Thursday, May 14, 2009
McMaster still going after Craig's List
Attorney General Henry McMaster has performed a solid job as Attorney General. For, example, his prosecution of those involved in the HomeGold/Carolina Investors scandal is laudable. It is not easy for a Republican to go after white collar crime, but McMaster did that and did it well.
That is why McMaster’s obsession with sex ads on Craig’s List is disappointing. Of course, no one really wants to defend the seedier side of life that the erotic services ads on Craig’s List had upon it. However, after Craig’s List operators moved to remove that section from their website and replace it with a monitored adult section, McMaster said that did not satisfy him.
Fair enough. However, if McMaster is going to go after Craig’s List, he had better be ready to go after AT&T. While it is true that AT&T is a big political donor to the state, AT&T clearly offers ad space in their yellow pages to escort services. If one believes that all of those escort services who advertise in the yellow pages are just for someone to show up with a man at a function with, there is some ocean front property in Belton you might be interested in.
Of course, South Carolinians will not hear McMaster threatening AT&T as he is threatening Craig’s List. There are reasons for that. First, AT&T is active in South Carolina, employs South Carolinians and makes sizable donations to politicians in both parties. The website Craig’s List does not. Thus, Craig’s List is a safe punching bag for the Attorney General to score moral points with the Republican primary base for next year’s gubernatorial primary. In other words, the attack on Craig’s List has less to do about the law than it does with politics.
That is disappointing. Henry McMaster has developed a fine reputation as a capable Attorney General. He has put the law before politics several times before in his office. However, it seems that now that his eyes are on the big prize of Governor, McMaster is ready for stunts to get attention.
Before McMaster allows this stunt to develop any more or add more stunts to his job, he should consider his predecessor. Charlie Condon was a respected Charleston prosecutor, who when advised by many of the same people that offer McMaster political advice, used stunts to get attention as Attorney General. As such, he finished a distant third to now Governor Mark Sanford and former Lt. Governor Bob Peeler in the 2002 GOP gubernatorial primary.
Attorney General McMaster is better than that. He has a record better than that. Here is hoping that he will not let well paid political consultants lead him down a road that makes him appear as a grandstanding carnival act in next year’s primary. For if McMaster pushes the Craig’s List issue and loses legally, which he could, he could join Condon as a well intentioned, ill advised also ran.