Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attention Paid

A few people around the country have been paying attention to our governor since the transition from Bush to Obama began. Yesterday The Drudge Report even put Gov. Sanford's picture on the site where it remains this morning being seen by millions. All this attention comes from Mark just being Mark. He isn't changing somehow to oppose Obama and his New Socialism. Gov. Sanford is elected quite easily as a Republican when he runs here in South Carolina but his heart is libertarian-- small "l" intended. Back in September Mark spoke at a retreat for The Cato Institute and his opening was:

Back home in Columbia, South Carolina, when people get exasperated with me they throw out what they think of as a terrible pejorative, "You're not a Republican," they say. "You're a libertarian!" Of course, I always take it as a compliment. "I'm guilty," I respond. "I love liberty."

Those last three words are the most important thing to know about Mark Sanford. He loves liberty and he works hard to block government intrusion into that liberty.

So when the federal government tells the state that we must accept billions in federal money and the strings, thick as bridge cables, attached to that money he balks. Congressman Clyburn, a creature of pork who is in Pelosi's leadership cabal, saw this coming and made sure that much of the porkulus bill could bypass the state governors and go straight to the legislatures and agencies. That in itself is a gross assault on the rights of the states, but it's the way this little game is being played. Of the $2.8 Billion going to South Carolina much is for the phony "tax cut." It isn't a tax cut at all of course but rather a transfer payment from 5% of the population to 95% of the population. Obama promised this redistribution scheme during the campaign and the complicit press never asked him why welfare payments were called "tax cuts."

Of the remaining money to SC in the porkulus plan most of it will bypass Sanford but it looks like $700Million, about 25%, could still be directed by him. His plan is to apply it to state debt, much of which has come from prior federal mandates that don't have funds attached.

From today's issue of The State (the Columbia, SC daily):

Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday that using federal money to balance the state budget come July could “destabilize” the S.C. economy over time.
The governor said he will not accept $700 million in federal aid for state budgets unless South Carolina can use the money to pay off retirement, health care costs and other debts — making him the nations’ first governor to specifically reject portions of the federal aid.

Sanford said the long-term benefits of paying down debt outweigh the short-term gains from staving off budget cuts and job losses if the money is used in the state budget beginning July 1. Sanford has written a letter to Obama requesting permission to spend the money on debt.
“We don’t think it’s a good idea to spend money that you don’t have,” Sanford said, adding that there is no “immediate solution” to the state’s jobless rate.
“We need to look longer term and much more holistically at the notion of economic stimulus.”
Sanford argued that cutting $350 million from the state budget — which lawmakers said would mean layoffs of state workers — could force restructuring that could save money in the long run.

“I’ve got a 15-year pattern of doing exactly this kind of thing,” Sanford said of his request.
Clyburn urged state legislators to bypass Sanford and request the money, which lawmakers in both chambers said they intend to do.
The House gave final approval Wednesday to a $6.6 billion spending plan that includes $1 billion in federal aid. House lawmakers voted 108-8 to include the disputed money.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said Wednesday he intends to use the federal money when drafting the Senate budget.

Now that last segment tells you something else important. The legislature in SC is in the hands of Republicans and their pal in this is Porky Clyburn, not Mark "Liberty" Sanford. They want that money and Mark Sanford and his principles be damned.

Of course his sudden visibility causes people to wonder if Mark will run for President in 2012. My guess is yes. By the end of President Bush's second term many Republicans were thoroughly disgusted by runaway spending in DC with R's at the helm. 50 days into ObamaNation that level of spending looks like the good old days already. The times might be right in 2012 for a return to Liberty. Now if we could just get him to stop quoting Tom Friedman.