Progressives tired of the sense that controversy and misfortune are hounding Democratic politicians exclusively these days should be forgiven for indulging in a bit of schadenfreude at the continuing travails of one-time 2012 presidential aspirant Mark Sanford. Though he’s disappeared from the national political radar over the last few weeks, down in South Cackalacki, he just won’t go away, as detailed in a Wall Street Journal report today by Valerie Bauerline:
To resurrect his image, Mr. Sanford is on a forgiveness tour, criss-crossing the state and imploring civic-club members to join him in pushing for dull but substantial changes to South Carolina’s state constitution. He said he is eager to regain the confidence of his constituents, one fried-chicken luncheon at a time.
But despite his doughty efforts to bore Palmetto State residents into disinterest in his scandals, Sanford can’t help but notice the buzzards circling his path from Rotary luncheon to Kiwanis breakfast. He’s still in deep trouble over allegations of illegal use of state funds for personal and political travel. His former chief political strategist, his wife, has vacated the Governor’s Mansion and split to the coast with his sons. And most recently, in a fine piece of political jiu-jitsu, his Lieutenant Governor (and bitter intra-party enemy), Andre Bauer, greased the skids for his departure by pledging to drop a planned 2010 gubernatorial run if Sanford soon resigns, thus giving his own rivals a tangible incentive to shove the incumbent out the door.
Knowing that the legislature can’t impeach him until January, Sanford’s trying to gut it out, but doesn’t seem to be winning many converts; fully half of the state’s voters now favor a resignation. In a fine kicker, Bauerlein’s account of Sanford’s travails ends with this quote from an audience member at a Kiwanis appearance:
Bill Taylor, the 75-year-old owner of a hotel and apartments, said he listened to Mr. Sanford, whom he had voted for twice. “He kept saying, ‘We’re going to do so-and-so.’ How many ‘we’s does he think he’s got behind him?”