Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How 'bout them Gamecocks

How 'bout them Gamecocks: national baseball champions.  The staff of VUI have taken a small summer break after the primary runoff to concentrate on cookouts and baseball for a few days.  But, we had to take the time to congratulate the National Champion South Carolina Gamecock baseball team.  We could not be prouder of them.  Way go Gamecocks you made South Carolina proud. 

Hat's off to Ray Tanner and his staff.  Ray Tanner has long been a great baseball coach and class act, but this national championship solidifies Tanner's years of hard work.  No longer can people say Tanner can not win the "big one," or that South Carolina can not win  the "big one" in a major college sport.  

Congratulations again to the National Champion South Carolina Gamecock baseball team.   

Monday, June 28, 2010

Editor's note

VUI is going to moderate comments again.  We hate to do that, but the content of some recent comments was unacceptable.  Your disagreements with the articles posted will be allowed up.  It may take several hours for your comments to be reviewed and posted. VUI believes it owes its readers rational relevant content in its comments section.  Thanks for reading.  

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Go Gamecocks! Beat UCLA!

The state of South Carolina was the center of the college baseball world on Saturday night as Clemson and South Carolina battled it out to determine who would face UCLA in the best of three series for the college baseball national championship.  As most know, the Gamecocks won, 4-3.

Though the staff at VUI, save for the two Clemson fans, think of Clemson as the late Lewis Grizzard did, as "nothing but Auburn with a lake," Clemson deserves congratulations on a great baseball season.  The Tigers were unlikely participants in the College World Series, but represented the State of South Carolina and themselves well with their showing.

But, alas, and praise be to God, the Gamecocks beat Clemson twice to get to play UCLA.  With their backs against the wall, the Gamecocks knocked out baseball powers Arizona State and Oklahoma before knocking out Clemson. Even if the Gamecocks do not down UCLA in the championship series, this Gamecock baseball team has to go down as one of the toughest and grittiest sports teams ever to wear the garnet and black.  Gamecock coach Ray Tanner has a group of young men who fight to win at every turn.

Saturday night was a night to be proud of South Carolina, as the state produced two of the three teams left playing college baseball.  It was even a better night to be a Gamecock.  Go Gamecocks! Beat UCLA!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Top 9 signs your summer cookout could be in trouble

9) After a few drinks, your buddy’s wife decides she needs the opinion of everyone at the cookout as to whether or not she needs breast implants. 

8) Bob Inglis shows up and starts lecturing you on how you did not have the money to feed everyone hot dogs, hamburgers, and cold beer.  He refuses to leave until you admit you bought the food and beverages on credit.

7) After a few more drinks, your buddy’s wife decides she needs to show everyone at the cookout her special new tattoo. 

6) Your senior citizen uncle wants to see your buddy’s wife tattoo again, and your aunt is packing heat. 

5) Your cousin Leroy shows up with his woman and his five kids, neglecting to tell you about his outstanding warrants until the deputies pull into the yard.

4) The nice young couple you decided to invite decided your cookout is the place to have their first big fight about their sex life.  You don’t have enough beer and whiskey to make you forget the things you hear.

3) You notice some woman standing in the field across the street taking pictures of your cookout.  Those pictures are immediately uploaded to some website to prove either who you “really are” or that your stalker babe was on a “date” with you at your cookout.

2) The Christian motorcycle riders next door decide that the night of your cookout is their night to backslide. 

1) Some blogger shows up drunk and starts talking about Nikki Haley and the book of Kama Sutra. Your uncle asks him, “Have you seen the woman with the tattoo of Vincent Sheheen?”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quit worrying about Jakie Knotts

It is difficult to tell what is more embarrassing, the conduct of State Senator Jakie Knotts or the conduct of people like SC GOP First Vice Chairman Patrick Haddon of Greenville, who dwell on Knotts, and even try to hurt lifelong Republicans like Congressman Joe Wilson in an election year.  

First, VUI is no fan of Knotts.  In fact, if you read our archives, you see we have made some pretty good humor at his expense.  His "raghead" remarks about Nikki Haley and the President were unacceptable.  But, so is dwelling on him and making the unprecedented move of banning him from running as a Republican.  

In South Carolina, we have a tradition of letting people vote in primaries.  In South Carolina, we believe in the crazy idea of freedom.  People are free to declare their party on primary day and vote in the primary of their choice.  If Jakie Knotts runs as Republican and gets people to vote for him in his District, that is freedom.  We should not fear it as liberals do.  We should embrace it.  

For, if Senator Knotts, with all his faults, is denied access to the Republican Primary ballot, who will be next?   Will it be some legislator who does not walk lock step with a Governor Haley? Will it be someone who has some sort of personal conflict with members of the state party?  Where will banning people from running as Republicans end?  

For most of my life, I have believed that the Republican Party was the party of better ideas on most matters.  Therefore, I think it should never be afraid to allow any man or woman to stand for its party's nomination in a race.  That is what liberals do.  They fear the people and ballot box. They use committees and twisting of the law to silence those who disagree.  We Republicans do not.  We Republicans believe in the free market, and that includes the free marketplace of ideas within our own party's primaries.  

If the SC GOP follows Haddon's lead and takes the liberal way that is filled with fear and anger, the SC GOP will lose its soul.  Let Jakie Knotts face the voters in a GOP primary and beat him there, not in some liberal like committee meeting. Have faith, Mr. Haddon and others, in the people and ideals of the the free market who you claim to represent in your party offices. 

SC GOP gets off message

Sometimes one just has to wonder what some people are thinking.  VUI has had several different people tell us that Karen Floyd's state party operation was "off the reservation," but that happens.  

Then came the way in which the SC GOP kicked off the Governor's race for the Fall by attacking Demoratic nominee Vincent Sheheen.  The attacks seemed silly and not necessary.  The SC GOP made clear it wants to nationalize the Governor's race and tie Sheheen to President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  

Fair enough.  But, nationalizing the race will tie Nikki Haley to Sarah Palin's recent ethical lapses with her PAC.  Further, to launch a campaign by attacking an opponent goes against the campaign of positive reform that got Haley the nomination in the first place.  Simply put, in a act of self delusional cleverness, the state party operation has taken the white hat and the the Teflon armor off of Haley in the eyes of the media types who cover races and the middle or the road voters who actually pay attention and decide such races.  In other words, the Democrats can hit Haley now that the GOP has hit Sheheen so quickly and in a manner that is like Haley is behind. 

It defies logical reasoning.   When the Republican nominee is up 20 points in a Republican state, you don't kick off the campaign by attacking the Democrat.  You stay on message, and you get the party on board with you.  Further, politicos are telling us how strange of a year this has been.  It is strange in one regard, people have a very low tolerance for sneaky moves and attacks.  They want to hear solutions.  Good grief, that's how Haley won the nomination.  Why party operatives want to stray from that message right off the bat is puzzling.  Even if the party operatives think that Haley can only win if they attack Sheheen, why waste the ammo now?  Haley's people, of course cannot say anything about the party's moves, but they are too smart to be pleased with them. 

The Southern Connector goes bankrupt

Among the public transportation issues VUI has reported on over the past few months, we noted the trouble that Connector 2000, the non profit entity that manages the public-private Southern Connector toll rode was having meeting its financial obligations.  The Southern Connector was never a big hit to drivers in the Upstate, but when the economy struggled, even fewer drivers paid the toll to bypass Greenville traffic.  

Recently, Connector 2000 filed for bankruptcy and claimed to owe $370 million dollars of debt, with only $150 million of that debt being secured.  Have no doubts, the bankruptcy of the Southern Connector is going to be a big political and legal mess.  

The irony of the situation is that tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on I-385, the road that the Southern Connector was built to complement.  

More on this later, but for now, all VUI has to say is that we saw this coming. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A night of big wins

As VUI was for Alan Wilson for Attorney General and took some "anonymous" hits for doing so, several of the staff wanted the headline to be "Scoreboard!"  But, we are not going to do that, though a lot campaigns must be feeling that tonight.  The truth is Republican voters in South Carolina made clear decisions as to who they want representing their party in most elections around the state in November.  

