The Return of Mark Sanford?
If you ever needed a reminder of how worthless the Republican Party generally is, last week’s “fiscal cliff” vote saw a majority of Republicans joining with Democrats to increase taxes, push through pork-barrel spending, and add trillions to the national debt. This is what most Republicans do. It is what they have always done. They talk a lot about small government but then always vote to make it bigger. Sadly, this sickening hypocrisy has defined the GOP for almost the entirety of my adult life.
But a very small minority of Republicans didn’t vote for the fiscal cliff bill. For some, the decision to cast a no-vote was done solely to win over voters in preparation for a future presidential run. For others, their vote was completely consistent with their overall limited-government record. The bad news is that there are very few of these Republicans. The good news is that one of the best might be getting back into politics: Mark Sanford.
Sanford has always been a conservative’s conservative. When he was the governor of South Carolina, I don’t think there was a political figure I cheered for more often with the exception of Ron and Rand Paul (both of whom I would later work for). When Sanford made national headlines by standing up to President Barack Obama by refusing to accept federal “stimulus” money for South Carolina, conservatives across the nation cheered, although he was met with a mixed reaction from the GOP back home. (Truth be told, Sanford was never popular among the members of his own party in the Palmetto State.)
Of course, we all know what happened next. After Sanford admitted to having an affair with a woman from Argentina, I wrote the following:
“Here was a Republican who could have easily taken the same career path of most Republicans, but instead spent much of his time fighting his own party, taking the GOP to task at both the state and national level for betraying its conservative principles. Sanford took the hard road, standing up for limited government when no one else would. He was decidedly an unconventional Republican for all the right reasons. And yet last week, by his own actions, Sanford ended up in the same sort of tawdry, sleazy, and politically predictable place typically reserved for less sincere, less principled, and simply, lesser men.”
There were many who lamented and criticized Sanford’s moral failings. But few, if any, doubted Sanford’s unshakable conservative political principles.