Mark Sanford caused the GOP enough of a headache when he disappeared—but coming back to South Carolina only made it worse. The second Republican sex scandal in a week has left party leaders angry and exhausted, reports the New York Times, and has them wondering whether they can mount a challenge to Barack Obama in 2012. "The concern here is that this continues a broader narrative that is completely unhelpful to the Republican Party’s rebuilding,"said one party leader.
Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich have all seen their stars fall out of the sky in recent months, and both Sanford and John Ensign have kissed their presidential ambitions goodbye. Yet not all Republicans are jittery; anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, for one, thinks that the GOP base views such politicians differently than the mainstream media. Asked about Ensign's and Sanford's affairs, he said: "I think instead it shows that sexual attractiveness of limited-government conservatism."