I'm Sorry... Did You Say King David...

His stupidity brings tears to my eyes too...

I mentioned in my last post that, due to his nationally mocked recent actions, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has caused me to feel embarrassment. The truth is, his actions have caused me to feel a variety of emotions. I'm indignant that another politician has morally failed his family by cheating on his wife while at the same time ethically failing his constituency by using state funds to do so. I'm heartbroken at the thought of the pain that a wife and four sons have to go through because of his choices. And I'm saddened that they must endure questions from the media while they deal with all of this. But my embarrassment stems from something beyond all of that. My embarrassment stems from Governor Sanford's complete lack of intelligence throughout this whole debacle.

A brief summary of events:

  • Sanford disappears over Father's day weekend to "clear his head" after a "tough legislative season".
  • After being gone for four days, without leaving any way for his family or staff to reach him, the media begins asking questions.
  • Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer claims that there is no established process in place for him to assume power were there to be a state emergency in the governor's absence.
  • His wife says she doesn't know where he is.
  • His staff claims that he is hiking the Appalachian Trail.
  • On "a hunch" a reporter from The State drives down to Atlanta's Hartfield-Jackson International Airport and waits for a flight to arrive from Argentina that she suspects the governor might be on.
  • Governor Sanford claims he had intended to hike the Appalachian Trail, but changed his mind and went down to Argentina to "drive along the coast".
  • The Governor holds a press conference at The State House and announces the he has been having an extramarital affair and had gone to Argentina to be with his lover, who is later identified as Argentina native Maria Belen Shapur.
  • Governor Sanford later admits to using state funds to pay for his trip, and says he's going to pay it all back.
  • Governor Sanford announces that he has no intention of resigning, publicly comparing himself to King David, saying that "I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in Bible - who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand. By doing so, I will ultimately better serve in every area of my life, and I am committed to doing so."

    Do you see what I'm talking about by saying he displayed a lack of intelligence? A state governor, who is a husband and father of four sons, disappears... DISAPPEARS... over Father's Day weekend without informing anyone of his intended whereabouts. He just left! He didn't tell his family or his staff any way that they could reach him in case their was a family or state emergency.

    If you were smart, wouldn't you at least lie about where you're going? Wouldn't you say it was a place that had no cell phone reception, and then leave your cell at home? I mean, there are records that show him making a cell phone call from Atlanta, before turning his phone off and leaving the country.

    And why would his staff lie about him hiking the Appalachian Trail? Why didn't they just say that his location was confidential? Or, better yet, tell the truth and say that they didn't know where he was?

    And why would you not insure that there was a process in place that would allow for someone to assume power in case of an emergency? (This has actually been a problem in South Carolina for some time. There's never been a law to clarify this.) Did you just naively assume that no problems could ever arise?

    But all of that can't compare to what happened next... You'd think that if, by some amount of luck, something happened in the world that drew focus away from your situation, you'd gladly shrink back into the background. You'd be thankful that the media turned its giant red eye away from you and toward what, or whoever, was unlucky enough to draw its attention. But it would take something big. It would take something national. It would take something take would cause the world to slow down, if only for a moment.

    Something like the death of The King of Pop...

    So now that everyone's looking the other way, you'd retreat right? You'd circle the wagons and thank the Lord that you've been given the opportunity to silently collect your dignity and begin working hard to mend all of the bridges you'd burned. But not our Governor. Oh no. He gave ANOTHER INTERVIEW!

    A brief continuance of events:

  • Governor Sanford gives an interview with the Associated Press saying that, "I'm quite certain there were a handful of instances wherein I crossed lines that I shouldn't have crossed as a married man. But never crossed the ultimate line." Adding, "This is a whole lot more than a simple affair, and it's a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day." But wait, there's more. "I remember there was an older couple sitting to our right, and I remember them watching us, in the way that we interacted. They could see a spark... or I don't know what you'd call it."

    So, as a public figure with an already stained reputation, you are given an opportunity to metaphorically disappear (as opposed to the time you actually disappeared) and you respond by GIVING ANOTHER INTERVIEW WHERE YOU ADMIT TO MORE WRONG DOING!?!?!

    Complete... lack... of intelligence.

    And I'm embarrassed that someone of questionable moral and ethical standards and without the discernment of when to speak and when to stay silent was elected governor of my state... TWICE.

    But at least The Daily Show got some good bits out of it. My favorite of which (and one of the major inspirations for this post) can be found here. (Some NSFW language)

    To close out this extremely long post, I'd like to offer my thanks to Governor Sanford. Thanks, Mr. Governor, for adding to the already exceedingly cynical view that most Americans (especially South Carolinians) have of politicians. Thanks for showing that even high ranking officials don't always think through their actions. Thanks for taking responsibility for your mistakes. Over and over and over again. Even when no one asked.

    Now be quiet...

    Rick said...

    Not to cover for him AT ALL:
    * SLED review established that no state funds were used in this idiocy. He was on state/business trips, and paid back $3K+ for appearances, wasn't obligated legally.
    * Being gone over Fathers Day - what we now know is that he and Jenny were separating and that she had told him to have no contact with herself or the boys, and I think she said to also not contact the woman in Argentina. Still stupid on his behalf, but not out of bounds.

    This is a Lifetime Movie gone horribly wrong, made worse by the fact that it was already a Lifetime Movie in the first place. I don't think he'll step down, I fear it'll be insurmountable in his marriage, and any aspirations he might have had to national office (I don't see him having any, but people keep putting him there) are out hiking on the Appalachain Trail.

    Josh(ua) Treece said...

    So two things stricken off a list of about fifteen. Nice. I love Jon Stewart's take on all of it though.