Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark…

I’ve been following the drama that is Mark Sanford sincethe story of his disappearance broke. And like a David Lynch film, no matter how I look at it, it comes out weird.

Imagine, if you will, somebody you know leaving his job, going off without telling his wife where he were going, turning off his cell phone, and remaining out of touch for four days. Wouldn’t that raise some eyebrows? You’d have people worried, your employer would be at least annoyed, you might even have people contacting the police.

But a fracking GOVERNOR doing that? Colorado Matters, a local show on our NPR affiliate, did a story about ourGovernor Ritter (audio link), and how demanding his job is. He talked about 18 hour days, pretty much every day of the week. It’s not a job you can just bail from for four days. It’s certainly not one you can bail from and not have people notice.

I don’t generally like to judge spouses, especially not knowing all the details, but Jenny Sanford’s statement was equally weird. If my husband were gone for four days and I didn’t know where he was, I would freak the hell out.

And the last time I checked, theAppalachian Trail doesn’t run through Atlanta.

If I were a loony Red Stater, I’d be positing wild conspiracy theories about Democrat cabals taking out Republican presidential contenders before they can get going. First John Ensign (about the only thing he didn’t do was dare reporters to follow him, telling them they’d be bored), now Sanford. But I’m not a Red Stater, and I firmly believe that Republican presidential contenders are perfectly capable of imploding all by themselves.

At a minimum, this was a situation that could have been handled far, far better by his staff. Honestly, I think the only way they could have botched this further is if his spokesperson came out and said the governor had pulled a Kung Fu.

UPDATE:Josh Marshall says Sanford’s press folks did good yesterday. I beg to differ. This wasn’t a case of good spin by Sanford’s people. It’s a case of piss-poor reporting (plus a major disaster story taking over the news cycle). Dudes, the story isn’t that Sanford has been found. It’s WHY THE HELL WAS HE EVER MISSING?

17 thoughts on “Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark, Mark…

  1. This whole story is so weird to me. He tells his staff where he’s going but not his wife? And his wife tells reporters he needed to get away from the kids? Even if it’s true, and I have no doubt everybody wants to escape their children at one point (escape them, sell ’em on Ebay, give them to a nice family that lives on a farm), who says that to people who will write it down so the kids can read it someday? Classy.

  2. See, that’s the thing, A. I could understand any of 14 different reasons for Sanford to take a powder. And all of them could easily be explained by his staff.
    So why the hell didn’t they? It’s the changing stories, the lack of coherent responses from the major players–those are the things that make this so weird. It says to me that everybody got caught completely off-guard by this.
    If I were his chief of staff, the instant anybody asked where the governor was, and I didn’t know, I’d shut down all contact with the press from anybody connected with the guv until we had a straight story to offer.
    These folks just aren’t ready for prime time, regardless of the real story.

  3. I think it’s an awesome new euphemism that we haven’t been clued in on yet. As in, “Sen. Ensign issued an apology today, saying ‘I deeply regret hiking along the Appalachian Trail, and have already asked and received the forgiveness of my lovely wife for doing so.'”

  4. Like Buggy says.
    What would have been wrong with saying that Sanford was taking some time off to be with his family on Father’s Day at an undisclosed location?
    Or even saying Sanford was taking some time off at an undisclosed location? that way, it would be absolutely true and absolutely understandable.

  5. I suggest (although Dan apparently had the same thought) that we just morph Going Gault and Senator Ensign and say he “Went Ensign”. Or perhaps just say air quotes HIKING (wink wink).

  6. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is, from now on, not something you will want to tell the wife after you return from being missing for a couple of days. And, after the next couple of days, it will have a much more specific meaning. Remember, we are discussing a Republican politician here.

  7. I’ve tried to ignore this story, butnow it has my attention:

    On Tuesday, sources told News 4’s Nigel Robertson that a state vehicle is missing and was tracked down, not to the Appalachian Trail, but to the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.
    Sources told Robertson that a federal agent spotted Sanford in the airport boarding a plane. Robertson was told that the governor was not accompanied by security detail. …
    WYFF News 4 has not yet confirmed where the plane was going or how the governor got to the airport, but it is clear there are two very different stories.
    News 4 called the governor’s office, and was told again by staffers that they stand by their original statement that the governor is hiking the Appalachian Trail. They did not want to comment on this story.

  8. Also, when Josh says Sanford’s press staff done good, he’s saying it with a slightly cynical edge, for those of you who didn’t follow the link in the original post.

  9. Athenae:He tells his staff where he’s going but not his wife? And his wife tells reporters he needed to get away from the kids?
    This part in particular doesn’t make any sense. According to all of the various news sources, Governor Sanford’s wife and their children are at a vacation home on Sullivan’s Island, SC, which is something like 100 miles southeast of the Governor’s residence in Columbia. Why would he need to get away from kids who weren’t even there in the first place? And why would he not tell his wife and kids where he was going to be, let alone where he’d be on Father’s Day and why he wouldn’t be with them on that occasion. WTF WTF WTF WTF?!

  10. CNN is now reporting that Sanford’s “borrowed” SUV was apparently found at the local Columbia airport, not at the one in Atlanta. Sleeping bag and a few other items in the car, but no sign of the Governor himself.
    (Link through handle)

  11. last-minute round trip ticket to argentina: $7,000
    gaining national name recognition: priceless

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