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mad_typist

mad_typist
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Birthday
September 18
Bio
I'm a liberal secular humanist who enjoys writing, reading, playing video games and watching sports. I am a former member of the Armed Services who now enjoys the sweet sweet freedom of civilian life. My blog will be centered mostly on politics, football and video games. I'm not a professional hater, but I am a highly ranked amateur. Also, yes, I am a girl.

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JUNE 23, 2009 8:43AM

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Governor

Rate: 26 Flag
The Mysterious Case of the Missing Governor

Am I the only one who thinks it's incredibly bizarre that the governor of South Carolina has apparently gone AWOL?

The lieutenant governor couldn't figure out where Gov. Mark Sanford was. Calls from a state senator and close friend rolled to voice mail. Even his wife said she hadn't talked to him for several days.

The explanation came Monday night from his spokesman: The second-term chief executive was hiking along the Appalachian Trail "to kind of clear his head after the legislative session."

The article goes along to point out that apparently the governor may or may not be alone - it's unclear whether he took along security, and it seems that they have no way to get in touch with the governor in case of emergency.

Another bizarre twist - as stated, his wife wasn't even really sure where the governor was when questioned earlier in the week. And this quote from her certainly raised my eyebrows:

Jenny Sanford said Monday she had not spoken with her husband for several days, including Father's Day. The Sanfords have four sons.

"He was writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids," she told The Associated Press while vacationing at the family's Sullivans Island beach house. A message left for her wasn't returned after the governor's hiking plans were disclosed.

Okay, I can understand needing a break from your kids sometimes. A parent's life is probably pretty hectic. But who the heck decides that the ideal time to take a break from his four sons would be over Father's Day?!

CNN.com also has a piece on the story. Apparently, lawmakers from both sides of the legislature are riled up. One of them makes a pretty good point:
"He needs to transfer the power and let the lieutenant governor, which the constitution requires, let him be the person that makes the decisions." Knotts said. "My concern was 'Who would be in charge should an emergency arrive for the safety of the people and citizens of the state?' "
Along those lines, the AP article notes:
Lt. Gov. Andrew Bauer said he'd been rebuffed by the governor's staff when he tried to find out where Sanford was and had not been put in charge in his absence.
From what I can tell, the response from the governor's staff has been (and I'm paraphrasing here, obviously): "Hey, don't sweat it. If we think there's trouble, we'll go ahead and let you know."

This is just beyond bizarre. I'm pretty sure it's inappropriate for a staffer to decide when to make the call that power needs to be transferred to the lieutenant governor. I'm also pretty sure that some of the histrionics from the other lawmakers are a bit over the top - should a true emergency arise, and should Sanford be unreachable, I'm pretty sure everyone would just turn to Bauer to look for a decision. Of course, I'm not 100% up to speed on how the South Carolina executive branch works, so feel free to correct me on the legality of that.

One final note: Sanford has been acting squirrely for some time now.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and adversary of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division vehicle on Thursday and had not yet returned.

"I found out that he was taking frequent trips at odd times of the night in a SLED car with no security," Knotts said. "He would be driving. I got wind that he had taken another one of these types of capers last Thursday, and that nobody knew who he was with.

All of this should be deeply troubling to the people of South Carolina. Clearly, something is up with Sanford. Whether it's some kind of weird mental breakdown, or something as pedestrian as an affair, I have no idea. But should Sanford ever come down off the trail, I imagine he's going to have to do a loooooot of PR spinning.

Again, not familiar with how it's done in South Carolina, but one has to wonder whether the legislature needs to initiate some of kind of impeachment process or whatever they need to do in the event that the governor truly is no longer fit for duty.
 
Update: there are several great sites that I read all the time that have more coverage and commentary on this story:
- TPM
The State shares this very unsettling observation with us:

Sanford’s last known location was near Atlanta late last week. A mobile telephone tower there picked up a signal from his phone, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Since then, the governor’s state and personal phones had been turned off, and Sanford had not responded to phone or text messages, a source said. Most mobile phones cannot be tracked if they are turned off.

The article also confirms my earlier comment that in the event of a true emergency, Lt. Gov Bauer is empowered under the S.C. Constitution to assume decision making responsibilities.
 
Update #2: Politico also has coverage of this developing story (I too will be posting updates to this if more facts come to light later today or this week).
 
Update #3: Fellow OS'er Ric Caric has been on this story well in advance of my post. Give him your love.
 
Update #4: Apparently, he checked in today from the trail (or they're pretending he did) and will be returning to the state tomorrow, according to the Washington Post. I'm sure he'll have a lot of people eager to talk with him when he finally rolls back in.
 
Update #5: He's back. And he was in Argentina, apparently. This story is just too weird...

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My money is on detox, or the need for it. Wanna bet?
Talk about less government! Sanford truly is a man of his word.
LOL @ Moses....

This is just bazaar, to leave like that & his family does not know where he is... and doing it over Father's Day weekend. I think he has lost all credibility, as a governor, a father/husband and as a contender for the 2012 run for the presidency.

- rated
My personal favorite bit of speculation from a friend of mine:

"Maybe he has a family of bears in the mountains. Bear families need attention on Father's Day too."
Since I moved to SC in '07, the shenanigans that pass for Gov. Sanford's stewardship has been nothing short of ridiculous.

