Is anyone else besides me disappointed that the staff of the faithless Governor of South Carolina lied ? He did not, as his aides incorrectly reported, take off on his own for a few days on the Appalachian Trail. When Governor Mark Sanford ditched his responsibilites, his family and all means of communication, the idea that he had strapped on his pack and headed for the wilderness had a certain appeal. Who wouldn't want to shed the weight of executive power for a few days in the mountains without cell phones, without Twitter, without minders and the sleaze of politics and exchange all of this for the rejuvenation that this national treasure affords?
To find out that instead he was betraying his marriage vows in Argentina along with the public trust is a far more believable, if pathetic, explaination. This is hardly the "exotic" experience the Governor claims to have been seeking, but commonplace, tawdy, and utterly lacking in originality. And for his staff to lie about his unexplained absense by claiming the Governor was behaving just like the 4 million people who enjoy the glories of the Appalachian Trail every year is an insult to them and to this great American natural resource.
Never mind that infidelity is also commonplace in America, or that those politicians like Sandford with his feet of clay espousing family values are particularly craven. There was no need to sully the AT along with his family, his reputation, and the public trust. His professed love of the AT has nothing at all to do with his love of a woman in Buenos Aires. It is also telling that the trail, over 2,300 miles long, does not include a single section within South Carolina.
If Governor Sandford had walked out the door last Thursday, stopped in to the local sporting goods store for a rucksack, some beef jerky and a pup tent and disappeared up the spine of the eastern highlands instead of down to his Andean mistress, he might have been a sympathetic, if troubled figure. If he had packed his rags and gone down the hill, to paraphrase a great breakup song by Richard Thompson, he might have been a failure and a disappointment but he would have been an honest one. If he had shacked up in an AT lean to on some windswept mountainside, I would not be grinding this ax, but he didn't and his staff knew it and they lied, so now he's just another dishonest pol with his hand in the honey pot and they all need to take a hike.