spiritual well-being,” Senator Verdin concluded.
In the same vein, the Palmetto Family Council has asked South Carolinians to “Stand by Jenny” Sanford.
The faith-based public policy group, has launched an online campaign encouraging South Carolinians to support First Lady Jenny Sanford “for her strength, her courage, her commitment to her family, and her example” during the ongoing crisis in her family.
By visiting a site set up by Palmetto Family, citizens can log in and sign an online message to the First Lady. The message reads in part: Your willingness to seek reconciliation while refusing to sacrifice your dignity or compromise the truth is an example for us all. Your steadfast focus on Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake throughout this crisis in your family is an inspiration, especially for the women and girls of our state.
For 15 years Palmetto Family Council has worked to strengthen and defend family life in South Carolina through policy, research and education.
Palmetto Family Council website is at www.palmettofamily.org.