The story of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s affair has not, obviously, unfolded like other political sex scandals. From his first epic, tearful press conference to the touchingly goofy e-mails between him and Maria Chapur to his recent declaration that “I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate,” the whole thing has just been so freaking romantic. It’s like a chick flick, and despite the fact that our hero is not someone we can personally ever imagine having sex with (ever), we can’t help it: We want our Hollywood ending.
And we’re not the only ones.
“Just go be with her!” Josh Marshall, whom we frankly wouldn’t have pegged as a romantic, wrote yesterday. Dana Goldstein points out in the American Prospect that everything Sanford has said and done suggests “he’s still passionately in love with Belen Chapur and perhaps just one step away from riding off into the sunset,” and that “trying” to “fall back in love” with his wife isn’t going to work since “a continued Sanford marriage will look, to most of the world, like a total sham.” Plus, the kids! At this point, divorce would probably be a relief. “After all, kids often know, better than anyone else, when there’s something hopelessly wrong in their parents’ marriage.”
And in Argentina, Vindication of Love author Cristina Nehring wrote in the New Republic last week:
Governor Sanford of South Carolina had what would, under ordinary circumstances, be considered an ideal romantic relationship in the 21st century. Slow to evolve and based on proven mutual friendship and respect, it was eight years in the making.
And look, Jenny? We all know she’ll be fine, and in fact better off. She’ll probably end up renovating her house in Tuscany, or who knows, starting a romantic-comedy empire of her own. So just do it, Mark. Dry your tears. Say, Fuck being the governor, I’m going to be a man. Get on that plane and head back to Buenos Aires. Find Maria at the top of the Palacio Barolo building and say those words every woman wants to hear: “I always believed in you. I just didn’t believe in me.”