Second acts

SECOND ACTS…. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) term in office is nearing an end, and the Wall Street Journal ran a profile the other day that included this little gem:

Many expect Mr. Sanford, 50 years old, to run for office again. “Never say never,” Mr. Sanford said, declining to reveal specific plans.

My initial take was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” The right-wing governor and former congressman was nearly impeached after he lied about an adulterous affair, temporarily leaving the country (and his official responsibilities) behind in order to meet up with his mistress.

State lawmakers were forced to brush up on the legal meaning of phrases like “gubernatorial negligence” and “abandonment of office.” Worse, it appears that at least one of Sanford’s trips to Argentina was financed by taxpayers, which made the “private, personal indiscretion” argument a tougher sell.

Given this, and the fact that Sanford has presented himself as a “family values” evangelical, it’s tempting to think his willingness to consider seeking public office again is, on its face, ridiculous.

That, at least, was my first thought. My second thought was that it wouldn’t be too big a surprise, since in Republican politics, there’s nothing anyone can do to be driven from polite company.

Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, and Ralph Reed are all humiliated, disgraced figures, and yet all of them are prominent Republican players this year. Hell, Gingrich still thinks he could be president.

So, Sanford hasn’t ruled out another campaign? Of course not; why would he?