Governor Sanford: Overstimulated Enough
by Byrne Hobart
South Carolina governor Mark Sanford got into the headlines (and some hot water) for trying to turn down Federal stimulus payments earlier this month. Now, he’s famous for a different reason: in a rambling press statement, he admitted to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. Could this be a serious blow to stimulus opponents?
One commentator, Jeff Seemann, thinks so. Seemann claims that Sanford used stimulus money to pay for the affair:
The state of South Carolina is granted 2.8 billion dollars in federal stimulus money.
After originally rejecting the money, the SC Supremes smack Sanford down and force the state to accept the money.
Sanford later announces that he will use several hundred million dollars of the stimulus to pay down the state’s budget deficit.
Sanford’s salary is paid for from the South Carolina budget.
Sanford went to Argentina to see his mistress on the dime of the South Carolina taxpayer.
Which, if true, means that all money spent by anyone paid by the government counts as stimulus money. In other words, Jeff Seemann is also claiming that President Obama spent the stimulus on cigarettes. This, by the way, is not the first time Seemann has had any run-ins with dangerously fuzzy math.
It’s unlikely that this will damage opposition to the stimulus. Although it’s likely to sink Sanford’s political career, the enthusiasm with which people are attacking him somewhat nullifies the effect. Looking at Sanford’s announcement alone, it seemed like a dishonest person had tarred his political movement. Looking at the reaction, as well, it seems more like just another example of politicians being politicians.