Sunday, April 29, 2007

This and that from Lexington County Convention

I was a delegate to the Lexington County Republican convention on Saturday.

Here are some random thoughts.

First, hats off to Romney and his people. They won the straw poll going away. As reported on SC Hotline, Romney got 67 votes, his closest challengers were McCain at 29 and Rudy at 26. Non candidate Fred Thompson got 9 votes. The Romney folks continue to do their work at the grassroots in South Carolina very well.

Second, the best speech of the day was from Senator Lindsey Graham. He articulated the necessity of victory in Iraq in a way that I wish the President could. When I told the Senator such, he replied, with class, that the President had to be more careful in how he put things. Yet, still, if the President could articulate the argument as well as Senator Graham, I believe the country would feel better about the Iraq situation.

Third, Senator DeMint was also present and did fairly well in his remarks.

Fourth, Governor Mark Sanford gave a short but blunt speech about overspending in Columbia. I have to give the Governor credit for coming to Lexington, where he lost the GOP primary vote last year, and where State Senator Jake Knotts is boss, and giving a blunt assessment of the legislature's spending practices. I also must say, the Governor had no entourage and was very nice when I talked with him while he was sitting behind me. The Governor was sitting and talking with Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, who was a delegate in a precinct seated behind mine. Like him or not folks, the Governor had the courage to come to the "belly of the beast" so speak and speak his mind and the Governor is perhaps one of the most approachable politicians of his caliber I have been around in recent years.

Other notable politicians present were Attorney General Henry McMaster, who spoke for the McCain campaign, but his speech seemed more like his own stock stump speech. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was also present, sporting a Rudy lapel sticker. Congressman Joe Wilson was also there, basking in the glow of his hometown crowd. Mary McAbee, who is running for the President of the SC Federation Republican Women, worked the crowd. The only Presidential candidate who showed up in person was some guy from Alabama I have never heard of. (And, that is something, when a political junkie like me has never heard of you. I believe his name was Cort.)

Last but not least, a nod to Joshua Gross of SC Hotline, who was a delegate as well. Gross made the necessary motions to remove from the list of resolutions approved en bloc a resolution that was basically for open borders and against Israel. Kudos for Gross for putting aside the need to go to lunch to pay attention to what was going on and pointing it out to the convention.

All in all, not a bad convention. However, I believe turnout would have been higher if it had not been held on a sunny Saturday. Also, while I was glad to have chance to speak with the Governor, my congressman and my two senators, I was disappointed that no big time Presidential candidate showed up.

There was talk from the new county party leadership about having Lexington County presidential debate. I hope it happens.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Moderation begins

I hate to moderate comments. I believe in the free give and take of ideas. However, some folks have constantly taken advantage of my free give and take policy to place vulgar and personal attacks that have nothing to do with my posts.

Therefore, as much as I hate to, I am going to moderate comments. Rest assured that comments that disagree with me, criticize me, or even trash me will still go up. I just need to filter out the garbage that has been a problem of late.

Anonymous comments will still be allowed, and yes, I will even put up Ty's stuff, as long as it is not vulgar and personal.

It might take a few hours for a comment to go up. Just be patient. I have a real job to do as well.

I believe that weeding out the vulgar and the nasty personal stuff will elevate this blog and the discussions of the issues.

Thanks for reading and for commenting. I enjoy the real discussions we have about the issues of the day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Latest Zogby poll a wakeup call to McCain in SC

A new South Carolina Presidential primary preference poll is out from Zogby. The poll should serve as a wakeup call to the McCain campaign.

Various news sources have said that McCain's people expect to win South Carolina in 2008 and they should. In 2000, McCain won nearly 42 percent of the primary vote in his loss to George W. Bush. If McCain stays anywhere close to that number, McCain could win the SC primary with relative ease in the crowded field.

The problem is, McCain is at little over half that amount of support in the latest Zogby poll. In that poll, McCain sits at 22 percent, Rudy sits at 19%, non candidate Fred Thompson sits at 11%, Mitt Romney, who has worked the grassroots with a furor, sits at 10% and non candidate Governor Mark Sanford sits at 8%. If neither Thompson of Sanford get in the race, that is a 19% that is up for grabs.

That 19% will be looking for a conservative candidate. That could potentially rule out McCain and Rudy, leaving Romney the potential big winner of of those votes. For like him or not, Romney is quickly becoming the proverbial leopard who has changed his spots.

Chances are Sanford will not get in and Thompson will. That said, the numbers have to be a wakeup call for McCain and his people. They have sort of sat out the cycle of local county conventions and grassroots building. That has hurt them. McCain's numbers are the lowest they have been in SC since the horse race for 2008 started.

