South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has stumbled upon a simple formula for legislating: experience a career-killing scandal. The term-limited Republican, who will leave office in January, saw his upward political trajectory apparently end in June 2009, after he disappeared for six days and later admitted he’d run off to Argentina to be with his lover. But his approval ratings have bounced back (Rasmussen recently pegged him at an Obama-would-be-envious 55%) and in an interview with WISTV this week, he credited the scandal itself with helping him accomplish a number of things in his last legislative session. How’s that?Sanford started philosophically:
“I think that the journey that we’re all on is how do you more take yourself more out of the equation,” he said. “And without going into the whole, you know, mess over the last year and a half, on a personal level I think that part of the journey I ended up on is moving me in that direction.”
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Crash and Burn: The Mark Sanford Story]
Because of that “mess,” Sanford thinks he faced less opposition on political grounds.
“I think that a lot of people, at times, would push against certain things based on their fear that my political star was climbing,” he said. “That if they did that it would help me get to wherever it was they thought I was going. And what became abundantly clear was the supposed stars on the rainbow weren’t there. And I think we were able to debate the issue at hand. That I was less the issue, and the issue was more the issue.”
Watch (discussion starts at 10:30):