Tom Davis at the ‘nullification rally’

This morning, I saw this on Twitter from Tom Davis:

Thanks, Ed Eichelberger, for this video of my speech at Tuesday’s nullification rally at the S. C. State House.

“Nullification rally?” Is that what was going on when I passed by on Tuesday.? Wait, let me go check. No, I was right: This is 2013, and not 1832…

I didn’t have time to look at the video until tonight. Before I wrap up for today, I want to take note of it here. We must all remember this when Tom runs against Lindsey Graham next year. If he does. Or when he runs for anything in the future.

I have always liked Tom Davis personally, and I have been very disturbed to see his steady descent into fringe extremism.

In case you don’t have time to watch it all, some lowlights:

  • Lee Bright’s absolutely right.
  • Launching on a history lesson — neoConfederates are big on condescendingly explaining their version of history to the rest of us, and Tom is picking up their habits — he says that George Washington was president in 1800. No, Tom, he wasn’t. Kind of makes you want to double-check all the other stuff he says. In case you didn’t already know to do that.
  • He says, with fierce, defensive passion, that as a South Carolinian he is “proud of John C. Calhoun,” whom he characterizes as “a great man who has been maligned far too long.”
  • “You have the intellectual high ground here.” This to the assembled nullificationists.
  • “I can’t do anything right now up in Congress…” As opposed to later, I guess.
  • “This state has a proud tradition of leaders stepping up and holding aloft the candle of liberty at a time when things were darkest.” Really? I would like to have heard an elaboration on that, with names and dates, so I can understand how Tom is defining “liberty” these days.

23 thoughts on “Tom Davis at the ‘nullification rally’

  1. Bryan Caskey

    I was leaving the Court of Appeals (the Calhoun building) that day as the rally was getting going. I thought it was odd that the Confederate Flag was being associated with Obamacare.

  2. tired old man

    Please add that he was born in New Jersey. He is what another generation would characterize as a carpetbagger — along with Illinois native Jenny Sanford. Mark, born in Florida, moved north.

    Which reminds me of something I saw on facebook: Say what you will about the South, but not too many retire and move north.

    1. Doug Ross

      Yeah, if you ain’t born here, your opinion don’t matter! Stop trying to come in here and make South Carolina better. We can fail on our own jes’ fine.

      1. Doug Ross

        If South Carolina could screw up the weather the way they screw up everything else, there wouldn’t be any retirees coming here.

      2. Lynn

        Doug there was a time when I used to say, “Delta is ready when you are,” but then the airlines started to merge and oh well.

  3. Steve Gordy

    Oh please. Talking about nullification and displaying a variant of the Confederate battle flag at a rally. Yeah, that’s a real great recruiting tool to show to businessmen who may be planning to built a plant in South Carolina. It also ought to go over well with folks from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania who might be thinking about retiring to the Palmetto State.

  4. tavis micklash

    “Please add that he was born in New Jersey. He is what another generation would characterize as a carpetbagger — along with Illinois native Jenny Sanford. Mark, born in Florida, moved north.”

    It could be argued that moving from Florida to SC isn’t really moving north politically, but I digress.

    Maybe I’m just stupid but what is that flag by him? The state flag under the confederacy?

    Any talk of leaving the US over something as stupid as ObamaCare is completely irresponsible. I really wish that the Senate would worry more about cleaning up and fixing their own dysfunctional house.

  5. barry

    I think Tom wants to run against Sen Graham. I predict Graham would crush him. Saw on tv Graham was at Michael Haley’s event yesterday.

    Tom wants to portray Graham as some raging Liberal even though facts and common sense say otherwise.

  6. Mark Stewart


    That is the post-secession flag for a sovereign South Carolina. From 1860.

    Although I think most of the crowd thought they were making a journey back to 1960. Or something. Whatever.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Tavis, one device I use “autocorrects” your name. So I tried another to apologize for the spelling error.

        1. tavis micklash

          With a messed up name like Tavis it happens. People I’ve worked with for 7 years still mess it up.

          When I go to a restaurant I always use Steve. No one ever mispronounces Steve or asks you how to spell it.

  7. Michael Rodgers

    First, if SC Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) truly wants to fight federal encroachment on state sovereignty, then he must begin generally with situations where federal law overrules our state constitution and specifically with how federal election law interferes generally with our districts for our state government and especially with our districts for our state senate.
    Second, in answer to his rhetoric, please see President Andrew Jackson’s proclamation from 1832, which says in part,
    “On such expositions and reasonings, the [SC nullification] ordinance grounds not only an assertion of the right to annul the laws of which it complains, but to enforce it by a threat of seceding from the Union if any attempt is made to execute them. This right to secede is deduced from the nature of the Constitution, which they say is a compact between sovereign States who have preserved their whole sovereignty, and therefore are subject to no superior; that because they made the compact, they can break it when in their opinion it has been departed from by the other States. Fallacious as this course of reasoning is, it enlists State pride, and finds advocates in the honest prejudices of those who have not studied the nature of our government sufficiently to see the radical error on which it rests.”

  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    Michael, I agree that we’d be better off if the federal courts would allow us to go back to having state senators represent counties rather than gerrymandered districts, just as U.S. senators represent states.

    But as much as I want that, I have to admit I can see a difference. Senators represent states in the federal government as an acknowledgement of the very thing that Tom Davis seems to cherish so much — shared sovereignty (although, I suppose, Tom would leave out the “shared”).

    The state was not formed as a coalition of “sovereign” or even semi-sovereign counties coming together. The original entity was the state (arising out of the colony), and the counties are subdivisions of the state. Which is a very different relationship from the one between states and the U.S.

    1. Michael Rodgers

      Yes indeed, it’s a very different relationship. All I’m saying is (1) as a state we ought to get to decide how to elect people to our state legislature and (2) that should be, but isn’t, the state sovereignty crowd’s number one priority.

  9. Mark Stewart

    Having state senators elected by county would reinforce the very things we are trying to get away from; namely corrupt political fiefdoms. Senators should be elected to a statewide deliberative legislative body; not elected to muddle in executive administration activities (to polity call the kind of junk too many of the people of Richland County are letting Sen. Darrell Jackson get away with – although he is but one of many of the corrupt across the state).

  10. Ralph Hightower

    John Roberts? He ruled that Obamacare is legal and valid.

    Tom Davis will appoint Glenn McConnell as the Secretary of the Navy with out lone battleship fleet, the Hunley.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      But you’ll notice that Tom singled out Kagan and Sotomayor for castigation. I found that disturbing. Why those two? If his beef is with Obamacare, what about the rest of the majority that found it constitutional? And if it’s something else about them, what? Just that they were both nominated by Obama? So is this just blind Obamaphobia?

      But we’ve made progress, I guess. In Calhoun’s day, most nullificationists would have attacked Sotomayor AND Roberts and four others for being Catholic, and Kagan and the other two for being Jewish.

      So let’s count our blessings.


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