Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
If you scroll down, you'll see that I tried to be a willing dupe for Sanford as long as I could. I took his little spree at face value, didn't see why he wouldn't be off hiking and "writing," didn't even mind that much when it turned out that he'd gone to Argentina instead.
Not that it matters what I think. And I should note that my wife called this out as an affair as soon as she heard of his "disappearance."
But as I have also suggested, Sanford's slow-drip approach to the truth -- continuing through this morning with his incomplete and misleading interview with The State just this morning -- only makes his political and PR problems more acute.
If he had just come out and admitted his affair -- especially since he could have, after a properly and previously announced trip to Argentina, said that he'd broken it off -- he wouldn't be subject to the enormous attention he's already received. Even if this hadn't happened, do you think anyone outside of Nevada would still be talking about John Ensign's promise-breaking?
Instead, Sanford has made himself into a nationally known prevaricator and cheat.
It's true that it's easier for politicians to make a name for themselves through sex scandals than anything else. Be honest -- had you ever heard of Mark Foley before his text-messages surfaced?
Sanford was fairly well-known for a governor of a relatively small state. His battles against stimulus spending had gotten him national attention and some serious mentions as a presidential hopeful. (At least I was never duped about his chances there.)
Now Sanford, who has never been able to get along with the South Carolina legislature, will be laughed at nationally and have an especially rough 18 final months as governor.
Imagine how his staff will treat him, if they have any nerve. "Are you sure about that, governor?"
That's assuming he doesn't resign, which -- gullible me -- I'm guessing he won't.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.