They were extremely clear about their nominee for Governor, where Nikki Haley won 65% of the vote against Congressman Gresham Barrett.  As a side note, VUI would like to thank Congressman Barrett for his service to our state and country.  Barrett is a nice guy, but he got caught on the wrong end of a political hurricane.  

Two other sitting United States Congressman had a bitter runoff night.  Bob Inglis barely got 29% of the vote against his opponent Trey Gowdy.  In a really odd contest that VUI noted earlier as its local race to watch, Congressman Henry Brown was soundly defeated by Dan Davis in his bid to become Berkeley County Supervisor of all things.  Sitting Republican Congressmen were 0 for 3 soundly on runoff night. Being a sitting US Congressman was a detriment on runoff night.  

The exception was Congressman Wilson, whose son won handily.  Perhaps the Lord folks or his supporters who aired the shadowy attacks against Alan Wilson were counting on the unpopularity of sitting members of Congress.  It backfired and someone is out a lot of money and is probably going to have serious questions to answer.  Just how did a college student afford giving tens of thousands to SC Truth Squad?

We also learned that Haley really has no coattails within the party.  Haley supporters wanted Bill Conner to be the nominee for Lt. Governor.  Ken Ard won with 61% of the vote.  It seems like eight years ago, when Sanford did not like Bauer, but Bauer got the Lt. Governor's nomination.  Also, sitting SC Rep. Joey Millwood, one of darling members of the House to the Haley movement was defeated for renomination.  Add to that the fact that Marion Frye, from Saluda County, a target of the Haley supporters, won. 

There were three other contested Congressional races. Jeff Duncan barely beat a well organized extreme right challenge from Richard Cash in the Third District. Tim Scott waxed Paul Thurmond with 68% of the vote, to become the first Black nominee for Congress of the Republican Party since Reconstruction.  Two people who we never heard of battled it out to be the GOP sacrificial lamb against Jim Clyburn.  Chances are we will never hear from them in the fall.  

General Zais defeated Elizabeth Moffley in a closer than expected runoff for Superintendent of Education.    

But, in the end, the Republican voters spoke loud and clear.  It is mixed to some people.  It is clear that each race is its own.  

That said, to the Lord supporters who attacked this blog, Alan Wilson's mama, and his daddy and him, VUI says you fought your fight as you saw fit.  Fair enough.  As I looked over the results tonight, I thought of that great lawyer John Adams and his quote, "facts are stubborn things."  

Congratulations to all the winners. We look forward to covering your campaigns and even making fun of you from time to time. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

What do you do with good ole boys like me?

This year the term "good ole boy" has been maligned. Politicians have hijacked that term and defined it as corrupt.  Emails and comments on this blog accuse me of being a good ole boy.  Frankly, I hope I am one.

Having actually grown up in a rural town in South Carolina and living in one now, I can tell you the politicians have it wrong.  A good ole boy volunteers for the local fire department or for local charities.  A good old boy is a guy you can count on.  For example, a man might say that after he lost his job, "Frankie loaned me $500 to pay my mortgage."  The response would be "Yeah, that Frankie, he is a good ole boy."  

Good ole boys in the South are Black, Hispanic and White.  Good ole boys tend to work hard for their money, believe in traditional values, like their guns and hunting, and try their best to do what's right.  Good ole boys take care of their families and look after their neighbors.  They do not have the time to hate and plot like politicos do.  Good ole boys are too busy trying to the right thing.  

Some good ole boys are religious.  Some are not. Some good ole boys drink too much, some don't drink at all.  Good ole boys like barbecue, college football and mama's fried chicken.  Good ole boys don't like big government, but they want the government that they do have to be able to work for the people.  Good ole boys will be there when you need them, and they don't care about how much money you have, who you work for, or yes, what color your skin is. 

Though we good ole boys come up short, we were taught things about doing right, never taking advantage of the weak, looking after widows, and standing up for what we believe in.  

That was the definition of good ole boy I learned growing up.  I grew up around great men.  My grandpa and my dad, and men, both black and white, I worked for or had as coach or scoutmaster, who are still heroes to me and they all were good ole boys.  

As a boy, I went to sleep with an attic fan and smells of a Southern Summer.  I fished and followed the Braves and was taught to respect my elders and the sacrifices that they made in wars.  I hauled hay and worked in a cotton mill.  From that I learned who good ole boys really were. I wonder sometimes if any of the political professionals who so malign that term every opened a bale of cotton or put a bale of hay on a truck. 

Country music singer Don Williams sums it up with this song.  It does beg the question, what do you do with good ole boys like me? 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

VUI will find the truth about the SC Truth Squad

A group sprung up on over the past few days in South Carolina politics called the South Carolina Truth Squad.  Though they did file a report with the South Carolina Ethics Commission recently, that report said they had no contributions and no expenditures. 

Then, the South Carolina Truth Squad dropped tens of thousands of dollars to buy television ads attacking Attorney General Candidate Alan Wilson.  While there is no denying that we at VUI favor Alan Wilson, we abhor cheap shots by any political groups that just appear a few days before an election.  After all that is why this blog is named Voting under the Influence.  We strive to expose the influence of secret money over South Carolina politics. 

We tried to find out how a group with no money and no assets reported found the money to drop on such ads.  We called the prepaid cell phone from Greenwood that is listed as their contact phone number repeatedly. VUI left voice messages asking for a return call to answer our questions.  There has been no response. 

That is no surprise.  That is how groups that claim to be dedicated to openness and honesty in government and politics seem to act today in South Carolina.  But, what is odd and disappointing is how the ad against Alan Wilson by South Carolina Truth Squad seems in sync with the Lord for Attorney General Campaign.  Add to that the mysterious group that “attacked” Lord in the upstate for his efforts on the Boeing deal back in April, and well, the whole thing is troubling.  Two groups out of nowhere launched ads that actually both benefited a candidate for office. 

VUI is not accusing anyone of anything…yet, but something does not smell right about all this.  Though the election will be decided one way or the other on Tuesday before we get our investigation completed fully, regardless of who wins, we will pursue this matter as much as we can.  Contrary to what some comment on, the content of this blog is not paid for or controlled by any candidate.  VUI calls its own shots, right or wrong.  Not one dime from any campaign has ever been paid to the editor, his business or any member of the “staff” of VUI.  Not one dime. VUI challenges other bloggers to state the same.

Investigating the South Carolina Truth Squad is not about this or that candidate for office.  It is about the integrity of our political system and about holding candidates and their supporters accountable for their actions.  We are going to dig on this one, as we have before.  Let the chips fall where they may.  VUI laid out Mark Sanford’s misuse of 2006 campaign funds long before the mainstream media paid attention.  We love to dig.  And, dig we will. It is our hobby.   

Of course, South Carolina Truth Squad, you have the VUI editor’s phone number and email.  Answer the questions. Where did you get your money?  Why did you not want to disclose that before the election?  Why do your ads seem in sync with a candidate’s?  You are for truth, give VUI the truth. 

The Founding Fathers were career politicians

One thing that irks VUI about the Tea Party movement and the campaign of Nikki Haley for Governor is when they allude to the Founding Fathers of the United States being men who were somehow disengaged from politics and people that, like them, just showed up and found a better way.  It is nice rhetoric for a candidate with little experience, like Barack Obama or Nikki Haley.  It is nice rhetoric to throw at people hungry for something to believe in as they look around and see their lives so affected by the economy.  But, it is simply not true. 

Sorry.  The reality is each and every one of the Founding Fathers of this country was plugged into to politics their entire lives.  They held local offices, they led local political movements, and they wrote political opinions.  Ben Franklin, for example, formed the first fire department and public library in this country.  The Founding Fathers created the ideal of limited government, but that sprang from lifetimes of political experience.  They also believed in competence, and feared that the people would get caught up in some movement that was beyond reason.  That is why the idea of states’ rights, the Senate, and the Electoral College was created.  Those safeguards, along with the concept of three branches of government were created to protect the people from themselves. 

