Saturday, March 14, 2009
Governor Sanford brings SC into big time politics
While VUI does not necessarily agree with Governor Mark Sanford’s decision to balk at some of the federal stimulus money, it is interesting how much Sanford’s stand is playing to national and even international media.
Sanford’s stand is drawing the political ire of pundits in the United Kingdom and around the United States, political operatives in the Democratic National Committee and the Governor of Maryland.
The DNC is planning to run an anti-Sanford ad next week. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley described Governor Sanford as “fringe.” Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who is also the United States House Majority Whip, has sounded off as well.
Welcome to the big time, Governor Sanford. No longer are you sparring with Jakie Knotts and Speaker Harrell, you have picked a fight with the big boys, and they will be coming for you.
There is some political wisdom in the Governor’s approach. If a politician is going to pick a fight and lose, he might as well pick a fight with the President of the United States. It sure beats fighting some state senator. While even Republicans take issue with the stands and tactics of Governor Sanford over the years, the Governor is among the best politicians operating today. Picking a fight with the President has propelled Mark Sanford onto the big stage and set a difference in points of view that sets up the Governor for a solid run at the Republican nomination.
However, now that Governor Mark Sanford is in the big time, people are going to take a long look at him. That might hurt Mark Sanford and South Carolina. Look for South Carolina to become a political punching bag.
First, look for Democratic operatives to talk about the dramatic loss of jobs in South Carolina under Sanford’s time as Governor. The continued failure of certain areas of the state in public education will be brought up. In fact, it is no coincidence that the President mentioned South Carolina’s “Corridor of Shame” in his recent address to Congress. Further, do not be surprised if the presence of a the Confederate Battle Flag on the South Carolina State House grounds comes up in national media in the next few weeks or months.
Then, there is Sanford’s record as Governor. Look for national media to pick up on the fact that the Governor can not work with a legislature ran by his own party and how departments in his own cabinet have some serious problems. That will put pressure on Republicans in the legislature as the Sanford tenure as Governor closes. Those Republican legislators might find themselves in a position of choosing what they think is right for their constituents and helping the DNC arguments against Mark Sanford or doing things to help the Governor and thwart of the efforts of the DNC.
For better or worse, South Carolina’s Governor and the legislature are now playing in the political big time. Watch and see what happens.