The Buzz: Sanford shrugs Friedman for Rand

October 25, 2009 

It seems our governor has put down the Thomas Friedman and is now plumbing the depths of his freshman-year reading list with a return to Ayn Rand. Sanford even penned an essay and book review in the current issue of Newsweek about a Rand resurgence.

Rand's books argued that individual ideas, hard work and initiative were the key to prosperity, and derided government, regulations and other obstacles. Rand's books, and particularly the central character of "Atlas Shrugged," John Galt, were a favorite of small-government Ron Paul supporters during last year's presidential primary. Likewise, tea party activists have often referred to Galt and Rand.

President Barack Obama, Sanford wrote, has people thinking about Rand again.

"I think at a fundamental level many people recognize Rand's essential truth - government doesn't know best. Those in power in Washington - or indeed in Columbia, S.C. - often lead themselves to believe that our prosperity depends on their wisdom. It doesn't," Sanford wrote.

Sanford navigates the irony of a career politician praising an anti-government writer pretty well - unlike Rand, Sanford believes limited government is needed to protect rights from evil men - but does not address Rand's dismissal of religion. Sanford has compared himself to King David in recent months, as a biblical metaphor for the redemption Sanford seeks following his June admission of an extramarital affair.

But what would John Galt do?

Sawyer plays good soldier

The Buzz has a healthy appetite for doing the right thing. Even better: Doing the right thing and then bragging about it.

Case in point: Joel Sawyer, Gov. Mark Sanford's former communications director, who jumped ship to start his own communications firm.

In the fall edition of The Ripon Forum, published this week, Sawyer pontificates on the reasons he won't write a political "kiss and tell" about his former boss. Sawyer writes that "... because you have a right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do, and these (tell-all book) authors ought to ask themselves whether their work is serving to elevate politics in this country or diminish it in the eyes of those it is intended to serve."

It seems to Buzz that Sawyer's kiss-and-tell might not be that interesting anyway.

Sawyer and the other staffers say they didn't know about Sanford's affair with a woman from Argentina. Who wants to read a tell-all on Sanford's love for Ayn Rand's books?

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