Was I mean to Grady, or just ‘factual?’


Tammy Stokes over at "Seeding Spartanburg" has filed a post* that among other things, states the following:

Thomas Ravenel won that position for one reason and one reason only.
He had an R behind his name. It wasn’t his experience or his track
record of being a fine, upstanding South Carolinian who could bring
vast knowledge and positive change to the Treasurer’s office.

It was because he ran as a Republican. And with the support of
the SC GOP, they proceeded to drag his opponent Grady Patterson’s name
through the mud in a desperate attempt to unseat one of the only
remaining elected Democrats in our state. Some of the dirty insults —
especially the personal attacks on Patterson’s age — were embarrassing,
hurtful tactics especially when the person who unseated Patterson is
now facing federal drug charges less than 7 months later. Looks like
someone with maturity and experience would have been a better choice
after all.

Personally, I find Tammy’s remarks embarrassing and hurtful. Not really, but she does cause me to revisit an idea that others have brought up in the past, and which I’ve almost entirely dismissed with a clear conscience:

Was I mean to Grady Patterson when I posted this video, and this one? Some folks think so. I know for sure that Trav Robertson, who was the ex-treasurer’s closest political assistant (mentioned in this post, and pictured in the background above), thinks so. Each time I run into him these days, he tells me what an awful person I am, specifically because of the videos. I’d like to know what y’all think.

Back before the Ravenel blowup and the Nazis praising the Confederate flag, the "He makes up stuff" clip was either my first or second most-viewed on YouTube.

That’s no moral or ethical defense, of course, but it verified an assumption I had when I put the footage up: Voters would be interested.

I further believed that their interest would be legitimate. I felt that as long as I had the video, and a means of sharing it, I should. There are certain subjective cues you pick up on in a face-to-face interview that play an inevitable part in your judgment of a candidate, but which are hard to get across to readers in a way that they both pick up on and find credible. Sometimes, the ways in which we set out our reasoning in endorsements are theoretically sound, but fail to get across that indefinable something — just how weird this candidate was, or how dumb that one seemed.

In Grady Patterson’s case, there was something about the impression he gave that caused me to think, "Here’s a good man who has given his life to public service, but it is well past time for him to retire and let others do the work." It would have been far better to see him off with a warm retirement party, with lots of grateful speeches for his contributions, than to turn him out of office so ignominiously, losing to that obnoxiously cocky young Thomas R.

Well, I did say some stuff sort of like that. But it seemed far more useful to the voters if I would just show them. (Otherwise, they might assume I was just looking at a calendar, and inferring that he should retire.) The video clips enabled me to do that.

So what do you think? Did I do right? I think I did.

12 thoughts on “Was I mean to Grady, or just ‘factual?’

  1. John Warner

    Grady Patterson cost this state billions of dollars because he refused to enter into the modern age of investment portfolio management. His age was definitely a factor in his job performance. It’s sad when people like Grady and Strom refuse to acknowledge their time has passed and leave the stage with some grace. You have nothing for which to apologize.

  2. Wayne Bell

    I agree that Mr. Patterson probably should have retired before his age became a liability and in hindsight, many of us wish we had voted in the Republican Primary for Sen. Ryberg. However it is not factual to blame Mr. Patterson for not entering into the modern age of investment potfolio management. Mr. Patterson was following state law. It has only recently been changed to allow for greater diversification of investments.

  3. Jerry

    To me that is one of the biggest problems with politics now. So many people will vote for the R or the D beside the name and not care about the quality of the person. It seems politics today is an institution where our best and brightest do not even enter and is now the exact opposite of “the cream rises to the top.”

  4. Doug Ross

    Didn’t Mr. Patterson refuse to debate Mr. Ravenel? All he had to do was come out before the electorate and demonstrate his ability to hold the position versus being handed the title without question. I don’t believe he ever did make any public appearances. That was enough of a sign that his better days were long behind him.
    There’s no shame in admitting you aren’t up to the job… the bigger shame is with the people who pretend that things are not what they are only for their own personal gain.

  5. Ravenel did just fine

    Governor Mark Sanford said “He performed all the functions of the treasurer’s office fine during the time that he’s been there,”

  6. Steve Gordy

    “. . . the bigger shame is with the people who pretend that things are not what they are only for their own personal gain.”
    True enough, but why is it never applied to folks like T-Rav (his family knew he had problems, but kept silent)? Why is it never applied to folks like GovLite (in denial as to his own recklessness)? If it applies to Grady Patterson, it applied (as recently as ’96) to ‘ole Strom. Or is this only a principle that has been discovered recently?

  7. tammy

    Hey Brad. I didn’t expect to see me on your blog today.
    I just wanted to say that I don’t think you did anything wrong by sharing those videos. I had no idea that Patterson’s assistant told you how awful you were for those videos and so on. You never even crossed my mind when I wrote this piece. I was thinking more about the behavior on smaller blogs. While the video you shared may have spawned a lot of the negativity, it is still your job as a newsman to share that info. You couldn’t control what others did with it and that was where I became saddened by the political process.
    Anyway, for what’s it worth, I think you did right. :-) t

  8. A Friend

    The citizens deserved to have the insight these videos provided. I was always concerned about Patterson’s refusal to debate. I now understand why.
    His arrogance in saying he wasn’t responsible for market forces when he refused to unload the WorldCom bonds was breathtaking. No, he isn’t “responsible” for the market forces but he is responsible for reading those market forces and reacting for the financial good of SC. If he wouldn’t use a portfolio manager then he IS the porfolio manager.
    He gave our state many years of quality professional service but, like you all have said, his day in the sun is long gone. Brad, you did the citizens a favor. If showing them that Grady Patterson is no longer the best person to lead our state financially, then so be it.

  9. norval

    Tammy “hit the nail on the head” about “R”
    giving you a big advantage in S.C.elections.
    Good example,in ’04 S.C.passed over someone
    as Agriculture Comm. who has a resume’that
    qualifies him for U.S.Sec.of Ag.Instead,we
    elected a chicken fighter who recieved time
    in prison.I would guess the cocaine friends
    of Tom R. are looking over their shoulder or
    scratching their fanny.

  10. We had two bad choices

    Brad, I don’t think releasing the videos was a bad thing as it did help give and insight that the Patterson campaign should have, but was refusing to give to the voters, despite this I voted for Patterson, because S.C. citizens has two very poor choices in this election and frankly Ravenel scared me more than Patterson as the office apparently was on auto-pilot. I don’t have any “I told you so wisdom” about Ravenel, I was equally as shocked as everyone else in the state minus Ravenel’s friend, family and close aquantinces. The problem with devout party loyalty is alive and well in S.C., for Repubs, as it is for Dems in other stats e.g. N.J. I am still mezmorized that Andre Bauer was voted in over Sen. Leventis 5 years ago and then Barber, last year, both were several heads and shoulders above Bauer. At least in the Patterson case there was quite arguably two poor choices and in the case of that tie perhaps voting for party was no sin. In other cases like the two I mentioned, or voting for Hammond(R) over Footman (D)(clearly unqualified) there was really no choice whatsoever, yet she still got what 40 plus percent of the vote.

  11. Brad Warthen

    Thankks for the affirmation, We Had. (Do you mind if I call you “We Had,” or do you prefer “Mr. Bad Choices?”)
    Anyway, I can disagree with nothing you say.
    And I should say to the audience at this point that this commenter is in no way related to me, nor have we worked together previously. I think.


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