Happy Thanksgiving. First, thank you for reading and commenting on Voting under the Influence. It is has been a great year for this blog, and all involved with it have you, the readers, to to thank for that.
That said, on to the 4th Annual Voting Under the Influence Thanksgiving political awards.
The winner of the Cornbread Dressing Award for career achievement goes to outgoing Columbia Mayor Bob Coble. Though Coble has had his problems as Mayor of Columbia, Coble's vision to revitalize the Vista region of the city became reality.
The winner of the Cranberry Sauce Award for outstanding local government achievement goes to Laurens County Council and related Laurens County officials who brought in the Clemson related project manufacturing plant while Anderson and Greenville County governments were distracted by investigations and the like.
The next two awards the nominees will be listed.
For political Turkey of the Year, the nominees are:
Governor Mark Sanford. Governor Sanford's Presidential hopes went away in less time than one can boil an egg when he admittedto secretly visiting his Argentine lover on, of all weekends, Father's Day weekend. Then came droning interviews and more ethical hypocrisies related to his traveling and his campaign fund.
The political group ACORN. ACORN went from claiming credit in electing President Obama to having Democrats in Congress strip them of federal funding. Let that sink in. You know you have had a bad year when Democrats want to not spend money on you.
Congressman Joe Wilson. Joe Wilson went from "Mr. Lexington" to "Mr. You lie!" Wilson turned what would have been a yawner of a Congressional race into one with national attention. Further, he got his son, Alan Wilson, off message for a few weeks in his Attorney Generals race. (Wilson did rebound, as discussed further on.)
The Howard Rich crowd in South Carolina. A lot of money was invested in their guy Mark Sanford. With 7 years of Mark Sanford as Governor, well funded organizations and blogs, they have almost nothing to show for other than an embattled Governor.
The Atlantic Beach, SC local government. Recent developments about a town council race being overturned add to the indicted Mayor and Police Chief arrested for public intoxication. Things just continue to unravel in that small South Carolina town.
The winner of the Turkey of the Year award is: Governor Mark Sanford. While words like "clueless" and "selfish" have been attributed to Governor Sanford by readers, perhaps one reader summed it up best when he stated, "Turkey of the Year? Is their anyone who has been a bigger turkey and let people down time and time again this year more than Mark Sanford? Hell no!"
Moving on to the nominations for Golden Drumstick award for best political year.
The "tea party" movement. Say what you will about some of those involved in the tea party movement, but that movement put the brakes on President Obama's health care agenda, something thought unthinkable in January.
State Senator Harvey Peeler. While other Republicans are positioning themselves for higher office or carrying water for what is left of the Sanford agenda, Majority Leader Harvey Peeler has been quietly making the SC State Senate run. One will not find the ego of Glenn McConnell or the anger of Jakie Knotts in Peeler. He just works.
Congressman Joe Wilson. Wilson is the first nominee for both Turkey of the year and the Golden Drumstick. The reason is after his "you lie!" remark made so famous, Wilson raised millions of dollars towards his re-election and began working his district like never before. As a result, after his gaffe, he is right back in the heavily favored column for next November. Further, Wilson is the only Republican running for the United State House who does not have any serious primary opposition.
Steve Benjamin, candidate for Mayor of Columbia. Rarely does a candidate announce his candidacy and it results in the retirement of a longtime incumbent. That is what Benjamin pulled off in Columbia when his candidacy put Bob Coble into retirement.
SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell. Like him or not, Speaker Harrell has positioned himself to perhaps be the most powerful politician in South Carolina state government as he has so far successfully negotiated the political tight rope between being outraged at Governor's Sanford's behavior and being cautious in the Governor's removal from office so that the weakened Governor stays to keep the Speaker strong. Due to that mastery of the political tightrope that has given such a good position this year, the Golden Drumstick goes to Speaker Bobby Harrell. Again, the Golden Drumstick is not about who is most liked or who even did the right thing, it about who has had the best political year.
Two more awards are left and they are coveted.
First, the Holiday Ham award for biggest ego(s) in politics. This year, it goes to Mark and Jenny Sanford. Some will boo the pick of Jenny, but remember Jenny chose to engage the Governor in public interviews and is writing a book on their relationship. Neither the Governor or his wife seem capable of spending much time out of the public spotlight. Neither will be ignored. For that, they win the Holiday Ham award.
The Fruitcake Award is self explanatory. There were several worthy suggestions for this award. They ranged from radio talk show hosts to bloggers. However, Wellford Mayor Sallie Peake earned the Fruitcake Award with her policy of "not foot chasing" by Wellford's police officers, her reversal of that policy, and the incredible interviews she had with WSPA TV regarding both acts. The videos have been posted on VUI before, and it is hard to find anyone that could take the Fruitcake Award from the Wellford Mayor.
Thank you for reading. Congratulations to the winners. May all of you have a great and safe Thanksgiving weekend.