Unlike Bush, Obama, and the majority of both parties, Mark Sanford is one of the few leaders who has been consistently practical on government spending. Sanford was the only governor who traveled to Capitol Hill last November, not to accept the John McCain, Lindsey Graham, George W. Bush-sponsored stimulus package, but to oppose it.

While GOP Govs. Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin held their hands out, Sanford said before the House Ways and Means Committee, “I’m here to beg of you not to approve or advance the contemplated $150 billion stimulus package … This $150 billion salve may in fact further infect our economy with unnecessary government influence and unintended fiscal consequences.”

In criticizing Obama’s recent stimulus, Sanford stated similar concerns: “The president’s stimulus represents the largest and most invasive economic action in our government’s history.

For a relatively small number of short-term jobs, this administration and this Congress are poised to mortgage the economic future of my four boys and the millions of young Americans just like them. To me, that’s simply not a morally acceptable outcome.”

Is Sanford driven by his free-market ideology? Of course he is. Genuine conservatives have long argued that the same penny-pinching practiced by families and businesses that strive to live within budgets should also apply to government. But the notion that Sanford’s dedication to these elementary economic principles has blinded him to practical statesmanship is absurd and ignores the fact that Obama’s New Deal ideology is as integral to his big spending agenda as any alleged statesmanship the Left continues to ascribe to him.

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