He once called himself a “dead man walking” in politics.
But Congressman Mark Sanford is back to life and back at the forefront of South Carolina’s and the national political scene.
He is willing to take on anything that affects his people, his district, even the president himself.
“If we are going to stand for principles and ideals, we have to be equal opportunity in the way we do so,” explained Sanford. What we cant say is we care about spending when there’s a Democratic President in office, but we don’t care when there’s a Republican President in office.
“Do you believe the President is honest?”
“He has shattered any norm for what is acceptable or unacceptable with regard to Presidential language, Presidential candidate language. and a lot of what he said is hyperbole, innuendo, strange suggestion whether one calls its dishonest or whether they call it wild exaggeration ill leave you to decide. But it’s certainly uncoventional, unsuual, and at times uncomfortable.”
“There’s has to be a sense of decorum. You cant bully, you cant browbeat you cant demean and there’s been a lot of that,” said the Congressman. “A lot of people tell me i like what President trump represents, change in Washington, but i don’t like the way he represents it.”
Many would never think Mark Sanford would ever represent South Carolina again.
A scandal. An affair. Disappearing for four days with his mistress.
Its all something he now refers to just as “2009”.
Something that cost him his job as Governor, cost him his marriage., and something he says changed him forever.
“I think a lot of us take a lot of things in life for granted but when you’ve have had a lot of things shattered blown up by virtue of life, circumstance or your own actions,” said Sanford. “It really makes you smell the roses along the way and savor and appreciate things in a way you never did before.”
“I say to my buddies I love you and they say dude what’s happening to you. I really do appreciate their friendship at levels i never did before because i went through a chapter where i could count on a few hands who my close friends were. there were some dark days.”
In 2013 the light shone down on Sanford, giving him a second chance, and a second stint at a Lowcountry Representative.
Voted back into congress after what he even calls a “longshot race”. A candidate with the same beliefs, but a very different man.
“I thought politics was over for me,” Sanford smiles. “It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion. I told a buddy of mine that i probably have more to offer now as a human being than I ever did in my whole life.”
“We don’t get to push pause rewind play on life, because if we do we would all do things different. We would all have a chapter we would handle differently. But that’s what goes with life its on a continuous play.”
“You are so busy trying to do the best you can that you miss the chance to say hey John Lewis is over there ill sit down beside him and see what’s up today. I wouldn’t have done that before., It wasn’t that i didn’t care about him, its just you are so focused on the objective at hand.”
“The objective at hand for me is debt deficit and government spending. I think we have a financial crisis coming our way that has real implications into the value of the dollar, real implications into future inflation, real implications into our way of life.”
Life which he says could change for everyone in the next decade.
“How bad is it – should they be worried?”
“They should be worried,” said Sanford. “Because if you look around the world historically if you get to 90% debt to GDP bad things happen to their economy and we will be at 90% debt to gdp at the end of that 10 years.”
“We basically have a window of 10 years to get it right or get it wrong with regards to the financial trajectory of our nation. If we don’t get it right in the next 10 years its katie bar the door. That’s my timeframe.”
What worries Sanford more is the fact no one in Washington wants to talk about the problem.
“Debt deficit and government spending are the three monkeys in Washington DC I hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil,” said the Congressman. “People are pretending right now this problem is not going to go away. In the Presidential address there was no mention of the national debt. None. I think there was one mention to 20 trillion dollar debt no conversation, not one sentence about how you do something about this problem.”
“Is it because its not sexy to talk about debt?’
“Two things. One its completely boring. Numbers are for accountants not for me and you who wants to deal with that stuff.”
“Two given the reality of our numbers it means taking things away or not adding things and thats not something people want to do in Washington. Addition works in Washington, subtraction does not and thats a problem for all of us.”
Sanford says he is in favor of stronger borders, possibly even a wall. But once again -he wants to know how or who is going to pay for it.
“it needs to be recognized that a fence a wall doesn’t stop people, it simply slows them. Its that in conjunction with another series of overlays that begin to make it more secure. its important that people don’t overpromise. for every 10 foot wall there’s an 11 foot ladder. But we have to pay for it”
Despite the pundits who ask, Sanford says there are no plans for a presidential run but he does plan to stay in office in the Lowcountry for the next ten years then its time to move on to his farm.. and enjoy life away from Washington.