In case you missed it, the Supreme Court of South Carolina heard oral argument yesterday in the battle Governor Mark Sanford is waging against the State Legislature, over accepting federal stimulus money. (Click here to watch streaming video, courtesy of SCETV).
You may be wondering, why Sanford would want to refuse over $700 million of federal funds. After all, won't this money be spent somehow? And if so, should not the Governor of South Carolina prefer to have it spent in South Carolina, to benefit us Sandlappers? If you have to ask these questions, then you don't know the Porcine Prince. As the carpet at the Statehouse can attest, there is nothing our Governor will not stoop to (or step on) for political grandstanding.
Make no mistake about it, grandstanding is all this is. Sanford's argument is that he opposes this money for philosophical/ideological reasons. See...he's for less government. This is government spending run amok! Of course, Sanford has no answer to most obvious dilemma with his rock-solid political ideological stand: Governor, won't your actions lead to South Carolinians essentially having to "pay the mortgage but not get the house?" Of course it will. But that doesn't concern Sanford.
See, Sanford is doing this so he can run for President and claim "I was the only Governor who did not accept federal stimulus money." While we at the BTPC have yet to get our hands on an advance copy of Sanford's speech announcing his impending Presidential run, we feel confident in saying that sentence above will not be followed in the speech by anything resembling the the following: "And I did not accept it despite the fact my constituents would still be stuck with the tab and that the money would have been used for public schools, which if you know anything about South Carolina, you would know are in a desperate state of affairs. But who doesn't like a man who stands on principle!"
Anyone who follows state politics knows that Sanford's oak-like adherence to his ideology only pops up when it benefits his ambitions. For instance, see his stance on the "I believe" license plates, which we discussed here. Back then, we asked:
Where is "less government is what we need" Governor Sanford in all this? I mean,
after all, he could have stopped this colossal waste of taxpayer money by
vetoing it. I mean, we all know he has no problems vetoing stuff. But no...Marky
Mark took the cowards way out and did not veto or sign the damn thing. Of
course, by vetoing it, he would have offended all the god-fearing Christians in
the State, and we all know reelection comes before principles. But he could not
have signed it and ran for President, because even he knows its blatantly
unconstitutional. Hence the do-nothing move. Way to roll strong, Guv.
So Sanford can keep peddling the principle angle all he wants. We're not buying it.
The true shame in all this, is the money at stake (at least about$350 million of it) is targeted for public education. So Sanford's actions are actually targeting our school children and the teachers who educate them. That is no coincidence either. Sanford has done all he can to decimate public education in this state and has been cashing Howard Rich's checks and laughing it up while doing it.
So how cool is it that Sanford's latest grandstanding is being stopped by two students who have stepped up and called him to the carpet. The cases the Supremes heard oral argument on were brought by 18-year old High School student Casey Edwards and 3rd year law student Justin Williams. Attorney Dwight F. Drake, who is representing Ms. Edwards, stated in a recent email that Sanford's efforts "are damaging to the future of every school child in South Carolina. His efforts undermine attempts to lessen the impact of the current recession. His efforts create uncertainty for thousands of school teachers who don't know whether they will be employed and teach our children this fall."
The State newspaper reported that Sanford said Monday he would not appeal any ruling by the Supremes and that he expected to lose. (Editor's update: He was right. The Supremes handed down their decision today ordering Sanford to take the money). And there you have Mark Sanford. Mr. Less Government himself admitting that this is all just a show. Meanwhile, South Carolinian school children face a July 1st deadline for our state to apply for this money.
A long time ago, a member of royalty once responded to being informed that the peasants had no bread by saying, "Let them eat cake." With this ridiculous lawsuit and grandstanding act, Mark Sanford has shown what he thinks of his constituents: he thinks they should eat cake.
Is there any doubt that Justice Donald Beatty hit the mark yesterday when he pointed out to our wannabe-monarch's attorneys that "It doesn't mean he's King."