The McCain folks are going to have to roll up their sleeves in South Carolina and go to work to win the primary. It is not going to be the automatic victory some envisioned.

Some McCain supporters do not care. One McCain supporter confided to me that with the early primaries in Florida and California, South Carolina was not the big deal it once was, and a defeat in South Carolina to Romney or Rudy would be no big deal if it was followed by wins in Florida and California.

Perhaps that is the case. I do not blog about Florida or California politics. But, here in South Carolina, McCain is going to have to fight for a win afterall. It is not going to be handed to him by matter of right. No one knows who will win South Carolina, especially when one factors in Fred Thompson. South Carolina's Republican Primary is up for grabs.

The question is will McCain answer the SC wakeup call and fight here, or will he see the problematic situation and write South Carolina off and spend his time in bigger states?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Romney campaign playing hardball at the local GOP level

Some call it good politics. Others call it unfair. However one describes it, one thing is clear, either through money or through campaign committee titles, the Romney for President campaign has went hard after county Republican party leaders in South Carolina.

The Romney campaign has lined up local Republican party officials on their campaign, and as a result, has obtained local party information on activists and county convention delegates with some ease. Other campaigns have complained that the Romney supporters in control of such information have not shared such information with the other campaigns as people in their official local party positions should. Folks from the McCain campaign especially have complained to me in private about such.

If one takes a quick glance at the Romney campaign team, both paid and unpaid, one can find local Republican leaders in key Republican counties. It is no surprise to me this is going on. Many of the key people running the Romney effort in South Carolina were the same people who ran the Bush effort in 2000. Like those people or not, they know how to win in South Carolina, and they are playing political hardball, as they do, from the start of this campaign.

Who knows how all this will play out for the Romney people. Some pundits contend that in high profile statewide races grassroots organization does not matter near as much as media, and they cite the Sanford-Peeler runoff in 2002 as an example.

However, one thing is clear. The Romney folks are playing political hardball at the grassroots in a way far and above the other candidates. But, I contend, that even with such local hardball tactics, the Romney campaign can not win without either Rudy or McCain having some sort of problem in South Carolina. That means that the Romney people will have to attack one or the other.

I say one or the other, because it would not be politically wise for the Romney campaign to attack both Rudy and McCain. That might make them look too negative. But, I would not be surprised if they did just that. The guys running the Romney efforts are old political river boat gamblers, so to speak, and who knows what they might do.

But, one thing is a sure bet, they have done their homework and worked their behinds off at the local level and caused some havoc playing hardball there. The Rudy and McCain folks now have to play catch up at the grassroots.

Of course, Fred Thompson makes all of this a big hoot if he gets in. Then, all bets are off.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I am a Hokie this week

What a tragic Monday for Virginia Tech and America. Everyone with any idea of the news knows the details.

The tragedy at Virginia Tech reminds us all of the reality of evil in this world and how difficult it is to understand or stop evil at times.

I will not give one line of publicity to the evil young man who killed so many of his fellow human beings. Also, I will not repeat what many of you already know about the stories of heroes and victims of Monday morning. Those heartbreaking stories of young lives snuffed out and an old man going out as a hero will be with all of us for years to come.

What I will do now, as an old politico, is warn you about the politicos and the media. Beware of what is coming. Whether because of selfishness or fear, the media and politicos will look for something other than evil for Monday's tragedy.

The selfish will promote their own agendas. Some will call for more gun control, others will call for more relaxed gun control. Some will call for more public safety spending. Others will demand immigration reform. Even more will blame violence in movies and videos games for Monday's tragic events. Some will blame the local police or President Bush. Others will blame bullying, medication, and so forth.

I do believe the politically and professionally selfish will start the above discussions. They often look for anything to help them promote their agendas. However, there will be a large number of people and media members who will buy into one or more of the above arguments. I believe they will do so because of an unspoken fear.

We human beings have a thirst to quench out evil events with logical explanations. We seem to want to be able to say, "a ha," the man killed those people because of "blah blah blah." We also seem to want to be able to say, "only if this was done, this tragedy could have been prevented." The vast majority of us simply do not want to face the fear that evil can raise its head in this world and act just for evil's sake, with no logical explanation. There are some degrees of evil that no one on this Earth can prevent.

I know some readers will think I am negative or morbid to contend that. Far from it, I believe there is a way to combat evil in this world. First, you must admit it exists. Some will call you ignorant for that. While there are some shades of gray, so to speak, in the world, there is definitely good and evil as well.

