Another Reason to Like Mark Sanford

Monday, May 18th, 2009

After Sen. Lindsey Graham got into a shouting match with some libertarians at the South Carolina GOP convention this weekend, here’s how Gov. Mark Sanford responded:

There was almost a pejorative comment a moment ago. Sen. Graham spoke and said “I’m not a libertarian,” whatever, whatever, as if that’s an evil word. Liberty is the hallmark of the American experiment … People say, you know, “Mark, you’re kind of libertarian,” you know, and they say it as if it’s an evil word, like you’re a communist or something. I’m like: Throw me in that briar patch … I’ve been accused of being a libertarian and I wear it as a badge of honor.

I’ve said it before, but the GOP has a choice to make in the coming years. They can become the party of Mark Sanford, or the party of Sarah Palin. Which path they chose will likely determine how long they stay in the minority.

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25 Responses to “Another Reason to Like Mark Sanford”

  1. #1 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Re: Mark Sanford

    “Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.”

    Looks like some will most definitely get fooled again.

    And again.

    And again.

  2. #2 |  Jim | 

    Cynical in CA – I agree totally. If Sanford is the best Republicans can hope for, they have no hope.

  3. #3 |  Whim | 

    Outside of the social conservative issues, Sarah Palin espouses many of the core beliefs of Libertarianism:

    Smaller, less-intrusive government, and more Government accountability and efficiency.

    And, while govenor, she doesn’t appear to have been very doctrinaire in social areas under her influence like abortion policy, drugs, etc.

  4. #4 |  JS | 

    I’ve never understood this. Why is libertarian a dirty word among republicans? Aren’t they supposed to be all for American tradition and love of country and all that?

  5. #5 |  Fred Mangels | 

    I don’t really have a problem with either Sanford or Palin, although I’ll admit to not having followed either of them too closely. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on Sanford, though, after I saw him mentioned here(?) earlier. It’s still early but it sounds like he might be the best the Republicans can come up with for a presidential run next time around.

    Keep in mind, it’s still early and I know little about the guy.

  6. #6 |  Gazza | 

    Is Sanford going to let adults buy cannabis legally if they so choose, or at least let each state decide if they will permit that? That’s my litmus test from now on, not so much because I would like the convenience of legal cannabis (though I would), but because it’s the signal of a fundamental respect for personal autonomy.

  7. #7 |  Continuum | 

    Sandford is libertarian except when it comes to social policy. Then its daddy-government what to smoke and who to sleep with. Graham is a conservative except when it comes to spending and pork. Both groups are going to tear the Republican party to shreds as they conduct their internecine death match.

  8. #8 |  SJE | 

    #7: Palin is the current heart of the GOP base, but not the future of the GOP. I’d rather that the GOP have a fight between Sanford and Graham, and at least let some ideas float around. Palin is just a wink and a smile.

  9. #9 |  bob42 | 

    I’ve said it before, but the GOP has a choice to make in the coming years. They can become the party of Mark Sanford, or the party of Sarah Palin. Which path they chose will likely determine how long they stay in the minority.

    It’s a catch-22 that has been a long time coming. The republican party has long pretended that fiscal conservatism (small government) can co-exist with social conservatism (regulate marriage, drugs, etc) when the two are really like oil and water. You need to stir them constantly to maintain the illusion that they’re a solution.

    Sarah Palin is attractive in more than a few ways, and probably helped turn out the social conservatives that were turned off by McCain.

    But they didn’t win with that strategy, and in 2012 it’s likely that the bad taste left in voters mouths from the prior evangelical christian president that sincerely believed our foreign policy was blessed with divine approval will persist.

    The republican party can’t embrace libertarianism without alienating its already pissed off base. Strategically, it’s the best thing to do. Tactically, it’s like suicide.

    But that’s what the republican party signed up for when they ran George W. “God talks directly to me” Bush to reap short term gain. Now, they will suffer long term pain.

  10. #10 |  MojoPin (formerly Ben) | 

    What if (hypotheticals are great, aren’t they?) the GOP runs someone like Sanford or (god forbid) Palin in 2012 and they win. Suppose congress is still running at (D) majority. You have someone who was elected on a platform of social conservatism, but more importantly with a real mandate for limited government. Wouldn’t this force the (D) majority in congress to play to the limited government America? A Palin/Sanford presidency may talk a big game regarding social conservatism, but the only thing to make it out of a gridlocked government may be limited government. Likely, they would cancel each other out on the social non-sense.

    Goddamn, why can’t government just tax my shit, build me some fucking roads, punish people should they steal shit from me, and otherwise leave me the fuck alone? Why does this have to be so goddamn complicated?

  11. #11 |  BamBam | 

    Why does this have to be so goddamn complicated?

    Because ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US (The State).

  12. #12 |  » Radley: Right Again. | FR33 Agents | 

    [...] us know what you think. Thanks for visiting!Radley Balko gets it right on his last couple of posts. First, he links to this story about South Carolina Governor and likely 2012 presidential candidate Mark [...]

