That first question was a toughie, if you’re Mark Sanford

Did y’all watch the debate? I did not, in real time, and when I started trying to a little after 8, I could not find any video to connect to. I mean, what century is this anyway?

This morning, I’ve started watching the CSPAN video. Before typing this, all I had watched was the opening question, which immediately put Mark Sanford in a bad spot. He and Elizabeth Colbert Busch were asked, “What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment, and why?”

Ms. Busch went first, and talked about some accomplishments she was proud of from her business career. But the whole time she was talking, I was wondering, what on Earth will Mark Sanford have to boast of?

“Professional accomplishment” implies “something you’ve done outside of politics,” unless you choose to present yourself as a professional politician. I’m vaguely aware that Sanford did something in the private sector, quite briefly, before running for office for the first time two decades ago. He’s certainly not known for anything he did in that distant past. What obscure accomplishment would he extract from his youth to impress us with?

Well, he didn’t even try. He talked politics instead — basically acknowledging that that is his profession. Of course, he’s on extremely shaky ground there, since he’s never accomplished any major goals that he has set out in politics. So he proceeded to cite trying to hold back government spending, year after year, as an accomplishment. He even threw in his most embarrassing policy moment, when he was the only governor in the nation trying to prevent his state from getting stimulus money that South Carolinians would be on the hook for every bit as much as other Americans. The responsible Republican leaders of our state saw to it that he failed in that effort, as in so many of his extreme positions. Yet he cited his having tried as part of his body of professional “accomplishment.”

The closest he came to an accomplishment was claiming credit for having been a member of Congress when the leadership (of which formed no part) and the White House worked together to balance the budget. So basically, he was in town when something good happened.

I can’t really critique Ms. Busch’s answer to that question, because it was all from her experience in the private sector.

If I were with the Sanford campaign, I’d be griping that that lead-off question was grossly unfair to my guy, as there was just no good way for him, being Mark Sanford, to answer it.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten, and I don’t know how much more of it I’ll have time to watch today, although I’m going to listen to some of it at least. I’ll jump back in here with thoughts as they occur to me.

But in the meantime, among those of you who saw it, what did you think?

91 thoughts on “That first question was a toughie, if you’re Mark Sanford

  1. Doug Ross

    Here’s what The State said were the three key take aways:

    “Three takeaways from Monday’s 1st District congressional debate between Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Republican Mark Sanford

    1 The pro : Former Gov. Sanford carried himself with poise and ease. Even his wonkish answers on immigration and health care sounded polished. He scored points on Colbert Busch for accepting contributions from unions and deftly handled a question about his affair.

    2 The first-timer: Political newcomer Colbert Busch sounded nervous, her voice dropping to a near-whisper at times. She tried to separate herself from President Barack Obama on federal spending but was short on details. At another point, she acknowledged she had not read an immigration reform bill. The debate ended six minutes early due largely to her brief answers.

    3 The only debate: Colbert Busch finally showed energy in her closing statement, chiding Sanford for losing hope in the country’s future. Too bad she won’t get a second shot. After the race’s only debate, Citadel political expert Scott Buchanan said next week’s election now is a referendum on the once-disgraced Sanford.

    Reply
  2. Doug Ross

    From my other post:

    I watched the entire debate on CSPAN. Sanford was up and down. He’s not a great orator. Colbert-Busch wasn’t very good either. On a couple questions, she only answered with a sentence or two when she had a full minute to respond. She didn’t do well on offering any explanation as to why her campaign had deleted hundreds of tweets that she had made regarding her support for abortion and gay marriage. She also did not do well responding to the questions about the donations her campaign has received from Nancy Pelosi and labor unions. She tried to hit Sanford one time with what was obviously a pre-arranged line about him using government money to fly to South America but it didn’t hit – partly because Sanford didn’t hear it. He asked her to repeat it and she didn’t. She had an annoying habit of calling Sanford “Mark” over and over. .. and she also used Sanford’s trademarked “At the end of the day” herself.

    The worst part was that the crowd was allowed to cheer and heckle the candidates. There were several times where Colbert-Bush supporters were yelling stuff at Sanford . It was embarrassing. The next debate (if there is one) should be done in a TV studio with no audience.

    Reply
      1. Scout

        Yea, they played that bit on the radio report I heard and that is what it sounded like to me too.

