But by volunteering at length the most salacious details of his romantic life on social media, Sanford, who has no opponent this year and thus no reason to fear the political fallout from rumors, took all of this a step further. He legitimized any such inquiry for anyone else and set a new standard for disclosing private affairs — which, I guarantee you, others will feel compelled to emulate.
Instead of trying to hold the line against triviality and titillation, Sanford basically said: “All of it is fair game, and all of it matters. And you should expect your politicians to hold nothing back.”
So no one should have been surprised when the next break in the story came not from Us Weekly or “TMZ,” but rather from The New York Times, whose reporter Jim Rutenberg — an excellent political reporter and a friend of mine — reached Chapur in Paris and learned that she was tired of waiting around for a wedding and had heard about Sanford’s post only from the media coverage. What choice does the media have? How are we supposed to declare anything off-limits when the politician himself insists that it isn’t?