Wednesday, December 27, 2006

RIP President Ford

Wow, what a holiday news cycle. First, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown passes, then President Gerald Ford. Say what you want to about President Ford, but he had the courage to do things in office that probably led to his defeat for a full term, such as the pardon of President Nixon and the Helsinki Accords, which opened the Soviet Union to western ideas.

Further, President Ford's administration also created the springboard for several of today's politicians, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and first Bush term Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neil.

President Ford was a man of conviction, even when that conviction cost him political support. President Ford was a decent man, and now in a time when decent people in politics seems so unique, that is remarkable.

Rest in Peace, President Ford. I hope ole Bo was there to welcome you with open arms at the Pearly Gates, as one Michigan man to another.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I say "Merry Christmas" to all of you who read this blog. I hope you have a great celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I say so without apology. I know there are those politically correct souls who say things like, "have a happy holiday," but I say "Merry Christmas!" loudly and proudly.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be back to my old self ripping those in politics and telling it like it is. But, for today. I just say, "Merry Christmas!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Newberry votes to keep increases in place

Newberry County Council decided to say "bah humbug" to Newberry County residents who are facing steep tax increases due to reassessments that some say are out of line with reality. Despite the fact that people had to stand outside of the Newberry Opera House at the meeting to protest the tax increase, the big government types running Newberry County pressed forward.

They did offer to consider "payment plans" for residents. Too bad those big government types could not think of ways to keep government to its essentials and less costly. What arrogance. Just think of it. Those big government folks are telling retirees, give up a going out to eat or paying for cable tv or paying the phone bill and make an installment payment so we can pay for some consultant or for someone's bloated salary. Democrats used to make political hay out of the elderly having to choose between spending money on medicine or food. Now, it appears it could be that some elderly will be left to choose between medicine and keeping their homes. It is an outrage.

Yet another example of how one of the most conservative states in the union has some of the biggest growing local governments. We the people have to start paying attention to our local governments and hold them accountable. They have become money pits in which more is never enough. In this season of the year, it is the big government types, like those in Newberry County, who think that the people are Santa Claus, with one big exception. Whatever Santa brings them, those big government types keep saying they need and deserve more. And, if you don't pay up, they will take your home. Those on the street call such a shakedown. Shoot, those Newberry County big government types did not offer the people any milk and cookies.

Pray for ole Russell

My buddy Russell, one of the best friends I have ever had, is fighting cancer at the age of 35. He has one helluva fight ahead of him, and it will be against the odds. Please keep him in your prayers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The mess with the growth of local governments

This week, in Saluda and Newberry counties, gyms were packed with residents fed up with reassessments that in some cases tripled their property taxes. While there is a state law that prevents so called "windfalls" from reassessment, there are still many property owners, especially around Lake Murray who are being hit with big tax increases.

Saluda County, according to an article in The State, is moving to not use the new assessment values for this years tax bills. The article in The State contends that could lead tax bills in Saluda County to not be issued until the Spring of 2007.

Some Newberry residents are considering boycotting the current tax bills and paying taxes at last years level.

The anger and the quandary the county governments of Saluda and Newberry are in, to me, are a result of something that has been going on all over the state. While efforts are made to cut federal and state taxes, local governments have continued to grow and grow. So called conservatives are elected to office, only to turn into tax and spenders once in office.

If you doubt that, take a look at Lexington County. This past year, Lexington County council passed a tax increase. Now, with that "not enough," Lexington County is looking to add a $25 per automobile fee and Sheriff Jim Metts is looking for a tax increase to increase his department's budget. Lexington County Council is dominated by Republicans. Lexington is perhaps the most Republican county in the state. Sheriff Metts is a Republican. Yet, those conservative Republicans are advocating for bigger and more expensive government.

How did it happen. I believe there are several factors at work. First, county governments have gotten away from their primary mission: provide essential services such as public safety, basic infrastructure, proper record keeping and the like. Things that are labeled under "quality of life" are being funded. Those things are museums, arts council funding, high priced consultants for this and that and so forth.

Second, the county governments are off track because of the apparent heavy reliance of local elected officials upon professional county employees, such as managers and directors. Those so called professional county employees are products of government. They are trained to get more money for their area of responsibility. There is simply do degree program in things like public administration out there that trains professional government employees to do more with less, or realize that their jobs and area is not essential and should be paid for by the taxpayers. More and more county council members in the Midlands and around the state just do not want to do their homework, and let the bureaucrats do it for them. No bureaucrat is going to stand up and say, "this program is not essential." It is just is not going to happen.

The third thing at work allows for the second thing to happen. Too many voters just don't pay attention to local government. Of course, those with the big tax bills in Newberry and Saluda now are, but most do not. Most people can name the President, a like number could name their US Senators or the Governor, but ask them who their county council member is, and the numbers of those who know plummets. The people and the media just don't pay proper attention to county and other local governments, and that has allowed the bureaucrats a safe haven to create big government at the local level in one of the most conservative states in the union.

Hopefully, the protests in Newberry and Saluda will be start of a change. Hopefully the angers those residents feel now will go on until the next election. Hopefully when those folks will vote for candidates who will bring limited and less expensive local and county government, not for someone whose daddy they knew or whose cousin they fish with.

If not, then the irony of the one of the most conservative states in the union having some of the fastest growing local governments will continue.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jakie to tackle gang problem

Lexington county Senator Jakie Knotts will hold a press conference today about the legislation he is offering to fight gangs in the Midlands and the rest of South Carolina. According to the WIS TV, the legislation will allow for the seizure of property used in gang related activities and for the protection of gang members who want out.

Until the legislation is filed, and the details can be looked over, no one can truly know how powerful the measures will be. But, hooray to Jakie Knotts for actually doing something about the gang problem and not burying his head in the sand like so many other midlands politicians are doing on the issue.

Let there be no mistake about it. The Midlands of South Carolina has a gang problem. Just the other day, I spoke with the mother of a middle school student whose child came home telling her about another child on her bus who talked about being in a particular gang and showed the appropriate gang signs to the other children on the bus. That bus was not in some inner city district. That bus was rolling in the highly respected suburban district of Lexington-Richland District Five.

For far too long school officials and law enforcement officials have downplayed the presence and power of gangs. Hooray again for state senator Jakie Knotts in that the senator acknowledges the problem and tries to something about it.

Gangs are perhaps the most destructive force that can be unleashed upon middle and high school students. We must do something about the problem and do something about it now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mitt Romney is a lump of political coal

Tis the Season, I suppose. It is time for the hustle and bustle of Christmas. While you are out there buying your Christmas gifts for your family and friends, there will be those who will be trying to sell you on a lump of coal in the 2008 South Carolina Presidential primary. That lump of coal is Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. The Governor’s campaign would have you believe he is a true Republican conservative who can build a party and get things done. But, if you buy that, you will end up with a lump of coal in you presidential stocking.

Governor Romney is a proponent of big government. As Governor, he signed a bill that made socialized medicine the norm in his state. Further, he is unstable on taxes. While he says he is for lower taxes, he did nothing to lower taxes in his state while Governor.

Governor Romney plays his faith as a trump card. He tells us he is a Morman, and as such is pro life and against gay marriage. That sounds good, until you look at his record. When he ran for the United States Senate in 1994, he gave a heartfelt story about how a relative of his died from complications of an illegal abortion and that he would not challenge abortion rights because of that. Further, as Governor, he had the first legal gay unions of a state on his watch. Again, if you go back to the rhetoric of the 1994 United States Senate race, Romney was no opponent to such.

Then there is the “party builder” label Mitt Romney’s folks would have you believe. There is a reason that Romney did not run for re-election this year. He would have been crushed at the polls. His state saw devastating losses for the Republican Party in this year’s election. If anything, Romney’s term as Governor left the state of Massachusetts Republican Party worse off then it was before he took office.

I could go on, and will in the coming weeks and months about why Romney is not the right choice for the Republican Party for President of the United States. But, for now, I will just advise this, do not be surprised if supporting Romney gets you a lump of coal in your political stocking. Romney is no mainstream conservative. Romney is no South Carolina conservative. Romney is just a big lump of political coal South Carolina politicos should avoid putting in their political stockings.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Braggin' on Little Brother

I have to brag on my little brother Matthew McCarty, who was voted fireman of the year by his fellow fighfighters on the Honea Path Fire Department.

