South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford came home on Wednesday after vanishing for five days, and causing a political uproar in his state. Sanford, who has been suggested as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, said he had been in Argentina, not hiking the Appalachian Trail, as his staff had said. The reason for Sanford's trip remained unchanged—he said he wanted to clear his head after a bitter fight with rivals in his own party on how to spend the state's share of the federal economic stimulus package. (Columbia, S.C., State)
What the commentators said
"So, which is it? Mountain or molehill?" asked Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. A senior Republican consultant says Mark Sanford's mysterious disappearance will hurt him politically, because it reinforces the impression that the governor—who once brought live pigs to the state House to embarrass legislators over pork barrel spending—is "one strange dude." Maybe, but a lot depends on what Sanford does next.
It will be hard for Mark Sanford to erase the horrible image his disappearance projected, said Allahpundit in Hot Air. His staff said flatly that he was hiking, and the governor's own wife didn't know the truth. "Eccentric disappearances are bad enough, but eccentric disappearances plus lies?"
"It's too early to reach any sweeping conclusions about Gov. Mark Sanford’s disappearing act," said the Columbia, S.C., State in an editorial. But it's not too early to say that "the feigned hysteria was whipped up by some of the governor’s fiercest political enemies and some of the staunchest allies of the man who is supposed to act as governor if the governor is unavailable, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer." Still, the governor has responsibilities, and Sanford invited "legitimate questions" by shirking them.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week