Governor’s absence is no crisis

In the midst of a season where national unemployment is pressing against 10 percent, where GM is about to eliminate 4,000 white-collar jobs,   where the number of mass layoffs (50 or more employees from a single employer) is at record levels, where a new President “sharpens” his rheotric on Iran but is powerless to do more, where Congressional Democrats attempt to cram-down radical legislation  on energy and health care and where crises loom large and small, this question captivates national attention:

Where was South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for four days? He was spotted in Atlanta.  He was believed to be on a “secretive Appalachian Trail hike.”   Or in Argentina. He may have been somewhere writing, clearing his head, or otherwise relaxing after the close of the tough legislative session.

His whereabouts nevertheless prompted pundit speculation on the network news that the getaway seriously damages his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.  Term limits prevent him from running for reelection in 2010.  One of the politicians most alarmed by the governor’s absence is the lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, who wishes to succeed him and who may not be Sanford’s choice.

Those who might like to see Sanford’s presidential prospects aborted early make much of his disappearance without staff or security.  While no President should try such a getaway, the universe doesn’t revolve around a governor, any governor. Even on the Appalachian Trail it’s possible to keep up with the news and thus be informed whether there’s a crisis or some emergency that requires a governor’s attention.  Naturally we’re all curious.  And when he returns to work today, some explanation is warranted.  But, really, it’s no crisis. It’s a celebrity-watch story.

Two governors — Sanford and Sarah Palin — are in that phase of their political lives where every action is magnified to high drama.  Palin, for example, elected to reimburse the State of Alaska $8,143.62 for air travel accompanied by her children.  An ethics complaint filed against her alleged that she’d abused her power by charging the state for them on 19 trips that were of debatable state interest.  The Alaska Personnel Board found no wrong-doing.  But, hey, she’s a serious contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  The fleas come with the dog.

282 comments Add your comment

Billy Bob

June 24th, 2009
12:02 pm

Get Real

Gov. Sanford was somewhere and the MSM didn’t know where – maybe he was even in several places. Most executives take some time for themselves to generate new ideas, strategize or just relax. Maybe the governor was even in the midst of exploring a presidential campaign with some political strategy gurus. At the end of his day, though, he’s still married, a father-in-residence to his children and provides financially for them ALL. Just an everyday occurence for those who believe in personal responsibility. Call him conservative.

Now, if this was a ‘brotha’ taking care of his wife and children, we’d call that a miracle.

JLK

June 24th, 2009
12:05 pm

I’m surprised at you, Mr. Wooten. Gov. Sanford was an absentee father of Father’s Day, and you neglected to place the blame squarely and scathingly on the shoulders of his sl-t wife. Clearly it would be HER fault he was in another country and completely inaccessible to his four children. Or is this something you implied by shrugging off his actions as no big deal?

DB

June 24th, 2009
12:10 pm

Ernesto, ANY currupt politician should be skewered; I’m tired of the people on the right & left having double standards for their side. And BTW, I am not an idiot or a left wing person or a ditto head.

Pubs=Psychotalk

June 24th, 2009
12:15 pm

Sanford-Palin or Palin-Ensign or Sanford-Ensign or Ensign-Sanfo rd 2012. Yes We Kin. Yes We Kin.

Ah kin see Buenos Aires from Columbia, S.C. yes ah kin, yes ah kin.

Dark Knight

June 24th, 2009
12:21 pm

LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! ! Conservatives are hilarious!!!!! Jim Wooten is even funnier however in his assertion that Sanford absence is “no big deal”. Unless he was hiking in the Andes, riding a llama, my guess would be that Sanford’s trip involved some form of sexual deviance, somewhat akin to what David Carradine was involved in. Oh man what a tangled web we weave, huh conservatives. Figures though, everyone knows the reason they go so hard on the issue of gay rights is because a good 75% of them are closeted homo-sexual’s anyway

Ernesto

June 24th, 2009
12:31 pm

Pubs=Psychotalk Chad Harris, Ensign is an idiot for cheating on his wife. But guess what Bozo. He’s not a governor. Palin isn’t stupid. At least she has the sense to know how to run a state. Hell, Obama Hussein has managed to take us to 10% unemployment AND skyrocket the deficit. ALL IN SIX MONTHS! Looks like Obama is the stupid one.

CHAINS WE CAN BELIEVE IN! WOO HOO! YES WE DID….KILL THE COUNTRY! YEE HAW!

Ernesto

June 24th, 2009
12:32 pm

DB, what did Sanford do that was corrupt?

He did nothing illegal or corrupt. Again, this is a non story.

