One thing you’ve got to hand to Mark Sanford — he looks like a governor, even though he has generally not acted like one. This is a key to his electoral success.
I remember back before he was elected — I guess it was about this time in 2001 — he sent out Christmas cards with pictures of himself with his family. As soon as he received his, Sen. John Courson said to me (and you’ve got to imagine that booming bullfrog voice of his saying it), “Faaahhhn lookin’ family! Kennedyesque…” and said that on the basis of that picture, he expected Sanford to be our next governor.
Anyway, I’m reminded of that today, having just seen a picture of Jon Corzine for the first time (this was on the front of the WSJ). As I previously noted, unlike the national media, I don’t pay attention to state elections in other states because they have nothing to do with me. People elect their governors for their own reasons (sometimes things as superficial as how they look, although of course that’s not the only reason South Carolinians went for Sanford in 2002), reasons that I cannot infer meaningfully from afar, so I don’t try to do so.
Anyway, my reaction on seeing this guy for the first time as he was on his way out (having lost yesterday, for those of you who pay even less attention than I do), was this: “What? This guy is the governor of an actual state? You’re kidding. He looks like a college professor, and maybe not even an American college professor at that. He looks more like Leon Trotsky than a guy who could get elected in this country.” And what’s that he’s got in the back in this picture? Is that a ducktail?
I realize that standards of political pulchritude vary from state to state, that we would elect people in South Carolina that New Jerseyites (or whatever you call them) would never take a second look at, and vice versa. But if I had tried to imagine somebody who could get elected up there and not down here, I would have pictured a guy who would have looked at home hanging around in front of Satriani’s Pork Store with Tony Soprano. Yeah, I realize such stereotypes are the bane of New Jerseyians, who deserve better, but that I could have believed in. Whereas this Corzine guy … if Tony had shown up for his first therapy session and his shrink had looked like this instead of like Lorraine Bracco (and that’s the only role I could imagine a guy who looks like this filling on that show about north Jersey), he would have turned around and walked out.
No wonder this Trotsky-looking character lost. That Christie looks like a regular guy, a guy you might actually imagine being in the, uh, sanitation business.