South Carolina AG Requests Ethics Investigation Into Sanford’s Travel

If you are going to hike the Appalachian Trail it is safer to actually hike than to travel to Argentina at tax payers’ expense. The State reports that the South Carolina Attorney General has requested ethics investigations against Governor Mark Sanford.The state Senate President Pro Tem has also stated that Sanford’s actions should be investigated:

McMaster said Section 89.27 of the general budget proviso says that violations of the proviso governing the use of state aircraft “is prima facie evidence of a violation of (the State Ethics Act) … and shall subject a state official to the applicable ethics procedure relating to them as provided by law.”

Earlier today, state Senate President pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, said the Ethics Commission or S.C. House should investigate Sanford’s activities.

Sen. David Thomas, R-Greenville, said Monday that Sanford had violated state law by flying business class on overseas trips.

McConnell essentially warned Thomas’s Senate subcommittee to back off its investigation, saying its findings could taint other investigations.

Rick Santorum is Dangerous–Even to Republicans

Rick Santorum has been taking trips to Iowa which is assumed to be in preparation for running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Even former Bush and McCain strategist Mark McKinnon finds this to be a scary prospect.He believes Santorum represents everything that is bad about the Republican party, plus there are some strange questions about his character:

Santorum is a strong neoconservative who represented Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives and the Senate over a 16-year period and rose to the No. 3 leadership position among Republicans.

Santorum once grouped gay sex with incest, polygamy, and bestiality, and he believes consenting adults have no constitutional right to privacy when it comes to sexual behavior. He is a strong supporter of teaching intelligent design. He is anti-gay, anti-immigrant—supporting the most extreme anti-immigrant legislative proposals though he is the son of an Italian immigrant father—antiabortion, and anti-anything that smacks of progressive thinking, centrism, bipartisanship, or moderation in the Republican Party.

Santorum was one of only two senators who voted against Robert Gates to be secretary of Defense because Gates advocated talking to Iran and Syria, which Santorum said would be talking to “radical Islam” and would be a grievous error.

Santorum represents, in my view, much of what is wrong the in the Republican Party. While I disagree with him on some fundamental issues, I am much more concerned with his lack of character.

Here’s why.

Early in 2008, Santorum claimed a John McCain presidency would be “very, very dangerous for Republicans.” OK, he was entitled to support the candidate of his choice, but launching vicious frontal attacks on McCain that continued well after he received the nomination did nothing but hurt the GOP and its chances.

McKinnon had some additional examples and then described the really weird one:

I’m a pretty tolerant guy, but beyond his ideology, some of Santorum’s behavior is just a little bizarre. For example, Santorum has six children. In 1996, he had son born prematurely who lived for only two hours. He and wife brought the child home and introduced the dead infant to the rest of their children as “your brother Gabriel” and slept with the body overnight.

Effects of Ballot Position on Election Results

Larry Sabato looked at research on the effect of ballot position on election results. Most of the findings were predictable. Being first helped more the less voters were likely to know the candidates or have some other reason to make a choice. Position mattered less in high profile races such as president, governor, or senator as voters were more likely to know something about the candidates. Position also mattered less in partisan elections as many vote based upon party. Nonpartisan elections and primaries within a party did not allow people to vote along party lines making position matter more. Having a well-known incumbent on the ballot reduced the effect of position.

There was one item which might be a surprise. While being first gave the largest advantage, the next greatest advantage was being last. Voters who did not know who who to vote for tended to pay the most attention to the first and last names on the list.

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National Enquirer States Secret DNA Testing Confirms Edwards Paternity

Edwards Hunter Paternity

I wonder if John Edwards would have been smarter to have admitted everything once his affair was Rielle Hunter was confirmed. Instead he has left himself open to a steady stream of news items as new information comes out. If he had admitted to paternity of their daughter this would be a much smaller story today but instead every new information suggesting this becomes news. The latest is that The National Enquirer claims that DNA testing done in secret confirmed that he is the father. I hate to use The National Enquirer as a sole source but they have been the ones who broke the story and their claims have so far been verified.

Update: WRAL News says that their sources say Edwards plans to admit paternity.

Newt Gingrich Flip Flops on End of Life Care

While on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Newt Gingrich defended Sarah Palin’s absurd claim that the  health reform bill will bring about “death panels.” This claim is based upon provisions to have Medicare pay for voluntary counseling regarding end of life options, and has nothing to do with forcing any options on anybody. Matt Taibbi noted that Newt Gingrich supported similar measures in this article from July.