Saturday, January 17, 2009

Conservative Paper: Sanford goes "out of his way to alienate legislators"

The Greenville Online editorial team on South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's leadership:

It's no secret this Republican governor has had a strained relationship with the Legislature that is dominated by Republicans. He's been right on a number of occasions, such as in his determined push for restructuring. Unfortunately he's been largely ineffective, in part because of legislative stubbornness and in part because the governor seemingly has gone out of his way to alienate legislators.

The indictment is all the more damning since the paper agrees with most of Sanford's agenda:

Restructuring that makes the governor a true chief executive is a necessity. The governor should be the head of a Department of Administration, and the governor, through an expanded cabinet, should oversee the day-to-day operations of state agencies....Lawmakers also should consider the governor's proposal to cut the corporate income tax and allow individuals to opt for a flat tax....

An inescapable reality is that dealing with crushing budget cuts will be by far the top issue this legislative session. To that end, lawmakers also should give due consideration to the governor's recommendations for another $267 million in budget cuts. As the governor said Wednesday, many of his proposals were hard choices "that in a perfect world we wouldn't have made."

There's a national/state two-step going on with Sanford here. He began this post-08 election period relatively unknown nationally. But with his increasingly vocal stands against bailout $ and nationally-reported war with his state's employment agency, he started building buzz as the kind of conservative warrior the national faithful is starving for.

So while Sanford's national prospects have risen, his reputation with his state has fallen. We noted yesterday that over at Intrade, he's running third among GOP nominees for 2012. You'd suspect that the traders are paying attention to his national; not state performance, figuring they're getting the true dark horse on the cheap. But if you dig one layer deeper, you see some potentially fatal flaws for a Sanford run -- the inability to compromise and the unique capability to stand alone and, in doing so, piss his own party off.

Those are admirable William Wallace qualities; the question is: are they winning qualities?