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sanford 2Last Week Steven Colbert said the results of Tuesday’s special election to fill a South Carolina House seat ‘scared him to his core’—I couldn’t agree more.

Of course he was referring to disgraced Republican Governor Mark Sanford completing his political comeback by beating Colbert’s sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch (54% to 45%) on Tuesday night.  Sanford’s victory came despite him being less than four years removed from weaving a web of lies that included cheating on his wife and leaving the country during his term as governor to be with his mistress.

What were they thinking?

The only justification for voting en mass for such a man was that palmetto Republicans didn’t at all like Ms. Colbert Bush.  I’m not saying I blame them since even though she tried to run as a moderate, she was a terrible candidate and was clearly anything but (think Christie Vilsack).  Having said that there is no way Sanford should have had the support to win this seat, and this result puts a temporary nationwide stain on Republicans.

While voting for someone who has been unfaithful to their spouse is bad enough—Louisiana Senator David Vitter comes to mind—Sanford’s situation was even worse.  Not only did he cheat on and lie to his wife, he abandoned his state entirely by actually leaving the country while on the job.  Either of these should disqualify him from being in Congress, let alone a combination of both of them at once.

Ideally this situation should have been taken care of before the general election in the 16 way Republican primary that Sanford placed first in.  At this time there was no “lesser of two evils” dynamic for Republican voters.  It’s inconceivable that another Republican in the district wasn’t more qualified to forward Republican principles than this guy. Even if Sanford was the only candidate who could win the general election, on principle Republicans in the state should have lost this House seat and been proud of doing so.  The truth is right now this seat isn’t at all crucial, and they very likely would have won it back in two years anyway.  It would have been a far more reasonable alternative to this shameful outcome.

This Trend Much End

How can the Republican Party stand on such high-minded pillars as morality, responsibility, and accountability and elect a guy like Mark Sanford?  No matter how bad the alternative—the answer is we can’t.  Beyond the general stamp of approval this victory represents, sending someone with such a proven and utter lack of self-control to make our most important decisions is insane.

I would like to believe Iowa Republicans wouldn’t allow such a thing to happen if presented with a similar candidate—and I’d be pretty stunned if they did.  The scary thing here is that, especially since Democrats are notoriously unwilling to morally judge their candidates, we now can’t be surprised should we see a John Edwards comeback.  I know right now you’re saying ‘no chance’…but nobody would have predicted this Sanford embarrassment either.

Republicans may have won a U.S. House seat last week but we lost yet another chunk of moral high ground.  Oh what a ridiculously wicked web we weave these days.

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