Voters in the South Carolina Lowcountry will have a lot to consider if former Gov. Mark Sanford tries to win back his old Congressional seat.
Sanford is reportedly considering a bid to succeed Tim Scott in the 1st Congressional District. Scott was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley to fill the unexpired term of Jim DeMint, who resigned to lead the Heritage Foundation.
News reports about Sanford focused a lot on his June 2009 admission of an affair with a woman in Argentina. That month, Sanford told his gubernatorial staffers he would be away for a few days hiking the Appalachian Trail. Instead, he was visiting his mistress in Argentina.
Gone for five days, Sanford was criticized for being unavailable to staffers, legislators and other state officials.
Sanford, who left the governor’s office in 2011, often had been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2012. But his presidential ambitions – and, seemingly, his political career – were shelved after the affair.
If Sanford seeks the 1st Congressional District seat, voters must decide whether to forgive him for his affair and his behavior in 2009. But they also should consider other issues that may have bigger consequences for our national government.
Throughout his political career, Sanford has strongly adhered to a relatively extreme view of limited government. He held those views during his three terms in Congress and during his eight years as governor.
In Columbia, his positions often put him at odds with the GOP-dominated Legislature. While nationally some conservatives complain about Republicans who are really moderates, it’s a hard case to make for a majority of South Carolina Republicans. Yet Sanford was badly out of synch even with them.
Given his record of not working with fellow South Carolina Republicans, would Sanford be a good addition to the Washington gridlock? It seems to us that Washington has enough politicians sticking to extreme views. We need people who can find common ground and work to solve the nation’s problems.
We need people like the ones who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft a new Constitution for the United States. Through a series of compromises, they wrote the greatest document to govern a nation the world has ever known.
Should Sanford run, Lowcountry voters must consider whether America is better served with Sanford’s ultra-conservative, intransigent views. Or does America need Congressmen who, like the founding fathers, can work well with others to get things done?
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