Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford Goes AWOL

Everyone deals with stress in different ways. Mark Sanford, the Republican Governor of South Carolina apparently deals with it by leaving without telling anyone.

To compound the weirdness of the situation, Sanford’s office mistakenly informed us that Sanford had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail. As it turns out, Sanford flew to Argentina for a few days. When asked why his office told the press that he was hiking, he replied “I don’t know.” He was also surprised that his unannounced trip generated any fuss.

It has already been pointed out that it is beyond irresponsible for a Governor to go off without telling anyone. A natural disaster or terrorist attack could have occurred. In such a case, it would have been helpful for South Carolinians to have a functioning Governor.

But this may do lasting damage to Sanford’s hopes in 2012. Quite simply, many people will wonder if a person who goes off somewhere for 5 days without telling anyone is in his right mind. Should he run, this could be a persistent story following him on the campaign trail.

It is not helpful that Sanford’s 15 minutes of fame this year came when he tried to refuse all stimulus funding at the same time South Carolinians were losing their jobs. These facts can be used to paint Sanford as a rash man prone to kneejerk reactions.

That said, the 2012 election is years away—a lifetime in politics. There will be plenty of time for people to forget this story.

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