SANFORD’S SENSE OF TIMING…. Solidifying his role as the nation’s most radical and irresponsible governor, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford (R) followed through on his grandstanding yesterday.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Wednesday became the first governor to reject some of his state’s share of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus money, spurning $700 million that he said would harm his state’s residents in the long run.

Sanford, a Republican who served in Congress in the 1990s, made his announcement at three sites across South Carolina in a daylong flight tour that fed speculation that he’s eyeing a 2012 presidential run.

Nice timing, gov.

South Carolina has the fastest growing unemployment rate in the country, and economists do not see an end to the cycle of job losses spreading across the state.

Between January 2008 and January 2009, the state’s unemployment rate increased 4.7 percentage points, which was the largest jobless rate increase in the country, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yes, it’s the perfect time to turn down federal stimulus aid.

Sanford’s ridiculous grandstanding will not, however, penalize families in South Carolina. State legislators have already indicated that they intend to accept the federal funds despite the governor’s objections. South Carolina’s General Assembly has a Republican majority, but it has no use for Sanford’s nonsense.

As for the takeaway for the governor, this is probably the ideal resolution — he gets to tell 2012 presidential primary voters about his courageous opposition to economic growth, without having to worry about the real-life consequences of his actions.

Pressed on whether his position was influenced by his presidential ambitions, Sanford said, “I’ve got a 15-year pattern of doing exactly this kind of thing.”

Oddly enough, he meant that as a defense.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.