So are you truly, unambiguously going to support this guy?

This is a good day to be Nancy Mace or Det Bowers. Because they are the only two of the crowd of people running against Lindsey Graham in the GOP primary who did not just sign a pledge to support the guy who called the senator “ambiguously gay.”

Here’s the money quote, which caused enough of a splash that Chris Cillizza of The Fix retweeted me when I mentioned it yesterday, leading to 17 other retweets and 8 favorites:

Feliciano said, “It’s about time that South Carolina (says) hey, We’re tired of the ambiguously gay senator from South Carolina. We’re ready for a new leader to merge the Republican Party. We’re done with this. This is what it’s about, all of us coming together and saying, one way or the other, one of us is going to be on that ballot in November.”

It was said by the (formerly) most obscure of the candidates, the suddenly-famous Dave Feliciano of Spartanburg, at a presser in which he and three others — Bill Connor, Lee Bright and Richard Cash — signed a pledge promising to support any one of their number who gets into a runoff with Graham.

Dave Feliciano, in an image from his campaign website.

Dave Feliciano, in an image from his campaign website.

Put another way, Bill Connor, Lee Bright and Richard Cash just pledged to support Dave Feliciano over Lindsey Graham.

Just when you thought they couldn’t take ideology far enough…

After the presser, Connor and Cash both denounced Feliciano’s characterization of the senator, but both confirmed they would still stick to the pledge, according to The State. Bright reportedly left the event before Feliciano spoke, which shows he’s not named “Bright” for nothing.

I wrote to Bill Connor via Facebook a few minutes ago to ask him again, “would you really support this Feliciano guy over Sen. Graham?” Because I still find that hard to believe. But then, I find the attitude of the kinds of Republicans who would oppose Graham sort of hard to believe, so this is not surprising.

29 thoughts on “So are you truly, unambiguously going to support this guy?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Bill Connor just responded, promptly as usual, to my question on Facebook:

    Brad, first, as I told those reporters after the press conference, the comments made by Mr. Feliciano were his own and I don’t condone those kinds of personal attacks made against another candidate. I was frankly stunned at what Mr. Feliciano said and did not expect it. Mr. Feliciano may not even file. I guess we will see in the next two weeks, and if not, this will be moot. The intent was in showing the solidarity of conservative challengers in the event of a runoff. I will stick to my word, as I have done throughout my life and I signed the document. Based on the circumstances of how Mr. Feliciano gave his statements (after the signing of the document), please don’t allow it to become a “straw man” way for a candidate to attack those who were trying to put a duty to a cause over self. Thanks Brad!

    Reply
    1. Kathryn Fenner

      a duty to a cause? How Gilbert and Sullivan of him–hmmm, check his loafers!

      This is the height of silly: first off, stupid pledges appeal to the hobgoblins of small minds, second, Lindsey Graham’s sexuality is irrelevant to his fitness to serve, third, smear tactics poison civil discourse.

      Reply
      1. Juan Caruso

        The above photo from non-candidate Feliciano’s “campaign website” is eerily reminiscent of Michael Dukakis’s infamous antic.

        Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Good one. But to whom do you refer?

      Do you hold the view of Will Folks et al. that actual mainstream Republicans such as Graham are the ones who are only ambiguously Republican (or as he would say, RINOs)?

      Or are you saying that all these Tea Party people are ambiguously Republican? Which would make more sense…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        I probably won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t support my basic requirements:

        – Reform the tax code, ideally with a flat tax
        – Strive for a balanced budget
        – End the “War” on “Terror”
        – Reduce the size of government across the board

        After that, the nice to haves would be:

        – Legalize gay marriage
        – Decriminalize or legalize all drugs
        – Term limits at the federal level
        – Offer an alternative private option to Social Security for retirement savings

        Reply
        1. Bryan Caskey

          Let’s see how I stack up on Doug’s list:

          – Reform the tax code, ideally with a flat tax (YES!)
          – Strive for a balanced budget (YES!)
          – End the “War” on “Terror” (Agree. Shouldn’t be our only focus.)
          – Reduce the size of government across the board (YES!)

          After that, the nice to haves would be:

          – Legalize gay marriage (YES. But it’s really a state-by-state thing, isn’t it?)
          – Decriminalize or legalize all drugs (Whoa, there big fella. Let’s go slow on this one. All drugs?)
          – Term limits at the federal level (Meh, not really a big issue for me. Consider me agnostic on this one.)
          – Offer an alternative private option to Social Security for retirement savings (YES.)