If you doubt that, read the Federalist Papers.  There you will find smart men writing opinions about government free of campaign contributions, political parties or rock star like status of candidates. Our Founding Fathers wrote long letters to one another and to others explaining their views and their fears about government.  They used their brains and their years of experience.  Not a one of them was a newcomer to the political scene.  Not a one of them was ashamed of being what we call today a career politician. 

But, our politicians today do lack.  Haley, for example, is an empty suit.  It is doubtful Haley has read the South Carolina State Constitution, much less the Federalist Papers or the biographies of the Founding Fathers.    She is not alone.  Chances are most of those who are running for office embracing the ideals of the Founding Fathers really don’t know them.  They spit out phrases written by political handlers that sound like something but really say nothing.  That is South Carolina and America now. The Right has joined the Left in embracing emotion and feel good politics instead of thinking.  Big money makes sure the right people are paid to give candidates the right words, so their narrow agendas can be met with, gulp, the help of government with their pet candidates elected. 

Gone are the days of conservative thinkers like William Buckley, who spent his life studying government actions and how they worked and did not work.  Gone are the days of politicians like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, who now history shows read a lot, wrote a lot and thought out their positions.  Now we have a breed of slick, well financed politicos who read from a script.  The Democrats have the same problem.  We are a culture that celebrates ignorance and inexperience in politics. 

Think about it.  If your car broke down on the side of some road far from home, who would you want to tow the car and work on it?   Would you want someone that told you when they arrived that they were proud to not have experience working on cars or you want someone who had the knowledge and experience to fix your car and get you home? Would you want someone who was paid by this or that car dealer to not fix your car so you have to buy a new one?   Why would you want anything less from someone who runs your government?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Top 9 things we could hear from candidates and their supporters before Tuesday's runoff

 9)"Yes, little girl, Alan Wilson stole your kitten and gave it to his good old boy daddy Joe. But, I have the ability to sue them in the Supreme Court and get it back.  My time pretending to be a cop helps me with that." Leighton Lord

8) "I ain't ever passed a bar.  I always stop and have a cold one." Jakie Knotts

7) "Will somebody please claim to have had an affair with me?"  Gresham Barrett

6) " I am a proud SCINO...South Carolinian in name only." various Republican candidates

5) "We are for open and honest government, but we will let you know who contributed to us after the election is over." The new group SC Truth Squad running ads in SC. 

4) "Do you really want some little girl from Florence telling you who to vote for for Lt. Governor?  I can't believe I might lose to some little girl. Fire, ready, aim!" Bill Connor

3)"To prove that we are going broke I am going to set what little hair I have left on my head on fire, my opponent won't do that." Bob Inglis

2) "I am sober, I am good enough, and dog gone it, Howard Rich likes me." Mick Zais

1) "That drill sargent in Gresham's ads is sexy." Nikki Haley

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rawl created the Greene mess by being lazy

Alvin Greene continues to be a factor in South Carolina politics. Since his upset win in the United States Senate Primary over Victor Rawl, those on the right and the left freely give their theories on why Greene won the Primary. Democrats, including Rawl, are protesting, hinting at voting machine problems and Republicans making shady moves. Republicans now are in the game. A GOP state representative is asking for SLED to look into the Greene campaign. Republicans are out hocking the idea that Democrats enticed Greene to run so Rawl could raise money twice from contributors.

Both Republicans and Democrats are long on conspiracies and short on facts. What is a fact is that Rawl, though the darling of the Democratic establishment ran no campaign whatsoever. There were no yard signs at precinct locations, no mail outs, no ads. Rawl simply thought his previous legislative serviced in a small area would carry the day to the nomination. Rawl and his people goofed.

It is too simple for any politician to understand. People went to the polls not knowing really who either candidate for the United States Senate where. Random choice gives a candidate 50 percent in such cases. Then, the first being the first name on the ballot gives more votes. Then, having a name that seems familiar, such as Alvin Greene to the gospel singer Al Green, gives more votes. Thus, it is logical that Alvin Greene won since neither candidate actually waged a real campaign.

Investigations and allegations are just nonsense and a product of denial. Rawl and the Democratic establishment and the Republicans are just spitting out hot air. The real reason Rawl got embarrassed was that he did not run a campaign. As we at VUI stated before, if you do not run an active campaign for your party’s nomination, you really do not have the right to cry over being embarrassed by some guy beating you that you never heard of.

Facing such is too difficult for politicos in both parties. Instead, they will beat their chests in self righteous indignation and tell us how it is so wrong that an average unemployed man won.

VUI does not buy such. Rawl had months to actually wage a real campaign. Rawl chose not to. So he should not cry about losing. He blew it. As for Republicans voting for Greene, all we have to say is get real. With one the hottest GOP primary races for Governor in South Carolina history, it is frankly hard to believe that people would give up that vote to set up Greene. Those who contend such do not live in reality as we know it.

Democrats should refrain from insulting the voters and accept that Rawl messed up. As such, if the criminal charges against Greene bother them so, their executive committee should nominate someone like Jim Hodges. Nominating Rawl now will turn off their core voters and make them seem like rich white guys ticked that some unemployed black man won. Rawl had his chance and chose to be lazy. That is the real reason Democrats are in this mess.  Just a few yard signs, or a few mail outs, Mr. Rawl.  That is all it would have taken for you to prevent this.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Governor cannot campaign against a hurricane

Simply put, there is no Carroll Campbell on the ballot this year for Governor, in either party.  Carroll Campbell was perhaps the greatest Governor of a generation, so it is not fair to compare candidates to him. 

But, it is fair and right to remember what Campbell did and ask if a candidate for Governor has those abilities.

First, Campbell had a strong resume as a leader and as Republican Party builder.  Campbell had no litmus tests for people to join his Republican Party.  If you agreed with his agenda on most things, Campbell was glad to have you call yourself a fellow Republican. 

Second, Governor Campbell had the ability to work with legislators in his own party and in the Democratic Party to get things done.  His reforms of government were the strongest in a century and they came with the assistance of Democrats like former State Senator John Drummond.  Campbell had the knowledge of how things worked so that he could be comfortable in working with legislators.  Campbell realized they were elected to office just as he was, and he respected them and their role.  Competence allows such.   If a Governor knows what is going on and how things work, he or she can influence events.  If not, he or she can only sit on the sideline and lob charges, as we have witnessed with Governor Sanford over the past seven and a half years.

Campbell's knowledge and competence extended beyond legislative affairs.  When Hurricane Hugo hit, Campbell worked with a myriad of government and private entities to make sure South Carolina recovered as quickly as possible.  It was his finest hour and defined what a great Governor should be.

Indeed, Governors are legally politically weak in South Carolina.  On their agendas, their ability to persuade members of the General Assembly is essential to governing effectively.  Further, a Governor does have the power in a crisis.  That is perhaps a Governor's truest test of ability and leadership.  Protecting the people of South Carolina in a time of crisis is the Governor's first duty.

As such, think on this. While there is truly no Carroll Campbell on the ballot, take a moment to think who you really want in that chair if a Category 4 hurricane is sitting off the coast of Charleston about to strike.  Who do you want calling the shots that will protect your life, and your family and friend's lives?  Rhetoric does not count in those moments. Slick ads and endorsements do not matter.  The judgment to make split second life and death decisions does. You can't blame this or that politician for a hurricane, you have to lead. You can not hire some consultant to tell you how to convince a hurricane to turn away. 

So, when you vote, think about that moment.  Which candidate really can lead when a crisis is upon us?  Who do you trust with your life and your loved ones lives?  When a crisis comes, who has the resume and leadership to show up and work and get things done?

Wilson's new ad simply lays things out as they are

Here is Alan Wilson's new ad. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alan Wilson gets two big endorsements, Lord supporters attack his mama

Alan Wilson’s campaign for Attorney General got two big endorsements on Monday from former Attorney General Charlie Condon and from former candidate Robert Bolchoz.  Both men are political heavy hitters in the South Carolina Low County, with Bolchoz wining big in Charleston last Tuesday. 

Both men touted Wilson’s record as a prosecutor as to why they support him.  Lord’s response was reported by Will Folks on his blog, yes that Will Folks of Nikki Haley fame.  The statement droned on about establishment politicians, blah blah blah.  I wonder if Lord feels that way about “establishment politician” Solicitor Jerry Peace who endorsed Lord in the primary.  Will Lord drone on about “establishment politicians” if he gets the endorsement from a certain Low Country solicitor his camp is bragging about having announced in the next couple of days? 

