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Quotational Therapy: Part 121 -- Mark Sanford.

Presidential Darkhorse... Very Darkhorse-

Nothing against any of the current GOP frontrunner candidates for President, but I am growing increasingly concerned that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is not being discussed more as a potential nominee.

Just a mini-bio on Governor Sanford:

He was elected as part of the Republican Revolution in 1994. He actually adhered to term limit promises (3 terms), ran for S.C. Governor and won in 2002, and was reelected in 2006.

Sanford is a true Reaganite. He is precisely the sort of voice the Republican Party needs in the primaries, at the very least. While in Congress, he fought for Social Security reform with personal accounts among other free market initiatives. As Governor, he has been stoic about spending and tax cuts, to the point of irking some of the establishment Republicans in the South Carolina legislature. In a state that resembles states like Michigan or Ohio in terms of its industry, South Carolina has had the good fortune to have a Reaganite in office. While, from 2005 to 2006, Michigan lost more than 65 thousand of its Michiganders to other states, and Ohio lost more than 48 thousand of its Ohioans to other states, South Carolina added nearly 48 thousand folks from other states.

A state with great concerns about "outsourcing" (offshoring, actually) and globalization, much like the American Midwest, South Carolina in 2006 could have easily played host to the death of Mark Sanford's national political viability. But it didn't. Mark Sanford expanded his margin of victory from 2002.

Meanwhile, Mark Sanford could have pandered to or demagogued for or coddled the "they took our jobs" crowd in order to insulate himself from criticism about South Carolina textile jobs going to places India and China. But he didn't. Mark Sanford was actually one of the few consistently free trade Representatives while he was in Congress, and he has never flip-flopped on the issue to score cheap political points.

On the issues, Sanford is as solid as there is a political figure out there. He's well spoken and attractive without being haughty and vain. He has a good looking family, without awkwardly using them as props.

The only knock on him is that he may be too much like President Bush for voters. Don't get me wrong, I still love President Bush. A lot of Americans really don't, though. They are just ready for something entirely new. Sanford has a Southern accent. He looks, physically, slightly like President Bush did while Governor. He might not play particularly well in places like New England, the upper Midwest, and the West Coast, where Republicans would probably like to be competitive for the first time in two decades. In other words, I could see some folks erroneously questioning Sanford's electability, based exclusively on where he is from-- and his accent.

Again, no offense to Romney, McCain, Giuliani, or Gingrich (the "big four"), but I will be very disappointed if Sanford is not part of the 2008 equation at some level.

With that, here are a few quotes from Sanford's 2007 "State of the State" address, delivered this week:

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” And we all know the power to make or walk away from the proposals I will offer is in your hands.

The danger of power lies in the fact that those who are vested with it too often make its preservation their first concern and therefore naturally oppose any changes in the forces that have given them this power.

South Carolina’s Gross State Product is roughly $140 billion a year. That puts us just below Israel, Finland, Venezuela and Ireland in the size of our economy.

It puts our economic size just above the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. It puts us well above places like New Zealand, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Kuwait or Jamaica. The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether or not we see each of our actions as steps toward or against being able to compete economically with other countries.

Finally, as I mentioned in my Inaugural this year, we very much need to focus on getting principles right so that we unleash the power of individual initiative. Nobel Prize winning Economist Milton Friedman once said, “Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of individual ownership.”

To me that means we should not shy away from the idea of actually limiting government’s growth so we move more power and authority to individual South Carolinians - and in turn unleash the potential of individual South Carolinians.

One of the most unsustainable components of our present budget is tied to retiree benefits that were promised but not paid for. In our case, retiree health care benefits are completely unfunded and amount to a $9.3 billion liability. These unfunded promises have an eerie similarity to the unfunded promises of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in Washington.

David Walker is the Comptroller General of the United States of America and is currently embarked on what he calls the “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour.” He argues that America will lose its competitive position in the world if we as a country don’t subscribe to the common sense notion that families and businesses adhere to in matching costs with benefits.

It isn’t just about the sustainability of spending - it is also about change. Think about it - if you really believe that we live in one of the most transformative times in world history, then wouldn’t you want to maximize the part of your economy that will change the fastest? Money in the private sector can be redirected faster than money in the public sector.

More than anything, this whole spending debate is about common sense notions. Most folks tell me they agree with the principal of “first things first” and that it makes sense to pay off money you have committed to spend before you begin new spending. They tell me it doesn’t make sense to grow government faster than people’s ability to pay for it.

I continue to believe passionately that a parent ought to be able to decide what school works best for their child, and as a consequence believe in the need for choice in education and market based solutions to education.

Mark Sanford, ladies and gents. Someone to consider for 2008, if you're not quite enthralled by the current declared crop of candidates.

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Martin Luther King, Jr..

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy on Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 January 2007 12:38 PM


Yes, Mark Sanford is a man of integrity and intelligence. He is much too logical for the average person in the USA. At the very least, he, unlike several democratics will serve out his four year term that he just started.

Posted by: Chief RZ at January 19, 2007 02:16 PM

Thanks for mentioning him. Up here in NH we see them all for a year straight. He does look good. If you want, I'll play up the fact that he looks like Tony Blair or something.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at January 19, 2007 06:18 PM

Several years ago, Mark Sanford was named as the worst governor in the United States by Time magazine. Something I would consider a badge of honor.
Evidently, the left saw Governor Sanford as a real threat to business as usual. His work on educational reform(school choice), tax reform, and limiting the growth of state government(some privatization of some state functions) gained traction in SC, although there was no sweeping reform. Hopefully, he will continue with his strategy in his second term.
Governor Sanford is despised by the usual suspects in SC, the democrats, the public educational establishment, state government employees, and the major news outlets. The groups that have a vested interest and would benefit the most from the status quo and not changing and limiting state government.
He does appear to be a quite bright fellow, sticks to his guns, has a good grasp on state problems, and a good international perspective.
His opponent in the last election seemed to be a nice guy with nowhere near the intellectual capability of Sanford. For instance, his response to Sanford's stand on school choice was "no state money for private schools, I will fully fund public education." Yeah, right, whatever the hell that means, a bumper sticker slogan.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at January 21, 2007 05:13 AM

Will, You should be on FOX news...

Posted by: zsa zsa at January 22, 2007 11:01 AM

Wow, I'm not a republican. But anybody who quotes Milton Friedman gets my vote.

Posted by: Az at January 24, 2007 10:27 PM