Just when the Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin moments seem to be at a close, Stanley Fish, offers a defense of the two beleaguered Republican governors in the New York Times. His point is that their rambling, televised speeches--both so criticized--represented genuine, authentic moments without guile or cunning. Palin was hurting; Sanford was in love. "So what's the bottom line story?," Fish, a literary theorist and legal scholar, notes "Simple. Sanford is in love. Palin is in pain. Sometimes what it seems to be is what it is." Fish acknowledges that he'd never in his right mind vote for Sanford or Palin but he saves his scorn for the pundits and critics who tried to discern deeper meaning in the statements of the two governors. Was Palin really running for president in '12? Was this how Sanford thought he'd resurrect his national ambition? It was clear amidst their rambling, unstructured statements, Fish observes, that there was no master plan.
The Sanford and Palin cases would seem to me, to be alike in their bizarreness and their personal agony but different in more fundamental ways. Sanford's actions were clearly his own, the betrayal of his wife and family, the confusion about his Argentine liasion, the deception offered his staff and thus the citizens of South Carolina. Palin's resignation from the governorship was something considered, made collectively, she acknowledged, with the help of her husband and family and, presumably, those political advisors who continue to counsel her. Sanford's a lone nut but Palin's moves were more calculating.