Even as the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) finds no "misuse" of state funds by Sanford, the stark fact remains: he (or someone within his office) lied to the people of South Carolina. While he told his advisors (or, again, one of his advisors told his constituents) that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail to recharge his batteries after a brusing legislative session, in reality he was in Argentina with his mistress. A lie about the whereabouts of the executive of the entire state as serious as this one calls for resignation.
But to top that, Sanford is a hypocrite. Not only does he not want gays to be allowed to be married, he doesn't even want them to be allowed to adopt. Meanwhile, he thinks that it's OK to break the sacred vows of marriage that he feels he has a special right to because of his sexual orientation, and to leave his kids on Father's Day weekend to get some with his woman on the side. Now tell me that kids growing up in a stable, loving environment where a same-sex couple love and are faithful to each other and are around for family holidays is more detrimental than a governor who puts his family in the spotlight for his infidelity. Sanford should resign just on the fact that he wants to dictate legislation negatively affecting millions of American citizens but does not want to follow his own reasoning.
Now many people might say that technically Sanford did nothing illegal. That's fine, but he has proven himself to be untrustworthy, a liar, and, to be frank, a scumbag. If that's the kind of guy people do not mind having as governor, then to each his own. But would Mark Sanford have been elected if his potential constituents knew about his affairs and his penchant for either lying to his staff or having someone on his staff lie to his constituents? On top of all this he is treating reporters like therapists and spilling his guts. It's cringe-inducing in its awkwardness. It's like you want to shake him by the shoulders and tell him to shut up and talk to a shrink in private.
I'll give Mark Sanford one concession: reading those emails, he was clearly in love with his Argentinian mistress. It's really no excuse, though, because the vows of marriage are "til death do us part," not "til I find someone else I fall in love with." Sanford needs to focus on his life and his family - something a little more important than him retaining power for whatever reasons he thinks he should. He's like your friend at the bar who has had too much to drink and goes into the whole "I love you guys" speech when everyone else is still semi-sober; you stop him before he embarasses himself, get him home, and let him sleep it off. Sanford needs to do just that; resign, go home, and sleep it off. Peace.
Photo - Mark Sanford (Politico)