Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Governor Sanford A.W.O.L.
Governor Mark Sanford has been out of contact with his family, friends and staff for the past several days. Various media reports have the Governor’s staff stating that such is not unusual and that the Governor is hiking on the Appalachain Trail and needed to “clear his head.”
Frankly, VUI is tired of commenting about Governor Mark Sanford and his eccentric ways. However, when the Governor of South Carolina is incommunicado for such a period of time, it can not be ignored. There are several things that could be going on.
First, this could be a publicity stunt. Governor Mark Sanford and the people around are masters at getting the public to rally behind him at times. After the bruising stimulus defeat, Sanford and his people could have cooked up a scenario in which people worry more about where the Governor is than what the Governor has done or not done.
That scenario is unlikely. With no re-election to face and weighing a possible Presidential run, it is just politically boneheaded to disappear and not be able to be reached by family, friends, and staff. Can you imagine a President Sanford who takes a few days away from his duties to his office and family?
What is more likely at play is Sanford’s nature. The Governor is a strange fellow. There is nothing wrong with a being a bit eccentric. However, when someone is the Governor , there are some eccentric qualities that have to be put aside, among them going incommunicado for days at a time. Frankly, most small business owners can not do that.
Sanford’s lastest episode shows just how out of touch with real South Carolina people and families the Governor is. There are people who work hard everyday and face tough presssures of life who would love to tell their wives and kids and employers, “I have had enough, I am going to get away from all of you for a while. Talk to you when I get back.” However, those South Carolinians do not go incommunicado for a few days. Sure average South Carolinians might go fishing or take a hike, or down a few beers watching baseball with the fellows, but they tell family and friends, and even their employers and customers at times, where they are and how to reach them. It is called being responsible and being respectful to the people in your life that care about you and what happens to you.
The first draft comment of VUI about the Governor’s supposed disappearance was written as humor. It was going to be called “the man no one misses.” There was a line or two, made up of course, from various state leaders, including Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, whose comment we had, “I Andre Bauer, do solemnly swear…” But, after thinking on it, there is little humor to be really found in this situation.
Governor Mark Sanford showed a marked disrespect to his office and to the people of South Carolina. If he must get away, he should at least have the respect to tell the Lt. Governor and perhaps the head of DPS where he will be and how to reach him. VUI will not get into how he should treat his family and close friends. That is the Governor’s business. But, when government officials can not reach the Governor, that is our business. Perhaps Mark Sanford can take the portion of his salary paid to him during his time incommunicado and pay it towards state debt.