Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rejecting Aid, One Governor Irks His Own

He's already running for President, and is so far to the right that he might fall off the edge.

The Caucus: South Carolina Will Apply for Most of Its Stimulus Money (April 3, 2009)

For a millionaire, Gov. Mark Sanford has a reputation for frugality that borders on the extreme.

Former employees say he has been known to require his staff to use both sides of a Post-it note. When Mr. Sanford was a congressman, he slept on a futon in his office and returned his housing allowance. And when, after he moved into the Governor’s Mansion here, tax collectors declared his family’s home on Sullivan’s Island a secondary residence subject to a higher tax rate, he appealed and won.

Seems a bit anal-retentive.

Now, with his threat to refuse more than $700 million in federal money to stimulate the economy, Mr. Sanford’s contrarian streak is taking him from South Carolina, which is second only to Michigan in unemployment, to the national stage.

On Friday, just before the Obama administration’s deadline, Mr. Sanford became the last governor to certify that he would accept some stimulus money, but declared that he would not accept the $700 million largely designated for education unless the legislature agreed to use a similar amount to pay down the state’s debt. (He did, however, accept most of the remaining $2.1 billion for Medicaid, transportation and other uses. Only Mr. Sanford and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska have rejected the education money.)

Extreme right wingers.

Through the tumult, Mr. Sanford has remained unperturbed. “I think the fatal flaw of a lot of people in politics is that they want to be loved,” he said Friday in an interview in his office. “I sleep like a baby at night.”

Babies can be colicky and burp and cry through the night.

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