Did Sanford come away from the stimulus battle a winner?

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Well, Chris Good of the Atlantic seems to think so?

Liberals and moderates will probably still think of Sanford as the governor who didn't want to go along with Obama's job-saving plan, and who rejected free money in the face of an economic crisis (though Sanford's point is that the money wasn't free). But to conservatives, he's an anti-big-government-spending, anti-federal-power-grab, anti-Obama-socialist-regime icon, hamstrung by South Carolina's legislature, its court, and the stimulus language that gave legislatures a way to get around his opposition.

It's now over for Sanford. He can rake in his conservative credits and say, honestly, that there was nothing more he realistically could have done to fight on. Liberals already think his objection was a bit ridiculous, so he hasn't lost much there.

By accepting the decision, he remains within the national mainstream—going along with the stimulus program as other GOP governors have, even as he objects to it. If he fought the stimulus to the death, he'd risk looking like a radical.

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