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Imagine if South Carolina’s TV stations spent the same amount of time educating the public on the “stimulus” that they spend educating us about the “Big Switch” to digital cable?

Think about it … and who the hell still owns a TV with rabbit ears, anyway?

Also, imagine if our top newspapers spent the same amount of ink explaining the “stimulus” that they spend reprinting and obsessing over the back-and-forth banalities of our increasingly petty and vindictive politicians – who in spite of their ideological differences share the same lust for the limelight and dim view of their subjects’ cranial capacity.

Well, the “dim bulb” approach is working.

Over the Easter weekend, a friend of ours whose gray matter we actually respect made the following comment about the “stimulus …”

“I don’t understand why the governor won’t just take our state’s stimulus money – is he that mean?”

Well, the last time we checked, South Carolina was taking over $7 billion in federal “stimulus” money.

That’s ignored, but it’s also not up for debate.

What Gov. Mark Sanford and his bureaucratic, media and political antagonists are arguing over is a $740 million slice of stimulus funding that the governor alone controls.

And although you wouldn’t know it from reading the papers, it’s the same slice they’ve been arguing over for more than a month.

As we wrote several weeks ago when Sanford first unveiled his position on “stimulus” funding, the notion of using this money for debt repayment is decidedly underwhelming.

If you’re going to go into a battle against the left-leaning press corps, the Obama White House and practically every other elected official and state agency in South Carolina – “debt repayment” isn’t exactly the kind of heat you want to be packing.

Like Malone said in The Untouchables, that’s taking “a knife to a gunfight.”

And as we wrote last Friday, Sanford’s latest attempt to sell his position to the public – which has soured on him as a result of this debate – wasn’t effective.

But the larger problem isn’t the governor’s current positioning, it’s that he lost this debate long before it even began … before he even took his position on the “stimulus” … in fact, before he was elected governor six-and-a-half years ago.

He lost because people in South Carolina are dumb – which is right where our mainstream media and elected officials want them (and have kept them for decades).

Wait, did we just say that? Surely we misspoke …

Nope, when it comes to the “stimulus” fight and dozens of other crucial debates over how their money is being spent, most South Carolinians don’t have a clue what’s going on – really.

And even those in the general population who aren’t stupid can be made that way with sufficient mainstream media indoctrination.

In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening in this state right now.

It’s not that the average South Carolinian is really that stupid, it’s that our elected officials and media outlets are dumbing them down like test subjects in one of those Hulu commercials.

“Mmmm … mushy mush.”

Seriously, think about how many times you’ve heard or read the phrase, “Mark Sanford is refusing stimulus money,” over the past few weeks?

Six simple words … one simple takeaway.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, right? It’s easy for people to remember … and after all, didn’t the Swastika-wearers demonstrate that truth was irrelevant as long as the lie was uttered enough times?

Also … and let’s be completely honest about this … Sanford wants to have that lie amplified because the perception of him taking a tougher anti-stimulus position helps him with his 2012 presidential ambitions.

The longer he’s fighting everybody in the political establishment, the longer he stays “Maverick-y,” right?

Craziness, we know.

The truth is Sanford isn’t rejecting “stimulus” money – he and his adversaries are playing “chicken” with a small slice of these funds while the real generational theft goes on uninterrupted.

With or without this pot of money South Carolina’s budget will grow this year, that’s a fact – and just like the systematic gang rape of our national Treasury, it’ll be your kids who are forced to pick up the tab.

The real fight over these funds was fought – and lost – by the good guys months ago.

Now?

We’re just watching two sides battling each other over press clippings … and getting dumber with each article we read.