Do men see Mark Sanford in the mirror?

So what’s left to say about the Sanford saga? Call me crazy, but amid all this finger-wagging, am I detecting just a little bit of — gasp — empathy? Is there something about Sanford’s puppyish comportment, not to mention the fact that, unlike many adulterous politicos, he seems to be truly in love with his mistress (or at least truly convinced that he is) that’s making him less a pariah and more a symbol of the male midlife crisis? For all his duplicity and entitlement, are some Americans — particularly men — feeling as much pity as outrage? Consider this small sample:

“This is a story of loneliness,” New York Times columnist David Brooks said on “Meet The Press” Sunday. “[These guys] get to middle age, and they realize there’s some emotional vacuum in their lives.”

It “was about something much deeper than politics,” wrote Gary Kamiya in Salon. “It was awful, but it was real. And painful as it is, in the repressed American sexual landscape, reality is better than artifice.”

And then there was my dad, who told me the day of the Sanford news conference something to the effect that “you have no idea how easy it is for men to completely lose their minds because of infatuation with women.”