He’s not crazy, he’s just a little unwell

HE’S NOT CRAZY, HE’S JUST A LITTLE UNWELL…. Well, there’s a headline South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) probably didn’t want to see in his state’s largest newspaper: “Sanford’s mental state questioned.”

While mental health experts are reluctant to pin a diagnosis on the governor, their observations of his behavior suggest a chemical imbalance, narcissism and impulsive behavior. […]

“That’s a troubled man,” said Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, a longtime Sanford ally who this year became frustrated at Sanford’s refusal to take federal stimulus money. “You can see it in his eyes and his body language. I’m concerned about his mental well-being.”

John Crangle, executive director of Common Cause South Carolina, called Sanford “delusional” and said it was obvious the governor has “serious mental problems.”

“The idea that he could carry on this relationship and at the same time be governor, run the Republican governor’s association and have presidential aspirations, it shows an individual who has lost contact with reality,” said Crangle, who has worked as a divorce lawyer. “He sees no limitations. He can do what he wants.”

One prominent Republican who is close to Sanford and has been in regular contact with him also has questioned the governor’s well-being. “When your support is evaporating but your resolve (to stay in office) is increasing, that’s a bad combination,” said the source, who did not want to be identified.

Peeler cites the governor’s mental state as one more reason he should resign. Crangle said Sanford should at least take a leave of absence and get a psychiatric evaluation.

Now, I’m not in a position to evaluate Sanford’s mental health, but the fact that South Carolina Republicans are even talking about his stability and tenuous relationship with reality does not speak well of the governor’s political future.

For what it’s worth, the chair of the South Carolina Republican party, for the second time in as many days, has called on the governor to resign. Sanford continues to insist that this will not happen.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.