A lot of y’all think I’m way harsh on our gov. Well, the guy deserves to have someone stick up for him on this one. Barack Obama’s campaign has done him a rather grave, although ridiculous, injustice.
As Sanford says, the attempt to tie him to Obama’s old friend Bill Ayers (that’s him above with Bernardine Dohrn in 1980, and below in 1981) is "bizarre." From the story in the Greenville News:
Obama’s campaign responded in recent days, noting in a fact-check release to reporters this week that Ayers "is currently a distinguished scholar at the University of South Carolina where Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, who supported Sen. McCain’s campaign as far back as the 2000 primaries, serves as an ex-officio member of the board of trustees. By Gov. Palin’s standards, that means Gov. Sanford shares Ayers’ views."
In an interview with Fox News, Bill Burton, Obama’s press secretary, said Sanford "employs" Ayers.
"He’s the governor of the state and he’s in charge of the board, so that means he employs Bill Ayers," Burton said, adding that, "We don’t think that Mark Sanford or John McCain share the views or condone what Bill Ayers did in the 1960s, which Barack Obama said were despicable and horrible."
Gosh, where do we start?
- First, if supporting John McCain is a crime, then Mark Sanford is as innocent as a lamb. Did he, years ago (as, once upon a time, Obama associated with Ayers)? Yes. But he basically gave the McCain campaign the big, fat finger this year. Sanford was the only leading Republican in the state (and in his case, one uses the term "Republican" loosely, which is one thing I’ve always liked about the guy, but even that can wear thin) NOT to take a stand as to who should win the primary in S.C. As one McCain supporter complained to me, Sanford never so much as invited McCain to drop by for a cup off coffee during the primary campaign; his disdain was breathtaking. His post-primary "endorsement" came through a spokesman, in answer to a question.
- Next, and this is the most telling point, one must have a staggering ignorance of South Carolina to hold the governor of the state responsible for ANYTHING that happens at a public college or university. Should he have such say? Absolutely. Sanford thinks so, and we’ve thought so for a lot longer. But the higher ed institutions continue to be autonomous fiefdoms answering to boards of trustees appointed by the Legislature — one of the powers that lawmakers guard most jealously. USC and its fellows are famously, notoriously independent of executive control, which is one reason why we lag so far behind such states as NORTH Carolina, which has a board of regents. You say the gov is an ex-officio member of the trustee board? Yeah, with the emphasis on the EX, in the original Latin meaning. He’s also an honorary member of my Rotary Club, but I can’t remember seeing him at any meetings.
So I’ve defended Sanford, who in this case was most unjustly accused. But what the silly Obama allegation DOES do, however, is raise this very good question: What on Earth is USC doing paying stipends to an unrepentant terrorist?