Once a fortnight, the Wall Street Journal op-ed page makes a point to float Mark Sanford's name out there as a potential VP candidate. Like here, here. here, here and here, and like they did this Saturday in the column “
It may have been a good piece, but I couldn’t read much further than the sentence that read, “Mr. Sanford's main governing problem is the state's constitution.”
As you know, we here at Barbecue & Politics have always shared the Journal's fondness of Sanford, except for the last six years or so, when his governing skills have been in a deep recession.
So, yeah, part of Gervais would love to see
But if you're one of the dozen or so people who "get their Gerv' on" regularly at this blog, chances are you, unlike the WSJ, have acquainted yourself with the actualities of the SC governorship – the selling out to out-of-state interests, etc. – and you know that
The media like to focus on
However, McCain has several close ties to SC political insiders, and the McCampaign has probably already done a little “due diligence” on Sanford as a potential running mate. So they already know about
But for the benefit of those of you just tuning in, here’s the basic timeline:
March 2001: Former congressman Mark Sanford announces bid for governor of South Carolina. Right on! (
News, 3/27/01). Greenville
joins the Air Force Reserves at age 41, ten months into his campaign for governor. He currently leads the GOP gubernatorial candidates in fundraising with over $1.5 million cash-on-hand. (Post & Courier 1/12/02). Sanford
June 2002: Lieutenant Sanford wins GOP primary.
August 2002: Lt. Sanford: "It's not ideal from a campaigning standpoint, but it's what I wanted to do, so you make it work as best you can." (
can’t find class space, Post & Courier, 8/3/02) Sanford
elected governor, 53% to 47%, over incumbent Gov. Jim Hodges. Sanford
December 2002: Eleven month veteran Sanford attempts a daring “elect and eject” maneuver:
"I can't go with them. I'm trying to figure out where we go from here. By virtue of the fact I'm governor(-elect), I've moved into a nondeployable status." says he “may have to” resign his commission. ( Sanford mulls leaving Air Force Reserve, AP 12/28/02) Sanford
January 2003: A constitutional expert at the USC says he is unaware of any provisions that would keep Sanford from serving, and an Air Force spokesperson says Sanford “would have no choice” if activated, and could not transfer to a nondeployable unit.
does an about-face: "The bottom line for me is that I made a commitment and I am going to keep it. Therefore, as to any orders I receive I will do just as anyone else in my unit and follow them … I believe simply that this is consistent with who I am as a person." ( Sanford Sanfordsays he'll serve if Reserve unit activated, Greenville News 1/29/03)
now supports draft, no special favors. To CNN: “I happen to be one of those that really think we ought to reinstate the draft, that, again, everybody ought to be vested in the American system… [I]n Sanford … people had an option to get a medical degree or a law degree. That child wouldn't go, but the poor kid from Allendale who didn't, frankly, have those educational options, they were the one that was sent to Vietnam . And I think we need to get away from that as a country.” Vietnam
April 2003: 14 months after joining, Governor Sanford completes two weeks of elite “knife and fork school” for officers directly commissioned into the Reserve. In the event of a Taliban ambush of the Governor’s Mansion,
now able to “salute them to death.” (Post & Courier, 10/22/04). Sanford
January 2004: Two years after joining,
still not qualified to do his job in the Air Force Reserve, but says he is working on a correspondence course to train as a medical administrator. Also reportedly playing Risk on home computer. (Reserves to promote Sanford to captain, Post & Courier 1/10/04) Sanford
February 2004: About 40% of
’s unit, the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, has been called to active duty so far, according to the AP. (Reserve still a Sanford problem, Post & Courier 2/10/04). Sanford
June 2004: February to October is a long time for nothing to happen, so it seems like I should throw “June” in between. But actually, nothing happened.
October 2004: About 60% of the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron’s 125 members have been activated.
“has never been mobilized, possibly because he hasn't received all of the training he needs to be fully qualified in his Air Force job.” After all, it’s only been 31 months. Major Cynthia Camp, an actual “participating” member of the 315th AES, awarded Bronze Star for her efforts overseas. (Stellar Examples, Post & Courier 10/2/04; Sanford to complete his Air Force training, Post & Courier 10/22/04) Sanford
January 2005: Halfway through his six-year commitment to the reserves,
Sanfordreports for duty in to continue training as a medical evacuation officer. An Air Force spokesman cannot say whether this training would finally make Texas Sanfordqualified for his position, but notes “did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” (Governor reports for Reserve duty, Post & Courier 1/14/05). Sanford
transfers, kicking and screaming, to an Air Force homeland disaster relief agency, as an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer. Sanford : "I've always said if the military comes calling, I'm going. Having transferred, I would say were they to be deployed, I'd obviously call and see if there was a way I could help out, given that's a role I've been training in for three years." To help out further, Sanford plans to “dial down the center” saving his old unit a ton of money on the collect call. (Air Force transfers Sanford to new job, Post & Courier, 3/10/05). Sanford
April 2005: A month after
’s reluctant transfer, one-third (35 members) of the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron called to active duty. ( Sanford 's former Reserve unit called into duty, Post & Courier 4/26/05) Sanford
August 8, 2005: Twenty more members of 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron called to active duty. (Charleston Air Force reservists to be activated, Post & Courier 8/2/05).
August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina hits
Louisianaand . Time to spring into action! Mississippi
September 2nd-3rd, 2005:
Vermont’s Lt. Governor, an Air Force Reserve Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer like Sanford, reports for duty to support recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina, coordinating supply and medical airlifts and conducting site visits in Mississippiand . (Vermonters Make A Difference in Hurricane Aftermath, Brian Dubie 9/18/05) Louisiana
Captain Mark Sanford reports to vacation: “The governor stopped short of asking residents to cancel travel plans for the popular Labor Day weekend. ‘There's no place like home,’ said Sanford, who still plans to travel to his family farm in Beaufort.” (
South Caroliniansurged to conserve as costs soar, Post and Courier 9/2/05)
describes his Air Force job "self-deploying”: “That means, if there is a national emergency, such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster like a hurricane, members of the unit voluntarily report. There are no mandatory call-ups, he said.” (For Sanford , it's all about satisfaction, The State 10/8/06) Sanford
All of which brings me back to the Wall Street Journal article, which I actually did go back and read, while you were reading this post. In the piece,
McCain’s patriotism and service are indisputable. I don’t think picking someone like
But I do think that when he picks a VP candidate, chances are McCain will pick somebody who can take the oath of office without people having to wonder if he means it ... and therefore he probably won't look twice at "South Carolina's Pretender." No matter how badly the Wall Street Journal seems to want him to.