Friday, June 30, 2006

Those crazy guys in Philly

The July 4th holiday is upon us. It is easy to take it for granted, and enjoy the baseball games, stock car races, fireworks, good barbecue and cold beer that go with it.

But, let's take a moment to remember those guys who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The world called them crazy. Most of them ended up broke, even its author, Thomas Jefferson, who died broke after writing that document and serving as President of the United States.

Lately, the politically correctness police tell us that those who signed that document where rich white men. Perhaps they were when they signed it. But, as I said, most of them died broke. Their fortunes ended up sacraficed in the cause of liberty for us all.

Think about it. Those men decided to stand up to the King of Great Britain and his great army and say, "this is how things should be, and this what we will fight for and give up our lives and livelyhoods for."

Such stands in contrast to our leaders today, in both parties, who seem too ready to take big money and do big money's bidding. With our sons and daughters fighting and dying in fields far away for liberty, let us remember what started it all: a group of men who decided to give it all up for liberty and freedom.

That is something to fire off some fireworks over.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You can not stop Andre, you can only hope to contain him

Lt. Governor Andre Bauer faced the perfect storm for defeat. First, he had a scandal,(hmmm...just who leaked it to the press to go and find those SCHP tapes...anyone from the Governor's office...I wonder), then he had a plane crash that injured him and nearly killed him. Add to those two things the fact that Carroll Campbell's son was his opponent and the former President of the United States was working against Andre Bauer. That, folks, is the perfect storm for defeat.

Even I was sadly voting for Andre on Tuesday thinking he probably would lose to Campbell. Wow, was I wrong. Destiny, Andre's organizaton, whatever you want to call it, but Andre won again.

Andre showed he has heart. Campbell showed he thought he had the thing won by ducking two televised debates.

Whatever the reason, Andre Bauer and the Lexington County gang that delivered the 11,000 plus runoff votes and a margin bigger than Andre's victory margin statewide proved they are a political force to be reckoned with.

It reminds me of something an NBA coach once said about Michael Jordan, " You can not stop him, you can only hope to contain him."

Andre Bauer is for real, folks, and this runoff proved it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

campaign finance reform

One thing we in South Carolina have learned this year is that money from outside South Carolina can buy an election. Look at Mr. Bowen in Anderson County. Not one dime was raised by him, according to his last disclosure, from within his district, yet, thousands were raised from out of state, all on May 1st of this year, and he beat Rep. Becky Martin.

Throughout the state, these May 1st contributions have showed up. Just why would people from outside South Carolina spends thousands of dollars to promote candidates in local races? What is the payoff they will get? What are they after?

I am working on finding those answers, and I will, God willing. But, for now, I think it is time to propose some common sense campaign finance reform.

Here goes my idea. First, no one can contribute to a candidate that they can not vote for. In other words if you live in Florida, you can not send thousand dollar checks to 15 or so state house candidates. Only folks who can vote for the candidate can give money to the candidate. Businesses in the candidate's district or state should be allowed to give, but that's it.

Second, no limits, no cash, full disclosure. If a person lives in a house district and wants to give $100,000 to a candidate in his district, so be it. Let him. Just disclose it immediately.

Why do I think this is fair? First, people outside a politician's area should not influence the election of that politician. That flies in the face of the Republican form of government our founding fathers set up both at the state and federal levels. Further, no limits should apply because, like with free speech and the vote, one should be able to spend as much money as he likes on candidates in his district or state, respectively. If Roger Milliken wants to give Mark Sanford a million bucks, that is okay with me. But, if some guy in New York wants to get his friends to write checks to Mark Sanford, that is unacceptable. Folks outside of South Carolina have no business spending money to decide who South Carolinians choose as their next Governor. The same is true at the state house, county council, state senate, and Congressional levels. If Joe Businessman in Bennettsville want to give House Candidate A $10,000 to run for the seat in the district Joe Businessman lives in, no problem. If some guy in Florida wants to influence the election in Bennettsville, that is a no go.

Let the people and businesses represented by the candidates finance the candidates. It would not infringe upon free speech and political activity and it would go a long way towards putting our system of government back to where it was meant to be.

Runoff elections

The primary runoff elections are going to be this Tuesday. Statewide, the Democrats have no one on the ballot. The Republicans have Lt. Governor Andre Bauer going up against Mike Campbell in the Lt. Governor's race and Thomas Ravenel taking on default runoff opponent Jeff Willis. Turnout for the primaries two weeks ago was dismal. It makes me wonder if the runoff turnout will be even worse. It is amazing to me that so few people bother to turn out in the Republican primary when that primary essentially decides who the officeholder will be.

I have voted in every election I have been able to vote in, except for one. I did not vote in the special general election that elected my then state senator, Jakie Knotts. I was not able to get back into town before 7. That aside, every time a poll was open, since I was 18, I have voted. I just can not understand people who don't vote. The governments at different levels take about 40% of our money for their purposes. They make decisions that impact our daily lives. I want to be a part of that. I have never missed a GOP Primary. I have never missed a General Election, save for the special one I mentioned before. I actually felt bad about not being able to vote in it.

I want to know, if any of you nonvoters read this, what goes through your head. Why do you let other people decide how so much of your money is spent? Why do you not care about making decisions about the people who impact your life?

Please, folks, go vote on Tuesday. If you are in an area where two Democrats are duking it out for a local office that impacts your life more than Lt. Governor, go vote in the Democratic runoff. If not, take part in deciding who your next Lt. Governor will be. Whatever you do, don't sit it out and let other people make the decision for you.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog on politics and life in South Carolina. I have had the honor of being a part of several meaningful campaigns and I have had the honor through my job of being in the living rooms of thousands of South Carolinians. I have learned a lot about this state, its people, and its leaders. Through my experience, I have learned a lot about politics and life in South Carolina. The things we have in common often outweigh the things we disagree on. It is my hope that this blog can be a place where frank and honest dicussions on politics and life can take place. All voices are welcomed, as long as you are not profane, vulgar, or full of bull manure. Welcome again. I look forward to the discussions.