Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford's Farewell: Spending and Debt 'Could Lead to a Future Hitler-like Character'

Departing congressman warns against populism, "cult of personality," "post-truth" politics, and a government spending addiction that threatens to drive the American civilization "extinct."


||| Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Mark Sanford, the libertarian-leaning Republican congressman from South Carolina, driven from elected office after being primaried in June by a White House-backed immigration hawk who went on to lose to a Democrat in November, published a congressional farewell message to his Facebook page yesterday so unrelentingly grim in its outlook that it included this disclaimer: "I want to be clear and explicit that I am not likening Trump to Hitler."

That was the good news. The bad? "[F]orces at play could lead to a future Hitler-like character if we don't watch out."

Sanford, a former governor who was once thought of as limited-government presidential material until his infamous 2009 dalliance not quite on the Appalaichan Trail, has been since 2013 one of a dwindling number of anti-spending hardliners in the House GOP caucus. He has been allergic to Donald Trump from first contact, calling the then-candidate in July 2016 "long on hyperbole and short on facts." The president returned the disfavor by endorsing primary challenger Katie Arrington, calling Sanford "very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA," then dunking on Sanford in front of his congressional colleagues after Arrington won.

Unsurprisingly, Sanford devotes considerable portions of his long and discursive message to the national debt, warning ominously that, "We are riding on the Titanic as it now stands. This will end tragically for all of us, if we don't turn our spending habits around." More in that vein:

Math always works. Professors Reinhart and Rogoff spoke eloquently to this theme in their book "This Time Is Different." Over the 800 years of financial history that they studied, it never was different. In every instance, the civilization in question found itself confronting the same math that our country now faces, and the politicians inevitably answered "this time is different" when talking about the math behind their debt burden. The political answer brought with it the seeds of destruction, and if we simply accept the political answer of more spending—that this administration and past administrations have proffered, we will face the same fate of those now extinct civilizations.

I believe that we are marching our way toward the most predictable financial and economic crisis in the history of our republic. If we don't change course soon, markets will do it for us, and the consequences will be damning with regard to future inflation, the value of the dollar, the worth of our savings, and ultimately our way of life.

Happy 2019!

In Sanford's reading, fiscal irresponsibility and an increasingly ponderous state are driving voters into the arms of populists. "Because as open political systems become cumbersome and inefficient, inevitably a strong man comes along and offers easy promises," he wrote. "He says that he can take care of it for us. People desperate for a change accept his offer. They have to give up a few freedoms in the equation to get more security. It doesn't work out so well[.]"

Sanford is explicit about seeing the president as a threat, spending two paragraphs bemoaning the use of the term "fake news," and warning that "Open political systems cannot survive in a post-truth world."

So what's next for Sanford? "It's still completely up in the air," he told the Greenville News earlier this month. Libertarian Party officials have reached out to Sanford in the past, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see some try to scare up a non-anarchistic challenger to Bill Weld for the party's 2020 presidential nomination. Certainly, his congressional goodbye doesn't sound like a politician going gently into that good night.

"We seem to flirt with populism about every hundred years in this country, and it seems we are in our latest courtship given the era of Trump," Sanford says. "But a cult of personality is never what our Founding Fathers intended. We in fact were to be a nation of laws and not men."

NEXT: Hello, FIRST STEP Act! Goodbye, Jeff Sessions! The Year in Criminal Justice Reform

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You know who else wasn’t likened to Hitler?

    1. You don’t get Hitler until after you have Weimar. And you get Weimar by having an unnaccountable elite fuck over the public long enough that it finally gets tired of it and backs a Hitler to put a stop to it. Trump isn’t Hitler. And one man’s evil “populism” is another man’s democratic accountability. If we ever do get a Hitler in this country, it will be because shitbags like Stanford and others finally told the public to fuck off one too many times.

      1. “I want to be clear and explicit that I am not likening Trump to Hitler.”, says Mark Sanford.

        I will go there in a heartbeat! Hitler had Jews for scapegoats, and Trump has un-Americans as scapegoats! We who vote for Trump are good and right and true and square-jawed, perfect native-born Americans, and the illegal sub-human immigrants and the heathen Chinee who we must trade-warred against? As well as trade-warring against all and sundry? THESE UN-AMERICANS ARE TO BE BLAMED!!!!

        Scapegoats and overwhelming ego is what Trump has in common with Hitler. And of course, strident self-righteous nationalism.

        1. Trump has all of those illegal sub human immigrants that he has offered a path to citizenship multiple times during his presidency.