Pubs=Psychotalk

June 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

Actually, a more exciting place for Sanford’s whacky secret getaway would have been Silvio Berlusconi’s Rome mansion and partied down with Patrizia D’Addario. And while conventional wisdom would have routinely put the Lt. Gov. in charge, any state Sanford isn’t in is much better off.

He’s gotten into the category of whack job along with Rick Perry and Alaska hillbilly dimwit Palin.

Palin is in reality on the cusp of obscurity. She cannot get elected to anything in Alaska or anywhere else. She has made an enormous contribution to the power base of the Democratic party.

reebok

June 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

if sanford and palin are top contenders for the GOP nod for president next time around, then the party is in much deeper trouble than anyone thought and is on its’ way to a permanent 25% minority status.

reebok

June 24th, 2009
12:38 pm

different topic…sean hannity just said that this is obama’s recession…hey, he’s been in office for 6 months, so that’s cool. but when the rocovery comes, watch hannity and his clones announce that it was dubya’s visionary economic policies that turned things around. or wait…maybe he’ll credit reagan! LOL

Raz Algoul

June 24th, 2009
12:50 pm

reebok, considering that both governors share high approval ratings and both are conservatives I’d safely say that either candidate is in fine shape. I mean, in 2012 the American people will be begging for change we can believe in. Obama is the new Ray Nagin.

Raz Algoul

June 24th, 2009
12:51 pm

Pubs=Psychotalk=Chad Harris is out of his mind. Literally. He/She thinks he/she is a doctor.

Pubs=Psychotalk isn’t really a doctor but she plays one on AJC.

Mister Earl

June 24th, 2009
12:54 pm

1984 – the thread is about Governor Sanford and you’re talking about President Barack Hussein Obama. (Yes, his middle name is Hussein. So what?)

The Sanford non-story is gathering quite a bit of attention for a non-story.

Gimmeadollar

June 24th, 2009
12:54 pm

What a dummy wrote: I really do wonder why no one is talking about how idiotic and inexperienced Obama Hussein looks to the world right now. Sanford is a governor of a small southern state. Obama Hussein is the leader of the “free” world right now. It’s just a matter of time before another terrorist attack hits us. If NK ends up bombing us I bet he pulls a Ray Nagin and hides in the bathroom with his head tucked away in the toilet.
****************
And G. Bush preferred reading a children’s novel during the terroist attack in ‘01 and then proceeded to attach the wrong country. Go figure

Mister Earl

June 24th, 2009
12:57 pm

“this sure is odd.”

“It’s all part of the lonely mystique of Governor Sanford,” said Cole Blease Graham Jr., a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina, on Tuesday. “He has taken many positions as governor that are similarly lonely, almost contrarian.”

But Mr. Sanford’s disappearance set a new standard for unpredictability, Mr. Graham said.

“In a state like South Carolina, where everybody knows everything about everybody,” he said, “this sure is odd.”

1984

June 24th, 2009
12:58 pm

Mister Earl, the reason its getting attention is because he is a contender for 2012. He is against Obama Hussein and Obama Husseins crappy socialist programs. Hell, Obama Hussein has managed to take us to 10% + unemployment AND triple the deficit. ALL IN 6 MONTHS. THAT’S CHANGE I CAN BELIEVE IN.

Gimmeadollar writes: What a dummy wrote:

THEN WRITES: terroist attack

LET’S SEE, ONE SPELLS CORRECTLY AND THIS GIRL CAN’T SPELL TERRORIST.

HMMMM, I GUESS WE KNOW WHO THE DUMMY REALLY IS.

1984

June 24th, 2009
1:00 pm

Mister Earl thinks Sanford is odd yet ignores all the odd things Obama Hussein is doing. I think I’d rather have Sanford as my governor than I would a sitting president who is causing high unemployment and making us less safer in the world.

1984

June 24th, 2009
1:02 pm

While idiot liberals focus on a non story like Sanford, the rest of the country focuses on Obama Husseins idiocies and inexperience.

Warren Buffett to CNBC: U.S. Economy In “Shambles” .. No Signs of Recovery Yet

In a live interview on CNBC today, Warren Buffett said there has been little progress over the past few months in the “economic war” being fought by the country. “We haven’t got the economy moving yet.”

While the economy is a “shambles” and likely to stay that way for some time, he remains optimistic there will eventually be a recovery over a period of years.

Buffett says the nation should concentrate on creating jobs.

Buffett also revealed that he had a cataract operation on his left eye about a month ago. He joked that he thought it might help him see “green shoots” for the economy, but so far he hasn’t seen any hopeful signs.

