From Dorothy Rabinowitz at the Wall Street Journal:
Can we dream that some day a Mark Sanford -- or any other self-acknowledged miscreant -- will say what there is to say and refuse to slobber before the cameras?
"I come before you in what is clearly a predicament, but without, I hope any pretense. There's no pretense in having an affair -- affairs are real, very compellingly so. There are lies, yes -- to one's wife and family and staff -- but that's a different story. And while I'm on the subject, let me say the only apology I plan to offer in public is to the members of my staff I left in confusion about my whereabouts with nonsense about hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
"I have no intention of babbling about mistakes, or about problems of exhaustion and stress that could have led to my affair -- and no intention of standing here, like so many dolts before me, looking vacant and miserable, as though I'd just come through some kind of punishment camp that left me brainwashed.
"I had an affair, not an overnight encounter -- and an affair, as you ladies and gentlemen of the media know -- is about falling for someone in a way that makes you forget about everything and everyone else. It's true for men, it's true for women.
"I knew what I was doing, and, yes, I loved it, and all its pains, too. That is an affair. It works till its over, and the price can be high. I don't expect to allow that price to include talking about this to the media, or answering their idiotic questions about how my wife feels, or whether I've talked to my children, or whether I can still imagine myself a contender for the presidency.
"Furthermore, I've seen too many breast-beaters in my situation deliver public apologies to their wives and children before crowds of reporters. I have no intention of taking part in any such bizarre -- not to mention shameless -- spectacle. A man who apologizes to his wife and children, who holds forth tearfully about having betrayed them, for media consumption, is, anyway, too lacking in dignity to hold public office of any kind.
"So let's understand this. I plan to straighten my tie, button my jacket, maybe buy a new suit, and go forward to do what I have to do. Life's complicated, ladies and gentlemen, but there's work to be done. I'll have nothing further on this, count on it.
"All the best."