News+Opinion » Chris Haire

Mark Sanford hates your children

Textbook Example

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Whitney Houston was right. Our children are the future. Unfortunately, the former pop superstar failed to tell us how the coming days were going to look. At least not in words.

But her increasingly haggard appearance, her increasingly unpredictable behavior, her increasingly desperate need to discuss the status of her bowel movements on national TV, that was how Houston delivered the prophetic news about the days to come.

And the truth is this: the future is so dismal that each one of us will have to start smoking crack in order to escape the miserableness of our lives. That is, if Gov. Mark Sanford has any say in the matter.

As you know, South Carolina is in a pretty bad spot right now. So, it's no surprise to hear that the state budget is being slashed. That's just the way it is. But this time Sanford has gone too far in his effort to save money.

No longer content to torture the unemployed during the Christmas season with promises to withhold their welfare checks, Sanford has set his eyes on our children. And let me tell you, those "stranger danger" classes your child sat through will be of little use when Gov. Grinch is on the prowl. His heart is an empty hole. His brain is full of spiders. And he's got garlic in his soul.

In the deepest, darkest recesses of the governor's mansion, in the room perhaps where the cryogenically frozen body of Lee Atwater is stored until it's time for him to be thawed out, Sanford has concocted a dastardly plan that will surely spell doom for school kids across the Palmetto State and ensure that the future of South Carolina is a foul one. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself: Sanford wants to put the kibosh on new textbook purchases.

I know. I know. You're shocked. You're horrified. But there's a bright side to all of this: the move will save the state $24 million.

On second thought, maybe Sanford ain't so dastardly after all. He's actually kind of clever.

Truth be told, those textbooks your kids have in their backpacks right now — the ones with the never-broken spine — they don't use them. And neither did you. Heck, I'd be willing to bet that the only people who use textbooks in the public education system are the teachers themselves. If they didn't, how would they know the answers?

You know, maybe the guv is on to something. If textbooks, a previously thought of necessity, aren't really all that necessary, then what else does the state spend money on that isn't necessary either? If we're trimming the budget because it's a lean year, we might as well trim all the fat. And what better place than the Statehouse itself?

For starters, let's begin with the desks in the House and Senate chambers. Given that they're only used by our elected officials somewhere around 50 days a year, all of those desks and chairs can be sold off. It doesn't matter if it's on eBay or at a yard sale on the Statehouse steps. They aren't in use for the majority of the year, so they're not needed. And besides, more than a few of our legislators could benefit from being on their feet all day. It's not like we have room in the budget to pay for Bob and Jillian from The Biggest Loser to come to Columbia.

Of course, we won't just stop with Glenn McConnell, Bobby Harrell, and the rest of the sedentary bunch. Nope. Sanford himself will have to tighten his own personal budget belt. And I say let's start by striking pen and pencil purchases out of the budget. Judging by his actions, the governor doesn't need them. All he needs is a stamp that reads "VETO." He'll either use it or he won't. And frankly, it doesn't matter. His vetoes are overridden as often as Simon Cowell destroys dreams.

And there's no need to stop there with the spendthriftiness. I say we look at staff cuts in the Sanford administration. How about we start by giving the governor's speech writers the ol' heave-ho. Sanford doesn't need them. He could easily begin recycling speeches from previous governors. In fact, anything before the Civil Rights Act would be just fine. I'm willing to bet that no one would notice.

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