          You will go there and yes you will be a complete moron when you do. But hey, keep saying stupid shit like anyone who wants to enforce immigration law or is outraged by crimes committed by illegal immigrants thinks immigrants are subhumans. Go ahead and make it so reasonable voices you dont’ like are heard. That will work out real well. But hey, you get to be an idiot and feel smug and that is what its all about isn’t it?

          1. “…he has offered a path to citizenship multiple times during his presidency.”

            Citations please, other than your fevered imagination. “Go back to your native nation, apply, and wait for 20 to 30 years” (for a 1/50th of a chance) scarcely qualifies as much of a “path”, too, you know…

            1. are you too retarded to use google or just too lazy?


              1. OK, thanks, that was an interesting link. I cannot help but wonder if this was Trump playing Lucy to Charlie Brown, getting ready to yank the football away at the last moment, if the Democrats had actually been smart enough to take him up on it.

                ? Now balance your link against…..wall-of-bu “Trump Is Building a Wall of Bureaucracy”? Where we see that Where we see that Trump and his bureaucrats are jumping on any and every excuse that they can find, to turn rule-following non-American residents into illegal subhumans, via any route that they can find! To thwart Congress, which would NOT cut back LEGAL immigration as much as Trump wants!
                Trumpistas will tell you, just get out of America before your visa expires.
                But… If I fell deathly ill or my plane reservations got cancelled, so my departure got delayed a bit. Then Donald’s army of bureaucrats jumps on the chance to turn me into an illegal sub-human.

                Telling us what the law is doesn’t help the fact that the law is an evil, inhumane ass, as enforced by Donald’s army of bureaucrats! Being black and sitting in the front of the bus used to be illegal, too, you know!

                Trump is appealing to his racist-nationalistic base, if we are honest!

                1. I really don’t think so. Beyond that, everyone deserves to be taken at their word. I think he would do it for the right thing in return. And Trump got more Hispanic votes than McCain and Romney. I don’t see how people can say he is some anti Hispanic President or an anti Immigrant president.

        2. Scapegoats and overwhelming ego is what Trump has in common with Hitler. And of course, strident self-righteous nationalism.

          Fear and surprise. Fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

        3. “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
          ? H. L. Mencken

    2. Nobody?

  2. Yes, sire. That why we have the right to keep and bear arms.

    Happy Nude Year!!!

  3. We are riding on the Titanic as it now stands.

    Titanic as it now stands is submerged 12,000 feet under the surface of the North Atlantic. Is that where we are now? Nowhere to go but up, so that much is good.

    I guess we are riding on the Titanic, but there are so many hands on the ship’s wheel at this point that there’s no steering to avoid the E. coli from that head of iceberg lettuce in our path. On the plus side, since its port of registry is Liverpool, if we sink we can all blame Brexit!

    1. Excellent analysis as always, Fist.

  4. The Left is destroying the country with their propaganda!

    1. Ben Garrison draws Trump way too nice-looking and physically fit.

    2. “So, what made politics personal to you??”

      Individuals like yourself that fear any kind of change that is not in your best interest!

  5. Since we are talking Hitler. I like alternative history. So what if Hitler had come to power but was not hell bent on conquering the world?

    I will add another twist. The British open up Palestine to all Jewish immigrants thus preventing the Holocaust. The Nazis at first just wanted the Jews out.

    Remember that before and even after the start of WWII many leaders thought he was someone who could be dealt with. He had many admirers actually.

    It is a rather frightening thought to me.

    1. Der Fuhrer hated Slavs and Communists almost as much as Jews. He definitely wanted to launch a killing blow on the Poles and Bolsheviks.

      1. True. But what if he had played the game the way Putin is doing. Nibbling away at the edges instead of his full scale invasions. He could have lasted a long time. Germany could have been far more powerful. They were in full economic recovery and had advanced technology.

        He had powerful admirers in England and here. What if England had become a fascist state and the ideology spread? Or the US, remember Charles Lindbergh and the America First movement? Just some fictional scenarios.

        Philip Roth wrote a book called The Plot Against America with a similar theme. Good read.

      2. He wasn’t too keen on homosexuals either.

      3. Much like his counterpart in Russia, Stalin.

    2. So what if Hitler had come to power but was not hell bent on conquering the world?

      An unlikely scenario because of his will to power, but I’ll play along. If Hitler had remained a National Socialist–that is, Germany for the Germans and annexing lands with German-majority populations–instead of launching an international race war, and if the Germans had simply kicked the Jews out of those lands instead of slaughtering them, Germany probably would have remained a fascist state for as long as Spain did when Franco was running the country. It’s possible some of it would have spread to England and the Scandanavian countries. At some point, Germany and Russia probably would have started a war anyway, only the US would have ended up on Germany’s side.

