Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jenny, Jenny Who Can I Turn To?

I have never met Jennifer Sanford, the First Lady of the State of South Carolina and - unless she develops travel habits as far flung and arcane as those of the simpering ninny to whom she is married - I cannot envision the set of circumstances under which I will. She has, however, through the sheer force of her character in the face of adversity commanded my immediate attention - and that of countless others I suppose - in the aftermath of her husband's less-than-excellent adventure.

For those of you hopelessly lost on a deep, dark Appalachian hiking trail or perhaps numbed from 336 hours of wall-to-wall MJTV (where our motto is, "History is in the mind of the teller" and "the truth is for suckers" - just ask our programming chief Rev. Al Sharpton), Jennifer Sanford has the misfortune of being married to Mark Sanford, the self-immolating Governor of South Carolina. Beginning on Father's Day weekend - nothing quite like an adulterer with a delicious sense of irony - Governor Sanford disappeared from his family, his security detail and apparently every other man, woman and child in South Carolina for a period of four or five days. Upon resurfacing early the next week, the initial explanation for where the Guv had been was hiking, alone, on the Appalachian Trail.

Apparently, geography is not part of the core curriculum in South Carolina's public schools as the Guv's compass apparently mistook Argentina for Appalachia, which might not have been so bad had the 13 year-old boy who the people of South Carolina elected to be their state's Chief Executive not subsequently revealed that he had traveled to Argentina not to be with a woman with whom he was carrying on an extra-marital affair but with his "soul mate".

For reasons known only to the Gov and to those hoping to run against him for his job in the next election cycle, he declared in an interview with the Associated Press that while he regretted the outcome of his Argentinian adventure, the heart wants what the heart wants. "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story," said Sanford, sounding more and more like a cheap romance novelist. "A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day." Apparently, much like a New York Rangers fan after the Blueshirts won the elusive Stanley Cup in 1994, the Guv will be able to trip the mortal coil with a smile affixed to his lying lips. "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate," he swooned. "But it was one of those things. I knew the cost."

And through it all, as the Gov has twisted in the wind like a fattened Gamecock turning round-and-round over a fire pit, his wife has kept her distance from him and has maintained a remarkably unflappable public demeanor. Her absence from his press conference in which he admitted that "he'd made a mistake" (what exactly, forgetting for a moment that he is an a##hole?) was conspicuous. Her continued projection of a strong, independent woman whose principal concern is the welfare of the four sons who the Gov has also wholly disregarded in his pursuit of his 7th grade crush is more than simply commendable. It is a template for those spouses who are disgraced publicly through no fault of their own by other halves who prove to be significantly less than so.

For years we have seen politicians' spouses (primarily wives) stand next to the preening jackass to whom they are wed with upper lips stiffened and supportive grins painted on in a "show of support" for their suddenly recalcitrant, formerly hound-dogging partner. Enough already. It is one thing to humiliate one's husband or wife in a manner such as that perpetrated by Messrs. Edwards and Spitzer in recent years without expecting the cuckolded spouse to have his/her nose rubbed in for good measure in front of countless cameras and untold articles.

Jennifer Sanford has reminded all of us that while Morris Buttermaker could order Rudy Stein to "take one for the team", she is playing on a different ball field entirely and swinging one hell of a big stick. And in case the Gov had not done so, he best pack a cup in his travel bag. Methinks he is going to need it.

-AK

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