Making good on his rhetoric of the past few weeks, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford has said “thanks but no thanks” to billions of taxpayer dollars slated to come to South Carolina as part of the federal government’s “economic stimulus” plan.
Or has he?
MSNBC reported on national TV this morning that Sanford had sent out a press release saying South Carolina would not be requesting any of the money associated with the $787 billion bureaucratic bailout.
Sanford’s office says that’s not true … at least not yet.
“Honestly? We’re still looking at the bill to see what’s in it and what we could potentially say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to,” said Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer. “No decisions have been made yet.”
Whatever position Sanford takes, it’s extremely unlikely that he can actually block any of this money from coming to the Palmetto State, as Democrats in Congress structured the massive boondoggle to be incredibly resistant to, well, him.
Specifically, S.C. Rep. Jim Clyburn inserted a provision in the bill that would enable state legislatures to formally request the bailout money in the event a governor declined to do so.
Known as the “Mark Sanford amendment,” it could very well set up another showdown between Sanford and his GOP antagonists in the legislature.
Sanford has been repeatedly challenged to “put his money where his mouth is” over his highly-visible opposition to the bailout, with former Clinton advisor Paul Begala daring him to decline the money.
“Something tells me Gov. Sanford won’t take that gamble,” Begala wrote in an op-ed for CNN earlier this week. “Because for all his rhetoric about hating federal spending, he can’t wait to get his hands on our money.”
“South Carolina is a ward of the federal government,” Begala continued. “Itâ€™s been on welfare for years. If Gov. Sanford is so all-fired opposed to federal spending, letâ€™s start by cutting federal spending in South Carolina. Otherwise, heâ€™s got about as much credibility on fiscal conservatism as A-Rod has on steroids.â€
Personally, we hope Sanford does say “thanks but no thanks” to the bailout money.
Sure, he’s been put into a position where such a decision would be a purely symbolic gesture, but it’s one he should still make.
This bailout is a heaping pile of big government dung, and Sanford should make it clear that fiscal conservatives in South Carolina – and across the country – want nothing to do with it.
Let the onus for accepting these funds fall on our state’s “Republican” lawmakers.