April 10, 2009

Sanford’s Ship Sinks

I don’t know if I’m buying Richard’s contention that Mark Sanford may be a mole for the Newt-cons, but I’m also not sure the Governor has anything left in the tank as a serious anti-establishment candidate in 2012 after that showing.

The problem Sanford has is twofold:

1) Sanford’s reputation as a rare politician of principle, seems to suggest that his quasi-endorsement of Newt’s insane plan, was in fact heartfelt.  Most other American pols could write that up to a sort of fence straddling middle-of-the-roadism needed to cobble together a meaningful electoral coalition.  Sanford’s habit of being honest does not allow him that luxury.  Even worse, he has implied that he was a non-interventionist of sorts in the past, which doesn’t mesh with the position espoused by Newt on Fox.  This would make Sanford an unprincipled hypocrite in the eyes of many – nuances be damned.

2) Post-Bush, paleos and libertarians are far less trusting of elected officials that talk their talk, but refuse to walk their walk.  Though Sanford’s voting record in Congress is very favorable on the foreign policy front, the rhetorical flashes of sanity shown by President Bush on the trail in 2000 proved to be exceptional remarks that had no bearing on Bush’s policies.  If one is to believe Pat Buchanan and others, this is in large part because of the men Bush appointed to head up his foreign policy – men with ideas very similar to Newt’s.  If Sanford is deferring to Newt on these matters, the fear of who he would appoint becomes a real one, and realists and non-interventionists are right to be nervous.

While it seems silly to suggest that a gaffe like this could set Sanford back in a race that is three years away, the reality is that Sanford’s internet street team of Ron Paul kids and anti-war/anti-spenders is something he has to have to make a serious go of things.  Absent that he’s just another face in the crowd.

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