Politico's Mike Allen: Hike Disqualifies Sanford From Running In 2012

Mark Sanford can’t run for President in 2012, all because he went for a hike. [UPDATE: He went to Argentina.]

At least, that’s what Mike Allen of Politico would have you believe.  On June 23, during his normal appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Allen was discussing the recent media snafu over the governor’s jaunt through the woodlands:

I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.

Methinks that Mike Allen is overreaching, just a bit.  Admittedly, Sanford’s disappearance was surprising – not entirely unlike President Obama, for example, showing up for a surprise townhall meeting with the troops in Iraq.

Also from the Allen playbook:

Unbelievable dopey move. If you're going to disappear when you're governor, responsible for a state, a state that can be hit by a hurricane or any other number of disasters, and you think you're going to check out and not tell your wife and kids, don't do it over Father's Day weekend! It compounded an amazing situation.

A quick check with the National Weather Service shows that the only tropical storm being tracked is Tropical Storm Andres – which is currently off the western coast of Mexico.

On a more substantive note, Mrs. Sanford said (via the AP story):

"He was writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids," Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press while vacationing with the couple's four sons at their Sullivans Island beach house. She said she didn't know where he was, but wasn't concerned.

It was not ever said that she was not told he was going hiking; simply that she didn’t know exactly where he was. On the over-2,000 mile long Appalachian Trail, it is well within the bounds of credibility that his wife did not know where he was.

And why the fascination with Father’s Day?  Some men might use the holiday to spend time with their children.  Others might use it to leverage control of the TV from their Disney-addicted children for a relaxing day of baseball viewing.  Mark Sanford, an avid outdoorsman, used it to go hiking – there simply is no story for an objective media.

Then, just to make sure that we’ve all got the idea that Mark Sanford is dangerously unstable, Allen pontificates:

So this adds to what we've been hearing for years that Republicans in the state don't trust him, think he has a screw loose. Our Jonathan Martin is calling him the J.D. Salinger of governors.

By way of explanation, J.D. Salinger is the author of Catcher In The Rye.  He is also widely known to be reclusive – avoiding all publicity, at all costs.  Humorous, perhaps, but not entirely accurate.

And then, later in the same segment, Allen is asked what the Vice President is doing today:

Regular Joe Biden is going to be out in Ohio [...].

Regular Joe?  Mark Sanford is so unstable that he has disqualified himself from running for President (with a hiking trip), but the elected Vice President – who is known as a gaffe machine gun on camera – is Regular Joe?

Transcript is below, video embedded.

Morning Joe
06/23/2009
06:20:00 AM

WILLIE GEIST: Let's go now to chief political correspondent of "Politico," Mike Allen with a look at the "Politico" Playbook. Good morning, Mike.

MIKE ALLEN: Good Tuesday morning to you, Willie.

GEIST: I’ve got some big questions for you on this first topic. What on earth is going on with Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. We love the guy, comes on the show all the time. He's a good friend of Joe's. What happened here, tell the story.

ALLEN: Unbelievable dopey move. If you're going to disappear when you're governor, responsible for a state, a state that can be hit by a hurricane or any other number of disasters, and you think you're going to check out and not tell your wife and kids, don't do it over Father's Day weekend! It compounded an amazing situation. Last night after a whole afternoon of coverage, where in the world is the governor, throughout the state, throughout the country, they put an e-mail out that said that he was hiking on the Appalachian trail. That might be a good thing for a governor to do, but if you're responsible for your family, for a whole state, take care of it before you go. His lieutenant governor who is another Republican, not only did he not know he was gone, but when he called in yesterday and said he wanted to talk to the governor, they wouldn't let him. So this adds to what we've been hearing for years that Republicans in the state don't trust him, think he has a screw loose. Our Jonathan Martin is calling him the J.D. Salinger of governors.

GEIST: [laughing] That’s not what you want to be called when you’re running for election.  So we heard from his wife, he was off to doing some writing, that was yesterday, from his office that he had gone out to clear his head a little bit. Do you think we'll ever get the real answer to this?

ALLEN: I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.

MIKE BARNICLE: What happened to going to the movies to clear your head? [laughing]

[...]

MIKE ALLEN: Regular Joe Biden is going to be out in Ohio.