Unexpected support from the left for Governor Mark Sanford. Cristina Nehring, a lefty who fancies herself a specialist on love and sex, writes in The New Republic:
Governor Sanford of South Carolina had what would, under ordinary circumstances, be considered an ideal romantic relationship in the 21st century. Slow to evolve and based on proven mutual friendship and respect, it was eight years in the making. The woman involved, Maria, was not offensively younger than he. She was not his intern, his boss, his student, his financial contributor. He was hardly using her for sex--indeed, he had not spent that much time in her company, as they lived on different continents. Nor was he deceiving her: He told her his family obligations, his pleasures, his fears. She even told him of the men trying to seduce her. In fact, they told each other so much (and slept with each other so little) that they left a huge paper trail--or cyber trail, rather--for their enemies to scrutinize. More hedonistic pairs leave far less ample evidence for their sins. But Mark and Maria confided in each other constantly. They supported each other tenderly ("I want to help [one of your sons] with film guys that might help his career ...") They forgave each other's differences--Maria's insecurity ("you do not need a therapist to tell you who you are") and the governor's prudishness ("that would be going into sexual details," he smiles, "...and unlike you, I would never do that!"). .....
A love affair that is, in many ways, a dozen times nobler than its Washington counterparts, more altruistic than the carnal flings that get pardoned every week, and greater-souled than the flirtations (with power) of many of its sneering, small-minded critics.
On the scale of degradation inhabited by Barney Frank, Mark Sanford's marital indiscretion is kind of middling, I suppose. If one is willing to overlook the adultery, it may even have a certain charm for some: nerdy, work-focused man meets a beautiful and exotic woman who lends a sympathetic ear to his woes. To me, it is just sad, sad, sad, for all concerned.
It would not surprise me to see the governor reconcile with his wife. I don't know if South Carolinians will ever forgive him, but I don't see the man resigning and exiting politics in disgrace.
Hat tip: Susan L