SC Governor Mark Sanford

Posted by: ST on January 22, 2007 at 9:42 am

Will Franklin over at WILLisms profiles South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a Reagan-esque conservative who I’d love to see throw his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination.

Joel Mowbray at Real Clear Politics took a closer look at Sanford back in December, and here’s some of what he had to say:

But if Republican primary voters decide that the 2008 standard-bearer needs to bring the party back to its Reagan roots, Sanford could be the dark horse to watch. The recently re-elected governor could capture conservatives’ imagination with his unrelenting adherence to core principles. Unlike most GOP governors who either pushed their state parties to the left or simply acquiesced to tax or spending increases passed by legislatures of either party, Sanford has battled profligate Republicans at every turn.

When the state House overrode all but one of his 106 spending line-item vetoes in 2004, Gov. Sanford stormed the Capitol the next morning with a piglet under each arm. Red-faced Republicans squealed, but voters loved the bold move. Realizing they couldn’t be quite as wasteful as their counterparts, the Senate sustained seven of the vetoes–but still overrode 99.

Sanford has been rankling fellow Republicans long before arriving in Columbia. As Congressman from 1995-2001, GOP leadership knew that he was beyond their control. In 1999, he and then-Rep. Tom Coburn (R-OK) used parliamentary procedures to save taxpayers a fortune. The farm spending bill came to the floor with an “open rule”–meaning any germane amendments could be offered. Reps. Sanford and Coburn together drafted 121 fat-trimming amendments, and after trudging through just a few dozen of them, House leadership pulled the entire bill. It was only re-introduced after $1 billion had been carved out.

[...]

While his budget cuts have proven quite popular with a public fed up with pork barrel politics, Gov. Sanford doesn’t gear his actions to maximize popularity. As governor, he vetoed earmarked funding for the Special Olympics, on the theory that government should not play favorites among non-profits. On Capitol Hill, he was just one of three Congressmen to oppose taxpayer subsidies for a breast cancer stamp. Looking past the feel-good image of the funding request, Sanford voted against it because most of the money raised was going to go to Post Office administration, with little dedicated to actual breast-cancer research.

South Carolina’s chief executive is also a practical problem solver. When Wall Street was poised to lower the state’s perfect AAA bond rating–over concern for the $155 million budget deficit Hodges left as a parting gift–the MBA-educated governor traveled to New York. He persuaded two of the three main bond-rating agencies to maintain South Carolina’s score, while the third only dropped it one notch, to AA+.

[...]

In spite of open opposition from some in the Republican establishment, Sanford won handily, 55-45–the largest margin for any South Carolina gubernatorial or Senate candidate in 16 years. To celebrate defying the GOP old guard and winning, Sanford is about to fight fellow Republicans–again–for more tax cuts.

That this is par for his course is exactly why conservatives, from inside the beltway and out, have been pleading with Sanford to think of the White House–and why his message could resonate with voters.

Sanford’s already said that last year’s SC governor’s race was going to be his ‘last campaign, win or lose’, but maybe as the race for ’08 unofficially starts (and it already has) perhaps he’ll reconsider. A Reagan Republican would be a welcome one for conservatives in 2008.

Update: Speaking of Reagan

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2 Responses to “SC Governor Mark Sanford”

Comments

  1. Baklava says:

    THANK YOU ST for this post. Broadens my horizons and everyone elses….

    This line, “While his budget cuts have proven quite popular with a public fed up with pork barrel politics, Gov. Sanford doesn’t gear his actions to maximize popularity.” ties in what I’ve said in other posts about leadership and not running focus groups and governing by polls. Sanford would be ripped apart by the dominant drive-by legacy press and called “arrogant” because he is not agreed with by the press who are experts on every topic. The bias would be evident to everyone but a liberal from day 1 of his announcing if he announced.

    Concerning this part:

    On Capitol Hill, he was just one of three Congressmen to oppose taxpayer subsidies for a breast cancer stamp. Looking past the feel-good image of the funding request, Sanford voted against it because most of the money raised was going to go to Post Office administration, with little dedicated to actual breast-cancer research.

    This is why there are illiteracy programs on top of illiteracy programs. I believe a conservative group counted 181+ federally funded illiteracy programs. I remember Ellen Tauscher of the Bay area running commercial after commercial and beating her moderate Republican incumbent in 1996 with each commercial pointing to vote after vote claiming he is “against education” or “against health” because of his votes. But if you looked at his voting record (I can’t remember the guy’s name) it was fairly moderate but of course he didn’t vote with every spending bill which is what liberals do which is why if you tally up all of the Democrat votes for spending and Republican votes for spending you see a difference of 1/2 most times. The dominant legacy drive-by media will never inform the public about these kinds of charts that the Cato institute put together showing how much liberals vote for.

    And anyone who tries to fix the problem is “uncaring” and “mean-sprited” (as Algore called them). SO much for debate and open dialogue…

    ST, it is my belief that the Sanford’s of the world can break out their charts and educate the American people. The journalists in this country aren’t the only people who can speak. If somebody is bold and can speak up he/she can speak over the heads of the journalists like Reagan did. Common sense compassionate conservatism wins every time. Strengthening the safety net for those who are eldery and non-able bodied by stopping the liberalism dilution of the safety net (with spending for every pet cause) is a winner idea. It also helps us with National security to have available dollars and prosperity not taken up by so much federal spending on everything else. For over 3-4 decades spending has been more than 22% of GDP while Revenues into the government has been at about 19-20% of GDP. Sometimes that gap is up to a 5% gap (which is a huge deficit). Raising tax rates adversely affects the economy (there might still be growth but less than if you kept tax rates the same) and the answer of lowering spending to solve defecit problems escapes the liberal establishment who vote for twice as many spending dollars as conservatives do usually.

    We can do a better job at educating the American people. I know it. I was duped before 1991 so I know people can come around.

  2. Jason says:

    ST,

    Thanks for the post. As someone who is not only from South Carolina, but the very District (SC-01) he used to serve in Congress, I know for a fact that Sanford is a true ‘Reagan Conservative’ – both in word and in votes! Getting his ideas out there can only be a good thing because, quite simply, this man gets it. However, that said, I don’t think there’s a chance in Hades that he will throw his hat in the ring for ’08. Throughout his entire career, he has prided himself on keeping his promises to voters (He was one of the few ’94 Repubs who kept his term-limit promise); he ran for re-election in ’06 because he wanted to continue his great work on behalf of South Carolinians – and he genuinely feels that he has an obligation to stay in Columbia and finish out his term (a sense of commitment noticeably absent in a certain New York Senator).

    But, as a Sanford supporter, I must admit that it’s very intriguing to think of the possibility of him running for President. I would be very interested to see how people across the Nation might respond to him and his principles. The main reason, I think, that he has been able to p*** off the Republican Party brass throughout his political career (and get away with it) is his constituency. South Carolinians are, by and large, a very Conservative group of voters, especially the 1st district which he’s from; so most of his ‘abrasive’ moves are well received by the people he represents. However, I’m not so sure that his political tactics would be as well-liked by folks from other areas of the Country. I’m not saying that his Reagan principles wouldn’t be received well (far from it!), it’s just that, I think there is something about his political persona/style that just generally goes over well with South Carolinians and I’m not sure it would work as well outside our little State.

    Although, I must say, I would love to be proven wrong on that last point! (Just, how about in 2012, after he’s finished his term as Governor?!?)