While I disagreed with Mark Sanford taking his case to the federal courts, there are only two groups happy with South Carolina being forced to take the $700 million in stimulus the governor was trying to reject – liberal and moderate Democrats and liberal and moderate Republicans. For example, based on their editorializing it’s easy to imagine that my friends at the Charleston City Paper are in complete agreement on this issue with the GOP spokesman over at the Post & Courier.
I have never claimed to be a moderate anything, and that the consensus middle is so satisfied with this final decision on SC stimulus dollars should give conservatives serious concern. This court decision has solidified the fact that all state spending and budget decisions rest 100% with the state legislature. Our current governor, and any future governors, are powerless to enact serious reform. The GOP-dominated “good old boy system” that SC liberals seem to deplore was served well this week by cutting a man like Sanford out of the political equation.
Undoubtedly, Democrats and SC Republican politicians will also make the case that the state will be served well by accepting the money. Nonsense. As if throwing more money at anything in SC has ever produced significant improvements. The same folks who deplore the sad state of affairs in SC and constantly point their fingers at Sanford, can expect more of the same and likely even worse, as they continue to support the same broken system manned by the same sorry state legislature. Consider this little ass-backward gem from SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell in today’s P&C:
“The question is how he will be perceived based on his attempt to keep his state from getting the money that his taxpayers were paying back anyway — and based on his going to the extreme of asking a federal court outside of South Carolina to intervene against his own state,” Harrell said. “Liberals for years have gone to judges when they don’t like what happened in the legislative process. This time, Mark Sanford did.”
True Bobby – and liberals also have spent this state and nation into oblivion whether doing so under a Democrat or Republican banner. Who are the “liberals” in this state that have done this? Certainly not Mark Sanford. Any attempts to portray Sanford as an anti-states’ rights liberal is downright laughable, compared to the more glaring problem of Republicans like Harrell spending like the worst Democrat.
At least Glenn McConnell, a harsh Sanford critic, offered a more sober perspective:
“Many South Carolinians will be celebrating today, but I urge caution in their optimism,” McConnell said after the court ruling. “This influx of money is temporary, and I fear it will drastically damage our nation. While our federal government becomes majority owner in private companies like General Motors, foreign nations like China become majority owners of our debts. You and I know what debt means. It means someone else owns you. It means you are not truly free.”
My only problem with McConnell and Republicans who think like him is – if you acknowledge that there is this much larger problem of outlandish deficit spending, who is ever going to do anything about it? For decades, SC state Republicans never have and never will. And are now happy that Mark Sanford won’t be able to either.