Mark Sanford may preserve his political career, but I think there are already too many state officials of his own party in South Carolina who think that his disappearing without any contact for five days is dereliction of duty. If not batshit crazy. Which his press conference most definitely was -- like what's the craziness at the beginning about his love of the Appalachian Trail...and adventure trips:
Did accepting the federal stimulus money drive him to Argentina? He apologizes long before revealing what everyone is expecting with sickening banality, like a well-known segueway between songs on an overplayed CD. He even brings up the Appalachian Trail canard like he planted it with his staff as a red herring, Sherlock still holding out on the final reveal. He goes off on "God's Laws" whatever that is as to protect us from ourselves, "The biggest self of self is indeed self."
At 7:42 he admits his infidelity with "a dear, dear friend in Argentina." At 14:12 he goes into how this friendship developed not in spite of but because of what Obama calls the bubble of big-office political life. Mind-melding over their separate problems, counsel for each other. Then a year ago there began three trysts. Just three. And now he's been crying in Argentina breaking it off, and as on the next stage of his journey "to get his heart right."
Heart/head: this is a man who got himself way too compartmentalized and is finding the walls dissolved. If he isn't lying about this Argentinean woman, then he's brought this all on himself in a way he never had to, unless she was a threat of blackmail. He's doing his public philosophizing about his own shortcomings, and the shortcircuits are showing.
Look, it's an easy mark (which is not to say cheap) that those most sanctimonious about such matters, those who derive a significant percentage of their voter support from such sanctimony as opposition to marriage equality, should prove themselves more worthy of being whacked with the first stone rather than casting it.
But I also think all guys live a double life at some level, or have at some point in their lives, the life they don't think others see. Sanford's press conference is like watching a newbie relate his own jejune personal experience, his own wonder, even, at the world he has both created and found himself in.
He should have learned from the best.