Lord supporters are hinting at Nikki Haley endorsing Lord.  Perhaps it will happen.  But, the low tactics of Lord supporters should run Haley off.  She has nothing to gain by getting behind a group that is going after Alan Wilson’s mother and Joe Wilson’s wife.  As a woman attacked unfairly, Haley should know to stay away from the race.

Just take a look at the comments section on a Lord friendly blog such as FITSNEWS ran by the Haley tainted Will Folks and you will see Lord supporters going after Roxanne Wilson.  Even on this blog in the comments section, they attack the woman. 

Frankly put, only a pissant attacks a candidate’s mama.  No amount of money or political clout can take that pissant status away from such a person.  Further, in response to the Bolchoz endorsement, some Lord supporters are not only acting like pissants in attacking Wilson’s mama, but they are acting like pissants throwing around Haley’s name like they can make the decision for her. 

I mean, come on, Lord supporters, attacking a man’s mama?  Are you people in middle school or something? What are you going to try next?  Maybe give Alan a wet willie when he is not looking? 

Haley is a lot like Obama in that she probably can't be defeated

Hillary Clinton and Gresham Barrett do not have a lot in common. But, they do have one thing in common. Two years ago, Hillary Clinton thought she saw a light at the end of the political tunnel. That light was the political freight train called Obama for President. Now, Barrett faces a similar situation. He moved up in the poles, got in the runoff, and that Haley train horn is blowing from the light his campaign sees in the tunnel. Like Obama for President in 2008, Haley for Governor in 2010 has momentum that just cannot be logically explained.

Barack Obama got elected President of the United States with a relatively flimsy resume by running a campaign long on emotion and platitudes and short on substance. Back in 2008, there were even Republicans who voted for Obama thinking that he was moderate or middle of the road and because they liked him. Fast forward to South Carolina in 2010, and the same can be said for Haley. People like her and vote for her, but do not really offer a logical argument as to why. It is stunning how little is really known about Nikki Haley. Further, like Obama in 2008, if someone dares to question something such as Haley’s attendance record in the SC House, they are labeled as disloyal to the Republican Party and the state.

There are several factors at play. First and foremost is the economy. During hard times, voters seem to be emotional and look to support the most ignorant and least experienced candidate in order to change things. It happened throughout the country in the 1930s with the most prominent example being country music singer Pappy O’Daniel being elected Governor of Texas. If a candidate can touch people somehow, voters will fall all over themselves in difficult times to ignore a candidate’s very real faults just for the hope that candidate will make things better. Thus, in the wake of the bank failures of 2008 and being still involved in two wars, America turned to Barack Obama. As Obama turned about to be far more liberal than expected and woefully over his head, South Carolina voters shifted to another candidate who is long on rhetoric and short on resume, Nikki Haley.

Haley also has the sleaze factor in her favor. Two types of players in politics are held in really low regard: bloggers and lobbyists. When a blogger and a lobbyist came out and said that they had improper relations with Haley, it gave her an incredible boost. There are still enough older voters left in the SC GOP for Haley to become the Southern Lady done wrong. Even if some believe the charges, they believe that a Southern gentleman does not kiss and tell. The incredibly boneheaded comments of Jakie Knotts were just the icing on the cake, so to speak.

Momentum was created, like with Obama, that just seems unable to be stopped. Such is politics today. Forget voters voting for the most qualified candidate for an office like Governor. The factors really are: having fair to good sexual appeal, having a bit of charisma that gives some hope, talking in platitudes about nothing of substance, and the willingness to celebrate one’s ignorance and lack of experience in government affairs. If a candidate has such factors, things like their actual job performance will not matter. Having some boneheads attack that candidate without really backing up their claims is just insurance. Haley is a lot like Obama. And, Obama won.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The nomination of Mr. Greene

When Alvin Greene won the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate, people finally noticed that Democrats had a race for the nomination.  Greene is an unemployed man facing criminal charges.  Greene’s opponent, Victor Rawl, is a respected member of the Democratic Party and was thought by many Democrats to give United States Senator Jim DeMint a serious race for the seat in the Fall. 

Then Greene shocked the Democratic Party by winning the nomination.  Democrats are upset.  Among them is Congressman Jim Clyburn, who has called for an investigation into Greene and his nomination.  Prominent Democrats want to think something sinister happened to nominate the unknown employed man with criminal charges for such a prominent position.  They simply cannot accept that their voters could have simply made a dumb choice. 

Picking on the voters is never something that a politician wants to do.  But, let’s face the facts in the race for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate.  Democrats were overshadowed by the race for Governor and other offices in the GOP Primary.  Frankly, the campaign of Nikki Haley sucked all the political oxygen out of the room over the past few weeks, even among Republicans.  Democrats who stayed loyal to their party in the primary were concerned about the Governor’s race and local offices.  The race for the United States Senate race was not on their radar. 

There is a reason for that.  Greene and Rawl did not campaign very much.  Voters did not know who either one of them were.   While there might be something sinister found out, VUI doubts it.  What is more likely is that voters in the Democratic Primary did what voters typically do when they do not know either candidate.  In such cases, voters typically do three things.  First, they ignore the race and do vote for anyone.  Second, they vote for the first name that they come to, which was Greene.  Third, they vote for a name that seems familiar in some way.  Alvin Greene sounds a lot like Al Green, the gospel singer. 

VUI believes that the nomination of Mr. Greene was that simple.  While prominent Democrats like Jim Clyburn do not want to face that fact, VUI thinks that they and anyone else in politics should.  There is a lesson to be learned.  If you want the nomination of your party for some office, you have to campaign for it.  If you don’t, anything can happen, including your party’s voters making an embarrassing choice at the polls.  

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Barrett is taking the role of Joe Riley from 1994

Sixteen years ago, Democrats nearly nominated then Lt. Governor Nick Theodore for Governor in the primary. Theodore pushed the 50 percent mark, but fell short, forcing Theodore into a runoff with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who was down in the 20s. Pressure was brought upon Riley back then to concede the race. Riley did not.

What occurred was one of the closest primary runoffs in South Carolina political history. Theodore won, but only barely, leaving him wounded in the fall campaign against David Beasley. Joe Riley, despite the fact he lost the runoff, was vindicated for running a runoff campaign by the closeness of the runoff vote.

Sixteen years later, Gresham Barrett plays the role of Joe Riley in the Republican Primary. Nikki Haley came close to winning the nomination outright last Tuesday, and Barrett trailed her back in the 20s. Like Riley, Barrett is running and not backing off. Some call him stubborn for doing so, but Barrett might be smart.

Primary runoffs are crazy things in South Carolina politics. Just four years ago, it seemed that Mike Campbell would whip Andre Bauer for the Lt. Governor’s nomination after beating Bauer well in the primary. Yet, Bauer turned out more voters in key counties than he did in the primary and won the nomination.

Bauer’s victory in 2006 is just one example of a long line of primary runoff upsets. Relatively few voters turn out to vote in the primaries, even less show up to vote in the primary runoff. Because of the limited number of voters who will show up to vote in the runoff, runoff elections are elections in which campaigns face a clean slate and compacted time in which to campaign. That is why VUI says when a candidate makes a runoff, all it really means is that it is time for that candidate to really go to work.

That said, Nikki Haley, like her or not, does not have the Republican nomination for Governor yet, despite what national media outlets such as NBC News say. Gresham Barrett still has something to say about the matter. Do not be shocked if Barrett, like Riley years ago, makes the primary a lot more interesting and closer than expected. Barrett has money and charisma. So far, Barrett is making the right move in not attacking Haley, which her campaign wants him to do.

Do not be surprised if “good girl” Haley has supporters who attack Barrett. It is how that crowd operates. They have their candidate talk about a positive campaign while supporters attack the opponent on the internet and through other media outlets. It is as effective as it is deceptive. It is how the people around Haley got Mark Sanford elected Governor and they are counting on the same tactics to get Haley elected.

