Open Thread for Tuesday, June 19, 2018

photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows the interior of a CBP facility in McAllen, Texas, on Sunday...

photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows the interior of a CBP facility in Texas on Sunday…

Several potential topics for discussion:

  1. Trump, defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP — As Republican leaders pledge to end Trump’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border legislatively, the president’s behavior is getting increasingly wild and out of control.
  2. Trump could end policy of separating children ‘with a phone call,’ Graham says — Lindsey’s having one of his lucid days today.
  3. How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects in the U.S. — I’ve heard Democrats gripe about these guys for years, and have generally thought, Whatever… But now they’ve gone to messin’. Like Clint Eastwood’s character in “In the Line of Fire,” I love me some public transportation.
  4. Judge dismisses Emanuel lawsuits, says FBI can fix gun checks — Richard Gergel’s not buying the government’s excuses about how Roof got his gun.
  5. David Brooks: The Rise of the Amnesty Thugs — Its not just about families separated at the border, Brooks writes. “What’s most significant is this: The Trump administration immigration officials have become exactly the kind of monsters that conservatism has always warned against.”
  6. There are more guns than people in the US, according to new study — This is according to something called the Small Arms Survey. The story says “With an estimated 120.5 guns for every 100 residents, the firearm ownership rate in the United States is twice that of the next-highest nation, Yemen, with just 52.8 guns per 100 residents. In raw number terms, the closest country to the United States is India, with 71.1 million firearms in circulation.”

81 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, June 19, 2018

  1. bud

    1. EVERY Democrat running for ANY office needs to take the recording of the crying children and make an ad showing what happens when we have Republican rule. Let’s be crystal clear about this. This is a REPUBLICAN policy, not just a tRump policy. Sure he implemented it but the GOP has carried his water on everything he’s done. Few Republicans in congress call him out for anything he says or does. He’s getting around 90% approval from self-described Republicans. I give no quarter whatsoever to the GOP on this. They need to own this and fix it. So far only a few Republicans have stepped up to the plate and mostly whiffed. I’m just sick and tired of this disgusting meme that suggests tRump is not a real Republican. Yes. He. Is. This is the party of tRump.

    Reply
    1. Richard

      So why aren’t Democrats doing anything about it? I mean other than sitting around whining about it. How many Democrats voted for this law back when it came up under the Bill Clinton administration? They’ve had 20+ years to change it and did absolutely nothing to get the law reversed or changed. What’s your response to that?

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What utter nonsense. The president is grossly abusing the authority he has under the law, which no other president had dreamed of using this way, because no other president was ever insane…

        Reply
        1. Claus2

          That doesn’t answer the question, what are Democrats doing about any of this… I mean besides organizing marches and rallies.

          How is enforcing a law, abuse of the law? This law didn’t just pop out of nowhere, it’s been a law since Bill Clinton was in office, it just wasn’t enforced.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t know. I don’t feel in any way responsible for Democrats, any more than I do for Republicans.

            I suppose a lot of them, being out of power and having only their voices, have been raising hell. As have some Republicans.

            Which is why your boy blinked and backed down today. So, you know, it worked I guess.

            That’s how it works in this country, by the way: People don’t like something, they speak up. It’s why we have a First Amendment…

            Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      OK, Bud, on a separate comment you said:

      I’m a proud, unapologetic Democrat and I find it offensive to suggest that simply because I’m a so called “partisan” Democrat that somehow I despise people I disagree with.

      But then you write something like this, damning all Republicans with something that is patently, obviously, clearly, unmistakably a product of the Trump/Bannon portion of the party.

      You completely ignore all the work that Graham, McCain, and the man you hate most, George W. Bush, put into crafting sane comprehensive immigration reform, only to see it destroyed by the element in the party that finally elected one of their own president.

      Yep, the GOP is a deeply messed-up party right now. Right now, there are four types of Republicans in office:

      1. The yahoos who sincerely support Donald Trump.

      2. The cowards — people who know better, but are terrified of the Trump base. And I call them cowards knowing the dilemma they face: If they don’t kowtow to the Know-Nothings, they will be replaced by actual Know-Nothings. Which is bad not just for them, but for the country. But you know, if you’re going to vote like an idiot you might as well be an idiot. There’s a point at which a sane person goes too far in bowing to the insane, to the point that we lose all benefit of having a sane person in the office.

