Economics

Getting into Bed with Gov. Mark Sanford?

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Sanford (sans son)

Former Reason staffer Dave Weigel checks in with the tattered remnants of the Ron Paul REVOLution and finds them warily circling South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, the anti-stimulus standard bearer of the moment.

Sanford might build another source of early support: the anti-government supporters of Rep. Ron Paul, who raised $35 million for their candidate in the presidential primaries. Paul and Sanford had been friendly when both men served in the House, said Paul's spokesman Jesse Benton, the congressman's grandson-in-law. "If Dr. Paul voted no on a bill and Sanford voted yes," said Benton, "Sanford would come up to Dr. Paul afterward and talk it over. He would give a thoughtful consideration to why he'd voted the other way."

Sanford recently wrote about his request to use his discretionary portion of the stimulus to pay down debt in his state—an activity forbidden by the terms of the stimulus—in The Wall Street Journal.

Last week I reached out to the president, asking for a federal waiver from restrictions on stimulus money. I got a most unusual response. Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.

On the off chance that the public decides the whole stimulus scenario has gone pear-shaped, Sanford may be in the enviable position of being one of the few people in government left with relatively clean hands. (Perhaps similar to Ron Paul's opposition to the Iraq War, which left him as the only credible anti-war candidate in the race). 

People are all atwitter about Sanford as the next Barry Goldwater, which may be a case of careful-what-you-wish-for

To get a bigger dose of Sanford radicalism check out this American Conservative profile.

I was totally into Sanford before he was cool. Read all about how he used to sleep on a futon in his congressional office here.

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  1. Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.

    When power has the truth spoken to it the truth is called an attack?

    Sounds right.

  2. Newswatch Host David Stanton: What do you think about the idea of teaching alternatives to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in public schools* for instance Intelligent Design?

    Gov. Sanford: I have no problem with it.

    Stanton: Do you think it should be done that way? Rather than just teaching evolution?

    Gov. Sanford: Well I think that it’s just, and science is more and more documenting this, is that there are real “chinks” in the armor of evolution being the only way we came about. The idea of there being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being… is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of … in essence, destruction.

  3. “the tattered remnants of the Ron Paul REVOLution”

    Oh brother, you Cosmos are soooo predicatable.

    If you spend more time examining the situation and chat rooms of the Paulities you’ll find there’s a consensus developing that Paul should run again rather split our forces trying to decide to support the underwhelming Gary Johnson or Mark Sanford.

  4. Good thing the Presidency doesn’t have jack shit to do with evolution.

  5. I could have sworn that creationism had fuck all to do with bailouts. Silly me.

  6. Beats anyone else likely to run, doesn’t he?

  7. Stick around a while, Sean Scallion. You rule.

  8. Paul will be 77 in 2012. That’s a wee bit aged to run for president, though I acknowledge that we may be looking for some, I dunno, experience of some sort by then.

    For the record, I voted for Paul last time around in the primaries.

  9. Good thing the Presidency doesn’t have jack shit to do with evolution.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with terrestrial topology either, but guess how many people would vote for a Flat-Earther.

  10. If Sanford is really a limited government guy, then his religious beliefs won’t matter. If he isn’t, then I won’t vote for him.

  11. Former Reason staffer Dave Weigel checks in with the tattered remnants of the Ron Paul REVOLution . . . .

    . . . Retreating [as made apparent by that spin] from Moscow . . .

  12. Well those people don’t have their priorities straight.

    Continuing OT, I’ve always been pretty curious about how well Dems and other pro-evolution politicians actually understand what they claim to believe. Anyone know of one actually asked to explain natural selection or heredity? Turn out something like… “The idea of there being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being… and that’s just the way it works!”

  13. “People are all atwitter”

    e tu, Katie?

  14. Continuing OT, I’ve always been pretty curious about how well Dems and other pro-evolution politicians actually understand what they claim to believe…

    Perhaps, but at least they might recognize their ignorance, and in their ignorance, defer to expert knowledge.

    That is a big freaking difference. I don’t expect a president to be scientifically trained. I do expect them to respect hard-won knowledge and the means used to obtain it.

    Too bad, because I like him otherwise.

  15. Former staffer? What happened there? Success or failure?

  16. Sanford recently wrote about his request to use his discretionary portion of the stimulus to pay down debt in his state-an activity forbidden by the terms of the stimulus-in The Wall Street Journal.

    “Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.”