Way to go little brother, proud of you as always.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This and that: some random thoughts

I have had ideas about several posts. Instead of doing a post on each one, I will try to express them all in one post. There is this and that: some random thoughts.

1) I don't know who begs more for my money to remain on the air, TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) or SCETV. The Preachers and the bureaucrat broadcasters lay it on thick this time of year. Sure, there are good programs on both. I especially like the old Bible based movies TBN broadcasts, and some of the SCETV music programming. But, to listen to those folks, you would think the Devil himself will take over the television programming if I don't hand them over my credit card number. Sorry, folks, I choose to give my charitable donations this year to Franklin's Graham's Samaritan's Purse, which is doing some meaningful work helping oppressed Christians and others in the Darfur region. Graham is also doing meaningful work in other places around the world. If you want to give to or learn more go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/.

2) What is with SCRG and the State newspaper? Yet again, we get some letter or whatever you want to call it from Randy Page against this state, this one calling Cindi Ross Scoppe crazy, or crazy like a fox, take your pick. Didn't the guys at SCRG learn with their limited results that sophomoric personal attacks are just a waste of time and money? Why won't they stick to the high road of ideas, after all, we conservatives have the better ideas, we don't need to wallow in the mud with cheap personal attacks, especially against a newspaper writer. It is just plain silly.

3) Steve Spurrier and the increasing cost of college football. I like Steve Spurrier. I am an alumnus of South Carolina and I love the Gamecocks and the university. I am glad Spurrier is staying at SC. He is a good man and a good coach. But, with a contract of 1.75 million a year, I wonder how much is to going to be too much to pay for a college football coach. Spurrier made 1.25 million this year, with was a little over $178,571 per victory. That 1.25 million is three times what the President of the United States makes. The new amount will be over four times what the President of the United States makes. Of course, Spurrier might call on an old Babe Ruth quote. A female reporter asked Babe Ruth in the 1920s what he thought of making more than the President of the United States, Ruth replied, "Sis, I have a had a better year than the President so I should make more money than he does. " At least Spurrier's salary does not come entirely from the taxpayers, but it does remind us how a simple extracurricular activity has grown into a big business for colleges.

4) Last but certainly not least, take some time this holiday season to think about the men and women who work as our state troopers. They will not have any time off like the rest of us have. They will be out there working the roads protecting us. Somewhere along the way in SC politics, we shifted our values. While some educrats and teachers enjoy relatively large salaries and plenty of time off, our state troopers go underpaid and overworked. One teacher I argued with recently about the situation summed up the arrogance of the education establishment. She told me, " if we have to cut trooper pay or whatever, let's do it to make sure teachers get paid more, our job is more important." It is hard to tell that to the young trooper, with a wife and child at home while he walks up alone to that car with Florida plates at 3AM on I-95. It is my understanding State Rep. Michael Thompson, among others will try to help our troopers this coming legislative session. Let's hope they are successful. Those men and women do a thankless job that is essential.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This blog will remain

I feel a lot like South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier. With blogs shutting down left and right and rumors about this and that, I think I have to make myself clear. This blog is going nowhere. Sure, it is named Voting under the Influence, a pun on words that makes fun of some our voters who vote drunk, (you know who you are), and on the rest of us who are under the influnce of money, ads, politicos, and the like. Just because the 2006 elections are over does not mean this blog will not stay put. There are issues this blog will address: such as the need to reform certain parts of state government, and the growing cost of local and county governments. We also will talk about SC life, like football, good barbecue, good literature and that kind of thing. There are also two huge primaries for the Presidency of the United States coming up.

I will do my best to bring out some issues, and call it like I see it. I appreciate you reading and commenting, and I will not go anywhere. Unless, of course, someone offers me two million a year to be the head football coach at Alabama or Miami, in that case, you are on your own. :) BTW, Alabama, I did spend two years in the stands watching Steve Spurrier coach. :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Governor, Mary Pearson appears to be the right choice

The Governor of South Carolina has a little known power that is not used very often. That power is to appoint county officials to finish terms that are left vacant for whatever reason. It is a particularly strong part of the Governor's arsenal of political power. In Dorchester County, Governor Sanford gets a chance to exercise that power with the soon resignation of Dorchester County Treasurer Patsy Knight, who was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from District 97.

Governor Sanford has a chance to do the right thing, both for the people of Dorchester County, and politically in appointing Mary Pearson. From all accounts, Pearson is duly qualified, and will bring a needed conservative Republican approach to the office. The Dorchester Republican Party voted to recommend her appointment to the Governor, and Pearson has support as far away as Anderson County for the post. Pearson will get the job done,the way it ought to be done.

Governor Sanford has a great chance here to appoint someone who will bring his conservative approach to local government, where is badly needed. And, Governor Sanford will also do the political will of the people who make up his strongest base. It seems a no brainer. Governor Sanford needs to appoint Mary Pearson Treasurer of Dorchester county.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The First Annual Thanksgivng Political Awards

I love Thanksgiving. It is time when friends and family get together, eat good food, enjoy good beverages, watch football, and take some to time to be thankful for all that they have in life. I am thankful for so many things, and in the holiday spirit, I decided that this blog will issue Thanksgiving Political Awards every year. So, Happy Thanksgiving. Remember to thank the Big Fellow upstairs for all you have, and well, here are the First Annual Voting Under the Influence Thanksgiving Political Awards.

Political Turkey of the Year. This award goes the politician, group, or politico who ended up having the most disappointing and underachieving political year.

The nominees are:

1) South Carolinians for Responsible Government. I realize that this group had a few state house victories to their credit, and they were a part of the Sanford effort, but overall, for the money and time spent by them in this campaign season, their results were weak. They misspent money with unwise mail outs in the campaign's homestretch and made one of the biggest political mistakes a group like them can make: they became a subject of the political debate. It is hard to make stealth attacks on unsuspecting candidates when everyone is reading about you in the papers. And, attacking the paper that wrote about you by spending money on a mail out against them, well, that's just plain silly. And so is wasting money attacking a Republican nominee for a state house seat in a general election. Was the Democrat going to be more likely to your group's bidding? Just think if that money would have spent on some mail outs favorable to Floyd.

2) Karen Floyd. Floyd was in some ways too slick for her own good, or over coached if you like. At several points during the campaign, Floyd looked invincible, flush with cash and a Republican in a Republican state. Then, she stumbled with the grassroots and stumbled in the debates, which I suppose people actually pay some attention to after all. The result was a double digit lead turning into a narrow defeat.

3) Trav Roberts and those around him. I name Roberts because he comes to mind. But, he and his fellow Democrats around Grady Patterson should have talked the old legend into a graceful retirement instead of running a campaign Patterson was clearly not up to.

4) Drew Theodore. The incumbent is under a cloud of scandal of sorts. And, you, as your party's nominee make clear in a debate that the first thing you will do is hire someone who knows how to run the office you are running for. If you do that, you know its time to pack it in.

5) Mike Campbell. From all accounts, Mike Campbell is a nice guy. But, when the son of Carroll Campbell does not campaign for the Republican Lt. Governor because that Lt. Governor beat him in the primary, well, that just begs for a Political Turkey of the year nomination.

And, the winner is....Karen Floyd...I just can not get past the squandering of a big lead and her struggling in her home county of Spartanburg, a big Republican county!

The Golden Drumstick for Outstanding Political Achievement of the Year Award. This award goes to the politician, group, or politico who had the best performance.

The nominees are:

1)Jim Rex. Rex presented himself as a viable alternative to Karen Floyd to middle of the road voters in the closing days of the campaign. He got outspent 3-1 and won as a Democrat in a Republican state.

2)Rod Shealy. Some thought some time ago not to mention his name among the heavyweight consultants in South Carolina. Then, Shealy took a family doctor from Newberry and beat the incumbent Governor in Lexington County in the Republican primary. Then, Shealy steered two candidates, Andre Bauer and Thomas Ravenel, to statewide victory in the fall when a year ago neither victory seemed likely.

3)Mark Sanford. Just a year ago, Governor Sanford was labeled a maverick who could not work with anyone by his fellow Republicans in the legislature. Those fellow Republicans grumbled loudly about him, and Newberry MD Oscar Lovelace gave the Governor a political bloody nose in the Republican primary this past Spring. The Governor looked ripe for defeat. His big win over Tommy Moore breathed new life into the Governor's agenda.