      3. The split-personality people like Lindsey Graham who think they can be sane one day, and kowtow on the other.

      4. The ones who are quitting public office or — in the case of John McCain — near death, who speak the truth. Flake, Corker, and now Sanford. Sanford at least spoke up when he wasn’t planning on leaving office — and his fate simply confirms category 2. in their cowardice.

      It’s not a pretty picture. But you don’t help the situation by failing to distinguish between the types. Just saying they’re all the same as Trump just comes across as partisan politics as usual — which is exactly what the Trump people want everyone to think. They want to portray any criticism of Trump as the usual stuff coming from Democrats and liberals. They really don’t need your help in reinforcing that bifurcated view of the world…

      And of course, people like me don’t like to see that worldview reinforced because we don’t want to play that game…

      Reply
      1. bud

        This may be a bit too nuanced for some here to grasp but I’ll give it a try. What I’m talking about is a disagreement about policy. And a strong one. Republicans own this. Republicans have carried the president’s water on many, many issues. Republican leadership in congress rarely speaks out. Heck, Paul Ryan is on the way out and he still, STILL doesn’t call Trump out for his lies and cruelty. The man stole money from his own charity for Pete’s sake. Isn’t that plenty to impeach the man? Or at least reprimand him? But noooo. It’s all about getting conservatives on the courts and getting tax cuts for the rich. Yes this bunch is cowardly. Since 90% of self-described Republicans support Trump then it really makes no sense to bend over backwards to pretend there is anything noble about any significant faction of the GOP. What doesn’t help is people pretending the 2 parties are somehow equally culpable. That is just offensive to me as a Democrat. So I will unapologetically bifurcate til the cows come home, thank you very much. That is the appropriate way to view our political system right now.

        Now for the nuance. I’m a bleeding heart liberal and by definition I can’t really hate anyone. I still have Republican friends but it’s really awkward to discuss politics with them anymore. Which is sad because I used to enjoy a lively debate about things like the capital gains tax or drilling for oil in the ANWR. Those types of issues rarely come up anymore. My current view of the world is just that, current. I’ve never been an adherent of Republican doctrine in general but once upon a time they did push for things I could support like free trade, opposition to affirmative action and comprehensive immigration reform. I even voted for a Republican or two back in the day. That’s unthinkable now. Frankly Brad I find it odd that you’ve missed the shift in the very soul of the Republican Party over the last 2 decades. But it’s clear that is what has occurred. Even so I don’t hate these people. I just find them perplexing.

        Reply
      2. Richard

        So when will we see your four levels of Democrats? Or let me guess, in your book they’re all awesome.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          You really, really, really have a reading comprehension problem, don’t you? Or maybe you’re some other Richard, who has never read a word I’ve ever written. Because no one who reads me, and understands what I’ve written, would say that…

          Reply
          1. Richard

            So I respond, yet you refuse to approve it.

            But you’re still refusing to answer a legitimate question, do you rate Democrat James Smith in the same light as Democrats Robert Ford and Alvin Greene? If not then there are at least two classes of Democrats in your mind.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Ahem…

              I’ll explain the obvious, if only to save you from typing more responses that ask me irrelevant questions that would a waste of MY time to answer…

              Look at the context. Look what I was replying to — it was to Bud saying that all Republicans are exactly the same. He was wrong to say that, and I pointed out some reasons why.

              He was NOT saying that all Democrats are alike. If he had, I would probably have argued with that.

              So, do you see why I see no point in what you keep trying to post? I mean, I’m kind of irritated with myself for letting you post it this time, necessitating this response. I’m just trying to save you some trouble going forward.

              I know that to you, “whataboutism” makes sense. I know that you think that anyone who criticizes a Republican must be a Democrat, and must be called out for it.

              Well, I don’t view the world that way. I think that’s a very destructive way of looking at the world, and one of the reasons I go to the trouble of having this blog is to provide a place where people can talk about issues without things being couched in those terms, which I find destructive to rational discourse. The world is full of blogs — you should have no trouble finding them — that DO cater to that “it’s all about Democrats vs. Republicans” way of looking at things. I provide this blog for people who, like me, want to get beyond that.

              So there you go. Any further “but what about Democrats” comments in response to MY response to someone talking about Republicans will not be approved, and I’ve just explained why.

              Reply
      3. Barry

        Mark Sanford in an interview today said that an overwhelming number of fellow elected republicans had given him support after the President’s nasty comments today about him today in a meeting

        He said a lot of elected officials just aren’t going to speak up publicly.

