One more thing I meant to say before this runoff was over, and AFTER the Sunday page was done sort of wish I’d written my Sunday column about…
There are few things more ridiculous than Mark Sanford and Jake Knotts arguing over who is NOT a "real Republican."
Folks, neither of them is. Jake certainly isn’t. He is a populist, and will act in accordance with that philosophy, or non-philosophy, pretty much all the time. Once, that would have meant he would have been a Democrat. In recent decades, white populists in the South have flocked to the Republican party.
And Sanford? Come on. Do a poll of the real-life Republicans who serve in the State House — in the aggregate, a pretty good cross-section of the party today — and ask them if they think the governor’s a "real Republican." They’ll laugh in your face. And they probably haven’t been privy to some of the gestures of contempt toward the party that he used to exhibit to me back when we were closer, I suppose because he knew the degree to which I held all parties in contempt. It was sort of a bond between us. Still is, I suppose. Here’s one of those anecdotes, which I wrote about at the New York convention in 2004:
I got a floor pass every night so I could mix with our delegates, but the truth is, the
South Carolina delegation could hardly be said to be "on the floor." They were at the very back, up off the floor, where the risers begin their climb up to the nosebleed section – behind Vermont and Idaho, right next to that other crucial electoral factor, the Virgin Islands.
"Obviously, what they’ve done is put the battleground states up front and personal," says Rep. Harrell from Charleston. He quickly adds, "I want to be clear, it is fine with all of us."
Besides, "I’m closer to the floor than I am during Carolina basketball games." Which is saying something. I’ve seen where he sits.
But on the big night, the night the president speaks, South Carolina was no longer in the cheap seats. In fact, now only New Mexico was between South Carolina and the president as he spoke. It was a choice spot, looking straight into the president’s right ear from about 20 feet away. Any closer — say, where New Mexico was sitting — would be too close. You’d have to crane your neck too much.
That night, Gov. Sanford was standing in the shoulder-to-shoulder aisle, quietly
observing the process of whipping up enthusiasm before the acceptance speech. Suddenly he leaned over to me to say, in his usual casual tone, "I don’t know if you’ve read that book, Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds . . .."
It was a classic Sanford moment.
Folks, I know Republicans. I’ve known Republicans all my life. As my father has told me, the one thing he knew about HIS father’s politics was that he was a Republican. One of his earliest memories is of Granddaddy Warthen arguing with the man down the street about FDR.
My Granddaddy wouldn’t have recognized either of these guys as members of his party.