President Obama made some important announcements this week but we don’t care, because the governor of South Carolina disappeared to Buenos Aires to hang with his girlfriend.
Mark Sanford is the conservative Republican star who was to be the "next Obama" (though Sanford is really, really White) and was going to lead the Republican party to victory in 2012.
The Governor was missing for a week, during which time no one from the Governor’s office, and not even his wife, knew where he was (his wife knew where he was). Had North Carolina suddenly attacked South Carolina across the demilitarized zone, the state would have been without a head.
At one point, to calm the state’s residents, the Governor’s office released a statement saying he was "hiking alone in the Appalachians", because the governor of a state disappearing to hike alone in the hills sounds normal. The Governor was reportedly exhausted from a budget battle of Schwarzeneggerian proportions.
However, acting on an anonymous tip, we’ll guess from First Lady Jenny Sanford, a reporter was at the airport to catch the governor, rumpled and tanned, getting off a plane from Buenos Aires. Apparently the governor was in Argentina visiting the Second Lady, known only as "Maria".
Sanford eventually stammered a confession and essentially said he and his wife were on a "break". They are having a short separation which will make their marriage stronger, though he did not explain how this would work with him in Argentina. He and the First Lady have four sons.
The governor said he’d spent "five days crying in Argentina" but political analysts, journalists, and philanderers say "probably not all five days."
Republican leaders were disappointed in their potential super-star, some saying Sanford had "destroyed a brilliant career." Others were more philosophical, pointing out that at least he was involved with a woman, breaking a trend for Republican politicians, and she was over 18 at that. "Maria" is thought to have two sons.
Here at the Prospect we look at it like this: a rich guy can always be governor, but how often does a person get a chance to do something really, monumentally stupid in the name of impossible love? You go, Mark. Politics isn’t the real world, and even war with a historic enemy can’t give you the thrill of frantic, probably unprotected, certainly news making sex with a woman in another country. Colbert called you "a manila envelope glued to a beige wall," but you certainly showed him. You’re more like a dollop of seagull crap on a new Lexus, now, pal. But it doesn’t matter, for the next twenty years or so, you’ll curse yourself for this political "boner"; but when you’re 90 years old you’ll think to yourself, "ah, Maria." Gold can’t buy that kind of memory, which is paid for with passion and regret.
Governor Sanford declined to step down, but promised that next time he takes such a break, he’ll leave a hanger on the doorknob so Lt. Governor Andre Bauer would know he was in charge.
Why won’t Arnold ever disappear for awhile?
The website for the Governor of South Carolina: under construction?