        Reply
          1. Mark Stewart

            A New York City construction industry executive once told me that that is how he handled mob threats.

            It is such a non-confrontational way of deflating the accusers jab, threat, rage, etc. if you say “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you; could you repeat that?” nearly everyone is thrown back on their heels and they sense that their attack has gotten away from them – whether it landed the first time or not. It turns the table, psychologically.

            Works with momentarily angry spouses/significant others who probably appreciate the opportunity to retry with less negativity and it works against (my personal favorites) the posses that surround petty political figures.

            One time I had to ask the brother of a shady councilman three times to please repeat himself when he threatened to have his sibling interfer with something I was trying to accomplish. Left him completely flumoxed as to whether I was just stupid, he was being mocked, or the restatement had been recorded.

            I didn’t hear the debate, but you know Mark Sanford was totally aware that he would be attacked over his misuse of taxpayer funds and prepared to counter. What a great way to minimize the impact of the charge and throw off your opponent; and not look like a hypocrite or liar or aggressor doing so.

            Reply
  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Absolutely. There should have been a clear understanding ahead of time that the audience would behave itself, which it did not.

    I was unimpressed by both as speakers. Ms. Busch was nervous, and her inexperience showed (I’m about 17 minutes into it as I type this). She committed common errors such as “both as a country and a nation,” for instance. And she should have had a slam-bang answer to Sanford for that cheesy shot about her writing him a check for his first campaign. Hey, I endorsed the guy. Then I really got to know him, and knew better.

    Sanford’s usual rhetorical ticks (“I would say… I would say… I would say…”) were on display. But there was something new. There was a willingness to stoop to conquer that I haven’t seen in him before. Usually, he’s all about being smooth, exhibiting “Sangroid” (which my spell-checker used to always try to change his name to). But he was going for cheap shots. (And I’m talking tone as well as content. He could have mentioned her writing him a check in a way that sounded like a gentleman who appreciated the support, and was dismayed at her criticism now. But he was practically sneering at her about it.)

    There really seems to be some serious dislike on display here, from both sides. And it’s not pleasant to watch, or hear — especially between a Southern gentleman and lady…

    Reply
  4. Bart

    Didn’t watch it, read the write-up and the media naturally gave the advantage to Busch based on what I read. They mentioned the zinger about Sanford using government money to fly to Argentina but apparently it didn’t take according to Doug’s comments. In keeping with the trip issue, according to the local paper, the editor’s remarked after a letter to the editor that Sanford didn’t use government money for the trip. True or not? Bueller? Bueller?

    This election is not about Busch, it is about Sanford and as mentioned, if the voters are willing to forgive and give him another chance. If it is a forgive and move on, Sanford wins but not by much. If the pain is still more than the voters can handle, Busch goes to Washington. If she wins, does it mean Comedy Central has a surrogate representative in the House?

    After reading Doug’s account, one would think that Busch would have benefited from her brother’s experience dealing with cameras and a public forum.

    Won’t be long and it will be over, one way or the other. Really don’t give a damn which one wins, either way, SC loses.

    Reply
  5. bud

    This was the only debate. I look forward to seeing it. From what I can gather from different sources Sanford probably won. Colbert-Busch is inexperienced in this forum so that’s not surprising. But will it be enough? Sadly, I think it may. My latest prediction is for a cliffhanger:

    Sanford 49%
    Colbert-Busch 48%
    Others – 3%

    Reply
    1. Mark Stewart

      This is a contest where voting for a third party unknown or a write-in is simply guaranteeing a Sanford win.

      Reply
  6. Mark Stewart

    I didn’t see the debate. That said, if someome has chosen politics as one’s profession, one ought to have accomplished something positive during a twenty year career. The fact that Sanford has not done anything speaks volumes and is the reason he should lose this election. Even Joe Wilson could have answered that question.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Not that Joe has all that many accomplishments under his belt. But he could at least claim constituent service as an accomplishment. I don’t think Sanford has ever really prided himself on that.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        That’s not a slam at Sanford. Constituent service wouldn’t be my primary concern, either. I would do it, and diligently, but my priority would be lawmaking.

        Reply
  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, this election is definitely about Sanford, and it should be. This is a test of South Carolina, or at least of the 1st District, to see whether its voters have learned anything.