    Gummint saving is bad, mmmkay?

  17. at least they might recognize their ignorance, and in their ignorance, defer to expert knowledge.

    That is how we ended up with TARP and the stimulus bill.

    So why would we want to turn to experts again?

  18. I don’t expect a president to be scientifically trained.

    Maybe that is the problem right there.

    Then again, see Hoover and Carter. Sigh.

    Also, since when did Biology become a science? 🙂

  19. Fascitis Necrotizante –
    While I am of the evolutionist persuasion, I have to agree with you. I find it difficult to believe that they actually believe anything close to what the scientific implications of evolution are. How can people who believe in central planning like it is the only option intelligently explain the theory of evolution? If they can, it’s perhaps more tragic.

  20. Too bad, because I like him otherwise.

    Why, because he failed a gotcha question on evolutionary mechanisms? There’s a lot of good science behind evolution, a lot of cutting edge research, but the version of evolution being taught to children in government schools is full of crap. It’s like the only thing that has changed in school textbooks for the last one hundred years is that dinosaurs get to be homeotherms. If you haven’t studied evolutionary biology post high school, then your education is still stuck at missing links and progressive changes and survival of the fittest. No wonder a lot of people find problems with it.

    There are lots of other things people believe that are just as silly and unscientific. I would rather have a politician who leaned towards creationism than one who leaned towards Keynesian economics.

    p.s. I know some Greens who have made your exact same argument, but who still voted for crystal wearing, incense burning, Gaia worshipping candidates

  21. Reinmoose – Yeah I definitely didn’t mean to suggest that I’m not of an evolutionist persuasion, though that may have come across through my inappropriate capitalizations and sentence fragments. Evolution is obviously true and incredibly interesting. I came to the libertarian end of the spectrum mostly by applying the evolutionary rules governing natural systems to political/social ones. That said, I could care less if a politician believes in it (so long as he’s not setting school curricula), if he understands markets and small government, which Sanford seems too.

    And I think most pro-evolution politicians likely just inherit a reflexive deference to the oracles from Big Chief White Lab Coat without much critical thinking (cf. the green agenda). And I’m always pissed off by people who’ve figured out that the proper opinion to have is evolution=real, environment=good, but whose interest in and understanding of both is inch deep.

  22. “Beats anyone else likely to run, doesn’t he?”

    I probably hurt this guy more than help him around here parts, but Pro, try this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_E._Johnson

    It strikes me as bat-shit crazy that a libertarian would choose Sanford over Johnson.

  23. “TofuSushi | March 23, 2009, 2:53pm

    When power has the truth spoken to it the truth is called an attack?

    Sounds right.”

    Where did that come from? Either I misheard, or that actually makes sense! Did I step into the twilight zone?

  24. Sanford supported McCain not Paul in 2008.

    Sanford attended the 2008 Bilderberg meeting and downplayed the influence of the attendees.

    Search youtube.

    I can see why people want to attract the financial support of Ron Paul’s backers, but I can’t see why they would give it to Sanford.

  25. If we would like politicians to look at the cold hard facts about freedom and economics to move towards liberty and free markets, shouldn’t those same politicians be able to look at the scientific literature about evolution and get past their religious faith?

    After all, it takes real faith to think the government can fix our problems.

  26. That is how we ended up with TARP and the stimulus bill.

    So why would we want to turn to experts again?

    Yeah, why should we rely on the knowledge of people who actually know something about anything?

    I expected that retort, and it’s hardly a fair analogy. Contrary to intelligent design propaganda, there is no disagreement about evolution (in broad strokes, at least) among biologists. Contrary to the administration’s propaganda, there is substantial disagreement about the causes of, and proper response to, the economic crisis among economists. That’s why it was possible in that case to pick experts who also happened to be wrong.

    Why, because he failed a gotcha question on evolutionary mechanisms?

    Yes. It’s not just that he didn’t know, which is bad enough but forgivable given a public education. It’s that he gave an epically wrong answer despite the fact that he did not know.

    I would rather have a politician who leaned towards creationism than one who leaned towards Keynesian economics.

    But here’s the thing: is someone who leans towards creationism more or less likely to be open to argument and willing to change their mind if they are wrong, compared someone who leans towards Keynesian economics? These ideas are both wrong, but they are not even in the same class. The former is non-falsifiable. The latter is falsifiable. Leaning towards creationism indicates a tendency to toss out reason and evidence if they conflict with cherished beliefs. Leaning towards Keynesian economics may or may not.

