South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis made a name for himself in the late 1990s as one of Bill Clinton’s most zealous pursuers, an impeachment “manager” who attacked the moral failings of the president with a gusto that earned him a devoted following in the staunchly conservative “Upstate” of conservative South Carolina.
But with his governor now felled by similar temptations, Inglis sees an opening for the Republican Party, a chance to “lose the stinking rot of self-righteousness” and “to understand we are all in need of some grace.”
This is not “Bob Inglis 1.0,” the one that was a “self-righteous” expletive, he said in an interview with Washington Wire today. It is a Bob Inglis that is, if anything, more Christian, more attuned to the Gospels, he said.
His last conversation with Gov. Mark Sanford was about the hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus money that the uncompromising governor was trying to refuse for his impoverished state. Inglis had voted against President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill, ardently, he said.
But he said he told the governor, now that it was approved, “for goodness sake, take the money.” It might just help.
Indeed, Sanford’s political fall could be a saving grace for what remains of his governorship, Inglis suggested. “This may be an opportunity to extend a little grace to other people, to realize that maybe it’s not 100% this way or that way,” Inglis said.
Unfortunately for him, the attitudes of “Bob Inglis 2.0” are not all that popular among many of the voters who once adored him. He now has five primary candidates fighting his re-election, and another conservative independent, should he clear the primaries.
“They want me to walk around saying I am the paragon of virtue,” Inglis said. “But that is unrecognizable to the Gospels.”
Video: Sanford Whacked Pol For Violating "Oath To His Wife"
In light of Mark Sanford's admission that he has been conducted a more-than-year-long affair with an Argentinean woman, a reader sends over some old footage of the South Carolina Republican disparaging a fellow politician for violating his marriage oath.
At the time, Sanford was one of the few congressional Republicans condemning the incoming Speaker of the House, Robert Livingston, for his own marital difficulties. And during an appearance on CNN's Crossfire, he was asked by one Bill Press (who hasn't aged a bit) whether the newly anointed GOP House leader should step down.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out the president lied under oath, [Livingston's] situation was not under oath," replied Sanford. "But the bottom line is, he still lied. He lied under a different oath and that is the oath to his wife. so it has got to be taken very seriously."
Many quotes from Sanford's past have been dredged up in recent hours, highlighting his past condemnation of other politicians for sexual inappropriate behavior. And while the newspaper clips underscore a certain level of hypocrisy, video footage has the potential to influence the conversation much more. Sanford's hopes of remaining at his post as governor of South Carolina could depend on how frequently footage like this becomes public in the days ahead.