OK, let’s beat up on ME: I’m a horrible citizen

People are giving me a hard time for being mean to Andre, as I knew they would. I just got to thinking about how recently lots of folks were worried about him becoming governor (with reason) and thought someone should take note of how fortunate things turned out.

So now I’m going to feel like a louse next time I see Andre. Only I won’t tell him that because I hate backing down, and that’ll make me feel like even more of a louse… It’s tough being a Catholic blogger. All that guilt.

But let me see if I can expiate a little of it with some mortification of me. Don’t feel bad, Andre: I’m a horrible citizen. I’ll bet Andre at least knew who he wanted to vote for for U.S. Senate. But I didn’t, so I left it blank, and look what happened: A guy facing charges for indecency got nominated over the only candidate I’d heard of on the Democratic side — a guy who, as far as I know, was perfectly fine.

How can a guy facing a morals charge, a guy with “no campaign funds, no signs, and no website” even, win the primary over a guy who had at least campaigned a little? Someone suggested it was because his name was on the ballot first. Kind of makes you wonder about this whole Democracy thing, huh?
I mean, come ON, people — I’d never heard of this Greene guy. I didn’t know MUCH about Vic Rawl, beyond the fact that he’s one of my 542 Facebook “friends.” At least he’d taken the trouble to do THAT.
But I can’t castigate anyone but myself. I didn’t vote in that race. And that was supremely irresponsible of me. I should have done the research, in spite of the fact that Jim DeMint seems inevitable. I don’t like having DeMint as my senator, and I should at least do my best to decide whom I want going up against him, however slim that candidate’s chances may be.
But I didn’t. I was so mesmerized by the governor’s race, and a couple of others that happened to catch my eye along the way, that I neglected that one. And of course, I hadn’t even decided to vote in the Democratic primary until the last minute.
My problem is, I’m so accustomed to knowing a lot about these candidates in spite of myself, because they all used to come see me for endorsement interviews. I have to learn to do what everybody else does (at least, they do it if they are good citizens), and do my research as a citizen and be prepared. Next time, I will.
Y’all remind me.

32 thoughts on “OK, let’s beat up on ME: I’m a horrible citizen

  1. kc

    How can a guy facing a morals charge, a guy with “no campaign funds, no signs, and no website“ even, win the primary over a guy who had at least campaigned a little?

    Jeez, I dunno. Maybe it’s because people like you DIDN’T VOTE.

    Damn, you are hopeless.

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  2. Susan

    It’s odd, isn’t it? I pulled out the voting guide that Jim Clyburn’s folks put on my windshield while I was at church on Sunday, and it had the check by Mr Rawl’s name, and I’d assume a bunch of folks received those and would have voted based on them.

    (I did only enough homework myself to know that Mr. Greene was an unemployed ex-army fellow with no public service experience, and so I voted for Mr Rawl).

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  3. Brad

    OK, so if everybody voted for Rawl, how did he lose?

    It simply had not registered on me that there was a contest there, so I didn’t think to prepare. I was so focused on the idea that I was there to vote for governor, and that I wouldn’t get a choice on lt. gov. or congress or atty. gen. or anything local, and had set that in my mind…

    All that was there was the governor, superintendent and senate. I was there to vote on governor (I’m really not kidding when I saw this is an all-important decision we’re making here, so I spend a LOT of time thinking about that race at the expense of others), but as long as I had them in front of me I voted for superintendent as well. I though I knew enough about that one.

    But when I went, “I know Rawl,” the pain-in-the-rear voice in my head that challenges such assumptions said, “WHAT do you know about him? Could you write an essay about him based on what you know, or even a halfway decent blog post?” And I hesitated. And then didn’t vote on that one.

    I’m not making excuses. I’m just trying to figure out for myself how this happened. I suppose it should have been obvious it WOULD happen, since I have not written word one about that race this year. But I didn’t. I wasn’t thinking about it for the simple reason that I wasn’t thinking about it. I think Descartes said that. Or he should have.

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  4. Brad

    Oh, I should add — as much as I hold myself in contempt for this happening, there’s a class of people I hold in greater contempt: Those who vote for someone for no good reason at all — because that person’s name comes first, or they’ve heard of it before, or that person has a D or an R after his name, or it’s a person of the same race or gender as the voter. (I suspect that most of the people who voted for Greene fit in one of those categories.) I impose on myself a burden of probable cause before voting for someone. And in that case, I couldn’t meet my own standard.

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  5. Bart

    Have you read Yahoo! News? An article about Greene is there and from the story, he is under indictment or something for showing obscene pictures to a young girl or girls.

