Finally: First ad of 2012 presidential campaign now airing

Dave Weigel calls this a national ad, which is false in the technical sense — it’s only airing in South Carolina — but true in the larger one. Sanford’s barred from running again by term limits and the state’s Republican establishment has been careful to distance itself from him on the stimulus, so there’s only one reason he’d go to the trouble of defending himself this way. In fact, I suspect it’s precisely because there’s no political cost to him in doing so that explains why no other GOP governor beat him to it. A YouTube communique from Sarahcuda detailing why she wants to turn down some of the money in the name of fiscal responsibility would be an out-of-body experience for the conservative base but rich attack ad material for whichever Democrat challenges her next year. For the moment, Sanford has the field to himself. Smart guy to take advantage.

Worth noting: He was the very first Republican named yesterday by Rush when Cavuto asked him who currently best embodies Reaganism. Stay tuned.