In his article “Why Mark Sanford Matters” Reihan Salam writes for Forbes Magazine: “Unlike John McCain or Mitt Romney, Sanford goes far beyond criticizing earmarks. In the face of a severe recession, he has refused to accept hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid. Recognizing that the military establishment represents an enormous slice of federal spending, Sanford has also declared that he opposes pre-emptive wars, like the invasion of Iraq. In short, Sanford is the real deal. He is the candidate Rush Limbaugh and countless others who embrace the cause of shrinking government have been waiting for.”
Voted as “Best Conservative” by readers in the Charleston City Paper’s annual “Best of Charleston” issue, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was described as follows: “Facing budget deficits and high unemployment, Sanford has opposed the state legislature’s pet projects and the White House’s economic stimulus. The controversial governor’s logic may not be practical, but it is conservative.” In these tough economic times, accusing conservatives like Sanford of not being “practical” for opposing massive spending has been a common liberal theme.
But unlike Bush, Obama and the majority of leaders from both their parties, Sanford is one of the few leaders who has been consistently practical on government spending.
When President Bush sold the Iraq War to the American people, he claimed that refusing to act was unacceptable as the crisis of global terrorism required immediate action. Said Bush in 2002 “Some have argued we should wait – and that is an option. In my view, it is the riskiest of all options – because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become.” Critics wailed that invading Iraq would result in a decades-long occupation, the exorbitant cost of which would be too high, plaguing this and future generations. To date, Bush’s critics have been proven right.
When President Obama sold his recent stimulus package to the American people, he claimed that refusing to act was unacceptable as the economic crisis required immediate action. Said Obama in January, “we have to act and act now.” Critics wailed that the $787 billion stimulus package would result in a weaker long-term economy, and the exorbitant debt would plague this and future generations. Time will tell whether Obama’s critics are proven right.
What time has already told us is that so-called government “experts,” who allegedly have some superior insight, often lead America hastily down disastrous paths under the auspices of averting some “crisis” that coincidentally, always deserves immediate and drastic attention. Given their frequent colossal mistakes and gross miscalculations, Americans would be wise to look upon any current or future crisis-mongering with an inquisitive eye. And the drama and theatrics that accompany these crises should make Americans skeptical of their leaders” true intentions.
When President Obama, the Democrats and only three Republicans succeeded in passing a $787 billion dollar stimulus package last week, Arizona Senator John McCain said “This measure is not bipartisan, it contains much that is not stimulative and is nothing short of generational theft.”
McCain is not wrong. But it’s the first time – in a very long time – that he’s been right.
Replied New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to McCain’s criticism of the stimulus package “We know that the arguments about debt and generational theft ring hollow because you didn’t make those arguments once in the last eight years when the deficit ballooned because of spending on the Iraq war and spending on tax cuts largely for the highest income people in America.” Setting aside his class warfare, Democrat clichÃ©’s, Schumer is not wrong either.
What we are seeing in Republican opposition to this latest stimulus package is a complete reversal by leaders that have long been comfortable with massive debt, or “generational theft,” so long as their president and their party were doing the spending.
Chastising opposition to his economic stimulus bill last week, President Obama said Republicans “come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis.” Americans, he said, “did not vote for the false theories of the past, and they didn’t vote for phony arguments and petty politics.”
When arguing what’s best for America, sound bites seem to always overshadow the big picture. When the Bush military surge in Iraq was successful in temporarily stabilizing the country, Republicans campaigned as if the war was won. The creation of a democratic Iraq was closer than ever, said Republicans, criticizing Democrats who had tried to obstruct their efforts. When it was pointed out that the Middle East was more unstable today than when Saddam Hussein was in power, that the invasion of Iraq had dramatically increased the Al-Quada threat and their numbers, that temporarily quelling a civil war between Sunni and Shia had absolutely nothing to do with any War on Terror and that countless lives and billions of dollars later, the U.S. had paid an astronomical price for little reward, Republicans had only one response “ “the surge worked.”
But what if the economy improves after Obama’s stimulus package is implemented? Will Republicans be faced with similar declarations by Democrats, who will claim that their economic “surge worked” while ignoring the larger, catastrophic picture?
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