4)Lt. Governor Andre Bauer. In the early spring, when everyone was watching those videos of his speeding incidents, Mike Campbell was all but considered the nominee. Then came the plane crash that sat Bauer on the sidelines for several critical days leading up the primary. Primary night had Campbell with a big lead, and Bauer hanging on. Bauer fought back to win a close runoff, only to have members of his own party lament about how vulnerable he was to Democrat Robert Barber. In a campaign that was rough as a corn cob, Andre Bauer got another slim win for re-election. This guy never gives up.

5)Thomas Ravenel. This guy took a third place finish in a US Senate primary and turned into being elected to statewide office. He did so after getting into the race late and after wasting time debating with John Rainey.

And, the Golden Drum Stick goes to.....

Thomas Ravenel, by the skin of his teeth. Bauer is a close second. But, Ravenel has set himself up nicely to be a strong candidate for Governor four years from now.

Other awards:

Cornbread Dressing Award for Career Achievement: Ronny Townsend, the retired Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee. Like his stands or not, you always knew where you stood with him. The victory of his endorsed successor, Mike Gambrell over SCRG's pet Dan Harvell and then Democrat Ron Gilreath were thumbs in their eyes.

The Cranberry Sauce Award for local or county government goes to : Bill McAbee. Yes, another one from Anderson County, but this is a rare county council Republican who votes against tax increases every chance he gets. In a time when far too many Republicans on county councils vote to increase taxes, McAbee is a refreshing reminder of what a Republican county councilman ought to be like.

The Holiday Ham Award goes to Lexington County State Senator Jakie Knotts. Knotts is a dyed in the wool populist who made his points clear against Governor Sanford. Like him or not, ole Jakie is clear about where he stands, and makes sure everyone knows. I wonder though, will Sanford's friends go after him in 08?

The Fruitcake Award goes to Democratic Secretary of State candidate Cheryl Footman. Her debate performance gets her this award. While she is apparently a nice person, a good person, a person of faith, when she said that God told her to run for statewide office, and then handed off God's mandate to be decided specifically at Democratic headquarters, well, you have to wonder. Thanks for playing statewide politics, Ms. Footman.

Well, that's it, the First Annual Thanksgiving Political Awards.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It is past time for DOT to be under the Governor

Governor Sanford is right. Indeed, it is past time for the Department of Transportation to be a part of the Governor's cabinet. The current way things are done is not not working. Just take a look at the record.
First, South Carolina's roads are among the deadliest in the United States. Study after study shows how dangerous our roads are.
Second, the agency, according to the recent study by the Legislative Audit Council, has wasted millions.
Third, to make our roads safer and to compete in the global economy we need road and bridge projects that are based on necessity, not on politics. I know there will be protests about that point, but the fact remains that if a influential legislator wants the roads around his home paved, they get paved somehow, while roads that are busier do not.
How will placing the DOT in the Governor's cabinet change anything?
First, it will make someone, the Governor, clearly responsible. With responsibility comes accountability for the acts of the DOT. Future Governors will know that if millions of dollars are wasted, they will pay politically. It is hard for the voters to keep a political scorecard of all the DOT board members and legislators involved, but if the Governor is responsible, it is easy to hold the Governor accountable.
Second, a Governor can focus the DOT projects on roads and bridges that are needed to make our state safer and more competitive. "Roads to nowhere," such as four lanes built for economic development that are built without other necessary infrastructure such as water and sewer could become a thing of the past.
There is a possible compromise. The Director of DOT should be part of the Governor's cabinet. If the legislature must hold on to some power, perhaps a blue ribbon committee on road projects can be created to advise the DOT, composed of appointees from the Governor, the House and the Senate.
But, the status quo is unacceptable. It seems the quickest way to fix the problems the DOT faces is to put it, one of the most important state agencies, in the Governor's cabinet.
Wonder what you folks think?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Time for Barber to pack it in, Floyd has options

The official recount is over, and Lt. Governor Andre Bauer has won by over three thousand votes again. It might be tough for his opponent, liberal lobbyist Robert Barber to face, but it is time for Barber to pack it in. Barber lost. It was close. It was hard fought. But, Mr. Barber and his lobbyists friends lost. We will see what level of class Mr. Barber has later today at this scheduled press conference. I hope the has the class to concede and accept the close loss. But, if his debate demeanor is any indication, we won't know until Barber utters the words of concession.

As for Floyd, her apparent defeat got smaller, as Rex's 500 plus vote lead dwindled down during the recount. One can be assured if Rex was 400 or so votes down in over a million votes cast, the Democrats would be crying foul and crying loud about people denied to the polls. Floyd has the same option, as I have stated in an earlier post. Her biggest problem is the fact that GOP voters typically seem to be smart enough to know how to vote and know who they are voting for. It is just hard convince people that GOP voters were too dumb on election day to show up with proper ID and the like. Rex will probably win. But, the length it takes to determine that will be based on how much personal money and Howard Rich money Floyd can bring to bear in any challenge.

In the State House races, it looks like Republican George Bailey is out. The only real contested race seems to be a county council race in Kershaw County, where Democratic voters where allegedly turned away from voting. (Why doesn't this happen with GOP voters?, especially in counties that have Democrats dominating the local election commissions?)

As with all things like this time will tell. But, one thing is certain, it is time for liberal lobbyist Robert Barber to concede to Lt. Governor Andre Bauer. We will see if Barber has the personal class to do so later today.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An economic giant falls

Economist Milton Friedman, the father of modern "conservative" economics died at age 94.

His life was one of incredible achievement. He was a professor at the Chicago School, author, television show host, advisor to Presidents, Prime Ministers and central banks around the world. He was the balance to the big government ideas of economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed that government was the key to economic growth.

Friedman believed in freedom and strong rules for monetary policy. His ideas seemed radical when he proposed them in the wake FDR's New Deal and Keynesian economics being the accepted model. Two of his ideas are now seen as accepted economic rules: you can not grow an economy through inflation and there is a certain level of unemployment that is normal and natural. When Friedman first espoused those theories, they were radical.

Also, Friedman was a big believer in freedom and the power of free market forces. He believed that the more that people could choose through the free market, the better their lives would be. That belief would be embraced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Friedman was consistent in his idea about freedom. He was the against the military draft. He was for legalizing some drugs. He among the first to call for education vouchers.

Though Friedman won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976 for his work on monetary policy, he was perhaps most effective by being the person who lifted the intellectual weight in what was, at the time, a battle against the tide of growing government.

Friedman understood humanity and its role in free markets perhaps better than anyone since Adam Smith. We need more minds like Friedman's.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

An historic election in some ways

After looking at the results over the past hundred or so years as best I could for constitutional offices, I have to say the past general election was historic. It appears we have never had one constitutional race, much less two, so closely decided at this years Lt. Governor's and Super. of Education races. We are in new territory in South Carolina with those two races.

First, let's look at the Lt. Governor's race. Lt. Governor Bauer is ahead by 3,000 plus votes, and it is unlikely that any challenge will overturn that result. Mr. Barber has to do his duty as his party's nominee and wait on the official recount to concede, but after that official recount, it will be time for Mr. Barber to realize that this cock fight is over, and he lost. Look for a bitter concession statement from him in the next few days.

Then there is the Education race. What a race. Jim Rex is ahead by 507 votes out of over almost 1.1 million votes cast. I did not vote for Ms. Floyd, I voted Libertarian in the race, however, if Floyd played the election game like Democrats have done over the years, there are some questions she might want to make sure are answered, to make sure, as our Democratic brothers and sisters put, "every vote counts" There is plenty of time to make sure, so here are the questions I would ask if I were in her campaign's camp.

1) Are there a number of people who went to the polls to vote for Floyd that were turned away at the polls? If so, what were the reasons that they were turned away? Who made the decisions? What is the background of those who made the decisions?

2)Is there a way we can make sure the computer program that counted the votes is accurate? What about the problem in Greenville County, a heavily Republican county? What proof do we have that they actually got their computer counting program in good working order and that their count is accurate?

3)Is there a way to call for a hand count of the paper absentee ballots throughout the state? Who counts them? What are their backgrounds?

4)Is there a way to make sure that all absentee votes were in fact legitimate? Who makes that decision? What are their backgrounds? Do they have any partisan ties?

The above questions are just things I would ponder if I were in Floyd's position. We all know the Democrats would ponder such, heck, the Democrats are already raising money for any potential legal fight over the voting.

