Was Mark Sanford one of the first in the new wave of ALEC, Koch inspired, libertarian anti-business Republican governors? When you look at the abject epic fail of NM’s Susana Martinez, who has not bothered to even consider recruiting new business or jobs for the state, it makes you wonder. Once upon a time, Republican governors were all about jobs and business, bring industry into their state and basically improving the quality of life for everyone. Today, Republican governors basically have the worst economic situations in the country.
“...On the other hand, Mark Sanford is so ideologically beholden to the Grover Norquist school of management that he doesn’t get anything done. For example, there was a major pharmaceutical company that was looking at building a plant in Greenville. To attempt to lure the plant, the legislature, in a bipartisan manner, passed something called the “Life Sciences Act” which contained tax incentives and infrastructure to attempt to seal the deal. Sanford then proceeded to veto the bill saying it was “pork”. There you go, something you thought you’d never see-an ANTI-BUSINESS REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR!…”
One of the reasons the far right, libertarian bunch are such a disaster when it comes to economics is the fact that they have based their governing philosophy on a 2009 book by Professors Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, that has now been completely discredited and debunked. Even though the right has tried to distance itself from the study, it had a deep, penetrating impact on how they do things. Debt is evil. Debt is bad. No one bothered even thinking about debt until Christian Reconstructionists began to take control of the nation’s conservatives, back in the early 1980s.
The greatest state governor I’ve ever known or experienced in my lifetime was the late, great Carroll Campbell of South Carolina. He was governor from 1987 to 1995, leaving office with a 72% approval rating. That 72% approval rating, after 8 years in office, including one of the worst hurricanes, ever – Hugo, and a major political scandal that led to the arrest and conviction of 27 state legislators and lobbyists in a vote buying scandal. Today, he would be denigrated as a RINO. Maybe it was because he was an all-around good guy, kind, humble, and considerate, or maybe it was because he put the people of his state first, and did what he could to make the state of South Carolina a better place to live. It could also be because he could not be bought and paid for. He was honest and honorable. He also knew a thing or two business, having been raised in a small business background. He also knew how to recruit big, big, big industry to the state, with something of a coup bringing BMW to South Carolina. Because of that one thing, he set the stage for the state to explode, economically, only to be nearly destroyed by libertarian leaning Mark Sanford and Nikki Halley.
You don’t think much about it, until you start comparing what Campbell did and his predecessors did not do. Campbell knew that, in order to recruit big industry, you give them breaks, rational breaks that do not destroy business around them. You make it easy for them to come into an area, and facilitate the creation of infrastructure around them. In other words, you give them a break. Contrast this to the recruitment and subsequent move of Boeing to Charleston. It was not necessarily a move to enrich the area, but to literally screw the unions. This was not what Campbell was about. When big industry moved into the state it did not destroy South Carolina, rather it made the state better, much better.
“...In 2010, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Mark Sanford one of the worst governors in the country. The Cato Institute named him the best. In 2009, he wrote a (hilarious) Newsweek article about rediscovering Ayn Rand, whose work blew him away in the 1980s. He wanted to refuse stimulus funding — free money, for his state — and ended up refusing some of it. All of this was basically forgotten the second “Appalachian Trail” became a meme (though much of it would’ve only helped him win South Carolina’s 1st), but all of it is so, so much more troubling, in a legislator, than his strange personal demeanor and habits and life….”
Then Mark Sanford stepped in, and put his libertarian philosophy of no government interference in place, doing everything he could to cut spending, and was very hard-line ALEC, doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers. In 2005, in an article in Time Magazine, it was stated that “his thrift had bought the state to state to a stand still.” He was considered one of the worst governors in the country.
“…As a U.S. Representative in the 1990s, Mark Sanford often slept on an office futon instead of renting a Washington apartment. That kind of conspicuous frugality helped him get elected Governor of South Carolina in 2002. But a growing chorus of critics, including leaders of his own G.O.P., fear that his thrift has brought the state’s economy to a standstill. This summer Standard & Poor’s lowered South Carolina’s coveted AAA-bond rating to AA+, citing unemployment of 6.3% and a per capita income ($27,172) stuck in the nation’s bottom fifth. The state had just lost its bid for a $500 million Airbus plant; Sanford was widely accused of making a miserly effort to lure the aerospace giant…”
But, he was beloved by the Cato Institute.
It makes sense, considering that Koch Money was basically what managed to put Sanford back in Congress in 2013. It all makes a heck of a lot of sense. Sanford was the perfect expression of the Koch’s libertarian, anti-tax, anti-spending philosophy in action. Citizens for Ethics in Government, a liberal group, listed the 18 worst governors for 2013. All but 2 were Democrats. Ironically, in 2012, many of the people on this list were considered, by the Cato Institute, as the best in the nation.
“...The six worst are Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Maine Gov. Paul LePage, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The middle six are Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. Finally, those governors worth watching are Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder….”
Now, what do most of these have in common, besides being GOP, far right, and have run their states into the ground? They are all bought and paid for by ALEC, and are Koch whores. How bad are they? Well, Bob McDonnell of Virginia and his wife were indicted the other day, and are looking at up to 27 years in prison for corruption. Under Synder’s watch Detroit has gone under. Rick Scott is an abject disaster. Nikki Haley is a joke. Jan Brewer just did away with child protective services in Arizona, and Susana Martinez is grand-standing over the worst economy in the nation.
There is a startling link between corruption and libertarian-conservative. Just look at Bob McDonnell. Rick Scott is abjectly corrupt. Susana Martinez was named one of the most corrupt governors in the nation. She ranks #43 for job growth. New Mexico is considered the 49th worst run state in the country.
“...In December 2011, The Downs at Albuquerque won a 25-year state lease worth over a billion dollars. In the previous year and a half, donors connected to the Downs contributed $75,000 to Gov. Martinez’s gubernatorial campaign and another $10,000 to Susana PAC. The FBI and other state agencies appear to be investigating…”
What is it about being a good libertarian, Cato, Norquist, Koch governor that leads to corruption, incompetence, and basically looting one’s state? It’s quite obvious that, in order to be a successful governor, one must be moderate. This day and age, the way the extremes of both parties control the primary process, we’re in for more hard times. The bottom line, if you live in a Red State, you’re on your own. If you live somewhere like New Mexico, good luck with that.
Too bad there aren’t more Carroll Campbells in the world today. If you truly need proof that libertarian leaning governors are total disasters, look no farther than the state of Georgia and Nathan Deal.