Move over, Sarah Palin? Jenny Sanford, the wife of embattled Republican South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, is attracting her own constituency. The reason behind this is easy to see.
Sanford's husband, who recently admitted to having an extramarital affair, explains that he "crossed lines" multiple times during his marriage, but only really "cheated" on his wife with one woman he shared a "love story" with. And now Mrs. Sanford has become something of a heroine, according to press reports. One friend of the wronged Mrs. Sanford told the Washington Post: "I think Jenny has not had these types of ambitions, but I think every woman in South Carolina would vote for Jenny Sanford for governor right now."
There's been a clear difference between the public statements of Mark and Jenny Sanford: only one seems to be concerned with the question of responsibility. The first lady of South Carolina, upon her husband's confession that he had jetted off to Argentina for the express purpose of a little hanky-panky, looked at duty clearly: she loves her husband and has children to protect. Mark Sanford, on the other hand, put power as his priority.
He, clearly, is a broken man. He's making lame excuses for his infidelity in his marriage, dereliction of duty as governor and misuse of power (trysting with his mistress on the state's dime). Maybe it's all desperation. I don't envy the man whose mistakes are exposed for the world to see. But he's made some choices -- to get married, to father children, to run for governor. And now, instead of The Sanford Family and State of South Carolina Show, it's The Mark Show. All Mark All the Time. Watch the Tragedy Unfold, the Man Who Could Have Been the Great Right Hope. It's as if he's taken lessons from Blago, the ludicrously corrupt and impeached former governor of Illinois turned media monster.
Across the political spectrum, Mrs. Sanford has garnered respect for not appearing at her husband's press conference and for taking the opportunity to reaffirm basic, unimpeachable values. Presumably she knew more about the story than we would that day--as more details would later be revealed -- and had reason not to trust him enough to buy in.
She would later tell reporters camped out at the end of her driveway that "his career is not a concern of mine...He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children."