Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sanford: I'm like Moses!

In The State's long, revealing interview with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford:

QUESTION: At times you’ve been a voice in the wilderness, you’ve said. Do you still feel like you’re alone in the wilderness? Do you think you’ve brought some folks into the fold? How much do you think you’ve built on what you started?

ANSWER: I go back to the quote on the Nikki Haley thing. Her saying, “You may be like Moses. You may never make it to the Promised Land, but because of some of the stands you’ve taken, you’ve started a movement, and we’re going to get there.”

Reading the i/view, you get the sense Sanford's become Mr. Smith before-the-Capra-ending. On his goal of eliminating the income tax in South Carolina, the governor touches on the pervasive personal agendas that can extinguish reform.

QUESTION: How about (the governor appointing more statewide) constitutional officers?

ANSWER: No, we’re going to try to get it back up there. I’m not extremely hopeful on that, based on the feedback I’ve gotten. I don’t know what could be fairer than simply saying, “Look, you guys, decide whatever y’all want to do we’ll do, but could the people actually decide this one?” So we may end up with a smaller list that we want to see.

(Aide mentions eliminating individual income tax.)

Yeah, I’ve given up on that. What you really learn as you get deeper and deeper in the system, is how differently it works than the federal system. ... You agreed or you disagreed.....

But it wasn’t driven by, “How am I going to get a paycheck?” A lot of what occurs in our system is driven by a friend, a relative, a cousin, they themselves either getting a direct paycheck or deriving a direct benefit...... Because as it turns out, without speaking ill of anyone, there (are) a lot of very personal agendas with regards to what goes on here. And why you guys aren’t more aggressive with regard to reporting it, I don’t know.......

I had a number of senators come to me when I was first elected and say to me, “Look, we want to make you the best governor South Carolina has ever seen if you just do what we tell you to do.”

Needless to say, that ain’t the way I operate.

On the GOP's struggles with ethnic minorities.

QUESTION: Do you disagree with the folks who say the party has a demographic problem, that it needs to change its message to appeal to black and Hispanic voters?

ANSWER: No. There’s a difference between changing message and the voice of that message. Do we need more black faces or more Hispanic voices in actually communicating some of the ideas? Yeah. Which is part of the reason why we supported (Charleston state Rep.) Tim Scott in this last election. But I think the principles are timeless and color-or ethnic-neutral.

And finally, since his name comes up frequently...

QUESTION: What kind of candidate should Republicans look for in 2012 for president?

ANSWER: (laughing) ... I should say somebody in their early 80s to — make sure we put this on the record — a category of taking myself out.