If the education race was fought to the end, it would take a complicated legal approach involving both state and federal laws. It could drag out for weeks, or even months.

Who knows what will happen? Floyd might accept the recount on its face if she loses it and concede. But, she and the Republicans ought to keep one thing in mind. If the tables were turned and Mr. Rex was down by 507 votes, one could be assured the Democrats would find things to cry foul about in the process and fight it to the end.

We will find out this week how it all shakes out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

a long night

This has turned out to be a long night, an early morning, however you want to describe it. There seems to be one box out still in Greenville County. Karyn Floyd, whom I argued was far too slick for her own good, has went from heavy favorite to the candidate trailing by 217 votes. Lt. Governor Bauer is up by a few hundred and should be in fairly good shape the box out is indeed in Greenville. That one dadgummed box could decide two races.

I have to say hat's off, win or lose, to the Rex people. They hung in there, and with about 5% of the conservative vote breaking for other candidates, yes, that includes me, I voted for Moultie, they just might keep the office.

I am sure lawyers, guns and money will be brought to bear before this one is over, forgive my quoting and old Hank Williams Jr. song. But, this is going to be interesting.

I can not help but think if Floyd would have been not as slick and just stood up for her principles, like tution tax credits, clearly, how this night could have been different. Forty something thousand votes bled away from her to other "reform" candidates.

Maybe a big box from Greenville out there will save the Floyd campaign. But, even if it does a big lesson has been taught. You have to be clear with the voters, even if you have big money and a slick campaign.

Also, if you are a SC Democrat, you have to have some concern. In the biggest Democratic night since 1974, you have to scratch and claw to hold on to oneconstitutional office. Your living legend, Grady Patterson was whipped soundly. That ought to be sobering.

Again, what a night. I now will try to get a little sleep because I have to work for a living. And, as I said before, Howard Rich and his friends will probably want a refund.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bold Predictions

Okay, it is bold prediction time on today's elections.

First, the GOP will lose the US House of Representatives and hold on to the United States Senate by a slim margin. The numbers just have not moved as much as they needed to in battleground districts. I hope I am wrong, but brace yourselves for Speaker Pelosi and a subpoena a day out of Congress towards the Bush Administration.

Second, to the statewide races. I believe it will be a sweep, but two races do concern me. One is the Lt. Governor's race and the other is the Comptroller General's race. It would not shock me if the Democrats pulled off one or both of those races. But, I believe they will not, and with Grady running about the worst campaign of his life, that's pretty much it for the Democrats.

Congress is easy to call. Spratt wins, Wilson wins, Barrett wins, Inglis wins, Brown wins, Clyburn wins. Easy picks.

On Wednesday I will hand out my awards for the 2006 election year in South Carolina and give some post game analysis.

Go vote. And, uh, avoid the bright lights, airplanes, and fires and whatever else seems to reach up and bite candidates this year.

Friday, November 03, 2006

This and than about the election

There are several things on my mind as the election approaches this coming Tuesday. Here are my thoughts, point by point.

  1. We all need to get ready for a heavy dose of righteous indignation from Democrats about illegal voters. DNC Chairman Howard Dean has instructed his poll watchers to not follow the law, but to make sure no one is turned away at the polls. That means the Democrats will be out in force to make sure that fair election laws are made to look like something as racist, unfair, etc. I just do not get the Democrats when it comes to this. The people who want to regulate everything in our lives want voting to be virtually unregulated. What is wrong with requiring people who vote to have identification and be actually registered to vote? Wait and see. There will be at least one major news article on someone crying foul about having to play by the rules.

  1. I have not commented on the Agriculture Commissioner’s race, but I will now. I believe incumbent Hugh Weathers to be the right choice at the polls. But, this office, which was created by the legislature, not the state constitution, ought to be appointed. With one act of the state house and senate, this election could be done away with.

  1. I will vote and recommend a yes vote on the so called gay marriage amendment. Marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman to legitimize children. It has been that way for thousands of years in different cultures around the globe. Who are five percent of the population to change that? What arrogance on the gay rights side. Part of me can not believe that such a thing as gay marriage is even up for public debate. My great grandfather, a FDR Democrat, and my hero, is probably spinning in his grave.

  1. I will vote and recommend a yes vote on the amendment to cap property value increases at fifteen percent. Local governments are out of control and are the fastest growing area of government in South Carolina. This is one step to rein them in.

  1. I will vote no and recommend a no vote on the amendment to allow the state retirement fund to be invested in foreign businesses. I know this goes against the Republican grain, but investing in foreign businesses and getting rid of the board that oversees investments is a little too strong for me. You or I might choose to risk the capital we have in such foreign ventures, but investing other people’s money in such seems too risky. What are we as a state to do if our state invests in Chinese businesses and the Chinese tell us they are keeping the money and not paying out dividends? Again, it seems too risky.

  1. What a waste of rich people’s money, forgive the pun. Howard Rich and his friends have invested heavily in South Carolina elections this year. I think those folks have wasted their money. Sure, they picked up a state house seat here and there in the primary, but they have invested in general election candidates, such as Governor Sanford, who were going to win anyway. Further, their supposed efforts with South Carolinians for Responsible Government have resulted in little more than sophomoric attack mail outs and radio ads. The outsiders invested heavily in South Carolina politics, but they have not got their money’s worth. Their ideal of private school choice is not even clearly espoused by their pet candidate for Superintendent of Education. Those folks have padded the payrolls of a handful of consultants and did little to further their cause. If I were them, I would want my money back.

  1. It will be shame if Robert Barber is elected Lt. Governor. I watched for a second time Barber and Lt. Governor’s Bauer’s debate on ETV. Barber is little more than a lobbying jerk. His “keep talking” comment to Andre reminded me of a drunk guy in a bar ready to punch some guy challenging him over whether Clemson should wear orange or purple uniforms. Barber’s ties to cockfighting are far more damning than the Lt. Governor’s speeding.
  2. Can you believe that Drew Theodore is still campaigning on public officials being more accountable in how they use government services? Does the man know who his daddy is?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Too bad Jakie did not run

This years Governor's race is shaping up to be almost as boring as the 1990 race between Carroll Campbell and Theo Mitchell. Democrat Tommy Moore, who everyone thought had a chance to make things interesting, has floundered. Governor Sanford's inability to get along with his fellow Republicans has not created the "Republicans for Moore" movement that Hodges had going for him against David Beasley in 1998.

Two recent polls show Governor Sanford ahead by 20 or more points over Moore. That doesn't stop the silly press releases from the Governor's campaign about Moore doing everything from lying to raising taxes on grandma's cigarettes. Those guys are catching a break. They can be silly, stupid, or just do nothing. The Sanford folks have this on in the bag.

Why? For one thing, South Carolina is a Republican state. For another, the Democrats and the Moore campaign have ran a dumb campaign, bless their hearts, as one of their patronizing ads says. Their radio and tv ads are silly, not witty. When a woman faking a deep Southern accent tells us about Mark Sanford, you want to shake your head, and ask, "who came up with that crap?" Then there is the over the top radio ads about Mark Sanford with "Edna from Mississippi" and how Mississippi loves Mark Sanford because he is helping them beat SC in education scores. The accent is so over the top Southern, it is offensive to people in South Carolina and Mississippi alike. Then there is the Ray from Alabama ad, who tells us, with a again over the top redneck voice that Governor Sanford has sent jobs to Alabama. Such ads are as silly as, well suing tv stations for airing your opponents ads, something Governor Sanford's folks threatened to do.

What a boring and silly race for such an important office. The man with great ideas is petty and small and can not seem to get along with anyone. The man with bad ideas, well, his ideas are still bad when it comes to campaigning.

Too bad ole Jakie Knotts did not run for Governor. He probably would not have won. But, his colorful comments would at least made the thing interesting and fun to watch. And, you can bet the only over the top Southern accent in his ads would have been his own.

After watching and listening to the two major party candidates and examining their records in office, I have decided to write myself in for Governor. I could do as well as either on of them. I have ran a small business. I have worked on a farm. I have worked in a cotton mill. I really do love barbecue. I truthfully state that I would wager a barbecue dinner that I have sat in more living rooms in South Carolina then both candidates combined through my job closing real estate refinances in peoples homes. I have read Dale Carnegie, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater. I believe one can be conservative and be civil.

