Mark Sanford on bikeTour de

I’m not saying Mark Sanford is happy that Michael Jackson died. But … he is.

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Still, some brains have room for more than one scandalous news story at a time. And so even as I mourn Jacko’s passing, I find I can’t stop thinking about Mark Sanford’s juicy, tan line-admiring emails. Specifically, this delightful malapropism that arose as he described an upcoming Asian travel swing in the summer of 2008: “Back to Columbia [S.C.] for Tuesday and then on Wednesday, as I think I had told you, taking the family to China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand, and then back through Hong Kong on world wind tour.”

A world wind tour? What could the conservative, stimulus-rejecting governor have meant by that? A few possibilities come to mind:

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  1. Perhaps he was being quite literal. One of Sanford’s stops after coming home from Asia was the Aspen Institute, where he reportedly attended a talk by T. Boone Pickens on wind power. Two months later, he joined Pickens’ campaign to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. “I am a conservative’s conservative, and as such believe in not just the sustainable use of financial assets, but in stewardship and the sustainable — or ‘conservative’ — use of natural resources,” he conservatively said at the conservative time. “We believe … the only sustainable path for our country is to aggressively pursue alternative energies to meet our needs now and in the future.” And after all, he was OK with the energy-related stimulus funds. Maybe seeing all those turbines in Thailand got him excited!
  2. He was not taking an actual trip, but a virtual one, using NASA’s open-source World Wind software. As NASA explains: “Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there.” It’s as if you watched South American porn instead of, say, traveling there to have sex with someone.
  3. He went in search of his executive powers, which he told one interviewer earlier this month were “diffused into the wind” by South Carolina’s “racist” 1895 constitution. Surely a tour of the world’s wind would be one good way to come upon them.
  4. He was scouting out possible locations for this month’s World Wind Energy Association conference, which is in Korea.
  5. He was providing high-flying fun to needy children around the world on behalf of World Wind Kites.
  6. Given his strong religious roots and his acknowledgment that a faith group helped him through his crisis, maybe it was a tour with World Wind Ministries. Part of their approach is “hands-on practical demonstration,” which … might have resonated.
  7. Or is it just that he’s from the South?