Governor Mark Sanford in The American Conservative, March 2009 (emphasis mine):
He also deviates from the Republican line on foreign policy. In Congress, he opposed Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo. And he was one of only two Republicans to vote against the 1998 resolution to make regime change in Iraq the official policy of the United States. He says that it was a “protest vote” in which he tried to reassert the legislature’s war-declaring powers. When asked about the invasion of Iraq, he extends his critique beyond the constitutional niceties. “I don’t believe in preemptive war,” he says flatly. “For us to hold the moral high ground in the world, our default position must be defensive.”
Governor Mark Sanford, yesterday:
The day after North Korea decided to defy the world and test long-range ballistic missiles, Gov. Mark Sanford said the United States should have taken action to stop the rogue regime.
Speaking on FOX News Sunday, Sanford agreed with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s plan to “take whatever preemptive actions are necessary,” including the use of electromagnetic pulse capabilities to destroy the missile before it left the launch pad.
Is there something I’m missing here?
UPDATE: In comments, people are chiding me for expecting more from a career politician. Fair enough, but I remain astonished by Sanford’s incredibly inept media management. Little more than a month ago, he unequivocally condemned preemptive war in the pages of a major conservative publication. Now he turns around and informs us he would have “take[n] whatever preemptive actions are necessary” to stop the North Korean launch. What has changed since March? It’s not as if North Korea’s ballistic capabilities were a secret when he sat down with The American Conservative. He does realize that taking out a North Korean launch site is the very definition of a preemptive strike, right?
Perhaps Sanford is simply playing to different audiences, but even then, I’m amazed by how badly he’s doing it. It’s not as if readers of The American Conservative don’t have access to Google, The Politico, or Fox News, not to mention the fact that it’s been all of three weeks since Sanford was being praised by conservatives for his principled stand against preemptive warfare. If this is a preview of Sanford’s 2012 candidacy, count me out – I prefer my lying politicians to at least be competent.