Friday, May 27, 2011

Is this really the best we got?

After a strong storm moved through my beloved Honea Path, I was feeling pretty grateful.  I had the Gamecocks on one television and the South Carolina Senate on the the other.  Both broadcasts disappointed me and brought me back to reality.

Of course, the Gamecock that I am, the Gamecocks losing to Vanderbilt in the SEC baseball tournament bothered me, but not near as much as watching the clowns that pass for state senators.  No wonder some of those guys want to cut ETV funding, the ETV broadcasts of them in action is embarrassing for us all.  Guys like Ryberg, Grooms, Bryant, and even the likable Tom Davis, looked liked little school girls trying to put off who was going to be elected Homecoming Queen when it came to Amazon legislation.  I watched the amendment process and the so called debate on television right there before me, wishing every SC voter could see the nonsense.  I kept thinking about what the late Carroll Campbell would think about those guys, trying the best they could to keep jobs out of South Carolina with delay tactics and just droning on.  

I then thought about how dumb they were.  That is right dumb.  Just flat dumb.  Guys like Ryberg, who owns a chain of gas stations, and Laurens Senator Danny Verdin, who owns his own mom and pop garden shop are getting their butts kicked in business competition by Wal Mart and other big box stores.  But, there they were, doing the bidding of those stores in fighting Amazon. It was just sad.  

Then there was Grooms and Davis. Who knows their motivations.  But, when Grooms offered an amendment to make sure that Amazon only hired South Carolina people for its jobs, I shook my head.  When Davis chimed in, I was even more puzzled.  Those men represent districts filled with "transplants," people who were not born in South Carolina but chose to live here.  Indeed, Tom Davis's best friend was a transplant who became Governor of South Carolina and who actually negotiated the Amazon deal.  Does the name Mark Sanford ring a bell?  

That said, it puzzled me how ignorant some senators seemed because of either fear of the Tea Party, now funded by big box stores, or just plain stupidity.  I bet Grooms and Davis enjoy the conservative nature of the transplants who have moved to their districts and the local businesses enjoy their money being spent there.  I bet even good ole boy Danny Verdin wants some of those "outsiders" who will move to Laurens as the ICAR plant project develops to buy some gardening stuff from him.  Maybe even that chicken box in his the back of his pickup truck that Senator Bryant talked about could be bought by some dreaded outsider.   

Let's be clear.  The opposition to the Amazon deal defies the conventional logic of South Carolina business set forth by the late Carroll Campbell.  When people move to South Carolina, they buy houses here, they pay taxes here, they shop here, they pay sales taxes, they give to our culture.  For years, we have wanted them to do so, and said we in South Carolina we are open for business.  But, along comes some big box retailers who line the pockets of extreme activists, and Senators who ought to know better go along with them, delay things, make asses of themselves on statewide television talking about all sorts of things and showing a marked ignorance of laws and bills.  

That was one time what being a Republican was about.  Not anymore.  Thank God the RINOs and Democrats worked out a deal to get jobs for SC at the midnight hour on Amazon in the State Senate.  

But, I have to have some sense of shame.  For the two state senators from my county, Bryant and O'Dell, did not act like real Republicans.  They both voted for all the delaying amendments.  I will give this to O'Dell, he did not speak to the Senate and make himself look like an ass, like Grooms did.  Bryant did speak.  And, we at VUI like him.  But, when he spoke on and on about his dad making him working more than 40 hours a week and all that, it was disheartening to us.  It was irrelevant to the issue at hand and a waste of time for the taxpayers.  Also, as his remarks went on, one of our staff emailed and asked," so, Bryant only pays people for 40 hours work at his store, but he expects them to work more than that?"  Bottom line, it looked bad.  Another staffer emailed, "guess O'Dell will go along with Bryant on that working more than you get paid for thing. Make the mops and brooms and keep your mouth shut." 

In that lies the problem.  Ryberg and Verdin stood up for the people who kill their businesses.  Bryant spoke like a man who thinks people owe him for working for him.  O'Dell went right along with it.  Fear of the Tea Party and whatever campaign cash big box retailers offer only goes so far.  It certainly can not explain Grooms.  Anyone with any sense of business and how the real world works who looked at the how some Senators acted last night can only wonder if this is actually the best SC has to offer for leadership?  We sure looked pretty dumb to investors and the nation.  But, hey, maybe some little radio station with 12 listeners loved it. Too bad that little radio station can't hire thousands. 

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