Farewell to Sanford Flack - NBC New York

Farewell to Sanford Flack

Why would anyone quit such an endlessly entertaining job?



    Farewell to Sanford Flack
    As Governor Mark Sanford's spokesman, Joel Sawyer (right) enjoyed the drama and excitement of never knowing what his boss was going to say directly to the press.

    Joel Sawyer has the best job in the world.

    As the spokesman for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, he has plenty of work to keep him occupied. Exciting work, too! As the official mouthpiece of a man who has attracted more national media attention than perhaps any American governor since Rod Blagojevich, he encounters daily the type of on-the-job challenges that aspiring spokespeople dream of.

    When Governor Sanford disappeared on a five-day Argentinian love quest, who had to assure the press that everything was fine and not at all mysterious or weird or troubling? Joel Sawyer.

    When Governor Sanford returned and held that bizarre press conference and kept blabbing to the AP about his tragic love story, who had to explain why this quivering pile of goo should still remain the governor of a state in crisis? Joel Sawyer.

    And when The State newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request to release numerous journalists' embarrassingly sycophantic emails to the governor's office, who got the last laugh on the press? Joel Sawyer.

    So it's something of a mystery that on Friday he announced he was resigning his post in order to "pursue unspecified opportunities in the private sector" -- not because of the terrible sex scandal that has consumed South Carolina politics for the past month, he hastened to clarify. It's probably just that the private sector is veritably teeming with unspecified opportunities these days.

    Sawyer should think long and hard about his decision, though. A private sector job could not possibly offer the thrill-a-minute ride that's been the past six years with Governor Sanford. And if Sanford's maudlin Sunday op-ed in The State is any indication, he really needs a flack to run interference between him and the public.

    Joel Sawyer says he's leaving his post on August 5. Should he decide to follow through on his pledge, he will be missed.

    Crisis-control guru Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.