    3. @Echospinner : Alternative history themes about Hitler have been explored at some depth in Harry Turtledove’s “Worldwar” series, as well as in Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle”, which the Amazon Prime series has expanded far beyond the scope of the original book. I have watched few scenes more chilling than those involving Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith, or the American flag with a swastika in the field of blue.

      Note that The Man in the High Castle was in production long before the reign of Trump.

      Alternative history aside, the world we live in is the only one that matters, and our actions or inactions can help determine our future.

    4. Alternative history? Do you mean fake news?

      Well the whole Nazi narrative is a study of fake news.

      The facts you don’t like (due to your brainwashing).

      Contradicting the official Nazi holocaust narrative with actual evidence of science and history is considered hatred and is a crime punishable by imprisonment.

      Germany was winning WW1. Nobody had an answer to uboats. So the UK began shipping arms on passenger liners and hospital ships, the most notable the Lusitania. Global Zionists promised to bring the US into the war in exchange for Palestine, via the Balfour declaration, when Louis Brandeis, leader of the American Zionist organization was appointed to the Supreme Court and as Wilson’s “special counsel” to WW1.

      Germany knew what caused the loss of WW1 and when a leader showed up promising to put things right, they elected Hitler in 1932. Then global Zionists officially declared war on Germany and coerced nations around the world to boycott Germany’s necessary imports and exports in 1933. Germans had a choice, hand their democracy back over to Weimar or prepare for war. What would you do?

      The US entered the war again to oppose democracy.

      All of it for the Zionist lust for Palestine and look how they have terrorized and oppressed Palestinians for the last 70 years enabled by the most financial aid America has ever given anyone.

      What if Zionists never duped the US into WW1?

  6. >>>the libertarian-leaning Republican congressman from South Carolina,

    you claim that douchebag for Almost(L)?

    1. only if you’re grading on a curve, and comparing him to the rest of Congress.

  7. This coming from the guy who used public dollars on trips with his girlfriend, and for plane rides to his barber.

    1. Better spent than most government money


      Shame on Welch for even likening this shitbag to someone with any fiber of moral character in his body. He had no business ever stepping foot in the Capitol building after the shit he pulled. I am glad this terrible trash monster is gone and I am sorry it took this long for it to happen.

  8. Kill them all. Let God sort ’em out. 😉

    Or, first we kill the lawyers.

  9. Leads to a FUTURE Hitler-like character? The future is now. I still have hopes that the Constitution and the judicial system can restrain our wannabe dictator. I’ve pretty much given up on the spineless politicians in Congress.

    This article from The Atlantic should give you chills. “What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency.”

  10. Clearly Sanford had no intention of his Hitler quote being used against Trump. Not at all. MSM always quotes accurately and completely.
    Oh, and Trump is also the first ever president to not be completely truthful in his statements. My doctor and health plan told me so.
    What a dipshit sore loser this Sanford is.

  11. Sanford sees some of the problems but not the solutions. A “nation of laws” has been and always will be a myth, but it is a dangerous myth, created to induce obedience without question. All laws are interpreted – i.e., given their meaning – by judges who decide what they “really” mean. No matter how a law is written, lawyers and judges will twist and torture the words to give their desired result. The Founders of this nation understood that laws in violation of natural rights were null and void. Freedom lovers should heed their example and decide which, if any, laws are valid.

    The best we can do is use the truth to discredit the government and to discredit and humiliate the law twisters and torturers. Trust in law and government is the enemy of freedom.

    1. Agreed!

  12. I voted for Mark and strongly supported him before he went off the rails, but you two can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. How can we begin to pay down the debt? Get the GDP up consistently at 3 .5 to 4 or above. What is preventing that? Congress on both sides of the aisle, the Fed., trade loss of almost 1 B, paying too much to the UN and NATO, without reasonable return, etc., etc. Trump knows far more about bringing strong business sense into Government than you two gentlemen have ever thought of. I suggest you and Mark collaborate on an article about all of the many positive things Trump has accomplished thus far and compare that track record to all of the past Presidents. It’s not enough that President Trump must deal with almost all of the major media sources, but he also must contend with so-called conservatives who pick at every thing he is trying to do while Democrats block his every move. Get off his back! IF you don’t have something positive to say then please keep your mouth shut.

  13. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

  14. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you……

  15. Fine, let’s raise taxes.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.