Commentary: South Carolina needs to move past Sanford

Last month, South Carolina faced two crucial tasks: In the immediate term, we had to find some way to spur job growth and pull ourselves out of a recession that has hit South Carolinians harder than most anyone else in the country. In the slightly (though only slightly) longer term, we had to pick the person who would be our governor for the next four or even eight years — and we had to do a better job than we had done in the past couple of decades.

Today, it might feel like the most important thing we have to deal with is a governor who walked off the job for a week without telling anyone, spent the next week dropping political bombshell after bombshell about his marital infidelity and now faces the real possibility of being a political pariah whose attention will inevitably be drawn away from affairs of state to affairs of the heart.

There is no question that we face a difficult, and for many, painful task of finding the best way to resume some semblance of normalcy in public life when we have a governor who has acted as Mark Sanford has, on both a professional and a personal level. And of course Mr. Sanford faces an even more difficult and painful task, of his own making, of working through all this.

But that is not the most important thing South Carolina has to deal with.

The most important things we have to deal with are the same things we had to deal with before Mr. Sanford traipsed off to Argentina. And we must not allow Mr. Sanford’s troubles to distract us from those tasks.

To read the complete editorial, visit The State (Columbia, S.C.).