Mark Sanford was an ahead-of-the-curve U.S. Congressman from 1995-2001 – consistently voting to protect American freedoms and free markets. In fact his record on both of those fronts was damn near unimpeachable during his time in Washington, D.C.

What was impeachable (almost literally)? Sanford’s eight years as governor of South Carolina, during which he vacillated from crusading reformer to opportunistic hypocrite … experiencing frequent bouts of ‘status quo-itis” along the way.

Anyway, back in a representative position (as opposed to an executive one), Sanford appears to have largely rediscovered his bearings – once again emerging as a credible advocate for liberty, limited government and equality of economic opportunity.

And according to the ex-“Love Gov,” he’s got some company …

“You know, I’ve been gone from Congress for 13 years. I left here 13 years ago and just came back in June. I would say that there’s a bigger libertarian footprint than there was when I left. There’s a bigger liberty caucus, if you want to call it that,” Sanford told Rare Radio’s Kurt Wallace.  “I was just on the floor a few moments ago with Tom Massie of Kentucky and Justin Amash. The people like that – before, it was Ron Paul, certainly, and he stood out – but there wasn’t as big a footprint. There’s a much bigger liberty footprint than there was – still not enough to push us over the line on some of these spending and tax debates – but I think a growing influence relative to what I saw when I left here 13 years ago.”

Sanford is correct.

There is a growing nucleus of lawmakers who are committed to common sense fiscal policy, a reduced and reined in government and the preservation of our fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed liberties.

Several of these lawmakers – most notably U.S. Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Jeff Duncan – are members of the South Carolina legislative delegation.

The only problem? There are still far more establishment “Republicans” than libertarian-leaning fiscal conservatives – and they are habitually aligning with U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies on the critical fiscal issues of the day.

Until that changes, nothing in this country will change … except the size of the government’s debt, anyway.