So, if you are frustrated like me, write in the name of Brian McCarty for Governor. Sure, some say you would be wasting your vote. But, I assure you I have not taken one cent from either Hillary Clinton or Howard Rich. Besides, with ole Jakie not in the race, someone has to stand up for us overweight barbecue lovers from Lexington County. If elected I pledge to ban all silly press releases and political ads from my office. And, uh, a couple of more things, I would propose getting rid of retirement benefits for legislators and put everyone in the Department of Education in Columbia on leave. If after six weeks, schools were still open, I would let those folks go, because it be proven they aren't needed. As for the legislators, it was never meant to be a job with perks. Let them live like the rest of us.

Just something to think about.

Too bad Jakie did not run

This years Governor's race is shaping up to be almost as boring as the 1990 race between Carroll Campbell and Theo Mitchell. Democrat Tommy Moore, who everyone thought had a chance to make things interesting, has floundered. Governor Sanford's inability to get along with his fellow Republicans has not created the "Republicans for Moore" movement that Hodges had going for him against David Beasley in 1998.

Two recent polls show Governor Sanford ahead by 20 or more points over Moore. That doesn't stop the silly press releases from the Governor's campaign about Moore doing everything from lying to raising taxes on grandma's cigarettes. Those guys are catching a break. They can be silly, stupid, or just do nothing. The Sanford folks have this on in the bag.

Why? For one thing, South Carolina is a Republican state. For another, the Democrats and the Moore campaign have ran a dumb campaign, bless their hearts, as one of their patronizing ads says. Their radio and tv ads are silly, not witty. When a woman faking a deep Southern accent tells us about Mark Sanford, you want to shake your head, and ask, "who came up with that crap?" Then there is the over the top radio ads about Mark Sanford with "Edna from Mississippi" and how Mississippi loves Mark Sanford because he is helping them beat SC in education scores. The accent is so over the top Southern, it is offensive to people in South Carolina and Mississippi alike. Then there is the Ray from Alabama ad, who tells us, with a again over the top redneck voice that Governor Sanford has sent jobs to Alabama. Such ads are as silly as, well suing tv stations for airing your opponents ads, something Governor Sanford's folks threatened to do.

What a boring and silly race for such an important office. The man with great ideas is petty and small and can not seem to get along with anyone. The man with bad ideas, well, his ideas are still bad when it comes to campaigning.

Too bad ole Jakie Knotts did not run for Governor. He probably would not have won. But, his colorful comments would at least made the thing interesting and fun to watch. And, you can bet the only over the top Southern accent in his ads would have been his own.

After watching and listening to the two major party candidates and examining their records in office, I have decided to write myself in for Governor. I could do as well as either on of them. I have ran a small business. I have worked on a farm. I have worked in a cotton mill. I really do love barbecue. I truthfully state that I would wager a barbecue dinner that I have sat in more living rooms in South Carolina then both candidates combined through my job closing real estate refinances in peoples homes. I have read Dale Carnegie, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater. I believe one can be conservative and be civil.

So, if you are frustrated like me, write in the name of Brian McCarty for Governor. Sure, some say you would be wasting your vote. But, I assure you I have not taken one cent from either Hillary Clinton or Howard Rich. Besides, with ole Jakie not in the race, someone has to stand up for us overweight barbecue lovers from Lexington County. If elected I pledge to ban all silly press releases and political ads from my office. And, uh, a couple of more things, I would propose getting rid of retirement benefits for legislators and put everyone in the Department of Education in Columbia on leave. If after six weeks, schools were still open, I would let those folks go, because it be proven they aren't needed. As for the legislators, it was never meant to be a job with perks. Let them live like the rest of us.

Just something to think about.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bauer the better choice between two unlucky men

The race of Lt. Governor of South Carolina is quickly becoming a race between two unlucky men. Incumbent Lt. Governor Andre Bauer suffered injuries in a plane crash back in May. Bauer's opponent, Democrat Robert Barber recently lost his family owned Bowens Island Restaurant to a fire. The bad luck of both candidates has created news stories that overshadow the issues of the race.

There is nothing new about such sideline stories having prominence in a Lt. Governor's race. In 1994 and 1998 I learned first hand how something like a large plastic cow can get better press than a candidate's position papers. In 1986 and 1990, successful candidate Nick Theodore was better known for his "Hey buddy," greeting and personal charm than about any issues he stood for. In 1978, Nancy Stevenson enjoyed favorable press being the first woman to be a major party nominee for the job.

This year ought to be different. In years past, Lt. Governors have ran for an office that was long ceremony and short of substance. However, that changed when the Department on Aging was put directly under the Lt. Governor. The bad luck stories of the two candidates should not get in the way of examining the record of the incumbent on actually doing the job.

Lt. Governor Bauer is rightly criticized for his dangerous driving, but, as the first Lt. Governor to essentially head a state agency and do the ceremonial duties as Lt. Governor, Bauer has done an outstanding job. The critics of Lt. Governor Bauer dwell on the personal. They call him "immature." They call him "irresponsible." However, they offer little criticism about the actual job he has done. That is telling.

Barber's campaign has aired some rather strong negative ads about the Lt. Governor, citing his speeding behind the wheel and his conversation with highway patrolmen at the scene. I believe the Lt. Governor should take more responsibility for the very high speeds he drove at along I-77. However, Barber's ad shows the conversation between Bauer and a trooper along I-26. In that incident, Bauer was going supposedly 77 in a 65, and got a warning. Barber wants us to believe we would not get such. He is wrong. Everyday people get warnings for such instead of tickets. Such is the shell game of political ads, take the good footage from an incident and talk about one in which you don't have good footage. Regardless, the attack ad is about something personal.

Now, if Barber had ads that said something like, "The Department on Aging is in shambles," or "The Lt. Governor fails to even show up to preside over the senate," Barber's attack ads would have more weight in my eyes. The reason Barber does not run those kind of ads is because he can not truthfully, even when playing by the fast and loose rules of politics.

Like Lt. Governor Bauer or not personally, he has performed the duties of his office well. All Barber has to offer is a record of lobbying and some really good personal attack ads against the Lt. Governor. That makes Lt. Governor Bauer the better choice between two unlucky men. Regardless of who wins, I hope both men have better luck from here on out.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What a disappointing education debate

South Carolina ETV and The State newspaper sponsored a debate Monday evening between the two major party candidates for Superintendent of Education. The Republican, Karen Floyd and the Democrat, Jim Rex both were disappointing.

Floyd appeared far too slick for my liking. When asked point blank about tax credits for private school tuition, she fudged and went on and on about "choices." Floyd was given a point blank opportunity to say yes or no to tax credits and offer a clear reason why she would support such. Instead she tap danced like a typical politician.

Further, she had cute words for privitizing some education department services, calling it a program calling for "diverse providers."

If you are a conservative and you believe that Karen Floyd is a champion of the more conservative viewpoint on education, this debate should serve as an eye-opener. Time after time, Floyd refused to speak with candor and offer direct reasons for the conservative approach. Even when asked point blank, she stuck to her fuzzy talk. Floyd simply lacked the candor that Governor Sanford has on such issues.

What makes Floyd's performance all the more puzzling is that she has been backed by a national effort to see things like tax credits for private school tuition come into being. When pressed about those campaign contributions, instead of defending the point of view that those contributions are supposedly for, Floyd droned on about Congressman John Spratt's out of state contributions.

If one was looking for someone to carry the private school tuition tax credit issue to a full debate, one was left disappointed by Floyd.

Rex was no better. A product of the education administration bureaucracy he offered more bureaucracy as the solution to some of the state's education woes. To his credit, though, Rex was at least clear about where he stood.

Both candidates ignored the issue that I believe is the biggest cause for lack of achievement in education in South Carolina: the culture of failure in some areas of our state. No amount of money, however directed can fix the problem as long as children are not encouraged to succeed in the classroom by the people around them. To me, as long as that culture of failure continues, the state can spend money on tax credits, new buildings, whatever else, and our performance will still lag behind.

There is one thing to both candidates' credit. They both seem to support the Governor's idea of more equitable public school funding throughout the state. But, again, without the culture change, that will have marginal benefits.

Again, it was a disappointing debate. It pitted a champion of the status quo against a Republican who seemed unwilling to clearly articulate the conservative approach.

