Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mark Sanford's Fringe

The problems for the Republican Party and the conservative movement keep getting deeper as more people come to view "mainstream Republicans" as "wackos."

That problem was on display yesterday as Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley of Washington characterized opposition to the stimulus among Republican governors as a "fringe" phenomena.
"All of us are committed to working with President Obama to pull our nation's economy out of the ditch that George W. Bush ran it into," O'Malley said. "If some of the fringe governors don't want to do that, they need to step aside and not stand in the way of the nation's interests."
This is where it's interesting. The governors most critical of the stimulus package--Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina--are three of the most prominent Republican governors not named Schwarzennegger. So, it's not like the governors are fringe people.

But their wholesale rejection of the stimulus does put the governors in the same league as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, ("depression and revolution") Glenn Beck, ("civil war") Alan Keyes, and other fringe figures. It's not just liberals who are dismissing them, Arnold Schwarzennegger himself mocks the "neo-nullification" governors by telling them to send money to California.

Sanford recognizes the imputation and makes a fringe kind of comment in response:
"I think in this instance I would humbly suggest that the real fringe are those that are supporting the stimulus," Sanford said. "It is not at all in keeping with the principles that made this country great, not at all in keeping with economic reality, not in keeping with a stable dollar, and not in keeping with the sentiments of most of this country."
In fact, Sanford's delusional. The stimulus package represents the kind of Keynesian counter-cyclical economic thinking that's been government orthodoxy in both Republican and Democratic administrations since the New Deal. Likewise, more than 50% of the public supports the stimulus package.

Of course, people on the fringe right don't have a lot of contact with the rest of the country.

That's part of life on the fringe.

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