Alleging that she is now entering her third week of absence from the state for political purposes, Reps. James Smith and Mia Butler Garrick, both Richland County Democrats, stood outside Nikki Haley’s office this afternoon and asked her to return and do the job she was ostensibly elected to do.
Among the points the two representatives made about the gov:
- The state’s unemployment rate is climbing.
- Her trips have been purely political.
- Her activities don’t even have anything to do with South Carolina politics, but are purely national.
- She isn’t really benefiting Mitt Romney doing this, but merely herself.
- They fully understand that a governor would go to her own convention, just as SC Democrats are now flocking to Charlotte — but she doesn’t have to spend the week attending theirs as well.
- No other full-time state employee — a teacher, say, or a DHEC worker — would be able to take such a purely personal extended vacation, at least not without being fired.
- It is unclear who is paying for her junkets.
I had not realized that the gov was planning on spending all of this week out of town as well. For that matter, I had not known she stayed in Tampa after her speech, but that would be par for the course.
It’s also far from unprecedented for a governor to visit the opposing party’s national convention, when it is in a neighboring state. I remember seeing Carroll Campbell at the DNC — the one Don Fowler ran — in Atlanta in 1988. (It was kind of a hoot because Campbell — or maybe his press guy Tucker Eskew; I forget — noted that he didn’t bring with him nearly the extensive security retinue that Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore had with him there all week, complete with a command post set up on the ground floor in the delegation’s hotel.)
It’s a very tacky partisan practice, this business of trying to spoil the other side’s celebration — I’ve thought so ever since I saw Campbell do it — but it’s certainly not unusual.
But, noted Mia and James, Nikki is spending the whole week up there for the “counter-convention,” doing various national media interviews, with her schedule for the week showing her having no scheduled events here.
That’s hardly fair to the governor, I pointed out. If practically the entire retinue of national political media — Nikki Haley’s constituency, the people who elected her — are just up the road in Charlotte, how could anyone expect her to stay down in Columbia? After all, anyone who voted for her expecting her to do anything other than just what she is doing at this moment was sadly deluded.
Precisely, said Rep. Smith.