Taking a firm position in an ongoing debate in the financial markets, Buffett says he’s not concerned at all about deflation, but does think inflation will be a problem in coming years.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/31526130

ScottR

June 24th, 2009
1:08 pm

Way to go Jim. The conservative apologist as ever. You’d have tarred and feathered any Governor with a “D” by his name doing the same thing. True that it should hardly be front page news, but it is bizarre behavior and any reasonable person with his number of years in some spotlight, albeit in a smaller state, should have known the PR nightmare it would create. THAT is why this is a story….a profound lapse in judgment is worthy of note for anyone considered even as a possible Presidential candidate.

1984

June 24th, 2009
1:13 pm

I’m in love. But that DOGGONE RESTRAINING ORDER keeps getting in the way. Hate. Yea thats the ticket. Everybody is stupid! Dum liberals. I’d be getting some love now if it were’nt for them. Looks like your stuck with me.

ncgreybr

June 24th, 2009
1:15 pm

Let’s turn this around for a minute. Sanford is the DEMOCRATIC Governor of South Carolina and he has been gone for several days without telling his wife or staff where. Still got the same answer, Jim?

Peter

June 24th, 2009
1:18 pm

Come on Jim…….He couldn’t have sex with under age Girls or Boys in S. Carolina…..You know the” Republican Family Values ” thing !

Gimmeadollar

June 24th, 2009
1:19 pm

Why caint my cuzins just letz me getz me sum goat sex? Ah mean ah just caint get me no luvin from dem farm animuls. Itz jus not far.

Chris C

June 24th, 2009
1:20 pm

Update, 12:05 p.m ET.: South Carolina state Senate Democratic leader John C. Land III just issued a very strong statement regarding Sanford.

Said Land:

“The people of this state deserve complete honesty from Governor Sanford. The Governor’s office misled the media, the Lt. Governor, and the people of South Carolina. Never in my 32 years as a state Senator have I witnessed a Governor and his staff act in a more dishonest, secretive, and bizarre manner. There is something very wrong here and serious questions need to be asked about the Governor’s 6 day disappearance.”
Update, 10:51 a.m. ET: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. today from his office in the statehouse in Columbia.

Original Post

The news — first reported by the State newspaper — that Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) had spent the last six days in Argentina not, as his staff had previously said, hiking the Appalachian Trail turns what was a bad story for the governor’s future political prospects into an out-and-out public relations disaster.

“I don’t know how this thing got blown out of proportion,” said Sanford upon his return stateside, explaining that he had mentioned to his staff that he might be going hiking along the Appalachian Trail last Thursday before changing his mind at the last minute. Asked why his staff released a statement Monday night saying that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, Sanford told the State: “I don’t know.”

Um, ok.

This latest turn in what can now only be described as a bizarre story creates far more questions than it answers. Among them:

* Why didn’t Sanford check in with anyone during the five days he was “off the grid”? The Fix has been to Buenos Aires — the Paris of South America — and can attest to the fact that there are shops with e-mail terminals and international phones on nearly every corner. Why would Sanford not, at least, call his wife (and four boys) on Father’s Day to let them know his whereabouts — especially given that he was a nine-hour plane ride (or more) from home?

* Why did Sanford’s staff insist on Monday that they knew where he was and had been in contact with him? A source within the South Carolina government said Monday that no one on Sanford’s staff had spoken to the governor since last Thursday and they did not know where he was, and yet everything that came out of Sanford’s office after the initial hubbub seemed to suggest that all was well. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer accused Sanford’s staff of misleading him regarding the governor’s location on Monday, a claim that now seems to be right.

* What did Sanford’s office tell people like state Sen. Greg Ryberg and South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom that convinced that duo to put out statements yesterday condemning the media coverage of the event as making much ado about nothing? And, how much blowback is there from Sanford defenders who now have, to put it nicely, egg on their face?

These are just a few of the questions that Sanford now must answer in the coming days. The fact that he disappeared for six days made for an interesting — and somewhat odd — story. The fact that — whether willfully or accidentally — Sanford’s staff misled the public about his whereabouts is a major problem for a candidate considered almost certain to run for president in 2012.

“With the lack of judgment he’s shown, Sanford is now seriously damaged goods,” said one senior Republican strategist about the incident’s impact on the South Carolina Governor’s political future.

Argentinian Visitors Bureau

June 24th, 2009
1:20 pm

I hope Mr. Sanford enjoyed the low cost female companion services and easily obtainable mind bending substances here. Argentina is a great place to “clear your head”.

