In his at times barely comprehensible press conference remarks yesterday, Mark Sanford did manage to make it clear that he’d been spending time wandering through the woods of Bible-based therapy, seeking to recover his moral compass and repair his marriage. It’s about what one would expect of a Southern Republican politician these days.
But Sanford does not hail from the religious right wing of his party. As noted in Sarah Pulliam’s recap of Sanfordiana yesterday, he’s kept clear of political evangelicalism, and just last month opined that the religious right has wielded too much influence. In a Back-to-Basics-for-the-GOP column on Politico after the election, his prescriptions had everything to do with small governmentism, with nary a mention of moral values. At the South Carolina state party convention last month, Lindsey Graham heatedly told some libertarian hecklers, “I
am not a libertarian. If you are, you’re welcome to vote for me and
build this party. Sanford rejoined, “I’ve been accused of being a libertarian and I wear it as a badge of honor.”
Sanford’s painful exit from the national stage is a blow to the kind of Republican who wrote to the Wall Street Journal a couple of months ago, “Mark Sanford is precisely the type of man this country, particularly in these trying economic times, needs to hear from more.” In other words, social conservatives can relax. It’s the money boys who have lost one of their own.