When evil acts, such as Monday at Virginia Tech, it must be responded to with good. Good, to me, represents justice for the evil, compassion and prayers for the victims, and a determination to keep on doing good in this world no matter what blow evil deals us.

All of the Virginia Tech community is my prayers. I also pray and hope that the major media will focus not on finding some logical reasons to the evil act, but all the good that is in response to the evil act. We are starting to see some of that good, with people volunteering their time to counsel the community, and with stories of the heroism exhibited that day. One has to believe that good will triumph. That why I say, "Gamecock that I usually am, I am a Hokie this week." May God be with all the Virginia Tech community and give his Grace and comfort to them.

Friday, April 13, 2007

a great man has left us

My great uncle Floyd, one of the most generous and understanding men I have come across has left us. He served in Korea, and his generosity was well known. Here is the obit from The State. We will miss you, Uncle Floyd, you were a great man.

Floyd McCarty

BATESBURG — Floyd McCarty, 76, died peacefully at his home on April 11, 2007. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, April 13, at Nazareth United Methodist Church with burial in church cemetery. The body will be placed in the church 1 hour prior to the service. The family will receive friends following the ceremony at the church with Rev. Joyce Murphy officiating.

He was the son of the late George and Mary Lee Mack McCarty. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He was a member of the Jamil Temple Shrine Club and Boyleston Lodge #123 in Ballentine. He was a member of Nazareth United Methodist Church and the Mannie Black Sunday School Class. Mr. McCarty owned and operated convenience stores in Batesburg-Leesville and Columbia. He was predeceased by a brother, Pete McCarty.

He is survived by his loving wife, Rama Oswald McCarty; daughters, Vickey W. Van Frank and her husband, Jeep Van Frank of St. Matthews; Wanda Godwin of North Augusta; two sisters, Ruby Maroney and Catherine McCarty both of Batesburg; three brothers, Harold McCarty of Ninety-Six; Cecil McCarty of Saluda; and Don McCarty of Monetta; three grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

Memorials can be made to Nazareth United Methodist Church, c/o Building Fund, Route 4, Box 144, Leesville, SC 29070.

Milton Shealy Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Three things that bug me about the Don Imus thing

First, let me be clear. Don Imus said some really stupid comments about the Rutgers Women's basketball team. Also, Don Imus is not a favorite of mine, he has often said really stupid things about all kinds of things, and he always looked to me like the guy who stayed up all night drinking and showed up to work. In other words, I have never cared for the guy or his show.

That said, there are three things that really bug me about the recent Imus comments that led to his firing by both MSNBC and CBS radio.

The first thing that bugs me is the idea of victimization. The coach and some of the Rutgers women's basketball team said some things that really bugged me. They said that their run to the national championship had been ruined. They spoke of how hurt they were. That bugged me. What are we teaching these young women? If some old white guy, probably drunk, says something stupid about them, are they to give that old drunk power over how they feel about themselves and their accomplishments? What ever happened to the old saying about stick and stones? Why can not someone stand up and tell those young women to ignore morons and be proud of what they have done and not give power to the morons who make comments? It scares me that we are telling young people to let someone like Don Imus control them with mere words. Yes, Don Imus does control them. If his mere words can cause such a firestorm, than the old drunk controls them.

Second, I am not pleased with some of the words said by the likes Rev. Al Sharpton, who said on an MSNBC broadcast that we " need to have broad debate on what is permissible to say and what is not." While I do not fault any business for deciding who they want to work for them, there is something "icky" about defining what is permissible to say. Do not we have freedom of speech in this country? Was not that freedom of speech used as a tool by Martin Luther King, Jr and Malcolm X to call for social justice? Even if you disagree with what Don Imus said, like I do, should we shut him up to make nice with some sort of ideal of political correctness? Of course not. Freedom to speak one's mind, no matter how stupid, is a fundamental freedom. To contend otherwise is to call for tyranny.

My third contention is the hypocrisy of the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. We have recently learned that the Duke lacrosse players were not at fault at all, according the NC Attorney General in the much hyped "Duke Rape Case." Rev. Al and others were quick to condemn the white boys accused and latter vindicated. Where is Rev. Al and others in calling for those Duke boys to have some sort of justice for being falsely accused? Why are they not protesting in the streets for those boys to have their reputations restored?

I know why, and so do you, learned readers. The Duke boys are not part of the politically charged masses that Revs. Al and Jesse stoke with fear and the like. They will likely go on to live somewhat productive lives, and will not blame some comments or their accusers for not making it in life. Thus, they will be hated by the left.

