Equally recognized for his theatrics, his blind fiscal conservatism and his presidential ambitions, last week Governor Mark Sanford galloped onto the national stage by threatening to reject $2.8 billion in federal stimulus dollars for S. Carolina even though his state’s unemployment rate is third highest in the country.
Last February, Jim Morrill at Standard.Net offered this background on the Gov when Sanford was being talked up as McCain’s running mate:
Many Republican legislators remember with disgust the time in 2004 when Sanford carried two pigs — “Pork” and “Barrel” — to the legislature. With pig droppings falling onto his suit and shoes, he criticized lawmakers for passing a budget with too much of what he considered frivolous spending.
“Anybody who was here when that happened, they’re still incensed about it,” said state Rep. Carl Gullick, a York County Republican. “The governor is popular with some members of the legislature. He’s very unpopular with others.”
In 2005, Time magazine called Sanford one of the three worst-performing governors in the country. That same year, he rode a horse and buggy to the General Assembly to complain about its failure to adopt his government restructuring plan. And time and again, he’s vetoed legislative budget bills, only to have lawmakers from his own party vote to override them.
It is interesting Sanford’s point behind this demonstration — staged in front of the S. Carolina statehouse almost four years ago — was to symbolize obstructionism. Today, with the economy (especially South Carolina’s) deep in the ditch, leaders like Sanford, in his self-serving ideological primitivism and his prairie-style resistance, risk setting the country back a couple of hundred years.
(image: 3/2/2005 – South Carolina Governor’s Office. caption: Governor Sanford brings horse and buggy to SC Statehouse)