It seems it's time for a reality check for Gov. Mark Sanford and his chief henchman Joel Sawyer.
While the pundits in the national media have been swelling his head with delusions of grandeur, back home in South Carolina the unemployment rate has climbed to the second highest in the nation. As a state our schools are consistently considered among the worst in the country. The S.C. Department of Transportation doesn't even have enough money to regularly mow the medians and rights-of-way along state highways.
In fact, the only positive thing we can remember that is attributable to Gov. Sanford is a shorter wait at the DMV.
After claiming to refuse federal stimulus money out of principal, Sanford was more than willing to set his cherished beliefs aside if President Barack Obama would let him use the money to pay off state debt, rather than extend unemployment benefits, fund schools or pay police officers and firefighters.
Supposedly the very act of the federal government handing out cash is what offends his conservative principals to the core. We fail to see how accepting it to pay debt, rather than operating expenses is any less offensive to those principals. Using the money to pay another debt, instead of using it to save or create jobs when the economy is sputtering, seems about as intelligent and as effective as invading Iraq to defeat Al Queda turned out to be.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who has the support of 80 mayors across South Carolina, including Clover's Donnie Grice and York's Eddie Lee, as co-signers of a letter he wrote to Sanford asking the governor to reconsider his rejection of the funding, summed it up best for the Charleston Post and Courier last Friday.
"This is not the time for theoretical or philosophical wanderings of the mind," he told the paper.
Sanford's mouthpiece Joel Sawyer shot back that "real folks in South Carolina" support Sanford. So, we're sorry to have to break the news to everyone in York and Clover, but apparently your elected officials are figments of your imaginations, at least according to the governor's propaganda minister.
Sawyer also tried to dismiss a couple of press conferences Riley held about the letter as "made-for-media events." Someone should probably tell captain obvious that press conferences are by definition made-for-media events. As a press secretary he should know at least that much.
We wonder exactly who the "real folks" in South Carolina are. Are they the ones who have lost jobs or can't find work? Or the ones stuck in the Corridor of Shame? Or the ones without health insurance? Or the ones who patrol our streets, put out our fires and drive our ambulances? Or are they the ones like the governor himself, who are trying to sell multi-million dollar Sulivan's Island homes and giving interviews on their private yachts?
We are appalled at the governor's callous disregard for everyone in this state, and even more appalled by Sawyer's verbal diarrhea. It would be nice if people could have honest intellectual disagreements without resorting to questioning their opponents' authenticity or patriotism, just look how it turned out for the McCain/Palin team last November. It seems Palin's "real Americans" were greatly outnumbered by the fake ones.
It looks to us like the fake folks in South Carolina probably outnumber the "real" ones Sawyer mentioned.
Sanford still has until April 3 to reconsider and request stimulus money, if he doesn't we hope the General Assembly will go over his head and request the funds themselves, as the legislation allows them to do.
The editorial opinion of the Enquirer-Herald
is reached by a consensus of a board consisting of Community Publications Director Patricia Larson and Editor Jonathan Allen.