Much discussion about Gov. Sanford focuses on the impracticality of having political leaders who don’t break the most sacred vows they make.
My bottom line is this: If we don’t ask for our government officials to be paragons of virture, then they won’t be paragons of virtue.
If we do ask that our government officials be paragons of virtue, then it means that, at the very least, they will have to behave publicly according to our commonly held moral values. When they stray, or when their private life creeps into the public (whether they wanted to expose it or not), then we have a really good reason to get rid of them.
Yes, it is almost impossible to find people who both seek high offices and are paragons of virtue. After all, those who don’t give a whit above virtue and morality seem to be more compelled than anyone else to seek high offices. Those who live lives of personal moral integrity don’t derive their self-worth from what other people think of them. And this is exactly why people who do not live lived of moral virtue should not be permitted to even consider themselves as a potential candidate, and why we need people of high moral character in all offices.
I am glad, personally, that Newt Gingrich will never be nominated for president. If a man cheats on his wife, even though she is disabled, what will he do to the country? It is apparent that Newt Gingrich stands for Newt Gingrich and no one else, and will do and say anything to get elected just like he would do and say anything to sack that nice looking babe down the hall. That kind of man should be kept far, far away from the controls of government. He has a nice smile, sure, but inside, he is rotten. Even if he has repented and been accepted by Christ for the highest echelons of salvation, we’re better off leaving that judgment to the Lord and using our best instincts and understanding of human nature to say, “No thanks.”
On the other hand, Mitt Romney has, in all respects, been extraordinarily faithful to his wife, family, and extended family. This is a man who understands that families are the foundation of our country and should be the core of our lives. He has raised a beautiful generation of children who are raising another beautiful generation of children. This is precisely the kind of person we can trust with high office, and precisely the kind of person we should encourage to run for office.
As a moral conservative, I don’t think it is shooting myself in the foot to demand that people like Gov. Sanford confess and abandon their office. I don’t think we’re missing much if Newt Gingrich is consigned to a back-office job of writing white papers no one but those closest to power will ever read. I do think building a system where such people are allowed to rise to the top is a bad idea.