          Only other thing I would add would be someone who is solidly 2nd Amendment.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Yes. all drugs. Whatever someone decides to put into his or her body is nobody’s business until that person does something that impacts something else. At the same time, penalties for DUI (drugs or alcohol) should be made very tough – mandatory loss of license for X years, mandatory jail time if you are involved in an accident that harms someone else.

            Reply
        2. bud

          Can I play too?

          Musts:

          Increase Government spending on infrastructure (Electric grid, roads, etc)
          Reduce Military Spending (Close most if not all foreign bases)
          Enhance ACA, preferably by going single payer (Medicare for all). But public option also acceptable.
          Eliminate earnings limit for Social Security.
          Eliminate Gerimandered congressional districts.
          Abolish all corporate welfare.
          Generally clean up the tax code to eliminate virtually all deductions including charity and mortgage deductions. Keep current progressive rate structure but with loopholes closed brackets could probably be reduced.
          Eliminate special tax rates for capital gains/carried interest.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            >Increase Government spending on infrastructure (Electric grid, roads, etc)
            >Reduce Military Spending (Close most if not all foreign bases)

            I’ll accept the former if it is balanced by a decrease in the latter. Fair trade that helps OUR economy.

            >Enhance ACA, preferably by going single payer (Medicare for all). But public >

            Fine with me as long as everyone pays for it. You want it, you have to contribute x% of your salary.

            >Eliminate earnings limit for Social Security.
            Only if the payouts are increase accordingly.

            >Eliminate Gerimandered congressional districts.

            Sure

            >Abolish all corporate welfare.

            Including unions? Okay.

            >Generally clean up the tax code to eliminate virtually all deductions including >charity and mortgage deductions. Keep current progressive rate structure but >with loopholes closed brackets could probably be reduced.

            Fine with me. No deductions for children, age, blindness, medical expenses.. nothing. You pay based on income.. a couple rates that kick in somewhere above the poverty level.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            See, now, guys, that’s just totally backwards. If you’re going to close all of a certain category of military bases, you’d close the domestic ones. The foreign ones are the ones we actually need.

            For instance, with Obama trying to shift the strategic focus to the Pacific, it seems pretty stupid that we closed Subic Bay.

            Of course, you need local bases, too. The whole concept is wrong. But we need the foreign ones more…

            This, gentleman, is what the federal government does. Everything else is a lower priority.

            Reply
          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            And y’all know what my agenda would be, to the extent that I had one. But I’m not big on campaign promises. I want elected representatives to be flexible, and meet the actual challenges that arise, not waste energy and political capital keeping promises when there are more important, immediate things that need doing.

            But for what I would WANT to accomplish, if there were no unforeseen circumstances (which is impossible), see my UnParty and Energy Party columns. For more on the attitude that would inform my decision-making, see the Grownup Party column.

            Reply
          4. Doug Ross

            “This, gentleman, is what the federal government does. Everything else is a lower priority”

            And that’s been the problem since the early 60’s. Thinking the U.S. is responsible for policing the world.

            Reply
  2. Mike F.

    Mr. Feliciano certainly will not file; he told The State so himself, yet it ran its story anyway. The AP, however, covered the event and ignored the rumormongering.

    Lee Atwater would chuckle at all this and nod approvingly.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s VERY interesting, Mike. Thanks for the perspective.

      Here’s a copy of the AP story, which does not mention the remark from Feliciano.

      Interesting ethical/news judgment question here: Did the AP make a decision that this marginal guy wasn’t worth quoting, or miss the quote somehow? Was The State wrong to let this remark overshadow a genuine campaign even by the other three? What’s fair and what isn’t?

      Reply
  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    thestate.com is now reporting this followup statement from Feliciano:

    First off I stand by my comment. I will not apologize.
    You’re right I came off as a bit insensitive but it got your attention. It should have, there is more at stake here then a job. Lindsey Graham confirmed two judges that will continue the abortion holocaust in America for years to come.

    As far as respect for the man, not going to happen here. He has millions of lives that will be lost because of his incompetence. And for what, so he can look pretty in Washington.

    Next, my fellow opponents who so quickly threw me under the bus. It is time for you guys to “man up”. Lindsey is wiping the floor with you in this campaign. Stop trying to look good for the cameras and begin to fight.