The Haley campaign is pretty ticked that Barrett decided to make the runoff a race. That is for a reason. Once the spotlight got on the Haley campaign, they basked in the glow of charges of affairs and their denials of it. But, over the next week, real matters will come up, such as Haley’s attendance record in the SC House and her stands on issues. Frankly put, when you look at Haley’s ability to really get things done, her record is lacking.

Haley reminds VUI of ole Nick Theodore in 1994. People voted for ole Nick in the primary because they liked him. Then, when faced with the crucible of a runoff, people started looking at what he stood for, and damn near nominated Joe Riley, who supposedly had no chance. With moves like making Bill Connor her de facto running mate, Haley is going down that road. It could be a much closer race for Governor than people think, unless the Haley camp can come up with another questionable character who claimed he messed around with her.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How did the Lord Campaign miss something like this?

The Lord for Attorney General Campaign is priding itself on attention to detail and competence in management. Fair enough.

We at VUI believe that how a campaign manages it financial disclosures is an indicator of their managerial abilities. Frankly if you cannot find out the occupations of the people giving you money or who the people are that are giving you money, how can you manage a multi-million dollar agency? VUI finds that true for all candidates, not just the Lord campaign.

However, the Lord campaign was the campaign VUI recently searched. We pick at Lord with humor, but we respect his professional ability. Imagine our disappointment when we found that the majority of contributors on his last campaign disclosure listed their occupations as “unknown.”

What is even more disappointing was a donation we found made to the Lord campaign on March 25th, 2010 from Interior Access, located at 903 Vicar Lane Alexandria, Virginia. The donation was in the amount of $3500. VUI is always curious about people from out of state who give to state only races, so we took a look at that donor.

Though there very well might be a person named “Interior Access” in Alexandria, Virginia, we could find no such person in property or telephone records that we searched. From the information found on Google Maps, the address 903 Vicar Lane appears to be a residence in an upscale neighborhood. According to the Alexandria, Virginia Tax Assessors’s office, that property is owned by Peter T. or Megan C. Madigan.

Further, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State Corporation Commission’s database, the only entity close to “Interior Access” in Virginia is Interior Access, L.L.C., which has a purged status.

What really is disheartening  is that Peter Madigan and Megan Madigan each gave the Lord campaign $3500 on September 21st, 2009. That forbade the Lord Campaign from accepting any more money from them in the primary cycle.

So how can a campaign pride itself on management ability when it accepted a campaign contribution from a business with questionable status which listed its address as the same as two people who already gave the maximum amount allowed by law? One would think a campaign that touts how dedicated it is to managerial expertise would have done the homework and said, “Thanks, but no thanks, this could look bad.”  Frankly, it does.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Top 9 comments heard after the SC primaries

9) You sure that Leighton Lord guy doesn’t think he’s Crockett and got his law enforcement experience working with Tubbs in Miami?

8) Who in the Hell is Elizabeth Moffley?

7) I tried to have a sexual relationship with a woman like Nikki Haley, but she just sat on the bed for four years and told me how good it was gonna be.

6) You know you are in trouble when you have been in Congress for 12 years and you run an ad having your daughters brag about you sleeping on an air mattress in your office. It seems like they are saying, “daddy can’t find his way to a hotel room anymore, but we still love him.”

5) You would think that drill sergeant would put some sense into Gresham Barrett’s head.

4) Yeah, baby, I am the Democratic nominee. Let me show you a few pictures of a real stimulus package.

3) This year proves anyone can grow up to be Lt. Governor.

2) Duncan versus Dick Cash…it just sounds wrong somehow.

1) You mean Alvin Greene ain’t Al Green the gospel singer? Oh Lord, what I have done?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Oh, what a night

The Primary Election of 2010 is now in the books.  What an election.  What a night as the returns came in.  Here is how things seem to be shaping up, with our comments and all.  This post will be a little longwinded to some, but we are trying cover it all. 

First, congratulations to Vincent Sheheen. Sheheen put an old fashioned whipping on Jim Rex and Robert Ford to get the Democratic nomination for Governor.  Welcome, Mr. Sheheen to the big time now. 

Also, congratulations to Nikki Haley.  Haley was attacked by friend and foe alike, but garnered 48.86% of the Republican Primary vote for Governor.  In second place is Congressman Gresham Barrett, way behind with 21.76% of the GOP vote.  Expect calls for Barrett to concede but do not expect Barrett to answer them.  For some reason, memories of Nick Theodore and Joe Riley in the Democratic Primary of 1994 come to mind.  Theodore nearly won, Riley was way behind, but their runoff race ended up one for the ages. 

Congratulations also go to Richard Ecstrom, who secured another nomination as Comptroller General and to Curtis Loftis who whipped incumbent Treasurer Converse Chellis after the nastiest race for that office in state history. 

Besides Haley and Barrett there are some interesting runoff races shaping up in the GOP.  Ken Ard will take on Bill Connor, who surged late, for the Lt. Governor nomination.  Alan Wilson and Leighton Lord will meet  in the expected runoff for Attorney General.  Zais will  be mixing it up with suprise runoff contender Elilabeth Moffley in the GOP Superintendant of Education race. 

The Congressional and SC House races offered some interesting results and showed that while the voter turnout was relatively low, those who did turn out were ticked off. 

The exception was incumbent Congressman Joe Wilson, who rolled to renomination in the Second Congressional District against Phil Black. 

But, other House races were much more interesting.  In the first, Tim Scott won the primary with 31.49% of the vote but will face Paul Thurmond in a runoff.  Scott is the first black man since Reconstruction to be in such a position in a Republcian Congressional Primary in South Carolina.

In the Third, an upset happened.  Richard Cash, a man actually short on campaign cash but long on grassroots things like signs and get out the vote efforts, ecked out more primary votes than favorite Jeff Duncan.  Cash and Duncan will meet in the runoff. 

In the Fourth, incumbent Bob Inglis was shown the door by Trey Gowdy.  But, Gowdy only got 39.09& of the vote, so he will meet Inglis again in the runoff.  Inglis got 27.54% of the vote yesterday and is in what can only be called real trouble. 

In the SC House, some people were told to go home.  Among the most prominent was longtime SC House member Harry Cato, who only got 31.19% of the vote in his primary race against the winner, Tim Corbin. 

There were also some unexpected close calls in the SC House.  One was in Greenwood, where Rep. Gene Pinson ecked out a victory over Buck Griffin. 

Representative Marion Frye faces a runoff with Ralph Kennedy to hold on to his seat after a close primary. 

The most shocking results in SC House primaries came from the District 10 GOP House race.  Dan Cooper, a longtime member of the House and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Commitee faced off against Joshua Putnam, a good young man by all accounts, but a a very young man who has not even finished college.  Cooper took the race too lightly, and it nearly cost him his seat.  Putnam pushed Cooper to the edge.  In the end, Cooper won with 2882 votes to Putnam's 2751.  It was a race that went back and forth all night.  The race should serve as a wakeup call to Cooper.  It also will encourage more prominent opponents to take a look at running in 2012.  As for Putnam, watch out for this young man.  He will live to fight another day somewhere. 

That brings us to another shockingly close race.  VUI said the local race to watch was the Berkeley County Supervisor's race, as it was part of Henry Brown's odd road home. Well, Mr. Brown finished first in that primary, by two votes, over incumbent Supervisor Dan Davis.  So much for Brown's contact and money making the race a yawner.  The two will meet again in two weeks at the polls. 

There are other interesting races, but there is only so much people will read.  VUI says this.  When the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee nearly loses re-election to a kid who has not yet finished college, all we have to say is "Oh, what a night."

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


The sad truth is that turnout for the Republican and Democratic primaries in South Carolina will likely be low.  Even if there is an increase in turnout, it will be light, based on the number of absentee ballots coming in around the state.  Roughly 75 percent of the people who can vote will not vote.  

Thus, roughly 25 percent of eligible voters in South Carolina will select not only the major parties' nominees for the fall, but many local offices in which there is only opposition ii the primary.  It is a puzzling situation.  Many of those who will not vote are good people.  They will blame work or blame school or whatever.  But, in the end, a South Carolinian is more likely to spend time trying to figure which grocery store has the best price on hamburger meat than which politicians would best serve him and spend the third of his income that goes to government best.  

