THE WANDERING EYE ‌ Strategery 

If he's not running for vice-president, then what's he doing?

Last week, I watched Gov. Mark Sanford acknowledge that his name is sort-of-but-not-really in play as a possible vice presidential candidate for whoever is unfortunate enough to capture the Republican party's nomination.

Sanford appeared on South Carolina Educational Television's The Big Picture last Thursday and responded to a question about being tapped by a presidential candidate for the number two slot on a ticket.

"If somebody called, it's like a bolt of lightning coming in your direction ... Of course, you'd take the call," said Sanford.

Sanford's name has been bandied about for months as the national GOP has been taking hits for not being conservative enough and losing the midterm elections last November.

Well, Sanford covers that base, as he is so conservative he's really a Libertarian.

That South Carolina is featured prominently in the early primaries hasn't hurt a possible candidacy either, and state Republicans have referred to The Palmetto State as "the gateway to the White House" since the Reagan years.

Following his initial comments, Sanford was quick to revert to his "aw shucks" demeanor by remarking, "I don't believe there's a chance in the world it will happen."

Sure you don't, Mark. The governor of a small, rural, and poor Southern state playing a part on the national political stage? That'll never happen.

Sanford has also been making political moves lately that would indicate he's thinking about life beyond the Governor's Mansion.

There was news last week about two Sanford appointments to state supervisory boards.

The big one was the return of The Wandering Eye's favorite fascist, former state Attorney General Charlie Condon.

Longtime readers of this column know I've had to work a little harder over the last few years since my old reliables — Condon, that knuckle-dragging John Graham Altman III, and that mouth-breather Sandi Engleman — have left public office.

So, sista caught a break when Sanford nominated Condon to the State Ports Authority board, causing leaders of the African-American and organized labor communities to erupt in outrage. Condon, a conservative favorite, prosecuted drug-addicted pregnant (mostly black) women for harming their unborn babies and, in 2000, union workers following a riot at an SPA terminal.

Regarding the protests over his nomination, he told The Post and Courier, "I consider it ancient history. I did what I thought was right."

Uh, actually Charlie, you did what was politically expedient as you were running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination against who? That's right, your friend and Sullivan's Island neighbor Mark Sanford!

He went on with, "Anyone would have to recognize the union members are an integral part of the port, a valuable part of the team. I certainly recognize their importance to the port of Charleston and to the state of South Carolina."

The second appointment involved Sanford's third nominee, real estate developer Bo Aughtry of Greenville, for the chairman of the Department of Health and Environmental Control board.

Following the departure of Elizabeth Hagood late last year as chair, Sanford has failed to get his picks approved by the S.C. Senate.

The first was Rock Hill developer Ralph Norman, who was seen as hostile to environmental issues and the second was Charleston real estate lawyer Edwin Cooper, who was viewed, bizarrely, as way too green to be palatable.

The tanking of Cooper's nomination was especially ironic given that his family developed Spring Valley outside of Columbia and that he is a member of Ducks Unlimited (one of the biggest white guy Republican groups around).

The S.C. Manufacturers Alliance lobbied hard against Cooper because of his ties to the S.C. Coastal Conservation League.

So, I've found Sanford's moves lately to be most curious, but not unremarkable for someone who's been seen as a rising star by the brass back in Washington.

Why else would Sanford enter the "culture wars" or cave into business interests so cravenly?


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