Mrs. Floyd said repeatedly that she "had answered the question but not in the way you liked." The "you" she referred to was interchangeable between the moderators and her opponent. By the end of the debate, I included myself in that interchangeable pronoun. I did not like her answers. Just once it would have been refreshing if Floyd would have stated, " yes, I support tuition tax credits, and here's why...."

At this point, Libertarian Tim Moultrie is getting my vote.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I will go with the accountant versus the Forrest Gump of this year.


Listening to the WVOC radio debate last week between Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and his opponent Drew Theodore, I kept thinking I had heard someone who sounded like Mr. Theodore. Then it hit me. Drew Theodore on the radio reminded me of Forrest Gump. That slow, deliberate southern speech just was distinct. Listening to the radio broadcast, I kept seeing Forrest Gump whenever Mr. Theodore spoke.
Mr. Theodore did not disappoint. When asked what would be the first thing he would do as Comptroller General, Mr. Theodore said he would hire someone who would know how to run the job day to day. Well, Forrest Theodore, don’t we already have that with General Eckstrom?
The media has had a field day attacking Eckstrom for his use of a state car to visit family out of state. As I stated on this blog repeatedly, those media sources seem to forget how Mr. Theordore’s father, good ole boy Nick Theodore, abused state funded drivers and bodyguards. It is amazing how short some mainstream media memories are.
This is another office that Governor Sanford is correct in calling for the Governor to be able to appoint. However, we have to choose at the polls between the current Comptroller General and his opponent.
As I have in other races, I will approach this race like a Governor who had to appoint the best person for the job. When I do that, it is a clear choice. Mr. Eckstrom stands with the Governor on fiscal matters and showed he learned from his mistakes in his stint as Treasurer. Eckstrom is a CPA who has done the job and done it well, and there is no reason to take the job from him.
Drew Theodore comes from a political family with strong connections in politics and the media. But, Mr. Theodore, the Forrest Gump jokes aside, just does not have the experience for the job. Even he apparently understands that from his debate answer. When a man says his first priority is to hire someone who knows how the run the job he is running for, that is telling.
Eckstrom knows how the do the job. He is doing it. For that reason, I will vote for the boring accountant who is short on charisma but long on expertise for the office he is seeking to be re-elected to. I will leave the Forrest Gump types to the movies. The current Comptroller General, Saturday Night Live jokes aside, has the experience and the record that deserves a return to the office. Eckstrom will be an ally to the Governor, and he is a man who knows the ins and outs of accounting necessary to help South Carolina keep its AAA credit rating. Further, Eckstrom has been a lone wolf crying out about the trouble the South Carolina state retirement system is in. While Eckstrom falls short of my own idea about making South Carolina retirement contribution based instead of benefit based, at least the Comptroller General sees the problem. Mr. Theodore merely gives the people platitudes and empty promises. I guess stupid is as stupid does.
To sum it all up, I will be voting for Richard Eckstrom for Comptroller General, and it took no influence. J

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Treasurer’s Race: a good argument for Sanford’s restructuring

The race for state Treasurer is one that sad to watch, as I commented upon earlier. On the Democratic side, there is the 82 year old incumbent, Grady Patterson, an honorable man who has served his state well. On the Republican side is the darling of the Republican hopes for also rans, and Reagan wannabe, Cousin Arthur Ravenel’s son Thomas. You might remember that Jim DeMint and David Beasley handed Cousin Arthur’s son his hat back in the 2004 United States Senate primary.

Cousin’s Arthur’s son got in the race late, poured in his own money, ran some really good ads, built on his third place Senate race finish and won the nomination for Treasurer going away. All looked good for Cousin Arthur’s son.

Then, Thomas Ravenel got in a pee contest with John Rainey, the Chairman of the Economic Board of Advisors. Watching the two of them spar on television was like watching two mules fight over a turnip. It was interesting for a few minutes, and then you asked yourself, why in the Hell am I wasting my time watching this stuff? Further, I wonder why in the world Thomas Ravenel wasted his time debating a man who is not even on the ballot. Eventually, Ravenel came around and started to ignore Rainey, but only after hiring some consultant to handle his fellow millionaire from the upstate.

Cousin Arthur’s son’s only saving grace is his opponent. Like I said above, Grady Patterson is a good man, a man who has served us well. But, this campaign has been an insult to Patterson’s life of service. This is one race too many for the Treasurer. Like watching Michael Jordan playing for Washington after he retired for the second time, watching Grady in this race is just ugly. From dozing in meetings to telling the State editorial board that Ravenel “makes up stuff,” this campaign has been sad for Mr. Patterson.

If a Governor was picking someone to be Treasurer, chances are he would not pick either candidate. But, alas, we the voters have to pick one. And, as a voter, I have to.

This race has been about the hardest electoral decision I have ever had to make. I do not like Mr. Ravenel’s ideas about investing. I think it is one thing to invest venture capital in high risk items, but another to invest other people’s retirement in such items. Further, I have grown tired of the “self made man” story of Ravenel. I do not doubt his talent helped a good bit. But, Ravenel’s father being a Congressman and longtime respected public servant did not hurt either.

Then there is Grady Patterson. He has a resume most men would kill for to define their lives. Yet, he is making this sad run. His time has past. Even if Patterson somehow wins, he will not be the leader a much younger man could be. Further, far too many Democrats use his office to stay on some sort of payroll.

Therefore, I will be voting for Thomas Ravenel. This is not a ringing endorsement. But, I will caste my vote for him because I believe he will be more in line to what the head of the executive branch wants and the state will no longer be carrying Democratic activists’ payrolls.

It is a tough call. But, I will vote Ravenel. I hope he will keep his word to take the job seriously. My vote is counting on it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I will go with Hammond for another four years for Secretary of State

Secretary of State Mark Hammond has had a reputation for being sort of a bland fellow. In his defense, his office is sort of bland on the surface, but important. He has solid record over the past four years as Secretary of State. During the campaign Hammond has provided a more than adequate defense of his record and has espoused clearly his visions for the office. Taking the lead from former Secretary of State Jim Miles, Secretary Hammond has continued to keep the Secretary of State’s office accessible to businesses, non profits and the public. There has been demonstrative progress is making UCC liens available and recorded in a more uniform manner. Hammond has worked with other departments to make the Business One Stop program help people do business in South Carolina. Further, Hammond has continued to keep the public adequately informed of the good and bad non profit organizations in the state by keeping the Scrooge and Angels program strong.

Hammond’s opponent, Democrat Cheryl Footman, is obviously a person with a passion to serve others who has sincere religious faith. She should be commended for being a teacher and for continuing to strive to better herself by working on a PhD while running for statewide office. However, Footman lacks a coherent vision as to why she wants to be Secretary of State. Her answers in a recent debate were long on admirable platitudes but short on substance. Footman would probably have a better chance serving others as she wants to by running for a local office, such as school board, county council or perhaps even State House of Representatives. But, she is just not ready for statewide office. One gets the feeling she is probably in this race to take one for the Democratic team. And, that is an unfortunate waste of her talent.

As with other statewide offices, the idea of making this office appointed has to be addressed. Neither candidate seems to want that to happen. However, if we the voters were to choose these candidates as a Governor would, (based upon the resumes), then Secretary Hammond would be the best choice by far.

As such, I will be voting for Secretary Hammond for re-election.

Now, before some of you think this is going to be some sort of Republican cheerleading forum, there are going to be some offices I address in the coming days and weeks that will surprise you. A lifelong Republican, I am I still undecided in three statewide races, partly because of the influence of out state money and the like. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I am not paid, I have not been convicted or ever accused of Domestic violence, and yes, I reminded folks about Nick Theodore.

I could not sleep tonight so I got up and puttered on the computer a bit. I went the ETV website and watched again the debate for Comptroller General. One line from Mr. Theodore stood out to me. He blasted Mr. Eckstrom for hiring someone convicted of domestic violence to attack Mr. Theodore’s family and his “seventy eight year old father.” Well, I don’t know what Mr. Folks, who I assume Mr. Theodore was talking about, has done. I know that I, on this blog, pointed out the hypocrisy of the Theodore campaign.

But, let me be clear. I am on no political payroll. Indeed, I have been on the outside looking in for quite some time now. But, I do think it is hypocritical for Drew Theodore to criticize someone for using a state car when his own father had bodyguards and drivers at state expense, and took those people out of state with him for a purely partisan political event. Since it was my blog that pointed out the hypocrisy, the remarks of Drew Theodore make me angry. If Drew Theodore can not take average folks asking tough questions of him and his father, who he touts for political and fundraising purposes, then he ought not to be in politics.

