The pressure will build slowly, but it will be constant, and it will ultimately end with Governor Mark Sanford’s resignation. That is the view of noted Clemson University Political Science professor and Republican political consultant Dr. David Woodard. Despite the apologetic, contrite tone Sanford took in the meeting with his cabinet Friday morning with the appearance of “business as usual” Woodard says the deck is stacked against Sanford.
“I was in Tennessee when Governor Ray Blanton had to leave office early in 1978 and, of course, if you think about the Watergate scandal, usually as these demands to leave grow and grow. They’re investigations, new revelations and after a while just the sort of war weariness of it begins to lend to “we’ve got to change.”
Woodard says like other politicians who have faced scandalous situations, Sanford will slowly realize with the help of family, close friends, and confidants that his resignation would be best for all involved including the state of South Carolina because he and the citizenry will face this situation from all quarters of society.
“I think there will be more and more newspaper editorials, there will be more and more revelations. As that begins to build, so will be the demand that he leave just to stop the bleeding, because the state can’t take the abuse. The constant national news, the Letterman jokes night after night and all that kind of stuff after a while everyone’s getting hurt by this.”
Woodard says no one denies that Sanford’s infidelity was wrong and he has apologized for it. However, like many political figures before him, Sanford failed to realize the trap is set when you try to cover your tracks.
“What they did was wrong but that’s not really what they get dragged into court or dragged into impeachment for, it’s the cover up. Bill Clinton was convicted for things he said under oath and that is why he was brought into impeachment. It’s those kind of things that get you into trouble later on. That is where he (Sanford) will begin to stumble.”
Woodard says while Sanford’s affair and subsequent fabrication of his whereabouts will likely drive him out of office, history will ultimately show that the failure of Sanford’s reign as Governor is one of personality.
“You don’t have inherent powers in the office, they’re developed through the personality of the man who occupies the office. Carroll Campbell being the latest example here as somebody who could reach across the aisle and talk to people and spend lots of time negotiating to get what he wanted and he got quite a bit from a largely Democratic legislature. That is the opposite of Mark Sanford, because Mark Sanford did not like that part of the job, dealing with people that he didn’t feel like were of his class.”