Governors! Once, America's governors just sort of shut up and worked on economic development, for their states. But now, governors have become America's leading comedy resource, what with the five-diamond whoring and the volcano monitoring mocking and the Being David Paterson and the heroically battling David Letterman to a draw. And let's not forget Rod Blagojevich, who raised the bar for governors everywhere with press conferences that included poetry and onstage gatherings of poor citizens and Bobby Rush scrambling up on the stage to yammer about how not placing bribe-soaked mausoleum monster Roland Burris in the U.S. Senate would be the 21st Century equivalent of Jim Crow. GOD, WHAT TIMES IN WHICH TO LIVE.
Anyway, today, it's Mark Sanford's turn! As you no doubt know, a few days ago, Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, just up and disappeared off the face of the earth, and nobody knew where he was, because he didn't tell anyone. Finally, someone noticed that nobody was technically in charge of South Carolina, and so everyone scrambled to find out what had happened to Sanford. First we heard that he had just walked off to hike the Appalachian Trail. Now, we've learned that he flew off to visit the "exotic" city of Buenos Aires. At no time did I get the impression that his family missed him all that much.
And now he's back, after two days where his surrogates lied for him and his critics wondered aloud: "What would South Carolinians do if there was a hurricane or a prison break or a hurricane full of prisoners, bent on destroying up our state's supply of shrimp-n-grits?"
Anyway, in Columbia, South Carolina today, Sanford will address the public on his weird trip to Argentina. Nico Pitney is en route, with a planted question from the Iranian people.
Here we go! Sanford is standing up at the podium, stammering about "talking to Gina" and how he loves the Appalachian Trail. Such adventures he had on the AT! And he is rambling and rambling on about these "adventure trips."
"I have found in this job the need to escape the bubble," Sanford says, plugging 30 Rock. And so he likes to get away, sometimes to a "farm" that I am only right now hearing about.
Anyway, he was frustrated and "emotional" and "exhausted" over fighting the stimulus monies, which he did not do to seek higher office, no, not at all.
But now it's time for "the larger story!" It's "gonna hurt," he says! And he's apologizing to his wife and kids, saying he has "let them down."
"I don't like having to apologize in this realm," Sanford says. Realm? What is he, the King of Rohan? He's only doing so because "y'alls" wanted to visit. By which he means: reporters wanted to know why the Governor of South Carolina up and disappeared.
Anyway, Sanford is praising his wife, and kids, and the EXPECTATIONS are mounting. Also, he apologizes to his staff. He admits that he lied to them about going to the AT, when really he didn't. Also, Tom Davis drove up from Buford, so he's sorry to Tom, too! But that's just how Tom Davis rolls -- he'll drive up from Buford if he's worried about you. There's some weird stuff about sleeping in the basement, and calling it "Jurassic park."
"I've let down a lot of people, and that's a fact," Sanford says. HOW DID YOU LET US DOWN?
This is just bizarre! He's apologizing to everybody in the universe, and talking obliquely about faith and fellowship and letting people down and "moral absolutes" and "God's law" and how violating the law has consequences and that, "This press conference is the consequence." Oh no, we can all see where this is going.
"I have been unfaithful to my wife," Sanford says. Apparently, he's been seeing someone from Argentina. That's what this long, dark, trip to Argentina was about?
Anyway, this is just sad! Sanford is stepping down as the president of the Republican Governors' Association. And, yeah, poof go the Presidential aspirations, though some counter-intuitive Halperin-type will probably talk about how he's OUT IN FRONT OF THE SCANDAL NOW.
Anyway, he won't be specific about separating from his wife, and wow, this is just relentless and merciless. And it's sad to watch! But wow! You just can't piss off to Argentina when you are the Governor of South Carolina!
Anyway, Sanford seems to have fallen into this affair casually, via email, and he thought there was a "zone of protectiveness" because, well, the woman was in Argentina. But, guess what, you accrue some serious frequent-flyer benefits as the head of the Republican Governors' Association!
Wait! Did he just say he "jeopardized the life" of this Argentina woman? And has there ever been a more apologized-to South Carolinian than Tom Davis?
As much as these heartfelt paeans to God's law and zones of protectiveness are beautiful, rambling sentiments, what the reporters really want to know is why he disappeared and lied to his staff. GUESS THEY JUST AREN'T READY TO FEEL YET. Anyway, Sanford bristles at these questions. It looks as if he thought everyone would just be powerfully moved by his "Oration on the Vicissitudes of Having a Mistress in Latin America That You Go to See Every Once in a While, and Then There's That Time Everyone Finds Out About It, Hoo Boy, What A Mess, Sorry Tom Davis."
Sanford gets peppered with questions: "Did you intentionally mislead your staff about hiking the trail?" "Did you know that your staff told the press you were hiking?" "Did you ask your employees to cover up?" "Will you resign as governor?" And then Sanford walks off without another word.
So, there you have it. Mark Sanford, while battling Obama's stimulus package, was secretly succumbing to his own stimulated package in Latin America, and having "adventure trips." Only now it's over, and everyone is sad, none more so than Sanford, who "spent five days of his life, crying in Argentina," just like it says you will in Let's Go: Argentina!
Anyway, I sure hope Tom Davis accepts his apology!
UPDATE, AGAIN: I have been reliably informed that it's Beaufort, not Buford, South Carolina. SORRY, TOM DAVIS.