Now, I don’t condone any personal attacks, such as whether or not Drew Theodore was faithful to his wife or not. Theodore alluded in the debate to that being thrown about. If it is, that’s dirty. But, to equate pointing out the hypocrisy of the Theodore campaign’s stance on usage of government resources to such personal trash is just as dirty by Theodore.

So let me address this directly to Drew Theodore and his campaign. I am on no payroll. I hold no office. I have never been accused of domestic violence in any way, much less convicted of it. I am just a private citizen voicing his opinion. If you folks can not handle a private citizen voicing his opinion on a legitimate issue without lumping that issue with some alleged sleaze you think is going on, then you folks don’t deserve a shot at the dog catcher’s office in my native Honea Path, (my apologies to the dogcatcher), much less a statewide office.

Maybe I have you wrong. If so, post here. Straighten me out. Frankly, I hope I do have you wrong. I would hate to think that the candidate and campaign of any statewide candidacy was so small.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

For Adjutant General, I will be voting for Stan Spears


Over the next few weeks, I will be giving my two cents worth about the statewide political races and few local ones, along with other comments about this and that. I start off the series about political races with the race for Adjutant General. The race pits two good men against one another. Incumbent General Stan Spears has a record to be proud of and his challenger, former First Sergeant Glenn Lindman served our country well in Iraq. Both are good men. One should be elected. That one is General Spears.

In a trying time in our military’s history, transitioning from a Cold War based military to a more flexible military; General Spears has been a steady hand at the top of the South Carolina National Guard and the South Carolina National Air Guard. Under General Spears’s leadership, the guard has continued to meet its retention and recruiting goals, and kept McEntire Air National Guard station open at a time when it seemed ripe for closing. Further, overall performance of South Carolina Guard units in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq has been commendable.

Mr. Lindman has a commendable record. He served the nation with honor in Iraq, earning the bronze star. He also agrees with Governor Mark Sanford that the position of Adjutant General ought to be appointed by the Governor. However, after watching Mr. Lindman in his question and answer session on South Carolina ETV, I got the impression he was more eager to snipe at General Spears than to offer real ideas for the office. There was a rancor present that just does not measure up.

Now, as for the idea of appointed versus elected Adjutant Generals, South Carolina is alone among the fifty states in elected such. General Spears says that is fine and that something should not be taken from the people. Sgt. Lindman disagrees and espouses that he would have a blue ribbon committee decide upon the merits of the appointments to the office. There are legitimate arguments on both sides of this issue. But, I am remindful of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was elected Captain of his Illinois militia (guard) company during the Black Hawk War. Perhaps if it was good enough for Lincoln, it is good enough for General Spears. I have to admit there is something to be said for guard members, and those they know in the community, the voters, in choosing their own leader.

Regardless of the appointed versus elected argument, if one had to look at the resumes of the two contenders and choose one to appoint, that logical choice would be General Spears. The General has done the job well for 12 years and deserves our support to do it for another four.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Over the years, I have been surprised at how Uncle Remus has become the subject of such racial controversy. Liberal African Americans and whites both contend that the Disney character Uncle Remus and his stories of wisdom in the movie "Song of the South" are racist.

Interesting. An wise old man telling stories of wisdom is racist. Yet, stories handed down by oral tradition in the African American community are not. Take for example stories told in the Gullah dialect along the South Carolina coast. The South Carolina state museum has an exhibit that honors such, as it should, by the way.

My roots are Irish to the core. I have heard oral traditions about some of my family members when they went into to Columbia looking for work to see signs that read, "no Irish need apply." My cultural heritage is most well known for some little guy in green looking for a pot of gold. There are Irish folk tales that have been told since the beginning of writing. I am not offended by them being told by a man with a thick Irish accent in movies and other venues.

That is why the furor over Uncle Remus confuses me. Perhaps someone is offended by the way he talked, or the way he was portrayed. But, how could the wisdom of his stories be offensive. The tales of Brer Rabbit are about overcoming adversity, finding a way out of bad situations, and being smarter than those who think they are smarter than you. "Please don't throw me in the briar patch" comes to mind.

Now, I know that slavery is something we in the United States all regret. But, that regret should not prevent us from celebrating the stories and cultural icons that came from it. They have value. Are we to someday put the characters of Alex Haley's Roots on the shelf? Will Chicken George be as political incorrect one day to read about and talk about as Uncle Remus?

The Irish were subject to harsh British rule for hundreds of years. Yet, the telling of stories about the characters of that oppressed time are not offensive to the PC left.

Indeed, literature should be open to all to read and criticize in a free society. Deciding what can not be openly read, discussed or cited for political reasons is a page out of the Communist Manifesto, not the American constitution.

All that said, the remarks made by some liberal blogger and democratic activists about Governor Sanford are out of line. The Governor said he felt like some budget issues were like "dancing with a tarbaby." The word tarbaby made me think of doll made of tar, not a black person. Anyone who thought of a black person first has some issues to deal with.

What really gripes, me, though, is that those who are upset over the word "tarbaby" would likely be the first to laugh at someone being described as "drinking like an Irishman" or having an "Irish temper." There is a double standard and a political ax to grind.

It's okay, though, I suppose. For, God made whiskey and beer so we Irish would not rule the world.

That's called laughing at one's self. You liberals ought to try it. It is as healthy as not smoking.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Washington Times is Right: Hastert should resign, but perhaps Pelosi should too



The conservative newspaper, the Washington Times, issued a damning editorial against Speaker Dennis Hastert for not acting quickly enough in the now famous Foley matter. It appears that the Republican leadership had knowledge that Foley's behavior was not appropriate at the least, and probably perverted. You can see the case made by the conservative Washington Times at http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20061002-102008-9058r.html.

Now, while I agree with the Times that Mr. Hastert should resign over this matter, I also think a full investitigation of the Democratic leadership should also take place.

My gut feeling tells me that the Republicans covered up the actions of Foley against teen boys to keep a seat and the Democrats did the same until the past few days to gain one. It is my belief that pure politics, on both sides of the aisle, came before protecting the young people who act as paiges in the United States Congress.

If you doubt this, watch the carefully orchestrated press releases coming out of Pelosi's office and other Democratic campaign arms. They were prepared for this situation. That means, they knew in advance, too.

Nothing takes away from the fact that 54 year old Foley making sexually explicit IM exchanges with a teenage boy is wrong, sick, perverted, etc. I read those IMs posted on ABC news, and was shocked at it. One can not blame alcohol alone on that kind of thing. Foley's checking into to rehab angered me.

That said, the leadership of both parties are equally twisted. For political reasons, they kept their mouths shut until they could either win a seat or strike a political blow.

For that, I want Hastert's resignation, like the Times, but I also want Pelosi's. I want them both to pay the poltical price for playing politics with the safety of teenagers working in the House.

This entire situation is an outrage. It shows us how little our leaders, in both parties care about doing things right, and how much they care about political gain. Where is Ross Perot when you need him? Someone needs to clean the barn out.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Remembering ole Nick Theodore


It has been eight years since I worked for Bob Peeler's re-election for Lt. Governor and twelve years since Peeler's election as Lt. Governor. My, how time flies. It is also has been over twelve years since ole Nick Theodore was Lt. Governor.

Perhaps it is those twelve years or so that cause Drew Theodore to forget his father's use of state drivers and security details and the like. It is has been widely reported in the media that Drew Theodore, the Democratic nominee for Comptroller General, has criticized the current Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom's use of a state car and fuel card to travel out of state to visit family. Even state senator John Land, of all people, has weighed in about the ethics of the matter.

Oh, how they forget. Fourteen years ago, then Lt. Governor Nick Theodore took a rather large security detail to the 1992 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. That's right, state car, state driver, state security all went with ole Nick. I remember it well, even if ole Nick's son doesn't because we on the Peeler campaign made that an issue in 1994, and Peeler promised to go without a driver and detail and put those law enforcement officers back to fighting crime. Peeler reminded voters of that in 1998 when Theodore tried unsuccessfully to get his old job back.

Now, is the son of Nick Theodore trying to take a page out of the campaign playbook that handed his old man a defeat? Or is Drew Theodore's memory just too short to remember his own father's use of state resources? I don't know.

