Streams of Consciousness…

Mark Sanford

September will mark my one year anniversary at marlo marketing/communications. Prior to officially joining the world of public relations, I worked in politics, a.k.a. the side of the spectrum that cowered at media attention because — nine times out of ten — it meant serious crisis mode or damage control. You rarely wanted attention placed directly on the politician, candidate (or staffers for that matter) for fear of what skeleton might emerge from the closet. Speaking of such skeletons: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Holy sh*t!

Extramarital philandering is nothing new, particularly in the political sphere. But what is, is the kind of rambling, abashed candor courtesy of the shamed governor at Wednesday’s press conference. To call it painful would be an understatement. He gave an emotionally-charged but scattered speech covering everything from “creating fiction surrounding his whereabouts” to God’s law, moral absolutes and following his heart. At one point he mentioned having spent the previous five days “crying in Argentina.” Sure, crying while he was all up in his “dear, dear, dear friend’s” –ish. While it’s not exactly clear what he was crying about, given that he did not make clear whether his illicit affair is over or if he and his wife will stay together, we only hope it has something to do with realizing that he went about breaking his affair in the most irreverent and brainless manner possible. He certainly created an inventive way to spend Father’s Day – abandon your four impressionable-aged sons for a state-funded (?) tryst to another continent in the arms of another woman…mother. Way to go in setting the bar for your sons, Dad! This comes from a man who, citing “moral legitimacy,” voted for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment during his scandalous affair with Monica Lewinsky. Apparently, it’s a long fall from the moral high ground.

I join the ranks of countless others and applaud Jenny Sanford for her strength and pinpoint focus on her priorities during this time. “I’m going to do my best to work on my marriage…his career is not a concern of mine. He’ll have to worry about that. I’m going to worry about my family and the character of my children.” If actions speak louder than words then Jenny’s absence at her husband’s press conference says volumes. Hopefully, it will empower her counterparts across the country, male or female, to uphold their dignity by halting the practice of adulterous mates publicly dragging their spouses through tawdry details of their iniquities while they stand by like mutes with plastic smiles, adding further insult to injury. Sanford mentioned that his wife became aware of his unfaithful ways five months ago which begs the question: why did she only kick him out of the home two weeks ago? But that is neither here nor there.

Funny how politicos left and right are citing his affair as the demise of any political aspirations Sanford may have had for the national stage come 2012. Aside from the fact that I would never vote for him, the situation can be viewed as a blessing in disguise. Why? Because worth more attention than his illicit affair is the lack of judgment that allowed him to think that leaving the state — to which he had an obligation to serve and protect — on a moronic whim was ok. He’s clearly a man led by emotion first and that always makes for a questionable leader. In terms of his politics, John Stewart sums it up pretty nicely, “Just another politician with a conservative mind and a liberal penis.” Luckily for him, his news broke the same week that Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died…as convenient as bombs in Iraq during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal.

Posted by Elizabeth

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