24 June 2009

AWOL in Argentina

Four days after he'd vanished into thin air, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford contacted people to let them know he was fine. He was hiking. After staying away for a few more days, Sanford returned to explain that he'd been visiting the woman with whom he's having an affair.

The media is focusing on the story's salacious elements (not only did he cheat, but he was cheating on Father's Day, etc.), and Sanford has held a news conference to admit to moral failings and to prostrate himself before the state's "people of faith." A South Carolina Republican appeared on CNN to publicly give Sanford the benefit of a doubt, because "life has its problems." Fair enough. We all fall down, and infidelity is not exactly a rare activity.

What's not being addressed, and what seems infinitely more significant to me, is that not only did Sanford up and disappear for nearly a week, but he up and disappeared out of the country. We're not talking Cancun or Toronto--he went to Argentina. Again, a state governor left the country (heck, left the continent) for a week without telling anyone where he was going or how he might be reached. He deserted his state, and he should step down.

I'll close with this, which might offer some insight into Sanford's mindset:
Heading to South Carolina from Georgia this morning, Sanford said: "I don't know how this thing got blown out of proportion." (LA Times).

Added: The entirety of the news conference shows that some reporters did ask Sanford about his disappearance (rather than focus explicitly on the affair).

Also, CNN's resident curmudgeon Jack Cafferty did a fine job airing views similar to my own. In fact, his featured question at the moment asks whether Sanford should be removed from office. Some of the comments are a hoot.

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