The South Carolina football team recently lost a rather infamous distinction. When former head coach Sparky Woods accepted the head coaching position at VMI, he became the first ex SC head coach to get another head coaching job since Billy Laval in the 1940s.
South Carolina had earned the nickname among detractors as "the graveyard of coaches." The names were great that fell to my Alma mater's curse. They included names like national champion coaches Paul Dietzel and Lou Holtz, along with proven coaches like Jim Carlen and promising young coaches like Brad Scott.
The same can be said for Anderson County Council. Rarely does any member ever obtain higher office. Bob Waldrep did, but now he is back on the county council after a stint in the state senate. People, regardless of what side of the Anderson saga they are on, think of Waldrep's stands on the saga now, not the years he spent in Columbia.
Indeed, the open bitterness and pettiness in local politics in Anderson County local government prevents it from being the place it was once was. Anderson County once produced political legends. For example former Clerk of Court John C. Taylor went on to become a US Congressman and respected candidate for Governor.
Can you imagine anyone on council or in other county offices having a real shot at rising above the great saga and getting elected to higher office? Opponents from outside the county would tear those local officials to political pieces in a larger scale race. Everything from credit card usage to frivolous legal battles could be thrown at a local Anderson county official seeking higher office.
Take for example Bill McAbee. When McAbee was elected to Anderson County council, he had a wealth of local, regional and statewide goodwill. It was thought that McAbee, after a term or two on council, could pull off a Jim Miles like ascension from county office to statewide office. Four years later, McAbee has a fight for re-election to county council to worry about. McAbee entered council as a man trying to be a statesman, with too much dignity from his political past to get in the great saga that is Anderson county politics. Now, McAbee, like Bob Waldrep, enter their respective re-elections races upon their respective sides of the Preston versus Wilson saga. Their once larger roles are now diminished to a local political street fight. Even if both win re-election, they have lost.
It's a sad and painful thing to watch develop. Other counties use offices like county council and city council as their political benches for the future. In Anderson County, local and county offices seem to be the dead ends of otherwise promising careers.