“Hiking” here is much easier, because there is no U.S. media. We always strive to ensure your family values stay in place.

Mister Earl

June 24th, 2009
1:20 pm

Gimmeadollar, AMEN SISTER! Just da odda day ah wuz gettin it on wit my donkey when sum gop voter camed ober and said ah cud not getz me no mo donkey pun tang. AH say itz just not far, its just not!

Ray Pugh

June 24th, 2009
1:21 pm

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Eliot Spitzer

June 24th, 2009
1:22 pm

Gee whiz, you JAWJAW hicks are so damn stupid. I would have killed to have this be my only problem. I was too busy banging high dollar hookers with tax payer money. But this, damn I wish this were my problem.

marcus graham

June 24th, 2009
1:23 pm

Jim please-I am sooooooooooooo glad that you are retiring. You are dead wrong on this one. A responsible chief executive officer, leader or whatever terminolgy you want to use should not disappear without anyone (INCLUDING HIS WIFE) disavowing his whereabouts. I have grave concerns that staff members were ‘left in charge’ during his absences and had the freedom to decide what other leaders (if any) to involve in any decision. People that have sought public office should understand such scrutiny comes with the territory. Probably most telling is that this secret getaway wasn’t even on the governor’s private calendar. I find your reaction to this story quite appaling!

Peter

June 24th, 2009
1:26 pm

Hey Jim, I am thinking yesterdays and today’s baloney you write Goes together……..should read something like……” Governor Sanford, mostly in Bondage, somewhere in the South ” .

Yep a real Southern Gentleman takes off on his wife and Kids on Father’s day……and tells no one where he is…… Lucky for him nothing disastrous happened to his state…… I guess he got lucky in more ways than one.

Barney Frank

June 24th, 2009
1:26 pm

Otay, here ifs my offer on da housing pwabwam. Don’t blame me I am a innocemt bwistandar.

Fannie, Freddie asked to relax condo loan rules: report

(Reuters) – Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

In March, Fannie Mae (FNM.N)(FNM.P) said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70 percent of the units have been sold, up from 51 percent, the paper said. Freddie Mac (FRE.P)(FRE.N) is due to implement similar policies next month, the paper said.

In a letter to the CEO’s of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold “may be too onerous” and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.

The legislators asked the companies to “make appropriate adjustments” to their underwriting standards for condos, the paper added.

In an interview with the paper, Weiner said the rules have “had a real chill on the ability to get these condos sold,” at a time when prices of condos have fallen enough to attract potential buyers.

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Housing/idUSTRE55L39120090622

John Edwards

June 24th, 2009
1:27 pm

Peter, yeah pardna, I do undastnd what your selling. I mean, how could annnnnyone go off without there wife. I love my wife and would neeeeeeeeva cheat on her.

William Jefferson Clitoris

June 24th, 2009
1:29 pm

Now see heeeea, I did not have sexual relations with dat woman. Not one time. Oh wait….indeed ah did have sexual relations with dat woman.

Is this racist?

June 24th, 2009
1:32 pm

Looks like a monkey urinated on another monkey.

Monkey urinates on Zambian president

A monkey urinated on Zambian President Rupiah Banda as he spoke to reporters outside his State House offices on Wednesday.

“You have urinated on my jacket,” a startled Banda told the monkey, one of many that makes their home in the trees outside his offices.

“I will give this monkey for lunch to Mr Sata,” he joked, referring to opposition leader Michael Sata, who Banda defeated in last year’s elections.

Kevin

June 24th, 2009
1:38 pm

This explains why the column is called “Thinking Right”. When will the AJC have a column called “Thinking Logically” ? I might re-subscribe if there was such a thing.

conservative democrat

June 24th, 2009
1:39 pm

Orwellian scarey guy 1984,
Buffett is also on record saying our prez is up to the job, and that he’s surrounded himself with the best econ minds (i.e. Volker, Summers, etc.) that will get us out of the mess that W. got us into. If you’re going to quote a man, don’t take it out of context and turn it into a lie. Remember is was Hank Paulsen who told us we were on the verge of economic collapse on September 16, 2008. That was before Hussein Obama was even elected. So, how exactly does this economic crisis fall in Obama’s lap. Clearly it doesn’t. It is because W. tried to wage two wars simultaneously while cutting taxes. That had never been tried before. You are a witness to how well it worked. NOT.

Peter

June 24th, 2009
1:45 pm

Hey John Edwards………. Up both sides cheat…..Clinton a fine example……

The Interesting part is Jim saying it is OK to ditch the wife and kids on Fathers day……not Impeach ! And he is according to Jim, a Republican Presidential candidate like Animal Killer Palin……..WOW….some pretty poor choices the Republican’s have going !