        Reply
        1. Richard

          Well that’s one thing career politicians are good at, patting each other on the back and calling each other “my good friend”. The good news is Sanford is gone.

          Reply
          1. Claus2

            And we all thank God for that. The guy was a nutjob when he was governor. But as is the SC way of voting, he was a familiar name on a ballot so we gotta vote for him.

            Reply
  2. Norm Ivey

    I’ve always had faith in the system. We’d lurch from left to right and back again, but the system always seemed to work. Even when I could see that the policies and rhetoric of one party or the other were probably more driven by self-preservation than the interests of the nation, I had confidence that after a couple of election cycles, we’d go through a correction of the sort the stock market experiences from time to time.

    I’ve lost that confidence. Trump is a lying, narcissistic, morally bankrupt, rudderless lump of flesh, and I am ashamed that he is our president. He’s surrounded by sycophants that are either blind to reality or blinded by power. During the Army-McCarthy hearings, when Army lawyer Joseph Welch finally challenged McCarthy with You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency? McCarthy lost all support.

    Where’s our Joseph Welch?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Right. And as long as it was 30 percent or less of the population, it was bad but bearable.

      But that’s now a majority in a Republican primary, and the Republicans are in charge in our state and nation, which means that nasty, mangy tail is wagging the whole country.

      And right now, I DON’T see how things get better. Not anytime soon, anyway…

      Reply
      1. Claus2

        Brad you’re starting to sound like bud, everything you have to complain about these days is the fault of the Republican party. Maybe the Democratic party should do something… something besides sit back and complain. Is it the lack of leaders in the Democratic party? Do they not have one person who can be viewed as a leader and not a follower?

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          How did you get THAT out of what I wrote?

          Oh, damn, I forgot! The Democrats are in charge! They hold the White House, and control Congress! We shouldn’t even be talking about Republicans, because they’re not in control of anything….

          Reply
        2. Barry

          Is there something in you that makes you unable to understand that Democrats can’t do anything legislatively right now due to math?

          Does that not compute with you for some reason?

          Reply
          1. Richard

            So if the math doesn’t work, the solution is to sit on your hands. Got it… the Democrats solution to everything.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Why are you talking about the Democrats? Again, who is in charge here?

              You might as well point at me and blame the UnParty. Yep, things would be really different (in unpredictable ways, I’ll admit) if the UnParty were in charge.

              But we’re not. And neither are the Democrats….

              Reply
              1. Claus2

                I’m confused, who are you talking to… me, Barry or Richard? Because all three of us are talking about Democrats… you’re even talking about Democrats.

                I might blame the UnParty, but since it’s make believe I might as well blame Fred Flintstone for all of this as well.

                Reply
                1. Claus2

                  “It’s not make-believe — I’m right here…”

                  But your make believe party isn’t. There is no proof of your party’s existence other than in your head.

                2. Norm Ivey

                  I’m Unparty, too.

                  Then there’s a pair of us!
                  Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

                1. Claus2

                  Why are we talking about a Democratic candidate, he’s not in power. If you want to use your logic…

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Do you know what an election is? It’s the process by which we decide who is going to be in power. We have one going on right now, right here in South Carolina. That’s what you’ve been reading about here…

          2. Claus2

            Barry so what is the Democrat’s strategy to get out of this hole? Right now it’s to sit back and do nothing. How much longer do they intend to wait this out? And what will be left of their party by the time someone decides to do something?

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Do what?

              I think their plan is to win the next election, so they have the POWER to do something.

              Personally, I don’t see that as the solution to our problems, but they seem to.

              In the meantime, they’re going to do what you’ve seen them, and the rest of us, do this past week: Raise hell about outrageous things that are going on. Hey, and this time it worked: Trump backed down.

              Reply
  3. Karen Pearson

    It seems to me that we are currentlly having a political struggle between oligarchs and mob rule. I’m not sure how we go about correcting and resolving this trouble, but I think Greece has this kind of political trouble several hundred years before the birth of Christ. The republic fell, and democracy turned into mob rule. Greece became a vassel to several dictatorial regimes.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And the Romans had their crisis just a few decades before Christ. I’m more familiar with that collapse — in fact, I recently read Rubicon by Tom Holland to refresh my memory…

      The book convinced me that by the end, the Roman Republic wasn’t really worth saving. Total mess.

      I just hope someone’s not looking at this moment in a couple of thousand years and saying the same thing about us….

      Reply
      1. Richard

        “I just hope someone’s not looking at this moment in a couple of thousand years and saying the same thing about us….”

