Where the Sanford story could be more fundamentally harmful to his political prospects is in what it suggests about his persona.

It’s one thing to be a millionaire who wears frayed slacks, as Sanford is known to do, but some veteran political strategists and observers believe this episode pushes him over the line between eccentricity and flat-out bizarre behavior.

“We’re talking about professional and personal issues of responsibility,” said longtime GOP ad man Alex Castellanos. “It’s not just that the governor of the state, charged with emergency management, disappears. But at the same time, on Father’s Day, he leaves his four kids and wife to go hiking and they don’t know where he is?”