At the beginning of his op-ed piece that ran in The Washington Post and which he did not offer to us (but no, he has no further political ambitions; perish the thought), Gov. Mark Sanford offers hope that he wishes to reconcile "conservatives" to those who wish to conserve the Earth.
That would be a worthwhile goal.
Unfortunately, no. It reads much more like a partisan battle cry meant to muster the libertarian right to capture the high ground on global warming before those "far-left" nutballs like Al Gore actually go out and do something about it.
Truly a missed opportunity to find common ground on a critical issue. Sure, it’s just another one among thousands, but it’s still very sad.
A footnote: There’s an element in this piece that is highly relevant to the core of Mark Sanford as a political, or perhaps I should say apolitical, creature. It’s in this paragraph, explaining why a dyed-in-the-wool "conservative" such as he would care about conserving:
For the past 20 years, I have seen the ever-so-gradual effects of rising sea levels at our farm on the South Carolina coast. I’ve had to watch once-thriving pine trees die in that fragile zone between uplands and salt marshes. I know the climate change debate isn’t over, but I believe human activity is having a measurable effect on the environment.
Nothing remarkable about that to you? There wouldn’t be to me, either, if I hadn’t seen a certain trend over time — just a standard rhetorical device of bringing a personal anecdote to bear on a much-broader issue.
But it’s more than that. It’s not a rhetorical device. It’s actually the center of what motivates Mark Sanford. When he said over and over in the 2002 campaign that he wanted to build a South Carolina in which his four boys could have a good future, many misunderstood that to mean he wanted all S.C. children to have a better future.
But it was really, in a fundamental sense, about his four boys. He has pursued policies ever since that appeal to people who think the very same way — MY kids, MY land, MY money. There is no OUR. Whether the subject is school "choice" or cutting the already-low income tax, it’s about people who see themselves and their families and households as islands, not as an integral part of a community with a shared destiny.
It’s about appealing to voters as consumers, not as citizens. It’s about rights without responsibilities. Oh, but they’ll protest, we’re all about Individual responsibility, just not social responsibility. People who think in such terms are the least responsible of all, and a tremendous threat to representative democracy.