I don't know how significant it is, but it went off like a thunder clap in my ear.
For more than two years I have been saying that Gov. Mark Sanford is running for president. I originally thought he would run in 2008, but obviously he didn't. He seems to be falling back to the strategy he used so effectively a decade ago. He was first elected to Congress in 1994, served six years and came home. He spent the next two years biding his time, building his base and planning his campaign. Then in 2002, he ran for governor.
Now he will be out of the Governor's Mansion in 2010, with two years to put together a White House campaign. He is warming up to the challenge by preaching against the Obama stimulus package on cable news shows and anywhere else he can find a soap box. He is warning us like a prophet on the street that the stimulus package will increase the national debt -- something that nobody doubts, but something that Mark Sanford never said a damned word about in the eight years that GWB was running up record deficits. Such sanctimonious hypocrisy can only mean one thing -- Sanford has his eye on higher office and he will say anything to court the GOP base.
Now Post and Courier Associate Editor Frank Wooten is saying it, too. In yesterday's op-ed column he chastised the Guv for paying too much attention to personal ambitions and not enough to running the state: "Why should our Gov. Quixote tilt at new, farflung political windmills with Democrats about to take absolute charge in Washington?...If he wants to advance his 2012 presidential cause, he should spend more time bolstering his gubernatorial credentials and less time pressing this futile conservative case."
There! Frank Wooten actually "said" it out loud! Sanford is running for president. The governor is so blatant that even the P&C can't ignore it any longer. I feel better about my own judgment now. I wish I felt better about the future of South Carolina.