Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hey Mark... Take A Hike. And Stay There.

Seriously, what sorta Caucasian Craziness is South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford trying to pull? It's one thing for a regular, average cat to just unplug and go blow the afternoon playing NBA 2K. That's how most of us "unplug and get away from everything".

But what kinda dude just brushes off security, rolls out, and goes off the grid for nearly a week without even telling his wife, kids, or employer?
Gov. Mark Sanford will return to his office Wednesday following widespread confusion over his whereabouts, a spokesman for the South Carolina Republican said. Joel Sawyer, Sanford's communication's director, also said in a statement the governor called his chief of staff Tuesday morning and was "somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten."

The mystery surrounding his whereabouts was solved late Monday when a Sanford spokesman said he was hiking along the Appalachian Trail. Sanford's whereabouts were unaccounted for Monday when he stepped out of the public eye following a bruising session with the state Legislature. Even his wife, Jenny, said she did not know where he was, The Associated Press reported, according to The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and adversary of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division vehicle on Thursday and had not yet returned.

"I found out that he was taking frequent trips at odd times of the night in a SLED car with no security," Knotts said. "He would be driving. I got wind that he had taken another one of these types of capers last Thursday, and that nobody knew who he was with.

Knotts added that on Saturday, he "was getting wind that he had not shown back up and nobody knew where he was."

He said a SLED official told him Monday that Sanford still had not returned.

"He needs to transfer the power and let the lieutenant governor, which the constitution requires, let him be the person that makes the decisions." Knotts said. "My concern was, 'Who would be in charge should an emergency arrive for the safety of the people and citizens of the state?' "
I suppose this raises an interesting question: how much freedom do you still have when you're an elected official? Are you allowed to just kick rocks and let the chips fall where they may, or do you owe it to your constituents to stay on the job, despite whatever momentary stress you might encounter. Naturally, I say that if you accept the role as leader of an entire state, you at least need to put in for vacation days before you roll out. I don't think that's so unreasonable.

In a larger context, it's hard to see how Sanford will come out of this little excursion unscathed. Before his whereabouts were finally revealed, the innanets were wild with speculation. Was he in rehab? Spending time with his other family? Meeting up with Larry Craig? All things considered, he coulda been found in far worse places than on a vision quest, but it's a bad look any way you dice it. And I'm like 99% sure there's more to this story than we're currently being told. Sanford now says he wasn't actually "hiking", but rather sailing for a week off the coast of Argentina.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he was in Buenos Aires -- not hiking on the Appalachian Trail -- during four days when he dropped out of sight, The State newspaper, of Columbia, S.C., reports.

Sanford told the newspaper in an exclusive interview that he went to Argentina to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled lawmakers over accepting federal stimulus funds. "It was a long session and I needed a break," he told the paper.

His whereabouts touched off a media frenzy after even his wife said she didn't know where he was. His staff told reporters that he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but that was followed by reports that his cell phone had been used near Atlanta.

The Republican governor said he doesn't know why his staff said he was hiking, but noted in fairness that he had said he "might' hit the Appalachian Trail.

In fact, he said, he had considered it. "But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford told The State. "... It's a great city."

He said he cut his trip short to Argentina by a day to return after his chief of staff explained that his mysterious absence had stirred considerable media attention.

"Sanford said he was alone on the trip," the newspaper reports. "He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline."
Yeah, that bama was prolly at Magic City the whole time. Someone clearly needs to get his lies straight.

Still, how does a "Compassionate Conservative" explain ditching his wife and 4 sons over Father's Day Weekend without so much as a phone call or a Tweet? Fred Sanford wouldn't even do something that cruddy. If he simply needed to recharge after being overruled by the state legislature for denying stimulus funding (just like I told you he would be), then how in the hell can he be expected to handle the daily stress of being POTUS? Just in case you were clueless, Sanford is (was?) considered a rising star of the GOP, jostling for position in 2012.

And if that's the case, the GOP is screwed. Sanford can't handle pressure without fleeing the country. Jindal can't handle the glare of the camera without pissing his pants and turning into Mr. Rogers. Palin can't even handle her own family without playing the victim role. Perry can't handle disappointment without threatening to secede from the Union. Ensign can't handle his zipper.

[Update: Yep, it was an affair. Keep it in your pants, guys.]

Yep, 4 more years of Obama. For better or for worse.

Question: Is there any justifiable reason for ditching your wife and four sons on Father's Day? Where do you think Sanford actually was? What's your favorite method of "unplugging and going off the grid to recharge"?!?

Sanford was in Argentina, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail [USAToday]

Gov. returning to S.C. after worries, criticism over whereabouts [CNN]

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