It has been that way for years and politicians and their handlers like it that way.  Of course, they will give lip service to getting the people out to vote, but what they really mean is their people.  Campaigns, especially this year on tight budgets, use targeting.  The consultants target who they believe will vote based upon voting history.  The statistics are pretty solid.  Around twenty percent will vote in their respective primaries every time.  Therefore, campaigns target those voters with mail, emails, phone calls, and even major media ads.  

If 50 percent or more of the electorate turned out for their respective primaries and voted, the politicians and the paid politicos would be lost.  Their targeting models would be useless.  

But, that takes people caring more about who is Governor than who wins American Idol.  Sadly, we are not there yet.  Until people equate the taxes and fees that they pay for government services to the money they spend in the marketplace on other goods and services, turnout and interest in politics will remain relatively low.  Think about it, intelligent and good people will tell you that they do not care about politics and they do not vote. Yet, they will spend days researching the best deal on something like a lawnmower, which costs a fraction of they pay for government goods and services.  

That's America.  That's South Carolina.  That's why we are in the mess we are in.  No politician will tell you that.  They don't want to tick you off or mess up their campaign models.  But that's the truth.  For a democracy to work, the people have to care enough to cast an informed vote like they make an informed purchase for the lawnmower or hamburger meat.  So, start cleaning up the mess by voting.  

Exclusive footage of how one Gubernatorial campaign is handling the rise of Nikki Haley

One gubernatorial campaign in particular has imploded over the past few days.  Another imploded over the past weeks.  We offer video of one of those campaign's brain trust struggling over what to do about Nikki Haley and her supporters. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Here comes Barrett

Congressman Gresham Barrett is making a surge in recent poling numbers that makes him perhaps the GOP contender to take on Nikki Haley in the runoff.  

In polling numbers leaked to VUI at this late hour, Haley is at 40%, Barrett is at 26%, McMaster is at 16% and Bauer is at 9%.  That leaves only 9% undecided, which is low for the race so far.  Frankly put, Republican voters are making up their minds.  

What is surprising is the weakness of Henry McMaster in the polls.  McMaster entered the race the favorite.  Just a year ago, McMaster enjoyed a big lead in the polls.  To his credit, if McMaster is going out, he is going out talking well about South Carolina.  McMaster's ads are the most positive about South Carolina and its people by far.  But, it seems that tone is not connecting with GOP voters.  

Instead the voters seem concerned more about the he said she said aspect of the Haley campaign.  They seem to rallying to a woman charged with marital transgressions.  As stated before on this blog, Haley's throwback campaign of of "look what they are doing to me because of what I want to do for you" is working as it did decades of go for Long brothers in Louisiana.  It also is akin to the Sanford primary campaign in 2002, when a mail out hitting Sanford came from mysterious sources that were assumed to be linked to Sanford's opponents.  It is interesting to note that both Haley and Sanford had the the same people running their operations and that both campaigns benefited from outlandish charges that were supposedly lobbed by their opponents.  Eight years ago, direct mail was the vehicle, in today's high tech world, it seems that the internet is.  

That said, Barrett continues to rise.  After some rather ineffective ads, Barrett's campaign seems to be back to where it was a few months ago when Barrett took a debate and looked like a Governor.  As such, Barrett seems to be poised to get into the runoff. 

The question is, can Barrett take the runoff if he gets there?  While there are professionals around Barrett who get paid well to make such decisions, VUI contends the only way Barret can win is if he does not attack Haley.  Like Sanford before her, Haley wants the attacks.  She will play the victim.  Should Barrett make the runoff, Barrett needs to keep up what is doing, talking about jobs and how he can lead South Carolina to a better day.  One moment spent on attacking Haley will lead to lost votes. 

Indeed, when one looks at Nikki Haley's policies beyond holding on the record votes, her policies are pretty nutty.  Closing colleges and state parks are something she embraces, for example.  But, since she is a woman maligned, a candidate can not attack her for her nuttiness.  

Further, Nikki Haley is the darling of the Tea Party folks.  While those Tea Party folks are well meaning, it is hard to get why they are angry at this or that politician.  Most of them are upset about health care costs.  We all are.  But, when you look at reality, both hard right conservatives and liberal democrats worked to create the system that makes an aspirin in a hospital $50.  Obama's plan will not fix that for sure.  But, frankly, those running as "Tea Party" candidates will not fix it either.  Just look at who gives them their money, including Nikki Haley.  Who knows who will offer real reform to health care?  But, one thing is for sure it will not come from a candidate backed by the insurance companies. 

Indeed, where was Nikki Haley when it became clear that Sanford's appointee to the Department of Social Services failed?  Where was Nikki Haley when it became clear that Sanford's Secretary of Transportation worked to give no bid contracts to his son's company? Where was Nikki Haley when Governor Sanford abandoned the state? 

VUI can state the above, but Barrett can not.  Haley has been elevated to be above attacks and questions.  She is Sanford all over again, and the people around her have did as well as they did for Sanford. The mainstream media, either lazy, or afraid of losing ad money from big business, stays silent.  Barrett is in an uphill fight.  The truth about Nikki Haley must come out, but Barrett cannot tell it. 


Sunday, June 06, 2010

VUI endorsements

Voting under the Influence has had a difficult time making endorsements this year.  Though I am Editor and founder, there are five others that make up the staff I refer to. There are several others that VUI reaches out to for input.   We have had some heated debates about things, such as whether Nikki Haley did it or not and we have came to agreement on some races fielding candidates we have to hold our noses to vote for.  That said, here we go with the Voting under the Influence endorsements for the 2010 Republican Primary major races. 

Governor:  No endorsement.  Yes, you read that right.  Arguments have been made for and against all the candidates and frankly, there is no consensus. One staffer thinks Haley is lying.  Another thinks she is a saint.  One thinks McMaster is the grownup in the race and deserves support.  Another says the same about Barrett.  Others think Andre Bauer is being badly maligned by the Haley campaign.   In short, the people who contribute to VUI are as undecided as the voting public.  Therefore, VUI offers no endorsement. 

Lt. Governor:  Eleanor Kitzman.  Most of the people who contribute to this blog back her because she has the experience and business acumen to be an outstanding public servant.  One contributor backs Ken Ard, because he thinks Ard will bring local government experience to the office.  The constant is that that the entire staff and contributors think that the perceived frontrunner, Larry Richter, would be a bad choice for South Carolina. 

Attorney General: Alan Wilson. On this everyone seems unanimous, for the reasons VUI posted previously.  Wilson has the resume, integrity and the humility to be a great Attorney General.

Comptroller General:  Richard “Charlie Brown” Eckstrom.  Everyone else backed him, but I did not.  I just cannot get over how Eckstrom took my cartoon hero Charlie Brown into his sex emails with Kelly Payne. But, the VUI nod goes to Eckstrom.  I do not pay the staff, so I got to give them something, right?

Superintendent of Education: Brent Nelson.  Two staffers pointed out that Zais was probably going to win and that he was a decent guy, but in the end, Nelson got the nod for his frankness and his willingness to at least tell us why he wants the job.  We all agreed that Kelly Payne would be a disaster and that Burgess was nuts to even run. 
Treasurer:  None of the above.  While I wrote that I would lean Chellis, the campaigns ran by Chellis and Loftis have disgusted the staff.  If there was ever an argument why the Treasurer should be appointed by the Governor, this race is it.  During on discussion on this race, one contributor asked, “Is there anyone else to vote for?”  That sort of sums it up.  What a disappointing and disgusting race. 

The Third Congressional Seat: Jeff Duncan.  There were arguments for Richard Cash and Rex Rice, but in the end, VUI goes Duncan.  Duncan has the common sense along with conservative beliefs.  When you pick a Congressman you have to think about picking someone who can actually work with the other people in Washington.  Duncan can in our opinion. 

