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There Are Many Tall Pines, But Is There a 2012 Contender?

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Some interesting tidbits in this American Conservative cover story on South Carolina Gov. and soul-of-the-GOP hopeful Mark

I'm so excited!

Sanford:

Though he had endorsed John McCain in 2000, Sanford stayed out of the Republican contest in 2008. Two days before the primary, Sen. Lindsey Graham was dispatched to Sanford's office with a plea and an offer. Graham told Sanford that an endorsement from the popular governor could put McCain over the top in the key primary state. In return, he promised a spot on McCain's veep shortlist. Sanford responded cooly, "I don't need your help getting on the shortlist" and declined. […]

He calls the public-education system "a Soviet-style monopoly." He promoted school choice through tax rebates to avoid the appearance of government control. He passed a "Castle doctrine" bill that was supported by the NRA. He favors a law-and-order approach to immigration, but opposed REAL ID on civil liberties grounds. […]

But the governor edges closer to pure libertarianism at times. He rolls his eyes at the Columbia sheriff's department's zeal in investigating Michael Phelps's recreational pot use. And he criticizes Alan Greenspan's management of the "opaque" Federal Reserve. "If you take human nature out of a Fed, it might work," he explains. "But you can't. You can have these wise men. But who wants to turn off the spigot at a party that's rolling?"

He also deviates from the Republican line on foreign policy. In Congress, he opposed Clinton's intervention in Kosovo. And he was one of only two Republicans to vote against the 1998 resolution to make regime change in Iraq the official policy of the United States. He says that it was a "protest vote" in which he tried to reassert the legislature's war-declaring powers. When asked about the invasion of Iraq, he extends his critique beyond the constitutional niceties. "I don't believe in preemptive war," he says flatly. "For us to hold the moral high ground in the world, our default position must be defensive."

Whole thing here. Sanford is certainly no stranger to Reason's pages.