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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bad advice from Alec Baldwin (via Kottke, who gets this wrong too):

Now is a wonderful opportunity to show the country what Democrats/liberals/progressives/unaligned learned from the Clinton era. Whatever personal problems that public officials deal with privately, leave them alone. This could happen to anyone, in any state, regardless of party. Why make the voters of South Carolina suffer while Sanford is skewered? If he wants to resign, so be it. If not, let him deal with it in private.
Kottke goes on to criticize Huffington Post and TPM for diving so wholeheartedly into the mud on this. And he's right—sex scandals are non-stories and should be treated as such. (Olbermann's glee, for instance, was actively painful to watch last night.) But that doesn't mean the Sanford story isn't important or that the man shouldn't resign. Though the media seems strangely uninterested in this fact, Sanford skipped town (skipped the whole country!) for a week without telling anyone where he was going, and in fact actively misled his staff about his whereabouts. There are powers that only governors can exercise; it's wildly irresponsible for him to pull a stunt like this no matter what's going on in his personal life, and if that's the level of judgment he exercises when dealing with the state's business he obviously needs to resign. Governing a state is serious business, and a serious responsibility; Sanford blew it off, and so he needs to resign or else be impeached. That's the only aspect of this story that's newsworthy and the only one we should be talking about, no matter how salacious the details or egregious the apparent hypocrisy.

UPDATE: But don't take my word for it; even "Chainsaw" Charles Krauthammer says Sanford has to go.