The GOP is touting Sanford for a 2012 Presidential run. Shudder to think...
I'm confused- he is no where near blonde or pretty enough to be declared missing by the media.
Isn't this the guy who refused federal money because it was to be directed mainly to education?
Take a look at The State newspaper in Columbia SC on thestate.com. The story is on the front page but not as though it were particularly important. Even more interesting, I noted only three comments, one of them apparently blaming "carpetbaggers" for a lot of uncalled for fuss.

I took advantage of the opportunity to leave my own snide, heartless and totally uncalled for comment. Help yourselves; it only takes a minute or two to register.
http://www.thestate.com/reg-bin/int.cgi?mode=register
1WomansVu - yeah, that's the guy. In fact, I believe he was depressed about the state legislature pretty much forcing him to accept the federal funds (and making him use them for the right stuff instead of paying down the state deficit), which is what allegedly may have inspired his little "Walkabout" moment in the first place.
Good lord, if that sort of thing depresses him, I'd recommend he take a permanent vacation.
Strange indeed.
Maybe he's gone looking for Freaky?
Let me tell you, I'm this asshole's biggest fan. My daughter attends College of Charleston, paying out-of-state tuition. We get a letter from the school the other day explaining that this chump's decision not to accept federal money, a la Jindal, had resulted in state funding to the school being slashed. Therefore, wait for it, tuition would be rising quite a bit for the next school year.

I just hope this prick runs into a pissed off momma black bear on the Trail. I suspect the lieutenant governor would behave more like a human being.

Nice post, nothing like a good skewering of a politician to start the day off right.
I used to just think repugs were merely a pain in the ass. Now I'm certain they're certifiable.
See update #4 above folks - he's back!

I can't wait to see how he handles himself in the press tomorrow. Should be interesting.
I'm with Grif... sounds like rehab.

and James, why on earth would you pay out of state tuition for your daughter to attend College of Charleston? What state do you live in and how does it not have a single institute of higher learning on par with CoC? If you're simply trying to make money disappear, I'd be glad to send you my address. I accept cash, money orders and checks. No credit or debit cards, please.
Glad you put all this together here. I am just beginning to get very curious! You could almost explain away most of it, but the Father's Day part is really bizarre. Things must be unraveling very quickly! Look forward to delving into the links here!
What skierchaz said, literally!
Sounds like he's having his mid-life crisis. He should buddy up with Jon of 'Jon & Kate'. I bet Jon could show him a good time around town.
Shhhh...he's on a secret mission. He was with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, wearing a smooth black suit and kicking alien ass.

Good lord, how does that man expect to keep his job?
That is not a good sign.
Just fyi, if the gov wanted to hike the AT, he would have gone upcountry to Greenville, then up the ridge through my area to pick up the trail. It's a 3 hour straight shot up I-26 from Columbia to Hot Springs. If he went to Atlanta first, he went WAAAAYYYY out of the way, so the trip would take double or even triple the time. Even if he wanted to start at the trailhead in North Georgia, he still took the longest possible route to get there.
Nope, they are all lying their asses off.
Some states have all the luck! I sure wish Ah-nold would take a hike! I'm not picky about the direction he chooses, either. But if it involved hungry bears or sharks, I'd be okay with it.
I thought this was going to end with his body being found...that he was suicidal. Detox is a good guess, though, too!
Report says he's not alone in his hikes. Wanna bet that he's with Migo, whisperers from darkness. The alien bugs from the dark planet from Yuggoth. With that kind of mini-insanity (if there's such a word!), it wouldn't be a stretch.
Correction: Dark planet OF Yuggoth, not FROM Yuggoth. *sigh*
The plot thickens. It's now reported that the gov went to an airport, destination unknown, rather than hiking...
Detox is, of course, an excellent hypothesis for Sanford's disappearance, especially if his will to resist federal funding was being undermined by the blackouts.

But it's also entirely possible that the guv might have ducked out of state to indulge his desire for $400 haircuts while trysting with a campaign employee. A Republican, after all, couldn't be seen to emulate the decadent socialist John Edwards, however much he covets the cachet of patrician behavior.

Whatever the details, surely we're in for a treat. How will Sanford spin it? Will it all turn out to have been a fugue?

Ah, colorful Southern politics. The politics of federal victimization, divine intervention, repressive righteousness, sinful indulgences, and redemptive revelation.

We'll miss all that when Obama presents his universal health care plan and the red states threaten to secede. Only this time the country might accept.
From my WP news summary this morning -

For the Gov, A Little 'Me Time'
After all those weird stares, after he fought against stimulus money meant to help his fellow South Carolinians who've lost jobs at an astounding rate, after the blitzkrieg of complaints from Democrats, no one had to tell Gov. Mark Sanford to take a hike.
(By Wil Haygood, The Washington Post)
Sometimes my prescience (above) catches even me off guard when I re-read what I've written:

... it's also entirely possible that the guv might have ducked out of state to indulge his desire for $400 haircuts while trysting with a campaign employee. A Republican, after all, couldn't be seen to emulate the decadent socialist John Edwards, however much he covets the cachet of patrician behavior.

Still gathering information as to whether the Argentinian was a campaign worker. There could well be vast numbers of South Carolinians who vote absentee from Argentina.

I vow to use these emerging psychic powers only for the betterment of humankind.