Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How You Treat Other People Shows Who You Are

At a Republican Governors Association gathering after his 2002 election victory, Mark Sanford asked me a few questions about how to set up his communications and press shop. What struck me most is that he told me he was hoping to give speech writing and media relations duties to one person, and hoping he could do it as cheaply as possible.

The tale of his recent vacation to Argentina -- after his staff told reporters he went on the Appalachian Trial -- reminded me of that encounter.

What it told me then was that South Carolina's incoming governor didn't think much of the roles anyone will play to help him accomplish the job.

And he still doesn't think much of them. He put them in the untenable position of lying for him -- they would have been better off saying they didn't know for sure -- and so far it's not clear he cares.

Gov. Sanford is entitled to a vacation, even a vacation away from everyone. And he doesn't have to give even his staff the minute details of a trip. But he runs a multi-billion corporation known as the state of South Carolina, and someone should have an idea of where he is. And they shouldn't be put in a position to have to lie for him.

Yet another chapter in the book of stories about people who think the axis of the Earth runs through their head.



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