        You think there will still be people around in 2000 years?

        Reply
          1. Claus2

            I seriously doubt we make it past the 21st century. Look at what we’ve done to this planet over the past 100 years. I’m no tree hugger, but my money is on Mother Nature winning this battle.

            Reply
  4. David L Carlton

    Jeez–David Brooks’s heart is in the right place, but his diagnosis of the problem is flat-out stupid. The reason for this family-separation policy isn’t bureaucracy run amok, nor is it blind adherence to regulations. It’s a policy deliberately cooked up by people at the top for their own ends–people who could stop what they’re doing instantly without violating any law or regulation. And in the process they’re revealing the dirty truth behind Brooks’s cherished conservatism–that in America its underpinning is, and has always been, white tribalism. That was the “conservatism” I grew up with in Jim Crow SC, and it hasn’t changed a bit.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      So you don’t think we need someone explaining to conservatives, in their own terms, how what’s happening is a bad thing?

      Are you going to hold out for conservatives (and frankly, I’m not entirely sure the term fits Brooks; he seems more like a communitarian every day — which of course means something that doesn’t fit on the left-right continuum) putting things in the terms you would use?

      That seems impractical, and if you care about the world getting better as opposed to winning points, self-defeating…

      Reply
      1. bud

        Really Brad. We’re supposed to coddle this miserable bunch? Stoke their ego in some way. That is completely ridiculous. The GOP can’t be worked with; it must be defeated. But don’t take my word for it. Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s assistant campaign manager has just quit the Republican Party.

        From Political Dig:

        “In an overnight tweetstorm, the GOP strategist and MSNBC analyst revealed that he was leaving “the party of Trump” after nearly 30 years as a registered voter.

        He wrote: “29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.””

        Fully the party of Trump. It’s not just me saying that.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          That’s a perfectly sound figure of speech for him to use. Real Republicans feel beleaguered, and they see Trump continuing to hold sway over their party….

          Reply
        2. Doug Ross

          John McCain and Steve Schmidt gave us Sarah Palin – the catalyst for the dumpster fire that is Donald Trump. No Palin, no Trump.

          A contest pitting Steve Schmidt against Trump to see who has lied the most would end in a tie. The Republican Party would be better off purging all the Steve Schmidts, Karl Roves, etc.

          Reply
  5. bud

    5. I’ve never been a fan of David Brooks. This makes me like him even less. To suggest this horrendous separation policy is an abrogation of conservatism is an insult to intelligent thinking. This IS the end result of modern conservatisism. Has anybody been paying attention to conservative pundits?

    Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        This is actually kind of like fall of 2008. I wrote at the time about how the conservatives were more interesting at that time, so I was choosing them for op-ed more often. They knew they were losing the election, so they were groping for answers.

        Now, their world is even more in crisis. So they’re interesting…

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote in 2008 about why the pundits generally labeled as “conservative” were more interesting that fall — which was why I was picking them more often than the designated liberals for the op-ed page (later, children, I’ll explain what an oped page is, and reminisce about the days when The State had one):

          But that’s because the conservatives were more interesting this year. Why? Because they were struggling. They were uncomfortable. They knew they were likely to lose this election, so they struggled. They were unusually critical of “their” standard bearer, and particularly his veep choice. Some just went ahead and endorsed Obama. They bickered with each other, and in their struggle, in their striving, they had an occasional original thought here and there. You had Kathleen Parker saying Sarah Palin should drop out. You had George Will sneering for all he was worth at McCain for having embraced campaign finance reform, only to be done in by an avalanche of money. You had David Brooks struggling for sociological metaphors to explain what was happening. You had Charles Krauthammer getting irritated at the lot of them, and in reaction writing an endorsement of McCain that was sharper than it otherwise would have been because he wrote it in reaction to the defections of conservatives, as an argument against their apostasy.

          Meanwhile, on the left, you had what you always had — recitations of “the failed policies of the past eight years,” the assertion that McCain equals Bush, yadda-yadda. Same old-same old. Lots of vitriol of the repetitive variety. When people find a formula is working for them, they stick with it. Failure, however, is simply more interesting. It provokes thought, and builds character. So the left just wasn’t nearly as interesting.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, I do. I can’t always find it, but if I’ve written it, I generally know it. And can usually remember the context.

