Sanford Gets It
Monday, October 30, 2006 :::
Steve Moore profiles SC Gov. Mark Sanford in today's Wall Street Journal and not a moment too soon:
Just when you thought that there weren't any small-government conservatives left in the Republican Party, along comes South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who may be the only politician in America this year under assault for governing as a fiscal tightwad. What's really unusual about Mr. Sanford's bid for re-election is that some of his most formidable adversaries are the old bull politicians in his own party.
And those "old bulls" have reason to dislike Sanford. Unlike other career pols, Mark hasn't abandoned his principles -- a rare thing in modern politics. Of course, this has greatly upset the political class. And Sanford admits it:
This is the lingering complaint about Mr. Sanford (which he readily concedes): He "doesn't play in the sandbox well with others." Even some of the governor's first-term supporters, who at first liked the idea that this former three-term congressman would shake up the stuffy political establishment in Columbia, have come to regard Mr. Sanford as too abrasive and self-righteous.
But the best part is this:
Just last week South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State -- which endorsed him four years ago -- published a scathing denunciation charging among other things that the governor "doesn't want government to be more effective as much as he wants it to be cheaper," and that his first term has been all about "tax cuts and privatizing everything he could -- even the schools." The fiercest indictment: "He had run as a conservative . . . but [is] as close to an ideologically pure libertarian as you can get." Egads!
While this shows The State's almost charming lack of understanding of who and what libertarians are, it does reflect the sense I've gotten that Sanford isn't interested in making government work well. He's interested in making it smaller.
This has ruffled more than a few feathers and not just in Columbia. Former Rep. Arthur Ravenal, whose name is attached to the massive new bridge in Charleston, is said to have remarked that he will not be voting for Sanford because "he voted against my bridge." And there are legitimate questions about his management style, including his wife's highly visible role.
But it is still refreshing to know that somewhere, someone still believes in and is actively fighting for limited government.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 10/30/2006