Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Does Sanford have 2010 or 2012 aspirations?

I know, relish the thought right? But then the more you think about it South Carolina's bumbling Libertarian Governor could very well be trying to position himself for life post the Governorship.

Earlier this year Sanford got into some trouble for not endorsing anyone until after the primary when he endorsed John McCain.

Prior to that he raised some eyebrows when he spoke kind words about the historic candidacy of now President-elect Barack Obama.

Despite the non-endorsement he was considered an early runner, and a strong one, for the Veepstakes - much to the chagrin of the South Carolina establishment and progressives who have butted heads with Sanford for years.

To the outside world he was still a champion of the conservative cause who did the rounds speaking to various think tanks and policy groups. This year he stood up to the federal government against the 'Real ID' program because of costs associated with the program and the restrictions on liberty.

Yes he's had some additional screw ups. In July he had a horrible interview on CNN that squelched any rumors of Veepstakes and then in October he flip flopped and became an advocate of limited off shore drilling - even off South Carolina's coast, to the chagrin of Conservationists who appreciated many of his efforts.

Sanford testified before the Congress against a stimulus package for the states' and more recently is speaking out around the state against the recent federal bailout program, all this despite the distinct possibility that the Palmetto State may need federal assistance with our unemployment insurance program which is going broke.

And now Sanford is speaking at the Republican Governor's Association meeting in Miami with Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty among others.

It's all about interpretation, positioning and in Sanford's case luck:

He's an 'outsider' and isn't afraid to buck his party (sound familiar) though charges of ideologue, while not coming across as a fundamentalist, do stick to him (at least in state)

The snub of McCain may have kept his hands clean of the albatross that was the incredible loss this election cycle.

The kinds words about Obama could be interpreted as a rejection of the 'dirty politics' perfected by Rove and invented by Lee Atwater (SC Native) which were also resolutely rejected at the polls this year.

He has consistently embraced libertarian economic policies regarding taxation and government spending and even with the 'flip flop' on off shore drilling he's still a conservationist though doesn't accept fully the notion of climate change (like John McCain). When it comes to Social Conservatism he's no Sarah Palin, but then again he's not Rudy Giuliani. He presided over successfully implementing a constitutional amendment against gay marriage though has signed into law assigning at least one basic right to gays.

Already the kindle that is the blogosphere is alight about the possibility, the Garnet Spy notes,

  • He can’t run for Governor
  • He’s already served as Congressman, so that won’t happen
  • Lindsey Graham just won re-election and Jim DeMint, will no doubt run for re-election in 2010. DeMint is popular both in state and nationally with the Party and conservatives. So, a Senate seat won’t be available.
  • No cabinet position, ambassadorship or other administration-appointed post.
Sanford even has a facebook group trying to draft support a 2012 run, but I would disagree with The Spy on the other electoral option, running for Senate.

Sanford's moderate right positions make him more conservative than Graham but less nutty than DeMint. As 538.com says "DeMint is not terrifically popular and may be too conservative even by South Carolina standards." And while its doubtful that Democrats can groom a challenger to Jimmy Boy that doesn't exclude a strong primary challenge by a Republican politician that does fall within the standards of SC conservatism. DeMint's high support, if you can call it that, comes from the fringes of the party in this state. And to those who currently have no other 'Republican' option besides Lindsey Graham, who's stuck up John McCain's tuckus and who's to pliant to swing, Sanford could be an attractive option. And hey, who knows for better or worse - if Obama's historic run has taught us anything, you only have to have two years in the Senate to run for President.

So, despite himself, Sanford has options.

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