Day by Day

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Governor Sanford - He's Still Here?

The other day, as the story broke, I wrote expressing my belief that Governor Sanford needed to resign, immediately.

A few days have passed, and we've learned more about our Governor and his escapades.

We've learned that not only is he redefining audacity (I'm a nationwide recognized political figure - no one will miss me for a few days!), he's also writing new definitions for hubris.

It's reported that he'd considered resigining, but close aides advised him that the best way to recover from this crisis is to recover the trust of the people of South Carolina - by staying on.

Did it possibly occur to the (cough)Honorable Governor Sanford that those aides might have their wagons tightly hitched to his success?

We've learned that the Governor, upon being told by his wife to leave the house and stop communicating with the family for awhile, was humbled and wanting to deeply work on his marriage, er... booked a ten day trip to Argentina! So, we shouldn't be shocked by his four day absence, as his original plans were for ten days.

He's previously re-routed trade missions to include Argentina, on the taxpayers' dime, naturally. Why is this important? Well, two reasons. One is that he had become famous as a budget hawk, decrying any wasteful spending of taxpayer monies. A Governor who insisted on staff using both sides of post-its and index cards, who slept in his Congressional office, and decried state Legislature waste used a taxpayer junket to satisfy his adulterous urges.

Contrary to, and undercutting, official US Government policy at the time, that is. See, Argentina had fallen out of favor with the international community as it had amassed massive debt and essentially announced to its creditors (including US) that it had zero intention of repaying that debt. The Bush administration had thus frozen it out of trade negotiations and contracts. So, for Governor Sanford to decide that a trade side-trip to Argentina might be beneficial, in any way more than a cover for his adulterous subterfuge, was again... being a bit of a bad boy, no?

Perhaps most intriguing and enlightening is the revelation from his wife that after the discover of his affair by her, he asked her permission to keep seeing her! Husbands and wives out there -- anyone want to try to imagine that conversation? It's almost as credulous as trying to imagine the language when Bill told Hillary that what Monica was doing wasn't 'really sex'...


A recent Rasmussen poll shows 50% of South Carolinians want the Governor to resign. I suspect it's actually more than that, and have heard whispers of it being as high as 70%. What seems to be tamping the number down is the fear of Lt. Governor Andre Bauer becoming the Governor.

In SC, unlike for example the Presidency, the Governor and Lt. Governor are elected separately and are not always friends, allies, political companions, or even occasional drinking-buddies. So, it's not akin to accepting Dan Quayle with George H.W. Bush, or Cheney with George W. Bush, or even Biden with Obama.

The people of SC elected Mr. Bauer, twice, to the Lt. Governorship. Is he an excellent politician? A paragon of perfection? Nope. But, we elected him. He has essentially two duties - supervision of the SC Senate and... being around in case the #1 guy isn't.

So, here we are... we need to ditch the #1 guy and we're afraid to do so because of whom we put as #2. Tough tiddlywinks. Let this be a lesson to our future electorates, then... Choose wisely. Elections have consequences. Even for minor, insignificant, can't-believe-someone-is-actually-RUNNING-for-this offices...


Governor Sanford, you have become a punchline. How can you govern? In the next budget discussion, how can you ask for a single budget cut? What principle will you be able to stand on? How can anyone bargain and negotiate with you, now that we know that you are a liar and a fraud?

Rebuild your family. Given time, perhaps, you may be able to revive your political career and run for a City Council slot somewhere. In the meantime, let us recover... take this opportunity to lead one last time, by demonstrating that a TRUE man of principle knows when it's time to leave.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Governor Sanford

Well, the news is out. I'd wanted to comment a few days before, but... it seemed premature as there was the lil' "niggling" feeling that something was a tad... off.

Now, we know.

I can't express how disappointed, and how A N G R Y, I am with Governor Sanford. To see someone whom you've supported, since his first foray into politics as the Congressman from the First Congressional District of South Carolina, flush their career (and likely marriage) down the toilet can quite literally strike you dumb.

Governor Sanford had captured the loyalty and following of conservatives looking for leadership in the wilderness of the political landscape that has become the Republican Party in the new Obama era. His name was being widely whispered, some places shouted, as a strong candidate for the Republican ticket in 2012.

No more.

Republicans like to brand their party as one of 'values', emphatically, 'family values'. Certainly, a party that once impeached a President for actions resulting from adulterous affairs cannot try to have it both ways. And a party of 'family values' cannot stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a man who disregarded, and disrespected, his family in such a public, selfish, and humilitating way.

On Father's Day, his family has learned that he wasn't with his sons because he preferred to be in South America cheating on his wife. There is nothing to defend here.

Yet, this isn't the nail in his coffin, as shocking as that is. (It should be noted that to imagine the pitchman's crowing voice, "But wait! There's more..." after discussing a Governor's infidelity and disregard for his family cannot be a good thing.)

As Democrats chanted for a mantra during Clinton's impeachment, the adultery is a family matter - even as it shows a deep and willing disregard to abandon one's principles of Honor and Integrity. Governor Sanford also abandoned his office and the People of South Carolina.

Which is The Reason why he must resign, immediately, or failing that, be impeached. He left the state without so much as a way to be reached in an emergency. Emergencies, by their definition, are not foreseen. South Carolina, like most heirarchies, lays the decisive powers in its executive branch leader - the Governor.

And had an emergency occurred, the Governor was AWOL. Missing. What started as a whisper, grew to an amusing gossip rumor ("Has anyone seen the Governor?") grew to nationwide interests to finally a media obsession as blood was detected in the water. Leaders need to be reached, and even considering where and why his travels took him to Argentina, he should have stayed in contact. Placing his relationship and sexual urgency ahead of his duties as Governor belies a fatal flaw.

Which brings us to the third leg of the triangle - Governor Sanford went to see a foreign citizen in a foreign country without any security. Powerful people are at risk - to blackmail, kidnapping, worse - which is why the personal security industry is so successful and why governments devote such energy to protecting their principle people. His bodyguards were in no position to protect him, his staff likewise, while he was out... "Whistling Dixie".

South Carolina is a conservative state where people have long and deep relationships and memories. In a state where the War Between the States is still discussed on a near daily basis, being abandoned by a political figure will not soon be forgotten. As the saw goes, "A leader without followers is just a guy out for a walk."

Governor Sanford, as a rising star, is/was a huge political target. The Democratic Party will NOT hesitate to make hay of this. Republicans would be wise to show Mr. Sanford the door, and help him pack, tonight, his belongings out of the Governor's Mansion. If the Republican Party in SC is to have credibility as a party of its principles, then Governor Sanford needs to be ostracized quickly, deeply, and permanently. Anything else will further exacerbate the irresponsible damage that Governor Sanford has done to the State, his party, the People, and lest we forget, his family.

Goodbye, Governor Sanford, and as a longtime fan and supporter... don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!