The XX Factor

Easy Forgiveness For Male Republicans

This New York Times puff piece profile of Mark Sanford would hold almost no real interest, except that within it lurks further proof that there is indeed a curse of the Mama Grizzly . In recent years, Mark Sanford had an affair, was discovered in the second most embarrassing way possible (the first being in flagrante, though having your sexy love letters published is quite close), and because of all this, his relationship was exposed to a secretive fundamentalist Christian organization that props up dictators and played a role in the pushing of a bill in Uganda that would require the death penalty for gay people.  He also came across as shockingly self-involved, the sort of guy who married someone because she was on hand, and when he discovered that he was capable of falling in love in his middle age, he wanted a cookie for it.

H e has a 55 percent approval rating .  In comparison, Nikki Haley took his job as governor with only 51 percent of the vote, despite not having run off to Argentina to have an affair, and coming back to make a giant fuss over it in public.  Sure, she was attacked with highly implausible rumors of her infidelities, but odds are high that she’s innocent.  Meanwhile, Sanford is an admitted adulterer.  I can’t expect the family-values set in South Carolina to care much about the murderous dictators or genocidal laws that have Family fingerprints all over them, but you would think conservative voters would hold it against you for having romantic adventures they don’t get to have.

True, approval ratings and election returns are much different beasts, so only so much can be really understood from this. Still, it’s weird to think that Sanford could actually be more popular than Haley, who should get a few brownie points for not being an embarrassment, if nothing else.