            And having written it, I hate to have to repeat myself. Which is why I often just don’t approve comments that say ridiculous things, such as accusing me of always being mean to Republicans and kind to Democrats. Only someone who knows basically nothing about what I believe, and have written over and over, would say something like that. When someone says something like that, I could bury him with evidence to the contrary (evidence such as the above, when I explain why I preferred running “conservative” pundits because the “liberal” were boring me to death). But that takes a few minutes, and you know what? Why should I have to defend myself from lies about me on my own blog? Lies that anyone who has paid attention to what I’ve written knows are lies?

            I prefer not just to leave the lies off, and spend my time responding to people who are commenting in good faith, reacting to the things I actually DO say in my writing.

            For instance… Bud may get on my nerves sometime, but when he gives me grief for liking columns by David Brooks, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Kathleen Parker, Jennifer Rubin and other “conservative” writers, he’s actually giving me grief for a real thing.

            But when whine and moan about my criticism of someone on the right, and accuse me of not being properly critical of the left — based on having been too lazy to read the things I actually write — it’s just ridiculous to engage with it. Life’s too short…

            Reply
  6. Harry Harris

    What I’m again struck with is the frightening horror of a President who cannot admit a mistake. It’s a dangerous personality flaw that may well get a lot of people killed. He backtracks, but only after doubling down on demonstrably false or unwise policy pronouncements, then claiming he never really said what he said. That people suffer in the meantime or as long-term consequence doesn’t phase him. The danger we face because of President Trump’s egomania is frightening to me. I knew the Republicans would find him useful as a tool, but I never thought they would condone his maniacal heartlessness beyond getting to their goals of power and control. He has them terrorized in the manner of the “bear” Senator Corker referenced, and the few without the stomach for his grifter regime are heading for the exits.

    Reply
    1. Bob Amundson

      The current situation seems Orwellian, a hybrid of Animal Farm and 1984. Theme song: The Beatles’ (Harrison) The Little Piggies.

      Reply
  7. Bart

    Political power is a powerful and addictive aphrodisiac. When it is challenged, the addicted will do anything to continue their high and turn a blind eye to the consequences of their addiction. This is true for anyone no matter what their political and/or social ideology may be. Relinquishing even a modicum of power can be likened to cold turkey withdrawal and unfortunately, too many Republicans are willing to continue the infusion of the power Trump controls and ignore the cries and outrage I truly believe most Americans are experiencing with Trump in the White House.

    I am a conservative but what is going on now is not conservatism and definitely not the Republican party I once supported. Fiscal and social responsibilities by once responsible Republicans have been abandoned for the sake of temporary power and influence. As a result, we have the equivalent of a Roman amphitheater in Washington, DC where political gladiators are willing to fight to the death simply for the sake of survival so the victorious can live to fight another day.

    How can any reasonable leader imagine the action of separating a child from a parent no matter what the situation is could ever be accepted by the majority of the population of this country? How stupid can one man be when he tries to use a child as a bargaining chip even if the person with the child is doing the same thing? Donald Trump believes he is a master negotiator and is in the same league as Sun Tzu when in his all consuming hubris wrote a book, “The Art of the Deal”. BS, total BS. This is real life among the rank and file, not a one-upmanship negotiation over a real estate deal.

    The same applies to the tariffs Trump is imposing because he has the power to do so. I am aware of the fact that the tariffs before Trump interfered were not equally balanced but they were working to everyone’s advantage. Now that he has upped the ante in the showdown with China and our allies, all of the hard fought for gains since 2008 just may disappear and we could go into a mini-recession because of his delusional behavior.

    After this latest round of stupidity, lack of understanding, ignorance, and most other negative descriptive words for Trump and his sycophant supporters over the hot, front page issue before us, I will probably vote Democrat across the board. Not because I believe Democrats are the answer but if it will bring the outdated circus in Washington, DC to a halt for a couple of years, that will be sufficient reason to do so. As separate entities, neither side will have all the answers to our problems but if we can somehow elect a representative group who is willing to work together as a bi-partisan effort, that will be a first step toward re-establishing some honor to America.

    I don’t believe we are headed toward Animal Farm or 1984 but more along the lines of “Idiocracy”.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, yeah.

      When I was young, we had dystopian novels about nightmare scenarios we could at least RESPECT.

      Now, it’s just embarrassing, a matter of the lowest common denominator. We don’t get Hitler or Stalin, we get the Kardashians and other reality-tv personalities…

      Reply
  8. Doug Ross

    James Smith this morning retweeted a tweet from Todd Rutherford that said after last night’s debate it was clear that Henry McMaster was past his prime. Henry McMaster is 71 years old. Some of Smith’s Democratic colleagues are: Sen. John Matthews Jr 78; Sen. Glenn Reese 76; Sen. Nikki Setzler 73; I wonder if he believes they are also past their prime?

