A few of you have asked why we haven’t yet picked up this story. What’s the story? Gov. Mark Sanford spent the weekend with his one-time and perhaps future lover Maria Belen Chapur. This time it was in Florida, not Argentina, and Sanford made sure his staff and state authorities knew where he was.
I must say I’ve always found this the most endearing and humanizing part of the Sanford story. There was a lot of irresponsibility, juvenile conduct and ‘man waking up at 50 and realizing he wasn’t living his own life’ to Sanford’s high-profile self-immolation. (You can grow up before you’re nearly grown up at all and realize when you’re well into the second half of life that you’re still a kid living someone else’s life entirely.) But most pols who get caught with a mistress quickly retreat to saying the whole thing was shameful and a terrible lapse of judgment or perhaps that they need therapy for sex addiction (who doesn’t?) or whatever else. Sanford could never really bring himself to say that, though, because I just don’t think he thought it was true. Sometimes comically but almost always to his political detriment, he simply couldn’t resist saying that he loved Chapur very deeply, even memorably and repeatedly (and perhaps bizarrely) calling her his ‘soulmate’ while, rather incongruously, trying to salvage his own marriage.
Am I romanticizing or projecting on to this guy? Entirely possible. I don’t think there’s really any way we get inside of what’s going on with these people. But that’s my take on Sanford.
Sanford said the purpose of the weekend together was “obviously to see if something could be restarted on that front given the rather enormous geographic gulf between us. And time will tell. I don’t know if it will or won’t.”
To paraphrase Sanford himself, I wish the both of them, happy trails.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.