Maybe y’all can explain this to me, since I have no morning editorial board meeting at which I would ask Cindi and Warren to answer this question: “In what sense is this alleged ‘deal’ Mark Sanford is offering on the stimulus a compromise?”
Let’s see — he doesn’t want the $700 million spent to “grow government,” which is the phrase used on his home planet for what English speakers call “restoring some of the cuts to essential services.” He wants to devote the money instead to “paying down debt,” which means many things in Sanfordese, including paying “debt” that won’t even be incurred for a generation — anything, absolutely anything, other than spending the money on immediate needs.
And the Obama administration said no, then when he absurdly asked the same question again (the governor is not bothered by repeating himself; he doesn’t get bored), it said hell no with added language to the effect of, “what part of ‘stimulus’ don’t you understand?”
So now he’s offering a “deal” whereby the Legislature spends that money, but sets aside an equal amount from other sources — which means money that we taxpayers paid for state services we expect — to “pay down debt.” So he gets, let’s see, everything that he wants, and the state doesn’t get anything it needs from that part of the stimulus.
Oh, and by they way, you have to go ahead and make every cut in spending that HE wants, and you can take your deliberative process and stuff it down the oubliette.
That’s my understanding, anyway.
By the way, for those of you who don’t understand the governor’s thinking on all this, let me explain it to you. You’ve no doubt heard that the governor’s ideological ally Grover Norquist wants to shrink government “to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” (Oh, and if you follow that link and think, “Mother Jones! What do expect from a left-wing rag?”, allow me to explain that when Grover came to visit with our editorial board a few years back, he brought at copy of that article with him to make sure we’d seen it. He’s proud of what they wrote about him.)
The recent drastic cuts to state agencies are just catnip to the governor and Grover and their ilk. Once you get government down to where services suffer, they can point to it and say, “See how ineffective government is! What did I tell you?” That gives support to their argument that we “waste” even less money on gummint, thereby making it even less effective… and pretty soon, it’s drowning time.
Our governor isn’t about to let some meddling Obama administration drain the tub right when state government is going down for the third time. This is the moment he’s been waiting for.