    Barring some bombshell that disqualifies her, what the Democrat does or says or who she is will not play as significant a role as what people think of Mark Sanford.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      Well Republicans already failed the test in nominating him.

      People are now forced to hold their nose (not unusual) – but it didn’t have to be this way again.

      Reply
  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    I say again, this continues to be unpleasant to listen to.

    And I wish someone had taken that one person who keeps saying “Whoo!” to every foolish thing Sanford says by the scruff of the neck and escorted him out of the hall…

    Reply
  9. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m thinking this wouldn’t be so bad if Ms. Busch had agreed to more debates. This is too high-stakes for both of them, and they’re too much on edge, and that’s a big part of what makes it so unpleasant to listen to.

    If there had been several debates, they could have relaxed and dialed it back a few notches.

    Yeah, I know why she didn’t agree to more. Standard strategy for someone who thinks she’s the front-runner.

    But I think maybe she and he both would have come across better if there had been more opportunities.

    This reminds me of what I hate about football — too much riding on a single game. I prefer baseball, where you come out every day and do your best, and lose some and win some, and show your quality over time…

    Reply
  10. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’ve lost track of how many times he has said “Nancy Pelosi.” That is so tacky, and pointless.

    It’s become a laugh line for some in the rude audience. But he keeps saying it.

    He’s said it twice while I was typing this one short comment.

    Reply
    1. Scout

      I didn’t listen to it, but I heard the report on NPR this morning. They mostly talked about him bringing up Nancy so much and the trespassing charges and Republicans dropping him. I believe they also said she has out fundraised him lately. At least that was the impression I came away with. I was pretty tired this morning – could be they said more.

      Reply
  11. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, come on… asking congressional candidates how they hope the Supreme Court rules on cases before it? How is that relevant to being a member of the U.S. House? Might as well ask them what their favorite TV shows are…

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, that’s a weak point on my part, though. I’d kinda be interested to know what their favorite TV shows are.

      If they like Reality TV, that’s a deal-breaker. :)

      Reply
  12. Brad Warthen Post author

    The longest interruption by the audience so far, I think, was the reaction to Ms. Busch’s passionate recitation of the usual “pro-choice” cliches — based on the fallacy that an issue of life and death of one individual is a “private matter” for another individual.

    Reply
    1. bud

      fallacy? As Vince Lombardi famously said (actually he never really said this but it sounds good). Allowing choice isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

      Reply
  13. Brad Warthen Post author

    Sanford just made a claim, again, to humility. He’s not exactly et up with that…

    He begins his closing remarks, “I would say this…”

    OK, then, Mark. SAY it.

    Reply
  14. Brad Warthen Post author

    Her assertion of the importance of research-related ecodevo is a good point. She doesn’t make it clear just how deeply opposed her opponent is to public investment in that.

    Her evocation of the future in her last line is good. Without being overt, it says, “We’ve had enough of this guy; let’s move on.”

    Reply
      1. bud

        How so? If this was a Presidential election wouldn’t the GOP presidential candidate’s coattail help Sanford? My guess is with Sanford on the ballot alone the voters actually have to vote FOR Sanford rather than merely pulling the GOP ticket lever.

        Reply
        1. Silence

          This is gonna sound bad, but there’s a certain segment of “straight ticket democrat” voters who get turned out to vote. If you have some other races going on, some local races of interest, the democratic machine is going to be working the get out the vote efforts very strongly. If Colbert-Busch can mobilize these voters and get them out, she’ll do well. If they don’t run the shutles, party buses, etc. she won’t do so good.
          It would be helpful to Colbert-Busch if there were a county council election or a presidential election coincident with this election. But there’s not.

          Reply
  15. Silence

    I watched most of the debate last night on C-SPAN. I missed the very beginning, and the sound cut out for a bit during the middle. A problem with the feed, perhaps.

    I thought that Sanford did just O.K. Not well, but an acceptable performance, perhaps? I thought he did a good job handling the implied affair question, the one about if he’d change his vote to impeach Clinton. I thought he didn’t do a good enough job explaining his opposition to federal spending to improve the port of Charleston. He continually came back to trying to tie Colbert-Busch to Pelosi & Obama, and I don’t think he was terribly successful at it. Pointing out that she’d donated to his gubernatorial campaign undermined his argument that she is more liberal than she is letting on. I think if he wants to win, he needs to continue to hammer the point that she’s out on the left wing fringe, but he needs to do it more convincingly. He looked good though, seemed stylish and at ease in the forum.

