The last entry on Sanford’s web-site is his announcement of the "media availability" Wednesday [yes, that one]. I reckon his staff isn’t keen on cataloging much of his recent press. But I started looking for things from before – what the guy stood for. Without listing the various things I ran across, I left with an overall impression. Mark Sanford may be a fiscal conservative, and a free market capitalist, but he’s also very "quirky." To use a term that has been so Palinized that it’s unrecognizable, he’s a Maverick. In Congress, he voted oddly – sometimes being the only person voting against some given bill. And his explanations rarely made much sense. He is a real tightwad in both his personal and political life, even though they are pretty wealthy [her money]. His hobby is digging holes – it’s not clear what they’re for [some time back, a young black girl wandered onto his property and drowned in one of his holes]. Most of his speeches are like his confession – rambling and hard to follow. For example, at CPAC, he told Republicans to enjoy losing – principles before winning or something like that. Or his protest letter
in applying for Stimulus funds. What I was looking for was his version of Family Values, but that was elusive. What I found instead was an odd collection of speeches, often from some idiosyncratic perspective. Governor Sanford is a funny duck, sure enough – often taking some perverse position, and it’s unclear what he’s getting at.
It feels more like a confusing "case" than a news story. Growing up with a father who was a cardiac surgeon, but who had the whole family sleep in one room to save air conditioning? Pulling burned toast out of the garbage? Frequently evading his security detail?. Making that speech where he justifies the lie to the reporter on the previous morning, then complains about the "bubble" of public life [so get out of public life already], then gets around to telling us he’s having an affair. It started innocently, he says. He seems to want us, Jenny, his constituency to understand his side of things – see, he’s in love. He calls up the story of Biblical King David as his role model – with Bathsheba? He wants to stay in office, like King David? He wants to use the Governorship of South Carolina to work through his whatever-it-is [which he apparently sees as taking the high road].
All things considered, he’s a selfish guy with a remarkable capacity to rationalize the ridiculous. I’m betting that Jenny has been holding this peculiar neurotic guy in the road for years, and that she’s about over it. I also find myself thinking that someone who has a hobby of digging holes, is a guy looking for a hole to fall into. And he has succeeded at that…