On June 23, 2009, I wrote a defense of Mark Sanford buying his story that he was on the Appalachian trail, when he was really chasing Argentinian tail.
The next day it blew up in my face. There was a scandal. He had committed adultery. He had run off to Argentina in an irresponsible act. I wrote at the time
What Mark Sanford did was wrong. He needs to go in a dark hole somewhere where no one can see him or hear him and rehabilitate himself. On the bright side, I doubt his indiscretions will affect the FisCon movement. The left is going to spend the next week making Sanford into the second coming of James Dobson to smear real marriage advocates and social conservatives — positions Sanford was rarely vocal on.
Sanford left the public stage after that and disappeared from the conversation. Over time stories percolated about him. He got engaged to his mistress following his divorce. He set about rebuilding his life.
Now he wants to run for Congress.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of play in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District that no one stood forward more solid on small government issues. But no one did. There are several people who are running and all of them are good people.
None of them have the track record in their time in elected office as committed to small government as Mark Sanford. Sanford caused many of us to embarrass ourselves defending him as he was embarrassing himself and his family.
But from my vantage point, we have nearly $17 trillion in debt, a Republican congress caving, capitulating, and preemptively surrendering. The Republican leadership removed several conservatives from key fiscal committees, but did nothing to Scott DesJarlais who has had multiple affairs and pushed his mistress and wife to have abortions.
Conservatives take the hardest line and exile their own who have failed them to the sidelines.
They should. We have values and when those values are betrayed by those who fight with us, we must often show them tough love and show them the door.
But we do a terrible job with forgiveness and rehabilitation. Mark Sanford walked out of the Governor’s Mansion and out of public life for a while. He comes back as conservatives in Congress are fighting on all fronts, out numbered, depressed, and needing every man capable of manning the ramparts.
Mark Sanford can man the ramparts. Unlike his opponents, he has a stellar and uncompromising record as a limited government, pro-life, fiscal conservative.
I am willing to forgive him. And I’m willing to be graceful. We need him. There’s no better alternative. He’s with us. I endorse him without reservation. I hope the voters of South Carolina will show him grace and put him back in the fight at this desperate hour for fiscal conservatives.