Friday, June 26, 2009

Will We Ever Learn? ...

The uproar over a governor, his admitted extramarital affair, and the fallout from said admission, has me asking, Dr. Phil-like, "What were you thinking?"

The Associated Press and offer
this analysis of the events leading up to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's admission, Wednesday that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

The story includes a report that copies of e-mails allegedly sent by Sanford to his mistress, delivered anonymously to
The State newspaper. It was in the course of seeking verification of these that a reporter from that paper encountered the governor in the airport, and conducted a brief interview, setting-off a string of events that led to this week's press conference in Charleston.

"Efforts to authenticate the e-mails were unsuccessful," The State reported on Thursday. "However, Sanford’s office Wednesday did not dispute their authenticity."
By the way,
you can read the e-mails ... if you wish.

But here's where that Phil-like question comes in. Didn't the governor realize that he would be under scrutiny ... reporters and cameras everywhere, in both the actual and virtual worlds? He should know, by now, how things work ... he is a long-time and successful politician. Governor of the State of South Carolina, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney's presidential bid in the last election, and named by some as potentially making his own bid for the Oval Office in the next election.

An already-high profile was raised even further in recent weeks by the SC legislature's override of his veto of new regulations on the payday lending industry, and his losing a court battle over his decision to refuse $700-million in federal stimulus money.

So people are watching, and taking pictures, and asking questions.

Since the days of Gary Hart, daring the press to follow him, then having that infamous photo on the deck of the good ship "Monkey Business" surface, we've had no lack of elected officials behaving in ways that discredit themselves, their office and the people they serve. In addition to Sanford, there's Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, John G. Rowland of Connecticut, Jim McGreevey of New Jersey, Don Siegelman of Alabama and Bob Taft of Ohio ... and that's just Governors since 2000.

(Want to get informed AND depressed? Visit Wikipedia's "list of major political scandals of the United States")

But I still find myself asking ... with no lack of precedents, did they really think they could behave in this manner, and no one would notice? Was it really that hard to do the right thing, in the first place ... at the very least, out of fear of getting caught?

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