We knew U.S. congressman Mark Sanford had become quite adept at political chicanery since evolving into a typical career politician, but his latest Washington two-step is truly something to behold.
The third-term congressman – who is facing primary opposition this spring – issued a press release on Tuesday touting a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The money is for improvements to U.S. Route 78, which runs from Line Street in Charleston, S.C. to the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee.
“This project is essential for regional transportation connectivity to move goods and people,” Sanford said in announcing the grant. “In turn, this will attract and develop more commerce, economic growth, and jobs. Indeed, this infrastructure project will connect the people of the Lowcountry to education and employment opportunities.”
Sanford’s release added that these enhancements were “an integral part of South Carolina’s hurricane evacuation route that serves Dorchester, Berkeley, and Charleston counties near the coast.”
We have no opinion as to the merits of this particular project. Infrastructure at all levels of government has become driven almost exclusively by politics, not public need … but we’ll take the congressman at his word when he says this federal grant is going toward something that’s a legitimate priority.
Either way, Sanford is clearly looking to score political points in an election year by taking credit for this funding, which is part of the DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.
Here’s the only problem with that strategy … he’s taking credit for something he voted against.
TIGER grants were funded to the tune of $500 million in the consolidated appropriations act of 2017.
Sanford not only voted against this measure, he took a victory lap touting his opposition. In fact, he dropped the obligatory establishment “Republican” line about how the bill was supported by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
For those of you who haven’t heard the GOP talking points over the past decade, if “Republicans” don’t know what to say about something, they reflexively say “Nancy Pelosi.” And it automatically becomes bad.
“They say in politics at times you are known by the friends you keep,” Sanford said in a statement bragging about his vote against the bill. “So, if friends to the bill in question include people like Nancy Pelosi, it should give a conservative pause.”
As fiscal conservatives, we have no problem with Sanford’s vote last May in opposition to another stopgap Washington boondoggle. Hell, we supported it. The former “Luv Gov” has been wildly inconsistent on that front of late, so it was nice to see him finally taking a stand against the GOP establishment he belatedly embraced during his second incarnation in our nation’s capital.
Our problem? Sanford is now trying to have his cake and eat it too.
Making him “eat it?” His opponent in this spring’s GOP primary election …
“Mark Sanford voted against the funding for Highway 78. Now he wants to take credit for it?” state representative Katie Arrington said. “This is Washington politics at its very worst. When it comes to career politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths and taking credit for things they didn’t do, Congressman Mark Sanford reached a new low today.”
Not only does Arrington represent the area in question, she’s the one challenging Sanford in the June primary for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district seat.
“He bragged on his website about voting against the program he’s now taking credit for,” Arrington added. “Mark Sanford is a typical Washington politician. The reality is, if Mark Sanford had been on the winning side of the vote, there would have been no money for the Highway 78 project. The road is getting fixed in spite of Mark Sanford, not because of him.”
Since he returned to congress in 2013, this news site has chronicled Sanford’s disappointing evolution from citizen leader to establishment hack. This is just another chapter in that unfortunate progression … and another reason why it’s time for voters to retire Sanford to his family plantation. For good.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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