Dern your hide, Scott Huffmon!
The numbers-crunching Winthrop University prof has been a media darling in recent years. You can hardly open the paper without reading about the Winthrop/ETV poll, which he oversees.
Usually, I agree with Huffmon's insightful points on the latest political opinion poll or arcane sociological data. This time, however, the mild-mannered academic, who bears a striking resemblance to Clark Kent, went too far.
A reporter asked him why Gov. Mark Sanford's name keeps popping up on a short list of possible running mates for John McCain, along with such notables as Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and the Pillsbury Doughboy. A savvy guy like Huffmon could have sloughed off that question, but -- oh, no -- he had to blurt that Palmetto State Republicans were trying to pawn off Sanford on the nation in order to get him out of South Carolina before his term expires.
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Thanks a lot, Scott! You blew our plot.
Now the national press is going to start looking into the intentions of South Carolinians who have been promoting Sanford as the one American who deserves to be a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office.
And until a busybody reporter mentioned it in the same article, the nation had forgotten that Time magazine once described Sanford as one of the three worst governors in America.
Predictably, the media is starting to dredge up aspects of Sanford's past that he would just as soon be forgotten.
Such as the time he carried two pigs into the Statehouse to convey disdain for political pork in the budget. The Guv cut his visit short after one of the pigs pooped on his shoe. Legislators chortled, but their guffaws turned into sputtering rage after they realized the porker had soiled their expensive new carpet, too.
Then there's the embarrassing episode involving Sanford's transfer of public funds to a group whose principal goal is to unseat lawmakers who resisted giving tax credits to families with kids in private school. More recently, his fingerprints reportedly were on a "hit list" of legislators Sanford and his pro-voucher cronies want out of Columbia.
And leave it to newshounds to replay video of Sanford's starring role in a "20/20" episode, "Stupid in America," in which our governor felt obliged to explain that the state's public schools weren't good enough for his children. Think it's hard to recruit new industry? Try it when your governor goes on national TV to bad-mouth public schools or when he's palsy-walsy with out-of-state right-wingers who funnel money to the campaigns of anti-public education candidates.
Perhaps critics also will look at the veto record of the state GOP's titular head. Put it this way: If Sanford were a professional baseball player, his batting average on vetoes sustained would have sent him packing years ago.
Once those snoopy reporters start looking into every nook and cranny, no doubt they will ask about Sanford's record on health care for poor kids or nutrition for the elderly. Ooh, that won't be pretty; he's opposed spending on both.
And they're sure to make an issue of how our governor opposed a law forbidding little children from riding on an ATV and that he vetoed a bill to buy new school buses.
Or how he steadfastly has opposed raising cigarette taxes unless the proceeds go toward tax cuts for rich folk, rather than to help the needy obtain health insurance.
And it would be just like those liberal, ink-stained wretches to report how the governor unsuccessfully claimed his expensive beach house near Charleston as his primary residence so his property taxes would be reduced. Even conservative Republicans found that curious. Weren't the Sanfords living, rent free, in the Governor's Mansion 100 miles away?, they asked.
None of this would come up had Dr. Huffmon just kept his big mouth shut.
He probably has dealt a crippling blow to Sanford's vice presidential hopes.
Thanks to him, South Carolina Republicans will have to issue refunds to everyone who purchased a ticket to the much anticipated "So Long, Sanford" Dinner.