Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You're Not Hiking, You're Having An Affair

When did people become such bad liars? Or maybe the question is, when did people stop caring if they were bad liars? At the very least, when did people start going with completely implausible scenarios and acting as if they expect the public to believe them? Then again, when did the public start believing them?

I do know when people who were prone to lying started altering the content of their lies to conveniently leave out key information that would likely be interpreted by people in a certain way, only to find out that it really wasn't that way at all. But because of the way that the lie was phrased, it allows the weasel to say that he didn't lie and that what he said was "taken out of context". "Taken out of context" is BS talk for "caught lying". That all started with the whole I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinksy fiasco. And the liars haven't looked back since.

So when I hear South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford speak in relation to the newly discovered affair that he was having with a woman in Argentina, I notice that there are some details left out and that they're details that most people will just assume they know what they are and fill in the blanks with that assumption. But I prefer to speculate wildly about what could fill in those blanks. And I shall do so right now.

(By the way, I wouldn't have to speculate about anything if the media would just do their damn job once in a while and have the "reporters" actually "report". A reporters story should answer the questions that the reader might have about what they're reading. It's a pretty basic concept, but sadly, it's one that has been lost in so many areas of the media lately. I just wanted to make clear that I'm not out to make the folks who did these interviews at the Associated Press look bad. I'd prefer to just comment on the idiocy of Gov. Sanford. But when the Governor's answers seem to imply rather than answer, the AP should pick up on that and if they don't, I'm left speculating all over the place.)

A brief recap: Gov. Sanford left on June 18 for Argentina where the other woman, a one Maria Belen Chapur, lives. The thing is he didn't tell anyone where he was going and led folks to believe that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He says he didn't check his voicemail for four days and that's why he had "no idea" people were wondering where he was. He's the governor. Doesn't he have a state to run? Did he really think that would be a) OK with people and/or b) a smart thing to do? If he thought either one, that would make it clear that he's too inept to be a governor. Whether or not having an affair is a reason for a politician to be called upon to resign is debatable. But not telling anyone where you're going and being completely out of touch for four days and then lying not telling the truth about where you were when you're the governor IS reason enough for someone to be compelled to resign. Because not only does that say "I lie to my wife and I cheat on her", it also screams out "AND I'm a dumbass". Dumbasses should not be governors.

For some reason, almost a week after he had held a press conference admitting he was having an affair with the woman from Argentina (Why Argentina? Is that because it's another one of those jobs Americans won't do?), he did three more hours of interviews with the Associated Press that took place from his Statehouse office over a period of two days. The interview was written up as a narrative and the exact questions that were asked of the governor are not completely clear to me because they're not stated. While you can infer what the question was, there's an issue being danced around that makes the question very relevant. The interview and/or the results of such begin like this:

"Sanford also said that he "crossed the lines" with a handful of other women during 20 years of marriage, but not as far as he did with his mistress.
"There were a handful of instances wherein I crossed the lines I shouldn't have crossed as a married man, but never crossed the ultimate line," he said."

Um, OK. See, I really need to know what the question was. I need to know if the question was along the lines of "Have you ever had an affair before?" , "Was this the first affair that you've had?" or if it was along the lines of, "How many other women have you cheated on your wife with?", "Have there been other women you've had affairs with?" See the difference? It's hard for me to know if his answer is honest or very misleading. And if it is misleading, there's a HUGE reason it is so. Moving on....

"What I would say is that I've never had sex with another woman. Have I done stupid? I have. You know you meet someone. You dance with them. You go to a place where you probably shouldn't have gone," Sanford said, declining to discuss details. "If you're a married guy at the end of the day you shouldn't be dancing with somebody else. So anyway without wandering into that field we'll just say that I let my guard down in all senses of the word without ever crossing the line that I crossed with this situation."

He starts off by making sure that he says that he's never had sex with another woman. That's the last time that he uses the word woman. After that, he says "someone" and "somebody else". He doesn't say "you meet a woman" or "you shouldn't be dancing with a woman who isn't your wife". What a surprise that he doesn't want to discuss details either. I wonder why that would be? Granted, he's not real bright. But he's also a liar. And with the whole implying that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail story, should I really put it past him that he's not trying to do the same thing with this interview? What else, governor?

Sanford, at times crying and unabashedly emotional, acknowledged in the AP interview that he had casual encounters with other women while he was married but before he met Chapur. They took place during trips outside the country to "blow off steam" with male friends.

Now while I'm not a guy, I am familiar with the species. So while I know it is not unusual for guys to have their "guy time" together and when they do, it does tend to be in groups, I can't say that I know of any guys that are married, let alone married with four children, who take a trip sans wife (at the very least!) outside of the country. (Wait. Does Tijuana during Spring Break count? Yeah, I didn't think so either.) Hmmm.

While I don't know much about his wife, Jenny Sanford, but I know this much: I know that she didn't stand there by his side at his confessional press conference. Thus, I LIKE HER. Elliott Spitzer's wife, John Edwards's, the many, many other wives who stand their next to their unfaithful husband and listen to him tell a gaggle of reporters that he was having sex with a woman that wasn't her. I always wonder why those women are there. They never say anything. I'd understand if they were there and kept interrupting him and making sarcastic comments or continually reminding the press to make sure that they don't forget to print how tiny his penis is. That I could respect and understand. But silently pulling the Tammy Wynette "Stand by Your Man" gig? No way. So seeing ol' "Fled" Sanford up there solo was a nice change. Too bad there couldn't have been a non-cheating politician up there as well for another nice change, but one out of two is about par these days.

The point is that I find it hard to believe that she would condone her husband leaving the country when they have FOUR children (aged about 16, 15, 12 and 10) so that he can go and "blow off steam" with "male friends". Don't get me wrong. I have the feeling that there probably were "male friends" involved. I'm also getting the sense that there might have been something being blown, but I don't think it was steam. Unless that's what they're calling it these days.

That's all I've got. I have no idea what the question posed to Mark Sanford by the AP reporter was that would make it easier for me to interpret his answers. If the AP reporter did not specifically state that the questions that were being asked were referring to WOMEN then his answers leave a lot of room for interpretation. The man lies and then blows it off as if people just misinterpreted him. Like when he was asked why his staff said he was on the Appalachian Trail. His initial answer was, "I don't know." But later on "in fairness to his staff" Stanford said that he had told them he might go hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Might. Might! Hey! It's not his fault they took that to mean that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail! He said "might". Might!

See what kind of guy he is? The weasely kind. The weasely, lying, cheating and throwing your staff under the bus while you're at it, kind of guy is what kind of guy he is. And guys that are that weasely are usually calculated in what they say. That's why I have no idea as to why he's admitting to previous affairs when, as far as I can tell, the question hadn't been raised. Do I think he had other affairs? Oh, totally. Do I think they were all with other women? Hell no I don't. And that's why I'm waiting for a gay male friend in another country to surface and talk about all of the "steam blowing" that went on between him and the Governor of South Carolina. I wouldn't have to wait if reporters doing interviews would just ask questions that are clear and then make it clear in the articles that they write that the clear questions were asked. Until then, I'm going to speculate that there's a gay male lover or two involved here somehow. Nice job, AP.

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