Day Three of bunkering down. Or is it Day Four? I don’t know any more. The days are long, and so bloody hot. I don’t know how long I will survive down here with just my bottle of ice water at my side. Plus, my two intrepid kittehs who keep stern watch over me. Granted, Shadow just went to brave the hot upstairs, but he’ll be back. I hope….Whew! He made it back. I feel better with my two miniature panthers by my side. I have no food (except in the fridge. Today was shopping day. I cranked the AC up high in the car, and I almost cried when I reached Fresh & Natural. I never thought AC could feel so good. But I digress, as usual), no bedding (except for the papasan which is nice, but a bit uncomfortable as it’s made of wood), and I’ve been lost for days (days, days, days).
I’m fading fast. I don’t know how much longer I will last. Oh, god, why hast thou forsaken me? Tell my parents, my brother, and my friends that I love them. My cats know that already.
Hah! That was fun to write, even if it’s totally untrue. Well, not totally because I am in the basement with my cats by my side and only a bottle of iced water at hand (oh, and a dozen grapes), but that’s by choice. I can walk upstairs, open my fridge, and get whatever I want to eat. I’m settling into my basement. Can I say, Gene Robinson is H-A-W-T? Sorry. I’m listening to Keith’s show, and Gene Robinson is on it talking about Sanford because Robinson is from South Carolina, and he’s lived in Buenos Aires. Perfect!
Which is a nice segue into the tale of the missing governor.
As most of you know by now, Governor Sanford was in Argentina. When he returned, he said he’d been alone. Then, it turns out this wasn’t true. He had a mistress who was married with two kids. Then, he gave a presser.
Now, before we get to the presser, I want to comment on my immediate reaction to hearing the news. It as, “Shit, what an idiot I am for giving this guy the benefit of the doubt.” I was pissed because I had gone easy on him under assumption that I could give him hell after it was discovered what happened to him. It was about me, you see. I felt like a grade A jackass, and I didn’t much like it. I mean, how stupid and naive could I be to believe that it was anything other than sex (an affair), drugs (a bender) or money (took the stimulus and ran!)? That’s the script with these politicians, and they rarely deviate from it. I was pretty pissed that I wasted an ounce of sympathy on this guy. Until his presser.
He was contrite. He was rambling. He was teary-eyed. He apologized to everyone (except for non-believers and teh gayz, but still) for letting them down. His wife and children were not with him (thank god. I HATE when the wife is up there with a grin stretched tightly across her face, fire in her eyes), and he went into a detailed account of, well, I’m not entirely sure because as I said, he was rambling. He mentioned the Appalachian Trail. He mentioned the bubble that is politics. He mentioned many things before he got down to brass tacks. He was having an affair with a married woman. They met (unclear how, maybe online) eight years ago. They emailed back and forth about their problems in their respective marriages. She lives in Argentina. Their affair started a year ago. Sanford’s wife found out five months ago. Two weeks ago, she asked him to leave the house. That’s why she didn’t know where he was this past weekend.
Ok. I can buy all that. As I said earlier, it’s pretty trite and banal, but it’s real. However, it’s the newest addition that I don’t get. Sanford said he flew down to Argentina to break things off. Um, so he was still carrying on with this woman while after his wife found out? What a brick of a man. Plus, he’s flown to Argentina before, on state dime. In fact, this time, he drove a state vehicle to the airport and abandoned it.
We haven’t even reached the really irresponsible part yet. Look. It was clear from Sanford’s presser that he was being torn apart by his affair. From the emails he sent his lover, he was in love with her, or at least deeply infatuated. I don’t particularly care about his affair except in the context that he is one of those who went after Clinton after Clinton’s affair was exposed. In addition, Sanford opposes gay marriage. Yes, he’s one of those traditional family values guys who apparently can’t follow his own strictures. He asked for privacy for his wife and kids, and I think he should get it. They do not need the press hounding them relentlessly, nor do they deserve it.
Getting back to sacred marriage vows. I don’t believe marriage is easy. If I did, I would have tried it once or twice. In fact, because I do believe marriage should be a lifetime thing, I have decided not to engage in it, pardon the pun. However, I also know that we are all human. We connect with different people on different levels, and that’s why I am not strictly monogamous. It puts a lot of strain on a relationship to require the other person to be your everything. I think it’s one reason we keep friends longer than we do lovers–we don’t demand as much from our friends.
So. Back to Sanford. The affair is none of my business. The only part of it that really pissed me off is how Sanford kept bringing up “God’s Law” and the fact that he apologized to believers. Us immoral nonbelievers, though? Fuck us, apparently. Oh, and his mention of his spiritual advisor also bothered me. Who gives a fuck? It’s the hypocritical aspect of it that bothers me, otherwise, his sex life is none of my business–nor do I want it to be. Some on the right are saying that we on the left are meddling into Sanford’s private life (hahahahahaha, talk about the proverbial pot calling the kettle black) and that we should just leave the poor man aloooooone, but here is the crux of the matter. If Mark Sanford had handed over the reins to his lieutenant governor and said, “Look , I need some time to think. You’re in charge,” this wouldn’t have happened. If he had kept in regular contact with his staff, this wouldn’t have happened. Hell, if he’d called his wife (yes, I know that’s not very seemly when he’s boinking his mistress), then this wouldn’t have happened. He’s the governor of a state, for crying out loud. He can’t just take off whenever he feels like it without telling anyone. That is so astoundingly irresponsible, it (almost) boggles my mind. He refused to say whether he’d resign as governor, and that is where my sympathy stops.
John Cole of BJ says he likes how Sanford manned up and apologized. Sanford didn’t make excuses. True. But neither did he say he’d resign. On the other hand, many commenters are saying that Sanford is a complete asshole who is lying or trying to slide by as best as possible. I think there is some of that, too. I think Steve Benen of Washington Monthly put it best in his entry, Mixed Emotions. For god’s sake, Benen. I wish you’d put your entries on separate pages to make linking easier. He says that while he thinks Sanford manned up, he (Sanford) is a big, fat hypocrite–and a bad governor to boot.
In the end, I do feel some empathy for Sanford because he does seem tormented by his affair. However, in this case, empathy does not mean that he should be let off the hook. He needs to resign, and any aspirations he has to run for president in 2012 should be permanently over. This is the one thing that niggles at me–I have a hunch that even this spectacularly-loony adventure will not derail his presidential hopes because Republicans don’t seem inclined to force out wandering Republicans, even while they simultaneously attack straying Democrats.
By the way, I am now listening to Rachel, and she brings up a good point. When Sanford arrived back in Atlanta, he made a statement that he was alone in Argentina. Gina Smith (the reporter whom Sanford kept addressing, even though she wasn’t at the presser) let it be known to his people that The State (her paper) had steamy emails sent to and from the governor to his mistress, and they were going to publish the emails. So, it’s plausible that he was forced to admit the affair because he knew the emails were going to be in the paper, anyway. Now, Gina is talking about the sit-down she had with him when he first returned. He totally meant to lie his way through it. It was the emails that forced him to admit it.
I don’t know. At this point, I don’t particularly care. I just want him to resign and to not be a candidate for the 2012 election. His rank irresponsibility as governor is inexcusable. Yes, we, the public get to pass judgement on his behavior that affects his constituents. The affair? That’s between him and his wife.