    Now, here we have another upstanding SC citizen winning a political race who never made a public appearance or speech that we know of against someone who actually campaigned as Brad said.

    Once again, we are the “butt” of jokes and rightfully so. Soon, if this keeps up, if you list SC as your home and apply for a job in another state, it will be rejected on grounds of living in a state where terminal stupid is considered above average intelligence.

    Wow!

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  6. Brad

    Yeah, Bart, that’s where all this started. A guy won the nomination without anyone, near as I can tell, knowing anything about him…

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  7. Brad

    You know, this is a good chance for Doug to jump right in and talk about how the problem is the strength of incumbency.

    If any of us had thought DeMint was vulnerable, we all would have paid more attention.

    But you know, term limits wouldn’t fix the problem. If DeMint were subject to term limits, we’d probably still allow him a second term. And then we’d probably pay even LESS attention now, figuring what the hell, he only gets one more term, right?

    I’m saying his strong incumbency played a role in this, but it’s NO EXCUSE. We’ve see over the last couple of years that ANYTHING can happen in politics. All sorts of things could happen between now and then. DeMint could, God forbid, get hit by a meteor falling from the sky. Or merely get into political trouble that makes him unviable. Therefore it is incumbent upon all of us to see to it that there’s a strong alternative to him.

    You know how I’ve complained that, when Joe Wilson stuck his foot in it, there was nobody but Rob Miller standing there waiting to take all that anti-Wilson money that was donated in response. And Rob Miller is a weak candidate who is unlikely to beat Wilson. So we’re stuck with Wilson.

    Well, we were stuck with DeMint before. Now we’re REALLY stuck with him.

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  8. Doug Ross

    South Carolina elects a person nobody knows (and a potential felon) as the Democrat candidate for Senator and yet I am the one who always is accused of being a cynic and negative.

    We have the government we deserve.
    A broken system run by incompetents elected by incompetents.

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  9. Mark

    Isn’t this exactly what happened in the Treasurer’s race on the other ticket? One has to shake one’s head at that outcome. Granted, there was a lot of advertising by both candidates, but did anyone really know anything about either one of them. And there was a seat at the B&C Board at stake in that contest.

    Abstaining from one race that you know nothing about strikes me as far better than voting on some wisp of an idea about someone.

    Still, it seems as though this was a candidacy that the Democrats should have focused more on. Especially given that DeMint is right of just about everyone in the state . . .

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  10. Karen McLeod

    DeMint has his job so firmly sewn up because people like him. Why I don’t know. I wrote him, asking him to explain why he made certain statements (about the health care plan), and he did not respond substantively. But lots of people in SC think he’s the bee’s knees (or something). As long as we have a majority of voters who buy what he’s selling, he’ll have a corner on that market, and may God have mercy on us.

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  11. bud

    As a nominal Democrat I should be aghast at this whole Green business but the more I read about it and think about it the funnier it is. How could this happen? The guy is just plain looney. I’d still vote for him over DeMint. I doubt he could do the country any more harm than that lunatic.

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  12. Brad

    Mark, a different thing seems to have happened in the treasurer’s race. Just last night, when I dropped by the Nikki Haley thing, I ran into a former Sanford staffer (who wasn’t there for Nikki, but for other business) who told me about this story that was recently in the Spartanburg paper. I had heard something about the political operative Chellis had on the payroll, but had not heard anything as detailed as this column, which was awfully damning:

    http://www.goupstate.com/article/20100520/columnists/5201003?p=1&tc=pg

    I don’t know how much voters knew, but if they knew this, they would have had reason to be upset with Chellis.

    That’s not to say they’re in good hands with Loftis. The great shame is that we have no options now, because the Democrats didn’t field a candidate for this office. So Curtis Loftis, who has presented no compelling reasons why he’s suited for this office that I’ve seen, is going to BE our treasurer.

    And yes, have a seat on the Budget and Control Board.

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  13. Brad

    A postscript: All that stuff came to light in an editorial board meeting. Unfortunately, Chellis had no editorial board meeting with The State, because my former paper didn’t endorse in that race. Ironically, I ran into Converse last month and he complained to me about that, because it meant he had one less chance to make his case against Loftis. But it could also have been a chance for him to be subjected to the same grilling he got in Spartanburg (if Cindi Scoppe had gotten onto that same scent, woe unto him).

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  14. Doug Ross

    Brad,

    I don’t expect you to read everything I post — (and, once again, I appreciate and thank you for providing the forum for my views that are 180 degrees from yours) — –

    but I posted a link to that Chellis story on this post of yours:

    http://bradwarthen.com/?p=5603

    back on May 21 and Ralph Hightower commented on it as well.