    Colbert-Busch did a better job than Sanford trying to make her case. She continued to downplay any connections to the national Democratic party and it’s liberal leadership. She tried to portray herself as an independent and a businesswoman who would put the needs and interests of the district first. She downplayed her ties to the trade unions who tried to block Boeing from coming to SC. I didn’t like her demeanor or her attire, I thought that her outfit was horrendous. She did better than I thought she would do in the debate, was articulate, concise and stuck to her talking points.

    I’d say that the debate was Sanford’s to lose, and he did so. Not a knockout by any means, but a sub-par performance when he needed a solid win.

    Reply
    1. bud

      She continued to downplay any connections to the national Democratic party and it’s liberal leadership.

      That’s a shame. I’d like to see candidates say how they really think about stuff. If she is a liberal then say so. If not say that. But since this is such a red district she really did have to stress her independent streak.

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      1. Silence

        I think she’s a lot more liberal than she let on last night. I read (somewhere) about all her pro-union and other liberal tweets – tweets which were deleted when she declared her candidacy. Of course that says nothing about how she’d legislate, but I do think that’s where her sympathies lie.

        Reply
        1. Mark Stewart

          She worked in a heavily unionized industry, shipping. So she has had a lot of exposure to both the good (there is a little good in unions, really) and the bad (and when the longshoremen are featherbedding they really go all out). But she also has an understanding of how important the Port of Charleston is to South Carolina’s future. That is a huge plus. She thinks about international trade. That’s a rarity in Washington DC. It could only be good to have a member of Congress who gets that. Sanford certainly doesn’t.

          Reply
          1. Silence

            Agreed that the Port of Charleston is important to the 1st district and to SC’s economic health. That’s pretty basic, and I don’t think that Mark Sanford doesn’t get it. I also don’t think that there are many members of congress who don’t think about international trade.

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          2. Mark Stewart

            Silence,

            Did you forget how the SC delegation couldn’t figure out the importance of backing the dredging study needed to keep the Port competitive going forward? Nikki’s not the only one giving it to Georgia.

            Reply
  16. bud

    I think it’s kind of funny that “pro-union” is the equivalent to an ultra liberal point of view. It wasn’t so long ago that a union guy could easily be considered a conservative. But times do change. And not always for the better.

    Reply
    1. Silence

      Seems like unions ruined Detroit and the rest of the rust belt, and drove all the jobs away to places that had more competitive work rules and wage rates. Now they want to impose the same job-killing closed shop regs on the rest of us. Ick.

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      1. Steve Gordy

        I wasn’t aware that it was the unions that coerced the management of the former Big 3 into offering so many lousy product offerings. Perhaps I was misinformed.

        Reply
        1. Silence

          I’ll admit that the unions didn’t do it alone. Crummy management decisions helped. The “Big” 3 were also aided and abetted by a protectionist trade policy that allowed them to build crap for a long time without any headaches. That being said, look at the story of the NUMMI plant.

          From Wikipedia:
          “The factory which NUMMI took over was built by General Motors and operated by them from 1962 to 1982. The idea of reopening the plant emerged out of the need that GM had to build high-quality and profitable small cars and the need Toyota had to start building cars in the United States, a requirement due to the possibility of import restrictions by the U.S. Congress.
          The choice of the Fremont plant and its workers was unusual. At the time of its closure, the Fremont employees were “considered the worst workforce in the automobile industry in the United States”, according to the United Auto Workers. Employees drank alcohol on the job, were frequently absent (enough so that the production line couldn’t be started), and even committed petty acts of sabotage such as putting “Coke bottles inside the door panels, so they’d rattle and annoy the customer.” In spite of the history and reputation, when NUMMI reopened the factory for production in 1984, most of the troublesome GM workforce was rehired, with some sent to Japan to learn the Toyota Production System. Workers who made the transition identified the emphasis on quality and teamwork by Toyota management as what motivated a change in work ethic.

