I didn't know what she even looked like but on Thursday, I became Jenny Sanford's biggest fan. The best part of the strange and rambling statement from Gov Mark Sanford's press availability to declare his whereabouts as he went missing for a few days was the fact that his wife, Jenny, was nowhere to be seen.
The fact that a politician has been found to be cheating on his wife is not a new story and not shocking. It is all too common. The taste of power does odd things to an ego. But the continued appearances of scorned wives standing by the side of their unfaithful husbands is a bit too much for most people to endure. For once, a political wife stood on her own and denied the media that photo opportunity.
After reading a bit about Jenny Sanford, I am impressed. The granddaughter of the founder of Skil power tool company, she graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in finance. She worked on Wall Street for an investment banking firm. She is a millionaire. She helped her husband launch a political career and ran his campaigns for Congress and then governor. Campaign workers lived in their basement.
She is formidable in her own right. She is the mother of four young sons and her family's survival is utmost on her mind. If her husband can rise to her terms, the marriage may mend. If not, she has made it clear that her first priority is the raising of her children. She was told of the affair five months ago and recently separated from Sanford. "We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage."
This is a strong woman.
Maybe the example of Jenny Sanford's absence as her husband tells the world about this weakness for an Argentinian woman will strengthen the next political wife to face the same break of marital vows.
The matter of if Sanford will resign from his office as governor is fodder for the talking heads on cable television. He appears to be standing firm in his insistence that he will stay in office. This is a different situation than the standard cheating spouse story. This elected office - the top of the chain of command for his state - left the state without the proper instructions or process put into place. No one knew his whereabouts. He put his staff in a precarious position.
One less potential presidential candidate on the Republican 2012 list.