    The fact that no other media outlet apparently was interested in following up on it is pretty damning evidence of the state of journalism these days. Chellis should resign NOW nevermind be voted out later.

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  15. Brad

    Yes, Doug, I remembered reading that when I heard about this story. I DO read what you write, but you’re right; I don’t always follow the links. Sorry. Something has to give.

    Basically, I took your word for it that he had a questionable employee, but that’s all that registered with me at the time…

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  16. Brad

    Actually, I may have tried to follow the link and failed and given up too soon. I just tried now (to see if it was exactly the same story), and got an error message.

    That happened two or three times when I was trying to look it up earlier today. The Spartanburg paper must be having some problems with their site. Anybody else have trouble getting to that link?

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  17. bud

    Brad, you’re probably in the top 1/100th of 1% of SC voters in understanding the candidates. Yet you somehow missed this Greene thing. So how are the rest of us suppossed to be adequately informed?

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  18. Doug Ross

    Bud,

    You don’t get it. Politicians RELY on the general public being ignorant and apathetic. Another reason we need term limits.

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  19. Kathryn Fenner

    Doug–You are ascribing intent to politicians that just isn’t there. The kind of person who runs for office thrives on attention and deludes him/herself into believe s/he is the savior welcomed by the masses.
    In short, they believe their press releases.

    This is the problem and term limits are just going to change the guard of narcissistic, delusional megalomaniacs, not eliminate them

    Why don’t people like me run? I simply could not withstand the attacks–I’m not well-defended or terribly delusional. That’s the problem.

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  20. Doug T

    Brad,

    You should’ve gone to the Gallavants Ferry thing. Greene didn’t show up. Rawls gave a good firebrand speech lambasting DeMint as an embarrassment to the state. Put me on record as voting for Rawls! It is embarrassing for something like this to happen.

    But instead of blaming Mrs. Fowler, as you guys alluded to, cite the gutted newspaper and TV newsrooms who barely have enough resourses to cover wrecks and murders and more wrecks and murders, and more…

    But the real culprits are the voters.

    Now back to The Daily Show.

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  21. Mark

    Wow, that was a fun read. No wonder people get discouraged with the state of politics in this state.

    Let me guess, no one in government, besides the Treasurer, has the power to fire an assistant administrator who clearly broke the law – and probably had been on the dole for over three years? Unfortunately, its not funny enough for John Stewart’s show; but it ought to anger every citizen of SC.

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  22. bud

    Doug, I’m not sure I follow your logic. The one thing term limits would certainly do is create a whole new class of politicians that people don’t know anything about. Love him or hate him at least you understand what Jim Demint is all about. What if we had both parties nominate unknowns like Alvin Greene? That could be the choice if we had term limits.

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  23. Brad

    Yeah, as I acknowledged — this supports Doug’s thesis that voters don’t properly vet candidates, and then some.

    But it in no way supports term limits. This guy was the OPPOSITE of an entrenched incumbent. In fact, he was the extreme example of the tendency this year of the voters to turn away from the familiar and go with unknowns.

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  24. Susan

    I’m not sure I’d agree that the voters are the ones to blame — where was the average voter going to get any information on these candidates?

    There was very little available on Rawl, and nothing on Greene. I’m more inclined to feel like it’s an example of what happens when a party does not properly vet its own candidates, and the effects of a weakened Fourth Estate.

    Voters would have done a better job if these two other groups had done their jobs.

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  25. Kathryn Fenner

    @Susan– Apparently the Democrats cannot turn down someone with the filing fee–there’s no opportunity to “vet” –and the seriously malnourished Fourth Estate is, as was written above, doing the best it can, and with the distractions of Nikki Haley’s purported lovelife….

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  26. Susan

    @Kathryn — Didn’t the SC Democratic Party vote to refuse to allow Steven Colbert to run in the primary for president because they felt he wasn’t a serious candidate? I don’t know anything about Democratic party processes, but it seems they’ve rejected folks before….

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  27. Doug Ross

    “Voters would have done a better job if these two other groups had done their jobs.”

    Tens of thousands of voters checked Greene’s name as the person they felt should be the U.S. Senator representing South Carolina.

    The voters got who they wanted. They didn’t have to vote for him.

    Ignorance is not an excuse.

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  28. Kathryn Fenner

    Stephen Colbert–I’m thinking they protested and he withdrew. He wasn’t serious, of course, and it gave him more comedic fodder….If he had fought, I don’t know if they could have kept him out.

    Reply

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