          By December 1984, the first car, a yellow Chevrolet Nova rolled off the assembly line. And almost right away, the NUMMI factory was producing cars with as few defects per 100 vehicles as those produced in Japan. But 15 years later, GM had still not been able to implement lean manufacturing in the rest of the United States, though GM managers trained at NUMMI were successful in introducing the approach to its unionized factories in Brazil.

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    2. Doug Ross

      That’s because unions became more like the government… start with the noble idea of helping people and then transform into money grubbing, inefficiency. Unions should have stuck to improving working conditions instead of pay and benefits. When a worker is not paid for his skill but instead for what is negotiated to be the maximum pay for the least work, it falls apart. The whole grievance process subtracts from the ability of businesses to be effective.

      Reply
    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, it’s sort of old-school liberal, rather than “ultra.” Like, a couple of generations ago.

      Nowadays, your hip, modern Democrat it seems is more likely to say, as supposedly did Rahm Emanuel, “F__k the UAW.”

      Reply
    4. Brad Warthen Post author

      It also occurs to me that, if Ms. Busch spent all that time in the maritime industry, she probably has more experience dealing with unions than do most people in SC…

      Reply
  17. bud

    Ok, I’ll concede that unions did get a bit overbearing. But they most assuredly did serve an important purpose in helping workers organize into a cohesive countervailing force to monopolistic corporate power. And it worked to provide good wages and working conditions for millions of Americans. States like South Carolina suffered far lower wages than unionized parts of the country (and actually still do). Given that the unemployment rate in SC is far higher than the national average the argument that SC is better off because of anti-union rules is nonsensical. When wage are high, thanks to unions, spending generates jobs through a multipliers effect. So instead of increasing unemployment unions can,up to a point actually REDUCE unemployment. But that can result in problems too as the rust belt is finding out IF unions become too powerful in comparison to big corporations.

    But today it’s clear the pendulum has swung soooo far in the other direction that in spite of very substantial growth in productivity wages are stagnant. What we are becoming is a plutocracy where the capitalists control everything and thanks to government intervention into the market place with draconian “right to work” laws labor is helpless to bargain for it’s fair share of that increased productivity. With the CEOs of the largest companies makeing 350 times what a worker makes it’s time for that pendulum to swing back the other way.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      It simply isn’t a case of a lack of unions causing South Carolina’s low unemployment. Texas is a right to work state and is doing quite well. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment and is a right to work state.

      The five states with the lowest unemployment?

      1 NORTH DAKOTA 3.3
      2 NEBRASKA 3.8
      3 VERMONT 4.1
      4 SOUTH DAKOTA 4.3
      5 IOWA 4.9

      Only Vermont IS NOT right to work. And they are hardly a union state.

      The five states with highest unemployment:

      47 NORTH CAROLINA 9.2
      48 CALIFORNIA 9.4
      48 MISSISSIPPI 9.4
      50 ILLINOIS 9.5
      51 NEVADA 9.7

      California and Illinois are union states.

      South Carolina’s high unemployment is a result of its low skilled, poorly educated worker population combined with an overwhelming resistance to doing anything new.

      Reply
      1. bud

        I would suggest that union power nationwide is down sharply even in states without right to work laws. I’m just curious though Doug, why, as a libertarian, do you favor government intervention into this issue? Why not allow folks to organize as they see fit rather than using the power of the inefficient government to decide this?

        Reply
        1. Silence

          How about allowing people to unionize, but allowing companies the flexibility to fire them and hire scabs when they do?
          Also, how about allowing companies to utilize a private police force (Pinkerton’s, for example) to protect their scabs and non-union workers from the striking often violent union workers?

          Reply
        2. Doug Ross

          I don’t think you understand the concept of libertarianism, bud.

          I don’t want a government nor a union to limit the free market.

          I believe in the power of individual freedom and initiative.

