Gov. Mark Sanford (R) of South Carolina did a stint on C-Span Wednesday, and one caller from Michigan gave him a tongue lashing. Phoning in on the Democratic line, the woman basically thanked God Michigan has a Democratic governor. She unleashed a stream of criticisms at Sanford for recent budget cuts in the Palmetto State. Sanford responded with the melodious, “Yes, ma’am,” characteristic of those we think of as Southern gentlemen. And then he calmly defended himself by explaining the cuts were necessary and were across the board.
Sanford is categorized as a moderate populist conservative by the website On the Issues. He’s a true fiscal conservative in spirit, and I suspect he does what he can with a state that’s run for a long time on Democratic principles no matter who controls the legislature.
But it’s worthwhile to point out Sanford is critical of those governors doing serious panhandling in the nation’s capital. Kansas Liberty reported remarks from an article Sanford co-wrote with Texas governor Rick Perry (R)for the Wall Street Journal. Sanford noted:
“Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker puts our nation's total debt and unpaid promises, like Social Security, at roughly $52 trillion -- an invisible mortgage of $450,000 on every American household…[I]n the rush to do ‘something’ to help, federal leaders would be wise to take a line from the Hippocratic Oath, and pledge to do no (more) harm to our country's finances. We can weather this storm if we commit to fiscal prudence and hold true to the values of individual freedom and responsibility that made our nation great.”
Sanford had the last laugh on the Democratic critic, though he may not have known it. In August, South Carolina’s unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. Michigan’s was at 8.9 percent, rising to 9.3 percent by October. The South Carolina Republican’s approval ratings dwarf those of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D). According to Rasmussen Reports, Sanford’s ratings are: Excellent= 17 percent; Good= 36 percent; Fair=28 percent; Poor=15 percent.
Granholm’s are: Excellent= 10 percent; Good= 22 percent; Fair= 30 percent; Poor= 37 percent.
Perhaps Sanford’s Democratic caller should have checked a few facts, including a story about the plight of the auto industry in Michigan. Businessweek reported Detroit’s three car manufacturers showed up in Washington and asked for a $34 billion dollar bailout.
If Sanford can bring his state through the financial crisis affecting almost every state in the country, he likely will have a bright future in politics. He's charismatic and he thinks quickly on his feet. Maybe his critic should rethink her gratitude for a Democratic governor whose approval ratings are dismal.