But, I do know this. Having someone like Drew Theodore, who has rode his father's name to get money for his campaign, attack his opponent for doing something less wasteful than Ole Nick used to do, is hypocritical at best. The question I am trying to find an answer to is did Drew ever ride with dad in that state car driven by that state driver back in the day? And, if he did, how does he justify that?

Friday, September 22, 2006

T-Rav Sighting

I had the opportunity to see in infamous T-Rav in person on Thursday night after conducting some business up in the Anderson area. Ravenel was at the home of Councilman Bill McAbee. The Councilman and his wife, Mary McAbee, hosted the event. It was a pretty good crowd.

I have to say Ravenel has the gift of charisma in politics.

Trav Roberts better be giving Grady a triple dose of geritol, because, the Rainey saga aside, Ravenel is for real. After watching Ravenel work a room in person, I understand why they are ducking the guy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Caution: This blog might be offensive to Islam

I don't know about you, but I am getting pretty sick and tired at what is offensive to Islam these days.

I am not Catholic, but I have a lot of respect for the Pope. When he mentioned some medieval reference to Islam in a speech about tolerance, I thought, ho hum. But, I am not Islamic. Muslims around the world condemned the Pope's remarks, and to prove that they are not evil, Muslims set fire to several churches and killed a nun. All in the name of being good, I suppose. Further, Al Qaida got involved, saying that it would "break the cross and spill the wine. Accept Islam or death. "

Well, that is tolerant. What is it with these people? We who claim the Christian faith have had decades upon decades of people deriding us for our beliefs, and you don't see us killing folks. And, there are the Jews, if anyone has a beef in this world it is the Jews after what happened to them in Hitler's Europe. You don't see Jews threatened to blow up the local bus and kill the local clergy.

While everyone from President Bush to Hillary Clinton tell us that the real Islam is not being practiced by those extremists who call for violence, the silence of the so called "real" Muslims is deafening. Where are those moderate Muslim voices condemning those who call for the death of the Pope over mere words? Where are those moderate Muslim voices in condemning attacks on Christians. Where?

They are hard to find. What we find instead are people telling us that the our culture should apologize. And, I don't know for what. Should we apologize for not killing people over their religious beliefs? Should we apologize for tolerating different views and freedom? Should we apologize for allowing women to become educated and seen as equal parts of our society and culture?

I am offended at the acts of Muslims in the wake of the Pope's remarks. I am offended that churches were burned. I am offended that a nun lost her life. I am offended that the Pope is threatened for mere words. I am offended that some group of thugs in Iraq dares to say they will break the symbol of my religious belief.

From cartoons to remarks distorted, I am sick and tired of the world being on its tip toes to cater to those morons who act like violent robots at the drop of a hat.

Is it Islam that makes those ignorant masses act as they do? Probably not. I own a copy of the Koran, and nowhere does it say, "that shall be a violent stupid being. " But, the failure of moderate Muslims to condemn the distorted view of Islam is disturbing. By their silence, and the liberal world view of tolerance, the world is quickly becoming a place where a handful of extremists decide what can be said, what can be drawn, and what can be commented upon.

And, that offends the Hell out of me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Governor Sanford not in trouble

Governor Sanford not in trouble

The Greenville News ran an article recently that suggested that since Governor Sanford was campaigning up in the upstate, he was in some sort of political trouble this fall.

The article emphasized the disagreements with the State House of Representatives the Governor has had, quoting Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper of the upstate.

While there might be some level of discontent among the members of the House and Senate in the upstate, and even some partisans in the upstate, the Governor is not in trouble.

The Governor is not in trouble because the upstate is no longer the kingmaker in Republican politics. More people live and vote along the coastal areas of South Carolina. And, woe to you those in the upstate, which I am a native of, the Governor has the juice upon the coast and frankly a few dissenters in the upstate just does not matter the way it once did.

I personally wish the Governor was better at getting along with the legislature than he is. However, look for the Governor’s campaign to paint the legislature as odd and out of step with progress. That type of campaign will play well to the voters along the coast. Those voters are mainly made of up of folks who have not spent their entire lives in South Carolina and see our state as backwards by reflex. It is those voters, the new South Carolinians along the coast, who are now the kingmakers in South Carolina politics.

If the under funded Tommy Moore can somehow make a dent in the coastal vote, the state senator from rural Aiken county might have a chance at victory. However, it is my guess he won’t, and that the Governor will win easily, no matter what folks in the upstate do.

Politics in South Carolina just ain’t the way it used to be. Upstate activists no longer hold all the cards, so to speak. That is how Mark Sanford won his nomination and election four years ago. Governor Sanford will win re-election despite the upstate.

It will be four more years of the same “get hardly anything done” agenda from the Governor. That is where the power of the upstate legislators and activists is really felt. But, they can not and will not make the under funded Tommy Moore Governor. Sanford will win in a walk, and he will do so by rolling up big numbers on the coast.

And, the folks have reasons to vote for Sanford. He stands for tax cuts and more responsive government. The Governor stands up against the wasteful Clyburn Bridge project, a project those on the right and left in the Midlands oppose. The Governor stands up against the state legislature, which polls show many of us think inept, (unless you are talking about our own state representative or state senator.)

Add it all up, and that is why Sanford will win, but more of the same will be delivered to the state and its voters. We voters will return the Governor who stands up against the legislators we individually elect. A few griping voices from the upstate will not keep the Governor from being returned his role as griper in chief.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Grady Patterson campaign is almost too painful to watch

Grady Patterson is an honorable man. His longtime service to South Carolina should be respected and Patterson deserves our thanks for that service.

However, the election this year is not about the past thirty-plus years, it is about the next four years. At age 82, Patterson is seeking to serve as Treasurer until age 86. I do not contend that Patterson can not serve the next four years. However, one way to prove that he can would be to debate Thomas Ravenel.

Ravenel is long on sound bites and short on substance. I think he tries too hard to be Ronald Reagan, when there can only be one Ronald Reagan. That said, there is little doubt that he has the health and ability to serve out a full term. Now that Ravenel has made clear he will not abandon the post to run for United States Senate, we can be assured he will at least serve a full term if elected.

An 82 year old candidate faces a different situation. Voters need to be reassured that he can do the job. The best way to reassure the voters is to debate Ravenel and make other public appearances.

The excuses for not debating coming out of Treasurer’s spokesman’s Trav Robertson’s office are almost comedic.

Also, the assertion by some Democrats that Senator Thurmond did not debate Elliot Close in 1996 and that is comparable, is wrongheaded. It shows marked ignorance of Mr. Thurmond. Thurmond did not debate anyone after his bitter campaign with Olin D. Johnston in 1950. Their debate in Newberry almost came to blows. Though I do not know what thoughts Thurmond had about such things, I believe it can be assumed that he recognized his temper and saw it best to conduct campaigns without debates. It should also be noted that Thurmond’s 1996 campaign was vigorous. He went around the state making public appearances and speaking. I know that because I was part of that campaign and saw firsthand Thurmond in action. The Senator did not hide behind spokesmen or the like. He spoke to party and community club meetings and made the rounds, so to speak.

Indeed, I did not have the same feelings about Thurmond in 1996 that I have now about Patterson. I am sad to watch this unfold. Grady Patterson is a man I admire and respect, without apology to any of my fellow Republicans who might criticize me for such. I hate to see this last campaign of his unfold as it is. Patterson’s name and reputation still might carry the day in November, but even if it does, this campaign appears to be one too many.

As a basketball fan, I offer an analogy from the NBA. Most people, even casual fans, know of Michael Jordan. Jordan left his then team, the Chicago Bulls, in the perfect manner, hitting the winning shot for the championship. Then, Jordan played one season too many with the Washington Wizards. Watching Jordan try to do what his body could not longer allow him to do was painful for a fan of his.

What boggles my mind is why the Democrats in South Carolina, who surely must be bigger fans of Mr. Patterson than I am, don’t have the same pain watching Patterson go one campaign season too many. Indeed, why did they talk Patterson into this last ride, when he had nothing to prove and could have gone out on top, so to speak?

Maybe Mr. Patterson will debate Ravenel and clean his clock in the debate and make me look like a fool. But, I doubt it. It is my guess that for someone who respects Mr. Patterson, this campaign will be almost too painful to watch.