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.