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    2. Silence

      Prior to OSHA the unions probably did provide a valuable service to their members.
      When unions protected skilled tradesmen and ensured a quality product, they were doing good and valuable stuff. Back when “union-made” was a good thing and protected consumers from cheaply produced and substandard goods.
      There’s no reason that unskilled or deskilled labor should be able to unionize. If you are a trained electrician or boilermaker, great! If you are working the drink fountain at McD’s – No way!
      The point where unions reduced unemployment probably was around the time they instituted a standard 40 hour work week and 8 hour day. After that they began to increase unemployment.
      The multiplier effect only works until the solid blue collar (union) jobs go away. After that you end up with modern day Detroit or Flint.
      Eventually, both capital and labor will be free to seek the optimal location for production. If a location can’t offer some sort of competitive advantage, they will be in a world of hurt. I read today that the factory workers (killed) in Bangladesh were making clothes for $.28/hour. Are mill workers in SC 50 times more productive than in Bangladesh? If so, why? What can a location like SC do to compete on price, quality, speed, etc?
      Certainly the ability to produce quickly, ship cheaply and quickly and respond to re-orders for the US domestic market is a plus, but apparently it’s not the only consideration. Otherise all our clothes would still be made in domestic factories.
      The same capital investment and automation that propelled productivity gains in the US has happened or is happening worldwide. It’s just a matter of time.
      Cars, electronics, even machine tool production is moving overseas, and to lower cost areas overseas.
      How do we do things better, faster, cheaper, smarter?

      Reply
      1. bud

        Good question. My answer would, of course, require some sort of government intervention to ensure only products made in safe, clean work environments are allowed in.

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        1. Silence

          Good luck with that. I’d guess that Apple consumers are pretty liberal and consious about making ethical choices and fair trade type purchases, at least more than the average American. Still we hear stories about the horrors that occur at the Foxconn factories that make iPads and iPhones.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn_suicides

          Best line: ” Workers were also forced to sign a legally binding document guaranteeing that they and their descendants would not sue the company as a result of unexpected death, self-injury, or suicide.”

          Reply
  18. bud

    That’s because unions became more like the government…
    -Doug

    Seriously Doug, you’re becoming a bit of a one trick pony. How about this:

    That’s because unions became more like monopolistic corporations. That would actually be more accurate.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Name the monopolistic corporations, please. Would that be Exxon or Conoco Phillips, Walmart or Costco, G.E. or Johnson and Johnson, General Motors or Ford, Apple or Google, Microsoft or Oracle?

      Now name the competitors to the federal government and the teamsters union.

      Reply
      1. Silence

        Haven’t seen any monopolies in the US lately… AT&T? Nope, not a monopoly. Wal-Mart, nope, not a monopoly either. Coca-Cola? Nope, not a monopoly. Exxon? Nope, not a monopoly. Microsoft? Not a monopoly. Apple? Not a monopoly either.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes and no on Apple. Google Analytics tells me three fourths of those who read this blog via mobile and tablet are on Apple devices…

          Yes, I know that’s not really a monopoly; I just mention it because I find it interesting….

          Reply
      2. Doug Ross

        Imagine if we had a competitor to Medicare… I bet we’d see prices drop and fraud/waste/abuse reduced significantly. Oh, but someone who figures out how to do that might make a couple hundred million dollars, so that’s not a good idea.

        Reply
  19. bud

    Monopolistic is not exactly the same thing as monopoly. It’s merely a term used to denote an industry that falls well short of pure competition. When corporate power is concentrated into a relatively few companies that is called an oligopoly. Pure monopolies are probably non-existent except for something like a utility whereby the government grants one company exclusive rights to sell a commodity. SCANA is an example. That type of monopoly is heavily regulated with mixed results.

    Oligopolies are rather common features of our economy and the fact that few companies dominate an industry renders the benefits of laissez faire as espoused by conservatives and libertarians as largely speculative. Economic theory is not solid on just exactly how an oligopoly works to the betterment of the consumer and workers but it is completely certain on one thing, a very concentrated industry does not perform in the best interests of the consumer nearly to the extent that a highly competitive industry will.

    But theory mostly concentrates on how an industry will perform relative to consumers, not workers. But we can see how the two are related. An industry that will take advanteous of workers to the betterment of it’s top ranking executives is unlikely to be particularly a good corporate citizen to consumers or the environment. As long as a monopolistic industry has a friend in government to ensure it can keep it’s thumb on a helpless workforce the more it can and will take advantage of that situation to leverage huge salaries for a few at the top.

