It’s not exactly news that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has decided to stake out the most extreme Hooverite position available on the federal government’s efforts to stop the downward spiral of the economy via fiscal stimulus. He’s been ranting about this on every available national platform for months, and scolding his fellow governors, and his fellows Republicans, for wanting “bailouts.” And it’s also no secret that Sanford would like to run for president in 2012.
But it’s interesting to see the lengths to which Sanford is willing to take his crusade for deflation. His latest stunt was to demand that President Obama give him some sort of super-waiver to devote $700 million in federal stimulus dollars (about a fourth of the state’s total allocation) slated for SC not to their intended purposes, but to a pre-financing of future state debts. Gee, that’s just want you want to do in the middle of a recession, particularly in a state whose unemployment rate just jumped to 10.4%.
Sanford made this completely symbolic demand secure in the knowledge that the people of SC wouldn’t actually have to suffer, since SC congressman Jim Clyburn, knowing his governor, inserted into the federal legislation language allowing state legislatures to apply for the stimulus funds if any governor failed to do so by April 3. And after some hemming and hawing, the SC legislature’s Republican leadership is moving to do just that.
Just to make sure, however, that the whole political world understands there ain’t nobody getting to the Right of Mark Sanford, the governor has chosen to analogize people who want to spend the stimulus money for stimulus to the Zimbabwean supporters of Robert Mugabe, as reported by Politico’s Glenn Thrush:
Sanford told reporters in South Carolina that he still intends to turn down millions in stimulus cash, despite the likelihood of his state legislature accepting the cash — and criticism by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) that rejecting any payments would disproportionately harm African American residents.
“What you’re doing is buying into the notion that if we just print some more money that we don’t have, send it to different states – we’ll create jobs… If that’s the case why isn’t Zimbabwe a rich place?”…”why isn’t Zimbabwe just an incredibly prosperous place. Cause they’re printing money they don’t have and sending it around to their different – I don’t know the towns in Zimbabwe but that same logic is being applied there with little effect.”
As Oliver Willis observed: I’m sure him being from South Carolina had nothing to do with this.” And among the things that Mark Sanford is willing to sacrifice to his “principles”–or more likely, to his ambitions to run for president as the King of the Right–you’d have to list not only his own state’s economic conditions, but its longstanding efforts to rid itself of the legacy of the Confederacy and Jim Crow.
As a native of the Palmetto State, let me say: Nice work, governor.