A Few Thoughts on Mark Sanford
That was an entertaining press conference. Sen. David Vitter, the Louisiana Republican who patronized prostitutes provided by a famous D.C. Madam, didn't offer anything half as compelling. Gov. Mark Sanford, who had himself a garden-variety cheat, really stepped up the public drama of it: An inexplicable disappearance, a soul-baring presser, a televised paean to his mistress ... really an "A" for effort on all that.
But it would be a shame if the fact that Sanford is a commonly flawed man distracted from the fact that he's an uncommonly terrible governor. His grasp of macroeconomics would impress a stockbroker from the Flapper Era. Amid a bruising recession, he's repeatedly vetoed social spending and rejected stimulus funds. His fiscal management spurred Standard & Poor's to downgrade South Carolina's bond rating (and led Time magazine to name him one of the three worst governors in the nation).
Sanford easily won the contest for "Governor most likely to set Keynes spinning in his grave" by sending the legislature almost $500 million in spending cuts and saying, "When times go south you cut spending. That's what families do, that's what businesses do, and I don't think the government should be exempt from that process." That was last December, when the economy seemed to be hurtling off a cliff. It put Sanford in in direct conflict with, well, most every economist in the country, including Martin Feldstein, one of Ronald Reagan's top economic advisers. And it was, among governors, a fairly unique performance.
Conversely, I doubt Sanford is even one of the 500 worst husbands in the nation.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain
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