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The Ballad of Mark Warner (er......no, see apology below.....please.....meant Sanford)

something heard before approacheth <See Apology Below>

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, June 24, 2009.

No matter our political persuasion, most Americans realize that government executives are under a great deal of pressure, and if it’s feasible, taking a long weekend is not only healthy but wise. And among our Presidents, the sure knowledge that being in Crawford, Texas or on the town in New York is just moving the job into a change of scenery.

Among lesser lights, say the governors of states, much the same leniency can be granted as well. In any case, it generally is. So long as communication is kept, return at need prepared for, there is probably no need for an equal law like the 25th Amendment, which demands that if the President is going to be non compos mentis, the lines of temporary executive power, succession, and all that are in place. But like the Federal Government, I think most states look cancerously upon elected office holders just taking off for a week with nobody knowing where they are, who is in charge in their absence, petty stuff like that.

And yet, a few days ago it was noticed that the Governor of South Carolina, Republican and suspected presidential candidate Mark Warner, was missing. Literally. His beloved wife said she had no clue. His staff snapped to the need and issued a series of incoherent, rather silly and, it turns out, utterly fictitious explanations. The Governor was on a hike along the Appalachian trail, which apparently has a trail head in Argentina, because that’s where the Governor was. We know this because of the very few media types still left, one met him as he got off the plane from Argentina this morning.

It’s hard to say what’s worse, here. A state Governor vanishes for a week and nobody notices, his staff doesn’t know or deliberately lies, the national media fails to find this of much interest at first. After this commentary is recorded the Governor has announced a press conference, so this is kind of risky. He could indeed have a plausible and totally believable explanation for his behavior. But, there’s the legal stuff. As Governor, he has obligations, and he seems to have abandoned them at whim solely for his own interest. Being a Yuppy Governor does not allow you to just vanish for the nourishment of one’s soul, the current tack, nor leave your state without an executive. He’s guilty of dereliction of duty right there. When the Governor merely leaves the state of South Carolina, the Lt. Governor takes over his duties. But nobody knew if he’d left the state, much less the country.

So, it will be an interesting press conference. To their credit, some South Carolina Republicans – not my favorite folk - aren’t buying a word so far. “Lies, lies, lies” and “coverup” are two tunes being chanted among the Governor’s party. Supposedly, the Governor was so upset over having to accept the millions in Federal stimulus money to help revive his state, which he fought against, that he needed to clear his head from the agony. That position of dogma over serving the citizenry, his job, charmed nobody and the speed with which it will be spent is not likely to burnish the name Warner for years to come.

But it could be a completely logical set of reasons underpinning his abandonment of his elected office, and revealed between this recording and its broadcast. I should be uneasy. I’m not, somehow. Possibly because the US embassy in Buenos Aires said they had no idea he was in the country, and this is curious because an unprotected government official is a huge kidnapping target. For this alone, if true, Warner risked much, and not all of it was his to risk.

So, this will be interesting, since what was initially called a press conference is now being called a media availability just in the time I’ve been typing. I expect it will consist of a written statement, and maybe no questions at all.

This is stuff we can understand. Inter-clerisy civil war in Iran? No, not so much.

Apologies. The day after this was recorded, I went into medical care for pneumonia after some weeks of gasping. This and the previous one or two commentaries had been recorded in near one sentence segments due to breathing issues.

I'm defensive because it was called to my attention - and called to my attention immediately by emails I squirreled away to answer when I felt better and then forgot about and just found - that the Governor of South Carolina in question was Republican Mark Sanford, not Mark Warner, a Democratic former Governor from Virginia.

I can explain this stupid, sloppy error but I cannot excuse it.

What's most stupid is that I continued in later commentaries using the correct name and not noting the blaring incorrect title of this one till today, December 1st of 2009. Being sick sucks and I regret inflicting it on the innocent listener, not to mention Mark Warner, whom I hear is a wonderful, tolerant, forgiving type not given to litigation.

Be that said, this is one of the few times I'm glad to have limited exposure on the air. Will now answer the emails, with further regrets for only seeing them now, today. Very sorry, very embarrassed.