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Posted: April 9, 2013 8:18 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Americans are a forgiving lot when it comes to politicians, and South Carolinians are obviously among the most forgiving of all, having handed former Gov. Mark Sanford a resounding victory in the Republican Congressional primary down in the Lowcountry last week. Sanford defeated a large team of GOP rivals to claim the nomination and will now face Elizabeth Colbert, sister of comedian/commentator Stephen Colbert, for the seat which was vacated when Tim Scott was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Jim DeMint. Whew, that’s a mouthful.

Colbert, by the way, declares herself a fiscal conservative but that is a difficult tag to make stick with the way Washington works these days. Once elected, a member of either party it expected to march in reasonable lockstep with party leaders, and it would be difficult to foresee Colbert taking a seat and immediately announcing she would oppose the spending policies of President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

You recall, of course, that Sanford -- and some who know him say he’s not only fiscally conservative, but downright stingy when it comes to money -- heaped disgrace upon himself by taking part in an affair with an Argentinean woman (now his fiancé) while concocting a story about being on vacation and hiking the Appalachian Trail. His new campaign has resembled his old ones in many ways, including the worn and battered clothing and the low-key approaches to small crowds. It obviously worked, and Sanford heads into the upcoming general election with a huge leg up in the pro-GOP district.

Despite the uncovering of the affair, the lies and the ethical violations that led him to pay $74,000 in fines, Sanford soldiered on in his last days in the governor’s office, and he is now within a whisker of a full-blown political comeback. One noted political scientist said Sanford will surely provide political fodder for late-night comedians, but we’re not sure that’s how we want the state to be viewed by others.


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