    And thus we have the situation in the US as it exists today – An increasingly concentrated corporate structure that is supported by an ever more compliant government to the benefit of fewer and fewer people.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Whatever oligopolies exist in the U.S. (oil, banking, agriculture, defense) do so at the service of the government that has been bought off to allow it to happen. “Too Big To Fail” was a payback.
      The federal government is a willing participant in the process… and it is no better under Obama than
      it was under Bush. Go read some of Matt Taibbi’s articles in the past year in Rolling Stone. The corruption is interwoven between the industries and the politicians. If we had politicians with a little bit of backbone instead of greed, we’d see a better country. But, nope, we’ll see Lindsey Graham get re-elected and continue to magically multiply his net worth on a government salary.

      Reply
      1. bud

        Obama has at least tried to reign in the big bankers. But it’s impossible with this congress. Too big to fail should mean too big to continue being too big. Where is Teddy Roosevelt now that we need him with that big stick.

        Reply
  20. Harry Harris

    The debate struck me as having the shallowest answers to questions I can remember. Colbert Busch kept parroting Republican talking points – the erroneous stuff about health care and Social Security. Sanford was never made to account – beyond his usual doctrinaire glosses, for turning down appropriated federal money. Sanford constantly name-dropped and cited arcane legislative names in support of unclear points. She adamantly called for bipartisanship without any real strategy while Sanford tried citing his bipartisan chops after being a highly polarizing governor the Republican leadership couldn’t even work with. In Congress, he tried to be Johnathan Livingston Seagull, but flew in circles because of only having a right wing.

    Reply
  21. Doug Ross

    “a highly polarizing governor the Republican leadership couldn’t even work with”

    Considering their track record, why would any governor WANT to work with the corrupt Republican leadership? You don’t get credit for negotiating with terrorists, so why bargain with thieves?

    Reply
  22. Steve Gordy

    It’s called politics. Once you start off from the assumption that your opponents are all thieves, that sort of limits any productive interaction.

    On the issue of unions, I agree that they’re often poorly run and too focused on seniority rules and such. However, if employment contracts are all right for executives, why not for ordinary workers? Unions are about the only way currently available to make that happen.

    Reply
  23. Mab

    Brad — I have to commend you on the way you word things, though I don’t follow your politics. “A toughie” is exactly how I described another situation that faced us today, before I read your 2-word summary of a similar confluence of events for which your summary worked very well

    Touché on writing from the gut!

    Reply
  24. Burl Burlingame

    Those of us outside your state want you to vote for Sanford. It would reinforce the common wisdom about South Carolina.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Morrell

      Thanks for your concern for your friend from here who actually cares. Your attitude contributes to what ails us at times. We can sure do without it.

      Reply
      1. Mark Stewart

        I think Burl was making the point that it is up to the citizens of SC (or in this case of the 1st district) to make the decisions that will move the state forward; and that decisions have consequences.

        Here is a case where the right course of action ought to be clear to all, and yet the preference for the cold comfort of the familiar appears to linger on.

        Reply
        1. Silence

          Back to the Future – Starring Mark Sanford.

          If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious sh*t.
          Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly. Think!
          1.21 gigawatts! 1.21 gigawatts. Great Scott!

          Reply
  25. Silence

    Ol’ Mark Sanford must be doing something right. He just picked up the highly coveted, much sought after Larry Flynt endorsement!

    Mr. Flynt (D-Hustler) had this to say: “Sanford’s open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support… Even though Mark Sanford has emerged as the leader against sexual hypocrisy in American politics, he is a liar. He lied to his gubernatorial staff. He lied to his wife. He lied to his children. He lied to the people of South Carolina and to the press. Despite his journey down this Appalachian Trail of deceit, I support him not for his character, but for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values. The liar has exposed the greater lie,”

    Fortunately for Ms. Colbert-Busch, the endorsements from Bob Guccione (D-Penthouse) and Hugh Hefner (D-Playboy) are still up for grabs.

    Reply
      1. Mark Stewart

        Interesting factoid for Guccione; his offices were in a prime building on Park Avenue in NYC otherwise known as the home to commercial bankers, merchant bankers and investment bankers. It looked like a legit office – none of that Playboy Mansion stuff for him.

        He had a thirty year license to print money though, so I guess he was in the right building after all. Until the bankruptcy.

        Reply
    1. Silence

      When have I ever made stuff up? I guess I could have linked to the source, but I didn’t think of doing that at the time.

      Reply

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