    I could be convinced to ignore this and vote for Sanford anyway. I’m probably overreacting. But without a real good argument to the contrary, I continue to believe that hitching the libertarian wagon to someone who sits outside the Enlightenment tradition is a poor long-term strategy and ultimately not in the interest of liberty.

  27. Futon my ass, he shoulda been taking the Amtrak train everyday… you see where that gets you!

  28. Gov. Sanford: Well I think that it’s just, and science is more and more documenting this, is that there are real “chinks” in the armor of evolution being the only way we came about. The idea of there being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being… is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of … in essence, destruction.

    Hmm vote for a creationist who can balance a budget or vote for an evolutionist who can’t?

    Tough choice.

  29. Sanford supported McCain not Paul in 2008.

    As someone who voted for Barr I can honestly say now that McCain would have done better on the economy then Obama is doing.

    You feel any different?

  30. McCain and Obama both voted for stimulus when they were senators, so I think that McCain would have done the same as Obama on the economy.

    Ron Paul, on the other hand, has consistently voted against spending when you’re broke, so I feel that Sanford was misguided in supporting McCain over Paul in 2008.

  31. I didn’t pay much attention to who endorsed who, but according to the American Conservative profile linked to above, Sanford didn’t endorse McCain until after the nomination had been established.

    “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.

    Once the nomination was settled, Sanford wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed making the case for McCain…”

  32. Thanks Warty.

    Yes Ron will be 76 by the time 2012 runs around and that’s a strike against running. But right now he’s getting even MORE attention than he did throughout the campaign. People know him now. And in the wake of everything that’s happened, they know he’s some old kook or crank. They what he said came to pass. Why then start all over with someone 99% country doesn’t even know, have to spent at least year just to introduce him to maybe 10 percent of the population and then hope he catches fire?

    Ron Paul had a national following long before 2007. Neither Gary Johnson nor Mark Sanford have that and its not something you can just manufacture. I can’t imagine anyone holding a sign over an overpass for either men. Not that that by itself alone wins campaigns, as we saw in 2008 it does not. But if RP plays his cards right and builds a better, more structured organization that still takes advantage of his grassroots following, he’ll be in much stronger position in 2012.

  33. “Ron Paul had a national following long before 2007. Neither Gary Johnson nor Mark Sanford have that and its not something you can just manufacture.”

    Actually, yes you can. If you are a candidate that is not batshit insane, the major parties and media tell everybody about you and you get a national following.

  34. “If you are a candidate that is not batshit insane, the major parties and media tell everybody about you and you get a national following.”

    I think you meant…

    “If you are a candidate that can be counted on to never fight for the ability to audit the Federal Reserve and never argue for a sound currency and never argue to stop a good war and to always send tax dollars to JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, then the major media and political parties tell everyone to vote for you”

  35. I think Sanford can excite those Republicans still under the delusion that their party can someday be made to follow through on its limited government, liberty-friendly rhetoric, and those Republicans who don’t take Palin seriously. But when push comes to shove I don’t think he can excite those libertarians and Paulites who have “escaped the matrix”. This stimulus grandstanding only demonstrates that he’s more interested in being a politician than being a serious advocate of liberty.

    I think the GOP is just stupid enough to consumate its suicide pact with Palin.

  36. Anti-Mark Sanford Rally Planned

    …angry state residents and state legislators are now facing the prospect of drafting two budgets – one that includes $700 million in federal stimulus funds over the next two years, and one that doesn’t.

    Sen. Hugh Leatherman says what the Legislature must do, given the uncertainty over whether the state can accept the federal money without the request of Gov. Sanford, who has said he won’t take the money.

    In a letter to the governor, Leatherman called the situation “chaos” and warned of dire consequences for state schools and prisons without the stimulus money.

    “Overriding your decision could lead to chaos in the courts,” Leatherman wrote. “Failure to override your decision most assuredly would lead to chaos in the budget.”

    Rep. Jim Clyburn contends that the U.S. Department of Education could bypass both the governor and legislators to help South Carolina schools directly.

    Leatherman’s view that the matter could be headed for the courts might be the most clearheaded. That can’t be good for anyone: It would mean that even if South Carolina eventually gets the money, it could be long after it’s most needed.

    Opponents of Sanford’s position plan to hold a rally on Wednesday, April 1, in front of the State House. The rally will run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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