Did y’all watch the debate? I did not, in real time, and when I started trying to a little after 8, I could not find any video to connect to. I mean, what century is this anyway?
This morning, I’ve started watching the CSPAN video. Before typing this, all I had watched was the opening question, which immediately put Mark Sanford in a bad spot. He and Elizabeth Colbert Busch were asked, “What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment, and why?”
Ms. Busch went first, and talked about some accomplishments she was proud of from her business career. But the whole time she was talking, I was wondering, what on Earth will Mark Sanford have to boast of?
“Professional accomplishment” implies “something you’ve done outside of politics,” unless you choose to present yourself as a professional politician. I’m vaguely aware that Sanford did something in the private sector, quite briefly, before running for office for the first time two decades ago. He’s certainly not known for anything he did in that distant past. What obscure accomplishment would he extract from his youth to impress us with?
Well, he didn’t even try. He talked politics instead — basically acknowledging that that is his profession. Of course, he’s on extremely shaky ground there, since he’s never accomplished any major goals that he has set out in politics. So he proceeded to cite trying to hold back government spending, year after year, as an accomplishment. He even threw in his most embarrassing policy moment, when he was the only governor in the nation trying to prevent his state from getting stimulus money that South Carolinians would be on the hook for every bit as much as other Americans. The responsible Republican leaders of our state saw to it that he failed in that effort, as in so many of his extreme positions. Yet he cited his having tried as part of his body of professional “accomplishment.”
The closest he came to an accomplishment was claiming credit for having been a member of Congress when the leadership (of which formed no part) and the White House worked together to balance the budget. So basically, he was in town when something good happened.
I can’t really critique Ms. Busch’s answer to that question, because it was all from her experience in the private sector.
If I were with the Sanford campaign, I’d be griping that that lead-off question was grossly unfair to my guy, as there was just no good way for him, being Mark Sanford, to answer it.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten, and I don’t know how much more of it I’ll have time to watch today, although I’m going to listen to some of it at least. I’ll jump back in here with thoughts as they occur to me.
But in the meantime, among those of you who saw it, what did you think?