The candidates in both parties for Governor are historically lackluster. Indeed, 2010 seems to be one of the most dispassionate political campaigns for Governor in recent history. Outside political insiders and hardcore supporters, the gubernatorial race is a yawner for most people in South Carolina.
There is a reason for such. The candidates are all playing the game set forth by their paid handlers. They offer no inspiration and passion that captures the people of South Carolina.
Some blame the lack of passion for this year’s political races upon the dire economy. They are quick to point out that people do not have the disposable income to donate to candidates and are too worried about their own lives to donate their time and energy to a candidate.
Perhaps the economy is a factor. But, frankly, South Carolina has been through difficult times before. After all, we are a state that survived slavery, reconstruction, the Great Depression, and gave more than our fair share of blood and treasure to our nation’s wars. The history of the people of our state is diverse and proud. Through wars and hurricanes, and derisions by others, the people of South Carolina have always stood proud and pressed on.
So, these hard times will not rock the stuff that South Carolinians are made of. However, throughout our history, we always had leaders that seemed larger than life. Whether they were right or wrong, those leaders rose above the din of politics to lead. That is missing now.
Think of it, regardless of the party you belong to, does Haley, Barrett, Bauer and McMaster rise to the level of a Thurmond or Campbell, or even an Edwards for that matter? (For those of you with short memories, Jim Edwards was the first Republican Governor of SC since Reconstruction.) Does Sheheen and Rex rise to the level of Hollings and Byrnes?
Indeed, the leaders who built this state, right or wrong, were their own men. They did not rely upon some consultant to tell them what to say or what to believe. They were larger than life on their own. They were no one’s puppets. In the end, they built their careers on what they believed, not what some consultant told them to say to appeal to what the polls said some group believed.
That is how leadership inspires. Leadership is not following the advice of handlers. Leadership is not trying to guess what everyone wants. Leadership is inspiring people to follow the leader’s ideas. Leaders like Ronald Reagan and Carroll Campbell knew what they believed and convinced and inspired people to follow. In all frankness, that is missing in this Governor’s race. Not one candidate has illustrated that ability to know his or her own core and to lead people to be better.
Instead, the major candidates for the office of Governor huddle with highly paid consultants and try to guess what we want them to say to us, hoping to get our votes. Such is weak and uninspiring, fueling the rank and file voters in this state to not care as much as those of plugged into politics think that they should. Frankly, who can blame them? Candidates, who seem to be open, like Nikki Haley, play fast and loose with campaign laws and let groups run virtual campaign ads for them. Other candidates seem so handled by consultants. It is no wonder so many South Carolinians seem uninspired about the 2010 election. It is difficult to get fired up to follow people who do not seem truly able to lead.