To a pair of ancient eyes, the fallen Governor of South Carolina has the hapless look of Edward VIII giving up the throne of England in 1936 for "the woman I love," a man undone by unexpected passion after a lifetime of being trained to follow all the rules of a straight-laced society.
The bizarre details of his downfall testify to the emotions that must have overcome Mark Sanford--an Eagle Scout on his way to a presidential nomination suddenly disappearing, on Father's Day weekend no less, into his own secret world and returning to confess publicly with the dazed look of a man with no rational explanation for his behavior.
Sanford is not in the mold of Bill Clinton, John Edwards, John Ensign, David Vitter, Eliot Spitzer and all those hypocritical politicians who cheat on their wives and voters for the erotic pleasure to which they feel entitled. Impulsively running off to Argentina and getting caught is not their style.
The Republican presidential field is now left to straight arrows like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and other superior figures of personal morality, but there is a pang over the loss of a middle-aged romantic writer of e-mails like this:
"You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light--but hey, that would be going into sexual details..."
Stylistically squishy, but surely the words of someone as honestly smitten as the man who gave up a throne for passion.