Mark Sanford's political career is ending at the press conference going on now. It's painful to watch: after an awkward introduction that sung the praises of the Appalachian Trail, he segued into apologies to (so far) his kids, wife, staff, political supporters, parents-in-law, and the people of South Carolina. He hasn't said yet what he's apologizing for, but it's not looking good.
UPDATE: Yeah, he's been cheating on his wife. But that's the B-story—he ran off for a week without telling anybody on his staff what he was doing or where he was going. He's obviously got to resign the governorship. Hopefully the reporters have the sense to ask the right questions here, not just the salacious ones.
UPDATE 2: So far the reporters have stuck entirely to salacious questions about his marriage and his mistress. Well done, fellows. What about the state responsibilities he shirked? Can we get some real questions here?
UPDATE 3: Okay, finally we're getting some real questions about the fact that he lied to his staff about where he was going. (He admits he did.) And it's at that moment he runs off the podium, to audible questions about whether he will resign.
UPDATE 4: The coverage on MSNBC has been amazingly bad. We've had a parade of Republicans and political analysts with deep solemnity praising Sanford's "honesty" and explaining that no one should try to "make political hay" out of this. (Quoted language was obviously in the distributed talking points.) The man was caught at the airport by a reporter after changing his flight plans to try to avoid the press, after lying to his staff and ditching his official responsibilities for no good reason. To turn this into some morality play is soap opera coverage at its absolute worst. The adultery is irrelevant and the "honesty" a joke. It's about the job he was elected to do.
When will we get a real press corps?
UPDATE 5: According to the Kos thread, even Fox is handling this better:
11:55AM: Fox's Bill Sammon just layed down the law, all but saying Mark Sanford was done. Given Sammon's influence over Fox political coverage, that's pretty much a political death sentence even in the land of wingnuttia.UPDATE 6: Someone at MSNBC must be watching Fox; Tamron Hall just called bullshit on everything MSNBC broadcast over the last hour and did a great job doing it, explicitly downplaying the soap opera in favor of the job issues in the process.
UPDATE 6: And of course Fox hardly deserves full marks.
Another accident! What are the odds? Curse the luck!