Posted on April 5, 2013
Mark Sanford is set to return to Congress.
For those who don't remember him when he was first in the House of Representatives, Sanford was the original Tea Party guy.
From the historic class of 1994, Mark was a rabble-rouser. He voted against Appropriations bills. He bucked the leadership. He spoke out against excess spending. He promised to serve only three terms and then he stuck to that promise, an amazing feat when you consider he came from the State that was once represented by Strom Thurmond and Fritz Hollings, and Hollings was the Junior Senator.
South Carolina produced some amazing leaders in the 1990's. Aside from Sanford, Lindsey Graham came from that class. Bob Inglis came from the class before.
Graham and Inglis are fascinating political creatures, as is Sanford.
South Carolina is always seen as your typical Southern state, all for State's rights, pretty redneck, very, very conservative bible beaters, the typical stereotypes. But Inglis and Graham (and Sanford) broke that mold.
Inglis too stuck to his term limit pledge, ran for something else, ran and won again for the House, and then lost because he was seen as too much of political reformer. Inglis also became a convert in the cause of global warming and voted against the troop surge in 2007.
Graham was a leader in the trial to impeach Bill Clinton, ran for Strom Thurmond's seat when he finally died, and then has also tacked left and right depending on the issue. Graham is a fixture on the Sunday Show circuit, the leading defense hawk in the Upper Chamber, in the middle of the scrum on immigration reform, and generally one of the most quotable members of the Senate. He too has at times been a bit moderate on climate change, probably because if the oceans continue to rise, the South Carolina coastline will be in big trouble.
Jim DeMint, who replaced Bob Inglis in the House and then who went on to the Senate, is your more typical version of the South Carolina conservative. He left the Senate because it didn't fit into his vision of a conservative paradise and he decided to go to Heritage Foundation, where he could maintain his purity.
DeMint's departure has made it easier for Sanford to re-enter politics.
As we all know, the former Governor left office after he left the country in pursuit of his lover. Sadly for Mark and his then wife, Jenny, his wife was not his lover.
If this were a Hollywood script (and how could it not it be, eventually) Sanford's pursuit of his Argentinian girlfriend would be seen as a modern day version of Romeo and Juliet. It is a love story, albeit a tawdry love story involving a jilted ex-wife, a tax-payer paid vacation, a scandal of epic proportions.
Jenny Sanford, the ex, was always seen as the brains in the operation, and yet Mark Sanford seems to be doing pretty well without her in his comeback. Who knew?
The Democrats have put forward the sister of a leading Comedy Channel celebrity. That seems to be her only qualification. Really.
And yet, the media believes that being the sister of a Comedy Channel celebrity is perfectly acceptable in this era of celebrity worship.
That's the world we live in.
Mark Sanford has decided that his road to redemption leads him straight back to the United States House of Representatives. I guess if you are going to do penance, the House is pretty good place to do it.