[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/24/south.carolina.governor/art.gov.sanford.scetv.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford chokes up on Wednesday as he admits to having an affair."]
David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing
I am so proud of my friend Mark Sanford. OK, to be fair, we've never met. But after using "hiking the Appalachian Trail" as an excuse for some very different endeavor, I feel he's a something of kindred spirit - at least in his creative use of excuses.
No, I have no plans to fool around on my wife. First, she's a hottie (and I love her dearly). And second, I'm not a Republican, so I'm not uptight and repressed. I'm also not a Democrat, so I have a spine.
But I am a writer and we writers are always looking for good excuses. Oh, my article's late. Sorry, I was "hiking the Appalachian Trail". Oh, forgot to take the trash out. Couldn't. I was "hiking Appalachian Trail". I didn't sneak out to buy a box of Krispy Kremes. Oh, no. I was "hiking the Appalachian Trail". Didn't get my (fill in the blank here) in on time. Well, you know, I was "hiking Appalachian Trail".
The story of Mark Sanford's meteoric rise to Great American Jackass has the makings of a movie of the week. There's vast sums of money, greedy political maneuvering, a disappearing politician, and, unusual for a Republican, a woman. At least it wasn't some quality man-on-man humpadump from yet another "I'm not gay" leading light of the Republican party.
I understand life's been tough on Mark these last few weeks. After all, turning down all that federal money for his state's unemployed took a lot out of him. That's why, exhausted from his fight, he, uh, vanished. And, apparently, he vanished without telling his wife or even key state officials where he was going. Governors have some pretty serious positional responsibilities and simply shirking them for a series of long distance quickies calls in further question about Sanford's ability to lead.
Let me be clear: this isn't about the fact that yet another dude has hung his chad. This is about a man with important responsibilities to a struggling citizenry, a man who's been extremely political in recent months, who seemed to have lost something of his grasp on what constitutes acceptable behavior.
If there's one thing about politicians I'm thankful of, it's their entertainment value. My wife, a nursing student, thought he might be in a dissociative fugue. A friend thought he might have been kidnapped. My bet was on hanky-panky and, cha-ching(!) I won that one.
Apparently, while his staff insisted he was - wait for it - hiking the Appalachian Trail, he was, instead, doing something (or someone) more "exotic" in Argentina. I'm sure those citizens of his state, running out of unemployment and wondering how they're going to do something exotic, like pay their bills or buy groceries, were thrilled that Mark went to Argentina to get his, um, votes counted.
If, years from now, we remember my buddy Mark for anything, it'll be for adding "hiking the Appalachian Trail" to the lexicon.
Follow David on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/DavidGewirtz.
Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Magazines, including OutlookPower Magazine. He is a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.
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