Cui Bono with Sanford

June 29, 2009

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Richard writes of the Mark Sanford business,  ?This whole saga strikes me as exceedingly odd: first, Sanford refuses Obama?s stimulus money, then he?s forced to take the moolah by the state?s Supreme Court, then he disappears?  Am I the only one here who suspects that there might be a whole lot more to this scandal??

I?m not big on conspiracy theories, but any compelling one has to start with the question: Cui bono? Obama had Sanford decisively beaten in the stimulus fight. The president?s inner circle, no doubt, regards an anti-government Southern white guy as a perfect foil for Obama in 2012. So, who really gains from Sanford?s apparent implosion? I?d say two groups. 

First, the Republican establishment in South Carolina and beyond. Notice that Sanford?s enemies in the party were some of the first to jump on the story of his disappearance and some of the loudest voices calling for his resignation when he returned. Defenders of the GOP status quo outside Carolina have benefited as well: Sanford?s successor as chairman of the Republican Governors Association is Haley Barbour, a classic K Street Republican and former RNC chairman.

Second, the kind of people who supported the foreign policy preferred by such noted family men as Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich. Sanford, with his opposition to preemptive war and skepticism about ?regime change,? was the strongest non-neocon candidate thought to be taking a look at the Republican race. He?s a governor rather than a congressman, and he?s harder for the mainstream Right to marginalize than Ron Paul.

So, what did the country clubbers and the laptop bombadiers know and when did they know it? Conspiring minds want to know…

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