The Fourth Congressional Seat: Trey Gowdy.  Bob Inglis’s act has grown tiresome.  David Thomas got some attention as well, because he is a genuine good guy.  But, Gowdy has what it takes to knock off Inglis, and frankly that is what matters in this race.  It is time for the eccentricities and self righteousness of Bob Inglis to become history. 

The Second Congressional District: Joe Wilson.  Joe not only represents his district well, but he has the guts to tell it like it is, even when telling like it is ticks off Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. 

The First Congressional District:  no endorsement.  We just don’t feel comfortable weighing in on this crowded race.  There are three candidates we like in Carroll Campbell, III, Tim Scott and Paul Thurmond.  Any of those three would make a good Congressman.  Campbell and Thurmond would extend historical legacies.  Scott would make history.  Again, if one of those three gets the nod, the First will be served well.

United States Senate: Jim DeMint.  DeMint does have token Republican opposition in the primary.  Be sure not overlook that election and cast your vote for DeMint.  DeMint, in VUI’s opinion, represents South Carolina better than any other member of the Congressional Delegation, with Joe Wilson being a close second.

That it is for our endorsements.  We are staying out of local races.  Whatever you think and whomever you support, go vote on Tuesday.  Make your voice heard.

Top 9 Reasons I am glad the Primary is upon us

9) I am sick of getting post cards telling me that Converse Chellis or Curtis Loftis is indeed the son of Satan. 

8) My buddies keep giving nicknames to candidates, like "Rocket Queen" Nikki Haley, "Sir Lord" Leighton Lord, and "Old man McCheese" Henry 

7) I got a call from a politician wondering why someone "like me" could make fun of someone "like him." Well, it is easy. 

6) The "RINO hunt."  Yeah, let's run voters away who think of themselves as Republicans because of gun rights and other social issues.  If they ain't Libertarians, run them off and make them vote to elect Democrats. Yeah, that makes sense.  Let's have a narrow based party that loses and gives the Democrats control of the Census redrawing.  That makes real good sense...to Democrats.

5) Even though I voted for Mike Huckabee in 2008, if he tells me one more time who I ought to vote for in South Carolina, I will vote for...ah crap, who else is there to vote for President?

4) Some guy knocked on my door at 9AM while I was trying to sleep in, only to tell me that a vote for Richard Cash aka Dick Money is a vote for God and if I did not vote for him God would punish me  He then gave me a pamphlet that said Jesus loved me. 

3) When I was trying to pay for gas at the local station, the clerk looked at me coldly and stated, "Do you think I am a raghead, buddy?"  "I know you eat the barbecue. All you fat southerners eat the barbecue." 

2) I get anonymous emails telling me that Converse Chelliis spent taxpayer money to mess around with Nikki Haley and Andre Bauer while Barack Obama watched on closed circuit tv. 

1) I am getting pretty sick of my bartender Al telling me he messed around with Nikki Haley and even showing me some sick pics to prove it.  As Al said, "I ain't sure that was her that night. I was pretty drunk.  But, hey, this will make your blog popular."

Henry Brown's odd road home highlights local races

With all the attention on the statewide and Congressional races, VUI thought it would take a moment to point out an odd race in Berkeley County. United States First District Congressman Henry Brown announced that he was retiring from the United States Congress after serving 10 years.  After 16 years in the South Carolina House before that and a career as an executive for the PIggly Wiggly grocery stores, it seemed as if Congressman Brown was really retiring.

Well, Brown is not.  Instead Congressman Brown is seeking the office of Supervisor of Berkeley County.  The elected office of Supervisor is a throwback to local South Carolina government history, and only three other counties in the state elect such.  The other 42 counties allow for their county councils to hire a country administrator or manager to run the day to day operations of county government.

That said, what is striking about Brown’s move is that he is running against an old political friend in incumbent Dan Davis.  Davis gave support and money to Brown over the years.  Brown also faces Minnie Blackwell in the Republican Primary. 

From what VUI understands, the race is Congressman Brown’s to lose.  Brown has the money, the local political support and the momentum to win and perhaps win big. 

What bugs VUI is why a retiring Congressman would even want such a job.  As such, we asked around the low country and we were told by a politico, who would not go on the record with his name, that Brown felt forced into retirement and this race for Berkeley County Supervisor was an effort to save face. 

Frankly, we found that hard to believe, but it came from a politico we find it easy to believe.  If a man like Brown, who served a decade in Congress and 16 years in the SC House feels he has anything left to prove, well, that is unfortunate.  Because, frankly, a man with kind of life resume has nothing to prove to anyone and those who think he does are likely wannabes and never gonnabes.  A man of accomplishment should never let those types make him feel he has something to prove.

Whatever the reason, Congressman Brown’s road home is unprecedented. No sitting Congressman from South Carolina has ever given up his seat in Congress to run for a county office.  Perhaps Brown wants to be known as the only one.  Congressman Brown’s entry into the race makes watching the results of Berkeley County elections interesting and makes that race one of the most interesting local races in the state.


Sixty-six years ago, thousands of Allied forces died during the greatest invasion the world has ever known.  Led by Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, thousands of Americans, British, Canadian and free French soldiers took on the German fortress that was occupied Normandy in France.  

Though it seems hard to believe, the issue was in doubt for much of the day.  German forces were extraordinarily well fortified and casualty rates for the first waves of attackers were larger than expected.  Indeed, the issue was in such doubt that General Eisenhower walked around that day with a statement in his pocket about how the invasion had failed and forces were withdrawing back to England.  

Of course, the note was not needed. The drive and intensity of the men fighting that day carried that day.  Frankly, we often think of our grandfather when it comes to anything from World War II.  Too often people  see it as old and slow.  

Well, it wasn't.  Looking for some way to honor the men of D-Day, the staff came across a tribute video set to Iron Maiden's "Longest Day," which was about D-Day.  It shows the intensity and speed of events.  Enjoy and look at that old guys a different way.  God Bless those Men.  They saved the world from tyranny.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Lord Campaign is at it again

The Lord campaign just can not help itself.  After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads that were misleading about Lord's law enforcement experience, the Lord campaign is it at it again, running another ad that gives the perception that Lord is something he is not.

In the ad, Lord claims to have spent his career serving and protecting people.  If you call protecting big business clients in transactional matters protecting the people, Lord is your guy.  If you think think protecting people is about putting on a law enforcement or military uniform, well, know that Lord has never done that. 

That said, the words are chosen carefully.  Lord does not lie in the ad.  However,  images of Lord standing with law enforcement agents from years ago in an official looking hat and with someone in front of a police car, the carefully parsed words give the impression that Lord has law enforcement experience when in fact he has none.

What is disappointing is that Greenwood Solicitor Jerry Peace lent his image and voice to this stretch.  Even more puzzling is why Solicitor Peace allowed the perception that he spoke for other Solicitors by allowing the Lord campaign to use Peace's title as President of the South Carolina Solicitors Association.   

Further, it has to give the Wilson campaign team some sense of pride to know that their wealthy opponent's team hijacked their message and their ad.  Lord's ad is almost a carbon copy of Wilson's previous ad.  The difference is Wilson actually has the resume.  

A few days ago, a politico told me to lay off this issue and reminded me that perception is reality in politics.  I also got a not so subtle reminder about money and politics.  Fair enough.  

It is true that in politics, perception is reality.  But, when a perception is manufactured to present a candidate as someone who has held the line of law enforcement or stood watch in the military, it is the duty of those of us who follow politics to point that out.  We owe at least that to the men and women who really do the job of protecting the people.

Nikki Haley should send Jakie Knotts a thank you note

As if the campaign for Governor could not get any more circus like, enter State Senator Jakie Knotts of Lexington County.  Knotts is known for his for old style constituent service and his colorful remarks.  Some love Knotts.  Some hate Knotts.  Love him or hate him, Knotts has been a political force in Lexington County for 16 years.  

Recently, Knotts colorful remarks landed him in political hot water and gave Nikki Haley a gift. On an internet show dubbed "Pub Politics," ran by politico Wes Donehue, Knotts offered the following about Nikki Haley: "We already got one raghead in the White House.  We don't need one in the Governor's Mansion."  Seventeen words and the President of the United States and the Republican front runner for Governor are insulted.  

