Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chaos in South Carolina: Sanford wars with own party

The economic and political situation in South Carolina is disintegrating, and Governor Mark Sanford's relationship with the GOP-dominated Legislature is increasingly taking on the Moses vs. Children of Israel analogy Sanford provided recently.

Only, at this point, it's unclear whose side God is on.

The State:

His [Republican Senate President Glenn McConnell] agenda also includes trumping Sanford in an ongoing skirmish over security at the state Capitol, where Sanford ordered the state's Bureau of Protective Services to stop staffing checkpoints at car entry points. McConnell's solution? A new Capitol police force.

It's another sign of the hard feelings that have grown during Sanford's two terms.

"Sadly, we get more communication through press conferences than we do through relationships with the executive branch," McConnell said, citing repeated bouts of bickering. "How's the relationship? It's cool."

McConnell said he's willing to work with Sanford, "but there's no lesson in the second kick of the mule," he said. "I'm going to keep my guard up."

And in a further sign that Sanford has accrued too much intraparty hostility to realize his agenda, the Republican Senate Finance Committee Chair, Hugh Leatherman, ridicules his party leader's optional flat tax plan.

"That's about the most asinine thing I've ever heard of."

Sanford's becomes something of a hero to conservatives for his philosophical purity, but a 2012 run will need to include a record of tangible results, and there's a certain point where the political philosophy becomes so pure that it's unable to accommodate the demands of a pragmatic universe.

Socialism and unfettered free markets are examples of philosophical purities that simply break-down when faced with more random variables than one can model. Governor Sanford may be unable or unwilling to come to terms with that reality. That's not to question his sincerity or admirable principles, it's only to assess his chances for achieving the kind of results you can run a national campaign on.

But Exodus is a helluva book to read.