    This idea of trying to become the first loser is ridiculous. Stand up and LEAD!! That’s what leaders do, and if they are going in the right direction people will follow.

    When I say I will end Abortion in South Carolina I mean it. When you are on the streets and in a fight you do whatever you can to win. There are millions upon millions of babies out there that cannot fight for themselves and it is going to take a tough man to make it stop.

    People are right that I haven’t raised much money and I don’t really know how to campaign well. I’m not a politician. Most likely my campaign will end at the end of this month and I will go back to serving the citizens of this amazing state.

    For the candidates who do progress it is going to take a lot more to lead this fight then what I’ve seen so far. I pray one of you will take that mantle and lead.

    But more importantly just be yourself. People are tired of the stuffed suits that do nothing.

    And finally to Mr. Cash, lighten up dude. It’s not that big a deal. Enjoyed the press conference today and I wish everyone well.”

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      So the question arises again: Is it fair to the other candidates to keep paying attention to this guy, who himself indicates he likely won’t follow through with the campaign?

      Reply
  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    On the one hand, you might blame The State for jumping on the kind of incendiary remark that went viral, even though it came from someone who is not really a serious candidate.

    On the other hand, I didn’t see anything in The State about the open-mic offer Graham made to Kerry, which was also causing a lot of Web buzz yesterday.

    So it’s a mixed bag.

    Reply
    1. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, all Graham has to do is pull himself over the line at 50%. Every time a knuckle-head comment (like the one above) gets made, it makes it easier for Graham to do that. No one respectsad hominen attacks.

      Not to discount that polling (I don’t) but I’m not sure Graham is out of the woods. It’s it’s still very early. Let’s see what the polling looks like on July 4. My guess is we’ll know by then.

      Reply
  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    FYI, here’s a statement from Det Bowers:

    March 14, 2014

    Open letter to South Carolinians

    This past Wednesday evening I was asked to attend the pledge signing with four other candidates seeking the US Senate seat for South Carolina. The pledge states: “We, the undersigned genuine conservative Republicans, agree to endorse whichever one of our fellow signers advances to the run-off election against incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham following the South Carolina Republican primary election for the U.S. Senate on the 10th of June 2014.”

    I declined to participate in that pledge and refused to attend the gathering for two reasons:

    1) I am running to become your next United States Senator – and to sign a pledge of surrender before the campaign process has culminated would be admitting defeat before the battle has even begun; and

    2) At this point, the candidates have not engaged in a single debate on the complex issues facing this nation. I believe in the necessity for a smaller federal government, reduced regulatory burden on small business, free enterprise and strong immigration reform.

    Furthermore, I reject the statement made yesterday by one of the candidates about Senator Graham. That comment exemplifies part of the problem with Washington today. Debasing a man’s name and character is not our path forward to prosperity and will only leave us wallowing in the political malaise.

    I pledge to you today that our campaign has always been and will always be built on trust, integrity and optimism for the future of America.

    Respectfully,

    Det

    He was right, and smart, to stay out of this pledge-signing business. So was Nancy Mace. It was not a wise move, unless you’re trying to appeal to people who just HATE Lindsey Graham and would replace him with anyone off the street.

    Reply
    1. Mab

      “I find the attitude of the kinds of Republicans who would oppose Graham sort of hard to believe…”

      We stopped loving him today…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp5Rdb9ncfM

      ###

      It’s not about “HATING” Lindsay Graham. It’s about stopping loving him. Charles Krauthammer, you first: Stop it. [[http://www.bradwarthen.com/2014/03/krauthammer-ya-gotta-love-graham-for-being-a-troublemaker/]

      Reply
  6. Barry

    I, along with most voters, will vote for Senator Graham again.

    These other folks- well – let’s just say it’s not pretty – at all.

    Reply
    1. Mab

      You must be above age “60-ish”. Those guys VEHEMENTLY defend Senator Graham’s hetero-ness as if it were their own. They will ‘drop you like a wet chunk’ if you even insinuate otherwise.

      Reply
  7. Silence

    Say what you want about Mr. Feliciano’s political views and campaign missteps, but his guitar playing is amazing. I love when he plays The Doors “Light My Fire,” or the traditional Christmas tune “Feliz Navidad.”

    Reply

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