The State tried this morning to foreshadow the Ard resignation with two stories. One speculated on how Glenn McConnell will dodge the unthinkable fate of being demoted to the useless, meaningless job of lieutenant governor. The other dealt with the phenomenon we’ve seen plenty of over the last couple of years — the state Democratic Party’s Sisyphean efforts to somehow turn recent scandals to its advantage. An excerpt from the second one:
An agriculture commissioner indicted for cockfighting. A state treasurer indicted for cocaine use. A married governor caught lying about an international affair. A lieutenant governor spending campaign contributions on iPads. A state House member indicted on tax-evasion charges. Another state House member arrested on harassment charges.
What do all of those politicians have in common? They are all SC Republicans…
A brief comment on that (which I had on my mind before the Ard development): I’ve heard that litany over and over from SC Dems over the last couple of years, and it hasn’t gotten traction yet. Perhaps this latest development will give it a boost, but probably not. Nor should it.
There’s a simple reason why so many scandals affect Republicans: Most state officeholders are Republicans. If the Democrats dominated the way the Repubs do, most scandals would involved Democrats. There is nothing inherent in being a Republican that makes a person more likely to be a crook (or whatever), and it’s disingenuous of Democrats to pretend that there is.
Of course, they’re counting on the way voters have been fooled into thinking about politics to help them. Far too many people today believe what the parties, interest groups and tell them — that something that happens involving one member of a party somehow reflects on all member of that party. This is an absurd proposition, but like sleep-teaching in Brave New World, it has been repeated so often — with no competing views being heard — that most people accept it implicitly.
There is only one sense in which there might be an actual cause-and-effect relationship between being Republican in SC and being a the sort who would do something unsavory: People who are attracted to politics for the wrong reasons are more likely to pick the dominant party, to ease their path into office. People who choose the hapless, minority party are generally True Believers and less likely to be hustlers. Right now the Republicans are the dominant party. To suggest that Democrats would be more virtuous if they had all the power strains belief.
But my ultimate point is this: Each person who behaves badly in office does so in his own way, and for his own reasons — not as a logical, direct result of his party affiliation. And its silly to pretend otherwise.