- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

Econ junkie

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, doesn’t use poll-tested code words and catchphrases when talking to reporters. He talks like he’s still the investor he once was before entering public office.

Mr. Sanford often referred to his duties as governor as a “fiduciary and trustee” to the state in a discussion with right-leaning writers hosted by the American Spectator on Thursday morning in downtown Washington. For example, the Republican Party’s biggest problem wasn’t “outreach” or “messaging.” It’s the “lack of differentiation in product, where the GOP has gotten very mushy over the years, which is important in the market place of ideas,” he said.

While Mr. Sanford talked about his opposition to President Obama’s stimulus bill in Washington, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a ruling forcing the governor to accept some of the funding, which he vehemently opposes. Before the expected decision was announced, Mr. Sanford said that while he is disappointed, “there is a value to losing” because it draws attention to the lack of power to the states and a “totally flawed constitutional construct in South Carolina,” which led to the decision.

He thinks the stimulus bill will have “huge ramifications” in future political debates over increasing dependence on government, property rights and financial freedom.

“It’s a real litmus test [for the Republican Party], we are getting to the point of the absurd in enacting programs that are unsustainable.” Mr. Sanford said. He respectfully declined to criticize any other Republicans by name who supported the legislation, instead opting to praise House Republicans for a party-line vote against the bill, as well as the fiscally conservative Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint, from his home state of South Carolina.

Mr. Sanford was reported as a possible vice-presidential choice for 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain and is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012. When asked whether he could see himself as a national spokesman for the Republican Party on economic issues, he said that would be “presumptuous” and that he would rather “teach based on actions.”

Earmarks continue

The Club for Growth’s Andy Roth marked the beginning of what he calls “appropriations season” by ridiculing a few of the first earmarks to be submitted for the next fiscal year on the organization’s blog.

Mr. Roth combed through the list submitted to the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies and found some doozies.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania Democrat, secured $250,000 for a Father’s Day Rally Committee; Rep. Charlie Melancon, Louisiana Democrat, earmarked $325,000 for the Institute of Seafood Studies.

The Club for Growth opposes increases in government spending and conducts fundraisers for fiscally conservative candidates.

“These earmarks are further proof that anything and everything can be funded by the federal government through earmarks. There’s no restraint, no accountability and no limit to Congresss appetite for egregious pork projects,” Mr. Roth said.

Radio arrest

A New Jersey radio host was arrested Wednesday afternoon after urging his listeners to “take up arms” against two Connecticut lawmakers.

Harold Charles Turner, who goes by Hal Turner on his radio show and blog, was arrested on felony charges for writing on his blog that “Catholics in Connecticut [should] take up arms and put down this tyranny by force.”

Mr. Turner published the entry Tuesday in reaction to legislation supported by state Sen. Andrew McDonald and state Rep. Michael Lawlor, two Democrats who co-chair the Judiciary Committee in their respective chambers. Their bill proposed dictating the legal structure of Catholic churches in the state. He threatened to post the home addresses of the men as well.

Mr. Turner, who has a history of making public threats against public officials, updated his entry later that day to tell his readers he had received a phone call from police. “Looks like the tyrants are worried,” he wrote. “Good.”

He was arrested the next day. Connecticut Capitol Police Chief Michael Fallon told the Connecticut Post, “Mr. Turners comments are above and beyond the threshold of free speech.”

Blade cuts deep

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, is known as the “blade” for his penchant for cost-cutting at his former post as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Now, he’s applying some cutting wit to liberal foes.

“We need to accept the role of the loyal opposition much more gracefully than our opponents did,” he recently told the Associated Press. “If you haven’t noticed, the meanest people in politics are on the American left.”

Ironically, he made these comments during a discussion about how the Republicans need to have more “empathy” in order to win future elections.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com

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