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Principle Over Personality

At Tertium Quids last Friday, Norm Leahy links to a video of an outstanding speech by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R). Norm comments that Gov. Sanford:

“makes a lot of points here that could be, and should be, made in Virginia -- not the least of which is that principles count more than personalities. If only he'd run for president....”

The video is well-worth the time it takes to watch it. After watching the video, you are likely to agree with Norm’s assessment. Sanford’s small government principles seem to have confused Josh Goodman, however. Blogging at “Ballot Box,” Goodman writes:

“the Democrats I spoke with started to sound like a broken record. They all criticized Governor Mark Sanford. And they all called him the same thing: a libertarian.

“It's not just Democrats, either. Sanford is a member of the Republican Party, but you'd hardly know from talking to a lot of people in South Carolina. Newspaper columnists and political scientists often describe him as a libertarian.

“To a point, all of these people are simply trying to describe Sanford's philosophy. I also get the sense, though, that Sanford's critics use "libertarian" as a pejorative term.”

Here is what Goodman is trying to figure out:

“What I can't decide is whether this line of attack is effective. The issue here is bigger than just the governor of South Carolina. Democrats have struggled to find an unflattering one-word description of Republicans. Could "libertarian" do the trick? . . . Republicans have succeeded in branding "liberal" as a derogatory term, while Democrats have been unable to give "conservative" negative connotations. As a result, Democrats end up spending a lot of time explaining why being a liberal isn't a bad thing or (more often) explaining why they're not actually liberals.”

Goodman ends up writing:

“Sanford, for one, doesn't seem too worried about the term. "I'm an unabashed conservative," he told me, "and sometimes accused of being a libertarian, to which I say, 'I'm guilty, I love liberty.'”

Sure explains why Norm wrote, “If only he’d run for president . . . .”

For more on why those who believe in liberty and limited government are so enthusiastic about Gov. Sanford, visit the National Taxpayers Union website and use their search facility.

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