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Derrick K. Baker Headshot

Governor Playboy the Antithesis of a GOP Standard-Bearer

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford really should just stop talking in public. Hush. Shut up. Callate!

He needs to try his absolute best to refrain from opening his mouth these days whenever a microphone is positioned in front of his contorted face. He needs to act like a mime or a drone in public. The governor needs to keep his lips clenched.

When the personal and professional crater you've unceremoniously dug for yourself is as wide and deep as that which is swallowing Gov. Sanford's career and personal life, it's beyond time to cut your losses, and quit while you're behind.

Even Joe Jackson, the sub-moronic dolt who is the late Michael Jackson's biological father, apparently knows when it's time to stop talking about your new record company within days of the startling and untimely death of his iconic son.

Actually, about the only people the embattled governor should be speaking to as he uses his head are fellow statewide elected officials, the people in his administration and other Republicans on the national level.

From his love-torn heart, he needs to only speak privately with himself and his wife and kids, who are owed so much more than an apology now that the world is well aware of the fact the governor is a traveling philanderer, an escape artist who could shame Houdini, and a prolific liar all rolled up into one hypocritical elected official who apparently has his own fiscal and sexual definitions of "stimulus."

But if only the guilty governor could help himself and shut his mouth, he would. If he was emotionally stable enough to realize that at the end of the day he really doesn't enjoy the taste of shoe leather from putting his foot in his mouth, he'd shut up pronto and not hold another press conference to discuss the debacle that is his marriage.

When he lies about his vacation destination and purpose, then lies about the particulars of his relationship with a woman in Argentina, and then lies again about how many times he's seen her and where, prevarication takes on a new meaning.

But guilt is a monster. And right about now the governor of South Carolina is as guilty as sin itself, and the guilt is so eating him alive that he has suffered a monumental case of diarrhea of the mouth. If that wasn't the case, why would Gov. Sanford go on record as making among many other obtuse and damaging comments: "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair. This was a love story."

It would be much easier to show a certain level of compassion and empathy to the governor and his plight -- and especially his wife, Jenny, and sons -- if his track record as an elected official had not included his condemnation of former President Bill Clinton at the time that that lothario was embroiled in the fallout of his dalliances with Monica Lewinsky.

So to the extent that he joins the long line of GOPers (conservative and not so much) who contend that the Democratic Party and the socialist zealots who run it and are running America into the ground at an alarming pace, but who themselves can't find their way clear of high-class prostitutes, prescription drugs and the same gay sexual shenanigans that they decry in press conferences, then Gov. Sanford deserves the ridicule and humiliation that he's suffering.

That fact is fueling the guilt that has made him ramble and cry and generally comes across as a man unfit to be governor, a presidential candidate or county dog catcher.

Having acknowledged that he broke "God's law" and written that he loves "the curves of your hips" -- as in the hips of Maria Belen Chapur and not his wife's -- the governor demonstrated that he is human. His libido, poor judgment and sexual instincts got in the way of his life. More than a few men know the pull and allure of a woman who may or may not be their "soul mate," as the governor labeled Chapur, and understand how extremely difficult it can be to stay on the straight and narrow.

And that's all the more reason to not demonize and criticize those among your circle of political colleagues who have had trouble being faithful. Gov. Sanford had as much business criticizing President Clinton as Michael Vick would have if he joined PETA to speak out against women who wear fur.

A GOP standard-bearer he is not. Gov. Sanford, however, should get a fleeting nod of respect, however, for having the temerity to not resign. He's guilt-ridden, but not feeling guilty enough to vacate the governor's seat.

And if that ain't typical of a conservative Republican politician, I don't know what is.

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