Pretty funny stuff !

deegee

June 24th, 2009
1:45 pm

What do you expect from a political party that blamed 9/11 on Bill Clinton while W had been in the White House and receiving intelligence reports for 9 months? The dittoheads are so predictable.

Mister Earl

June 24th, 2009
1:45 pm

1984 – why must you resort to the juvenile, immature and self-depreciating tactic of name-calling?

Hussein

Hussein

Hussein

Hussein

Hussein

Hussein

feel better now?

Dan

June 24th, 2009
1:45 pm

Ok, I live in SC and I am tired of the attention this non-issue has gotten. Sanford had a harder than usual session and every year goes and recharges, which I am in full support of. The people who made this an issue were on of his RINO critics and the Lt. Gov. who has so little respect for the law I don’t see how he can seriously be considered to uphold the Constitution. Let this story die and give the gov. time. Also, his critics are mad for the gov’s. “we only know there is one branch of Gov’t in SC” remarks.

Dark Knight

June 24th, 2009
1:47 pm

From NBC’s Domenico Montanaro
Check out this set of facts. Fact 1: Gov. Mark Sanford went missing Thursday and hasn’t been seen since. Fact 2: His staff has since told us that the governor has been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Fact 3: Sunday was “Naked Hiking Day” on the Appalachian Trail. We kid you not.

The Christian Science Monitor: “We’re not suggesting that the formerly missing Governor of South Carolina specifically ditched his family and security detail to go hiking on Naked Hiking Day. But that’s what he ended up doing. … But many wondered aloud how this traditional, family-loving, Republican governor of a southern state could miss Fathers Day. After all he’s got four children! Was something sinister in the air? Then it took a Farrelly brothers screenplay type of twist. Sanford had not disappeared. According to his spokesman, he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Coincidentally, on Naked Hiking Day. It’s a big tradition. Many hikers celebrate the summer solstice by hiking au naturel. It just so happened the solstice occurred on Fathers Day — one of the days Sanford was hiking.”

As the South Carolina blog The Palmetto Scoop points out: “The governor who dropped off the face of the Earth for five days was reportedly found Monday night by his staff hiking along the Appalachain Trail. That explanation of Mark Sanford’s disappearance has puzzled many folks in South Carolina and across the country. Why would a sitting governor just up and disappear to the mountains without telling a single soul — including his family? Well, The Palmetto Scoop have discovered the answer to all the secrecy: the governor may have gone for a naked hike. No, really. An Associated Press article from last week heralded Sunday — Father’s Day — as ‘Naked Hiking Day’ on the Appalachian Trail. Yes, Naked Hiking Day.”

John Edwards

June 24th, 2009
1:52 pm

Peter, whats wrong with killing animals? I mean, you do eat meat, yes?

1984

June 24th, 2009
1:53 pm

Mister Earl, Hussein is his middle name. Idiot. How’s that for name calling. Moron.

1984

June 24th, 2009
1:54 pm

deegee, 911 was Clintons fault. Its the same reasoning you idiot libs use on Bush. You claim this recession is all Bush’s fault even though Obama Husseins policies are in play now. He undid all of Bush’s policies and here we are. 10% unemployment and a record record record deficit. Oh, and Obama Hussein hasn’t brought the troops home.

1984

June 24th, 2009
1:55 pm

conservative democrat, yeah, and now Buffett changed his mind. I guess that wasn’t “change he could believe in.”

clyde

June 24th, 2009
2:11 pm

Jim is correct instating that this will not hurt his Presidential chances.He started with zero chance.

Peter

June 24th, 2009
2:12 pm

Yes John I eat meat, but not wolves, do you eat wolf meat ?

I have never ever seen wolf meat for sale in any store have you ?

1984

June 24th, 2009
2:14 pm

Peter, the wolf population has exploded. No harm in shooting some wolves. Hell, I run over dogs all the time. Damn dogs.

clyde, anyone has a chance to win the presidency. If a black/white muslim community organizer who never provided his birth certificate can win, anyone can.

jc_atl

June 24th, 2009
2:17 pm

Today is reported as the coldest day of the year in Buenos Aires, which has 2 miles of coastline to drive on. Sanford is sunkford.

Sanford/Palin 2012 – that’s a ticket every Democrat can support.

1984

June 24th, 2009
2:19 pm

I could support anyone who gets this country out of massive debt and bring back jobs. Obama Hussein has managed to do great damage to America in 6 months than Bush ever did in 8 years. Dumb ass.