South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has put himself in a tough position. Governor Sanford has been an outspoken critic of the Obama stimulus package and appeared on various national networks stating how wrong the stimulus package is. Sanford was right in pointing out how money is being wasted on petty politics and such deficit spending will affect the next generation.
However, with an act that is typical of Governor Sanford not knowing the power he actually has, the Governor is waffling on whether or not to reject all or some of the stimulus spending offered to the state. From his first day in office, Mark Sanford seems unable to know the power he has. He blames the legislature for this or that, but fails to fire people in his own cabinet that frankly need firing. (DSS ring a bell?) Whether by his own calls or listening to advisors, the Governor constantly does not grasp what he can do and instead laments about what he can not do, which is oddly liberal.
Therefore, VUI will offer Governor Sanford some unasked for and likely unwanted advice. Over the past few weeks, Governor Sanford has spoken well against the stimulus package and gained national notice. Some rank him as a contender for the Republican Presidential nomination. If Sanford wants such, he can not “go wobbly now,” as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told President George H.W. Bush during the lead up to the First Gulf War.
To keep his credibility, Governor Sanford has to reject at least some of the stimulus money. The right thing to do would be to reject any money that provided for one time federal funding of programs the state will have to pay for afterwards. There never seems to be any government program that ever dies. If Sanford allows the funding of a state program with one time federal funds where will the state be when it has to pay for it? If the state cuts it off, people will cry to high heaven about government cuts. If the state does fund the new programs then, it will have to raise taxes.
Further, making any kind of stand against the stimulus bill will be a boost to Sanford in the eyes of the core of the Republican Party. Frankly, anyone with common sense and time to read the bill knows it is a spending package loaded with special interest pork for nearly every cause the Democratic majority in Congress can think of.
Frankly, if a maverick Governor who is in a second term, and has spent his six years in office sparring with members of his own party over government reform, can not find the cohunes to at least reject some of the great pork bill, we are in deep trouble. It is gut check time for Mark Sanford and those around him.