  13. #13 |  Michael Chaney | 

    You mean Sarah Palin who, when asked if she had smoke pot, answered “yes, and it was legal in Alaska when I did it”?

    Say what you want, but she has *some* libertarian creds, and more balls than most other major party politicians.

  14. #14 |  Jess | 

    I really don’t think that Sarah Palin is your enemy. Her personal views may be socially conservative, but I don’t see a lot of evidence that she has tried to force her POV onto the people of Alaska via her office.

    Maybe I’m overreacting to the really batshit crazy stuff that went around on the left side of the blogosphere right after McCain named her. But I would give consideration to a ticket of which she was a part (although it wasn’t going to be enough to get me to go for McCain anyway).

  15. #15 |  David Nieporent | 

    I’ve said it before, but the GOP has a choice to make in the coming years. They can become the party of Mark Sanford, or the party of Sarah Palin. Which path they chose will likely determine how long they stay in the minority.

    Setting aside the gibe at Palin, who (while seemingly not very bright) is not the right-wing culture warrior she was caricatured as by Andrew Sullivan, it seems pretty clear to me that the future success of the GOP depends on them being the party of Palin and Sanford. Expansive definitions of the term “libertarian” notwithstanding, we represent only a fraction of the electorate; without cultural conservatives, the GOP wouldn’t be a third party, let alone a viable second party. (The trick is to re-convince cultural conservatives that small government is ultimately in their interests, too.)

  16. #16 |  Les | 

    I don’t think agreeing with a few libertarian principles should be enough in a candidate. I think it’s also important not to be a proudly ignorant, hypocritical liar. In this, Palin fails spectacularly.

  17. #17 |  ktc2 | 

    JS #4,

    Because libertarians are “evil legalizers” who want crack vending machines in pre-schools and whores on every corner of every neighborhood.

    Yeah, that’s about how the holy roller Rs (the base) see us.

  18. #18 |  nemo | 

    It’s not just so-called ‘social conservatives’ who are dragging the word ‘libertarian’ through the slime. It’s happening on Liberal blogs too.

    The exact same attempt to change the connotation of words that made ‘liberal’ an epithet is being used to make ‘libertarian’ into one. A point which I’ve made on various Liberal blogsites, to little avail.

    To call the very philosophical basis of our freedoms into question is nothing short of insane…but it’s happening. Double-plus ungood…

  19. #19 |  Ben | 

    The way I see it, we’re getting closer and closer to a one party system because the Republicans (who can not call themselves conservative) are becoming more and more marginalized. I am not a current Republican supporter although I am a registered Republican.

    And to make matters worse there is no other party that has the money and influence to get a real foot-hold in national government.

    I’d love to be able to vote a real conservative ticket. However, we haven’t had that opportunity in decades.

  20. #20 |  JS | 

    ktc2#17 “Because libertarians are “evil legalizers” who want crack vending machines in pre-schools and whores on every corner of every neighborhood.”

    Oh yea, I forgot about the crack vending machines lol Well it seems we have a perception problem.

  21. #21 |  J sub D | 

    (The trick is to re-convince cultural conservatives that small government is ultimately in their interests, too.)

    How are we to convince a group of people who wish to dictate who you sleep with, what you put into your body, what programming on the television (cable included) you are permitted to watch are going to be convinced that small government is the way to accomplish their goals?

    Most social conmservatives have no problem with big government as long as their agenda is the one being enforced. Between the social engineering desires displayed by both major parties, we libertarian leaning folks are adrift in the political wilderness.

  22. #22 |  Greg | 

    I think the Republicans will remain in the minority for some time regardless of whether they choose libertarianism or social conservativism. But a committed, ideological minority can have a substantial influence on policy, if the public comes to see them as being correct on a lot of the issues. Because in that case, the other party will start to co-opt their positions or will modify their policies to mollify the supporters of the minority. So even if a consistently pro-liberty Republican party were to remain in the minority, they’d end up shifting the terms of politics in America back towards a more freedom-oriented place.

  23. #23 |  Agent Smith | 

    The problem with Sarah Palin is she’s not ready for prime time. I love the woman, but she lacks a sense presentation. The media hates her and will spin everything the worst possible way and they’re not afraid to lie. You can be tough without giving the enemy lots to work with.

  24. #24 |  The Sanford effect (Signifying Nothing: Will start a RIOT! in you) | 

    [...] Sanford effect I really, really don’t get the appeal of Mark Sanford to some libertarians. Then again, the fact that my best friend has taken a furlough (without time off, essentially [...]

  25. #25 |  NC_Runner | 

    Guess this one sort of resolved itself.

    RIP — Mark Sanford’s political career.

    Personal life issues aside, the guy bailed on his job & state w/o notice or a contingency. Try that at your job & let me know how it works out. Sorry… but the guy has to go.

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