Knotts apologized as calls for him to apologize to Haley came from the all sorts of Republicans.  Frankly, VUI thinks Knotts should apologize to the President of the United States as well.  VUI does not care for President Obama's policies, but we also don't like a member of our State Senate calling the President of the United States a "raghead."

That said, Knotts remarks give Haley more sympathetic earned media in the final days of the primary campaign.  Though VUI expressed how we don't care for the "woe is me" campaign, we also think that Southerners get tired of people picking on a woman.  Some might think it sexist, but there are a lot of Southerners out there who think it is "pissant" to pick on a woman.  

Add to those remarks the fact that two different sources have informed VUI that some unknown midlands politician is sending "damaging" photos of Haley to upstate news outlets, and well, an atmosphere is developing that could deliver Haley the GOP nomination. Then, of course, there is Lt. Governor Bauer's challenge to Nikki Haley to take a polygraph test to prove she is not lying.  Where's a ringmaster when you need one?

Since voters might chose Haley because they are offended that a lady is so maligned, Haley should do the ladylike thing, and send Jakie Knotts a thank you note.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Alan Wilson for Attorney General

The race of Attorney General has been under the radar in most ways in South Carolina so far.  With the sex or non sex scandals, pick your side of the Republican Governor’s race, the race for the GOP nomination for the state’s top prosecutor has went relatively unnoticed.

Though we at VUI have had our fun with William Leighton Lord III, it is clear that all three candidates could do the job without embarrassing South Carolina as some previous constitutional officers have done recently.  Such a race comes down to simply who you think would get the job done best and who you can trust.  Lord, with his impressive civil law resume, chose to run campaign ads that stretched a bit his law enforcement experience.  That is forgivable.  Campaign consultants talk good men into bad decisions.  Frankly, and Lord knows VUI thinks this by now, had he stuck to his resume’s real strengths, he would be a better candidate.

But, there are two other candidates with real prosecutorial experience. That is Robert Bolchoz and Alan Wilson.  Bolchoz has prosecutorial experience, but he also has ties to the banking industry that reminds us too much of bailouts.  Bolchoz also seems a throwback to the Condon years, and whatever anyone else might think of those years, the politically charged Attorney General’s office of that day is nothing VUI wants to return to. 

That brings us to Alan Wilson.  Alan Wilson has proven experience as an assistant solicitor, an assistant Attorney General, and as a combat veteran in Iraq.  Wilson knows the importance of working with law enforcement and prosecutors to keep the public safe in South Carolina.  That is why 60 current and former prosecutors, including the living legend of prosecutors, Donnie Meyers of Lexington, support Wilson.  Those supporters know the “real deal” when they see it.  Add to them the majority of County Sheriffs who support Wilson.

Perhaps that groundswell of support comes from not only Wilson’s experience, but from the fact Wilson actually cares enough to ask people what they will need of him as Attorney General. That is refreshing in politics.  Wilson is a guy who actually cares about what the people he will serve think about what he should do. 

Some say that Wilson’s approach is a throwback to older political times in this state, when someone like Strom Thurmond would ask people what help that they needed from him.  Those critics say that kind of politics is wrong today.  VUI disagrees. South Carolina needs more leaders who think of serving the public instead of thinking how the public can serve them and their interests.

That is why we endorse Alan Wilson for Attorney General.  Proven in the courtroom and on the battlefield, Wilson is a man who has the experience and the humility to stand up to do what is right to protect the people of South Carolina as Attorney General.  A vote for Alan Wilson for Attorney General is a vote well cast for a man who seems bent on serving South Carolina first.  South Carolina needs that in its next Attorney General.

Who knows what to make of this Haley mess?

We at VUI are continuing to not throw stones at the personal life of Nikki Haley or the personal honor of Will Folks and Larry Marchant.  All we know for sure is none of our staff have had relations with any of the three. As for they have or have not done, no one outside the three of them knows for sure.  

What we do know is something that is not popular to say at this time.  Haley folks will not like this.  But, the Haley camp is either exploiting this matter for support or they are inept at handling a crisis situation.  

When Folks's allegation first arose, Haley should have ignored it.  Laugh off questions from reporters. Haley should have said, "so many bloggers just say anything, I am not going to play their gotcha politics."  The media loves to have a chance not to take a blogger seriously. 

The Haley camp did not do that.  They chose the play the age old "woe is me" play in the political campaign playbook.  It goes back to Louisiana and the Long brothers.  Governor Earl K. Long of Louisiana would say, "look at what they are doing to me because of what I am trying to do for you."  

That play does work, especially in local politics where people know the candidate and doubt they are whatever they are charged to be.  But, when a statewide or national candidate plays that play and makes an absolute denial, he has to be careful, because he opens himself to someone with stronger credibility coming along and making a similar charge.  

When that happens, the campaign goes into what VUI calls the "woe is me" mode.  A campaign gets off track and starts spinning that this and that person or campaign is out get them.  Conspiracy theories start being floated.  Thus, a bright and positive campaign turns into to a campaign that is paranoid and looks for enemies at every turn.  

 There is one more point.  It comes from an old boxer.  He said once, "when you get in the ring, there are gonna be fellas who are going to rabbit punch and hit you below the belt.  A champion takes the hit, grins, and says "is that all you got" and knocks the hell out of his opponent.  The also ran looks to the referee and says, "did you see what he did to me?"

VUI does not know who is right or who is wrong in the Haley mess.  But, South Carolina needs a champion as Governor, not an also ran.

PARODY: SC man comes clean

Yet another South Carolina man has came forward about sexual issues and Republican GOP candidate Nikki Haley.  The man, whose last name is being withheld to protect him for the vast amount of media attention that is sure to follow his story, came clean to a handful of reporters about his relationship with Nikki Haley and other South Carolina political figures.

He goes by the name Bobby Earl.  Bobby Earl works part time security at a closed plant near him with internet access.  He also has worked doing "push polls" for an Attorney General candidate's campaign operative.  All Bobby Earl would tell us about that was, "some fat guy came up and said he would give me a couple hundred dollars to call up some old people and tell them that some guy was not a member of bar and to send them an email to some video.  It was easy money."

Word soon got around to the political operatives who run South Carolina politics about the willingness of Bobby Earl to work in the shadows.

Bobby Earl tells a simple story.  Some operative, who Bobby Earl can't remember, showed him a picture of "that Haley woman and asked, would you mess around with her?"  Bobby Earl replied, "Sure, I would, but the old lady would kill my ass."  The operative thanked him and gave Bobby Earl some cash.

Then, as Bobby Earl tells it, " a little feller in a tie showed up, and he asked me if I ever had inappropriate contact with Andre Bauer.  The little feller looked all official, so I told him I had.  I peed at a Clemson game and did not wash my hand and then Mr. Bauer shook my unwashed hand a few minutes later.  I felt bad about that.  That little feller looked like he done went and won the lottery."   

Bobby Earl goes on.  "That's when them damn calls started.  Someone asked me if had I messed around with Bauer.  I said Hell no, if I messed around with anyone runnin' for Governor, it would be that Nikki Haley gal."

"Well," Bobby Earl stated, "that sure as Hell started something.  Next thing I know I got all sorts of people calling me and offering money.  Some wanted to pay me to tell my story, others wanted me to pay me to not to tell it. "

Bobby Earl now wants to come clean.  "Now, I ain't a bad man, but a man with bills I can't pay.  I took their money.   But, Preacher Mike told me that was a sin.  So, I want to come clean.  I ain't ever messed around with Nikki Haley.  As I said, I would have liked to, but the old lady would kill me.  And, I ain't messed around with no Andre Bauer, though I think the old lady would like to. I guess that is why we got a state full of people worked up about who is messing around with the people we would mess around with if we had the chance. But, like I told Preacher Mike, whats between me and that person who cleans that hotel down that street is between me and 'em, no matter what name I call 'em."

After that, Bobby Earl got into his pickup truck, covered in Rex Rice for Congress and Barrett for Governor bumper stickers, and drove off.  Bobby Earl was pursued by several media vehicles and some guy claiming to be from the Daily Show. As of this hour, the standoff at Bobby Earl's Six Mile home is still ongoing.