McEnany: Mark Sanford Wins, GOP Loses

CHARLESTON, SC – MAY 7: Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford throws up his arms after casting his vote in the special election runoff with Elizabeth Colbert Busch for a seat in the 1st Congressional District May 7, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina. Voters are deciding between Sanford, a Republican seeking a political comeback after an extramarital affair and Busch, a Democratic businesswoman and the sister of comedian of Stephen Colbert. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Republican Party used to be the party of family values. I question whether that’s still true after Mark Sanford’s victory in South Carolina’s special congressional election Tuesday night.

Has South Carolina forgotten the unfortunate tale of their fallen governor?

For six days in June of 2009, Sanford disappeared. His wife, state law enforcement, and the nation could not find Mark Sanford. 

While the rest of the nation celebrated Father’s Day, Sanford’s four sons had no father to celebrate with. 

Why? Because Sanford found it more important to visit his Argentinian mistress – all on the taxpayers’ dime.

In the coming days, under intense media pressure, Sanford would admit that he “crossed the line” with several women over the course of his marriage, culminating in a tryst with his Argentinian “soul mate,” who is now his fiancé.

Seeing a man who has displayed the exact opposite of conservative family values ride to a glorious 9-point victory marks a sad day for the Republican Party.     

As a conservative, I want Republicans to win as many House seats as possible. But what kind of message does it send to re-elect a man who left his wife for his lover? 

I don’t want Sanford representing my party or my country.

If Sanford truly cared about conservatism, he would have packed up, gone home, and supported conservative candidates from the backbench.

Instead, after infidelity, stealing taxpayer funds, and lying to the nation, Sanford had the gall to run for US Congress, all on the platform of “redemption.” 

But redemption is attained from God, and a man truly seeking redemption would have done everything in his power to reunite with his wife and honor the promise he made to her before God. 

Only someone as arrogant as Mark Sanford could think redemption is achieved through holding elected office.

Should we forgive Sanford?  Of course. We all make mistakes, and we all deserve forgiveness for those mistakes after repentance.  But there are repercussions for our actions.

Holding elected office is a privilege, and it’s a privilege Sanford should have lost. Our elected officials are held to a higher standard.  Mark Sanford included.

For a man who made his name by criticizing waste of taxpayer funds, using those same taxpayer dollars to visit your mistress is unacceptable. For a man who ran on the platform of family values, continually cheating on the woman you vowed before God to love and to cherish till death do you part is equally as unacceptable.

Mark Sanford’s re-election to Congress demeans our party, and it demeans the office of U.S. Congressman.

Do we expect perfect men and women to hold office? No. They don’t exist. But we owe it to ourselves to elect individuals who will treat the office – and by proxy their constituents – with the respect it deserves

We used to care about morals.  Tuesday night showed morality has fallen by the wayside. 

For the sake of my party and my country, it’s time to change course.