Last week, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admitted to an affair, the second American politician to go down, so to speak, in the past few weeks. Nevada Senator John Ensign (the first) must be relieved the public’s guns are turned elsewhere momentarily.

The media asks whether either of these guys will continue in office. Me, I’m wondering why they gambled so big? Did either watch former New York governor Eliot Spitzer tap dance in front of the cameras last year as his wife endured her worst moment ever?

Noel Biderman, president and CEO of Ashley Madison, the infidelity dating site, says the more you have to gamble, the more you’re going to gamble. “A lot of people in politics have already taken massive risks and they’ve paid off. They think they can continue to do it.” Biderman figures the Teflon effect (nothing sticks) gives them that feeling of invincibility.

Of course, most married people shuffling through daily life have infinitely more trouble sussing out an affair with someone better looking than the spouse turning them down at home. Not like politicians, rock stars and sports figures, who seem to spend most of their waking hours avoiding them. After all, do you have groupies?

Modern technology has been a boon to low-budget, would-be cheaters. All you need is a computer to locate the object of your new affection and a cellphone to hide it from your soon-to-be ex.

The little people are just as susceptible to temptation as are the big cheeses. Biderman quotes a university study showing more than 90 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women would have an affair with a person of their dreams (Sting?) if they wouldn’t get caught or feel guilty, which brings me to my real question. What’s keeping that measly 10 per cent of men faithful?

I thought pictures might tell me what the stories didn’t. I was curious to find out what Sanford’s girlfriend looked like (beautiful), wife (pretty), children (adorable). In fact, after seeing Sanford’s kids in one family photo, I was puzzled by his compulsion to gamble with the family jewels.

With all the odds staked in favour of Mark Sanford being a cheating man, the opportunity, the excitement and the fact that a heck of a lot of married people cheat these days, maybe he should have kept a little family photo in his chest pocket, just a little bit nearer to his heart.

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