The left liberals can not stand anyone who ignores the moronic comments made and goes on to success. That is why those poor girls at Rutgers will be encouraged to be hurt, defeated and confused by some old white man's comments. No one will tell them to ignore the moron and go on to success. Instead, lawyers, politicos and media types will take over their lives and tell those young girls at Rutgers how bad they have it because some old drunk white man said this or that.

That is the real tragedy of the Don Imus comments. Strong, successful, young women will be encouraged by political forces to be victims and thus be under the control of a few words uttered by a man no one really cares about.

The pundits will get their tv time. The lawyers might get paid. But those young women will learn a lesson wrong in life. A lesson that states letting others control how you feel and think about yourself pays off.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SC peach farmers and other farmers lost big over Easter weekend

For most of us, the frigid weather over Easter Weekend was just an inconvenience. We had to dress warmer at Sunrise service, or go indoors for such. For South Carolina farmers, the Easter Weekend was a disaster.

One peach farmer who is a friend told me he "lost everything." He went on to say, "Thank God for crop insurance, I will sure need it this year. My crop is gone."

Such is being reporting in the state's newspapers as pretty common place. Farmers around the state are lamenting the Easter Weekend cold snap and the damage it done to their crops. Have no doubt, that deep Easter freeze will be a blow to the South Carolina agriculture economy. While the final numbers are not yet in, all experts seem to point that the late cold snap, after unusually warm weather, will devastate the peach crop. Just in case you did not know, South Carolina is the second largest producer of peaches behind California in the United States. Yes, Georgia is called the "Peach State" but South Carolina produces more peaches.

Perhaps not this year. The deep freeze of Easter has dealt a severe blow to South Carolina peach growers, and other agriculture endeavors. It is one of the most devastating blows on record.

For now, that blow seems all but unrecognizable. But, come harvest time, when there are no peach picking or other type jobs and when peach farmers and other types of farmers are not bringing their crops to market, we will get a full measure of the hand Mother Nature dealt us.

Our farmers will be hurting. Such is the life they have chosen, some would say. But, nevertheless, it is worth noting that the weather changes we all take as inconvenient actually cost some of our fellow South Carolinians their livelihoods.

Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers and Governor Mark Sanford are both waiting on the final reports, according to news reports. But, those reports do not have to be waited upon for anyone with any common sense to determine South Carolina farmers, especially peach farmers, are going to have a bad year.

Here is hoping for seasonal weather, good rain and the like from here on out.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Courage of Christ

He was a teacher. He was a humble preacher. He was the son of God Himself. The Roman Empire, the power of the day, reluctantly sentenced the humble teacher and preacher to death.

So the humble man went forward to die for our sins. Your sins and mine were washed away with the sacrifice of the humble son of God.

Think about that man and that day long ago. The Son of God humbled himself and had to courage to go through the torture of crucifixion. Jesus Christ would be beaten, humiliated and nailed to a cross.

Think of that pain. There was the Son of God Himself, whipped by Roman soldiers, and after that whipping, Jesus carried the cross he would be nailed upon up Calvary.

Crucifixion was no merciful or quick death. The nails were driven coarsely through one hand and then the other, and then through the feet. The Son of God hung on that crossed and suffered. Then a thorn was put through his side and he was mocked as “King of the Jews” by the Roman soldiers.

How tempting it had to be to our Lord to call down a legion of angels and wipe out those who treated him so badly. Yet, our Lord did not do that. He knew he had to go through that humiliating death to wipe our sins clean with his blood.

Think about what many of us would have went through. Would any of us go through such a painful ordeal for our fellow human beings? After standing and preaching for peace, Jesus met a cruel death. His death was made all that more cruel in that the people he came to save were the very ones who demanded his humiliating death.

What courage Jesus Christ had! Too often we forget the courage of Christ. The story of him taking a whip and running the money changers out of the temple is lost as well as the courage of Christ in his last day. He took a beating that many of us would cringe under. He took the pain of the nails into his flesh. He had the power to cry out to angels to end it, but he had the courage not to do so he could die on that dark day for our sins.

Today, this so called Good Friday, remember that brave man who took the beating and the humiliation so we all could have our sins washed clean in his blood, the blood of the lamb.

Sinner that I am, I am proud to proclaim my devotion to the man who gave up so much to save us all. It humbles my heart to think what Jesus endured for me and for us all. Jesus Christ is Lord, and it is a great thing! I proclaim him as my Lord and Savior without apology. If the PC crowd does not like that, well, I just don't care. Chirst had the courage to endure so much for me, and I just can not forget that.