    And surely if Smith believes that, he would be calling for Hugh Leatherman, the most powerful man in SC politics, at age 87. 87!!!! to resign. It was interesting when I was looking at the ages of Senators on the Legislature’s website that the only one who doesn’t list his birthdate is Leatherman. Just a honest mistake, I bet.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, absolutely! And when James is done unnecessarily alienating all of THOSE guys and their supporters, he should put out a scathing statement about how Benjamin Franklin was way too old to serve as ambassador to France, and on the Constitutional Convention.

      Which would be a topic just as relevant for a candidate for governor…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        It was his retweet. He put it out there that McMaster is past his prime. He’s got colleagues who are well past Henry’s age. If it’s not relevant, then don’t put it out there.

        I’m already picturing what the Smith campaign will look like. Oh wait, we already saw it twice before in 2010 and 2014.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Need I point out to you that, um, Henry is like, well, you know the guy he’s running against?

          Scratch that. I know that to you, running against a guy isn’t grounds for pointing out his flaws. What would you call it? “Politics as usual,” up with which you will not put.

          But most of us kind of expect a candidate to make observations that cast his opponent in a less desirable light with respect to himself.

          And no, most of us don’t see any sort of inconsistency, or hypocrisy, or whatever you would call it, in observing that Henry (regardless of his chronological age) seems past it. We don’t think he has to blast other people who are chronologically older in order to back up the statement.

          I certainly don’t, anyway….

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            It’s pure political gamemanship. It’s a strategic mistake to start using terms that cast McMaster as old. How many voters (Republican especially) who are past 70 are going to hear Smith say that he’s past his prime at that age?

            All Smith has to go on is his record as a legislator working under Hugh Leatherman. He’s running as much against Leatherman as he is against McMaster — because if Smith wins, he will have to go kiss the ring to get anything done. If he can’t take on Leatherman, he may as well not run.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Doug, James does not have a “record as a legislator working under Hugh Leatherman.” He’s always been in the House.

              And as I say fairly frequently, if you think there’s a rivalry and/or a culture clash between Democrats and Republicans at the House, that traditionally is not as great as the divide between House and Senate.

              In fact, if elected governor, James would have his first extensive dealings with the senator from Florence. And as you point out, he’d have to find ways to work with him if elected. So, you know, it would be pretty counterproductive for him to do what you suggest and, without any motive other than to look consistent to Doug, he started going around saying, “And if you think Henry’s over the hill, take a look over here at Sen. Methuselah.”

              James will be pretty much the opposite of Mark Sanford if elected. Mark was happy to throw ideas out there, watch the Legislature reject them, and then run against the awful Legislature in the next election. James won’t be satisfied with that; he’ll want to accomplish things.

              Which brings me to another subject…

              Henry was perfectly right to chide John Warren for thinking he could dictate to lawmakers and wouldn’t have to work with them to get things done.

              But of course, Henry didn’t help himself a bit sharing that home truth with his young opponent.

              And personally, I think (that headline in The State this morning notwithstanding) Henry’s in some trouble.

              Whether Henry is past his prime or not might not be a relevant question in the fall. We might see a contest between two relatively young military veterans…

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                What gets done in the SC Legislature against Leatherman’s consent?

                And that’s not just my opinion. Here’s the write up on Leatherman from this week’s Free Times which ranks him the 15th most powerful person in Columbia..

                “15. Hugh Leatherman ↑2
                While all of these candidates have been scrambling around running for governor the last few months, hoping to ascend to the alleged most powerful position in state government, Leatherman — the actual most powerful person in state government — was probably quietly chuckling to himself and plotting his next move, sort of like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Indeed, the 87-year-old from Florence remains the Godfather of the state Senate. He’s the president pro tempore of the “upper chamber,” plus he’s the chairman of the Senate’s interstate cooperation committee and the overwhelmingly influential finance committee. If the Legislature didn’t get much done this year, maybe it’s because Leatherman didn’t want it to.”

                Reply
              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Oh, and I meant to agree with you that it’s not necessarily a good idea to suggest people Henry’s age are over the hill — because they VOTE.

                And somebody might take it that way — you did, which is why you brought up the irrelevant topic of those other people (who are not running for governor) who are older.

                But I don’t take it that way at all. I take it as saying that Henry is a character out of a previous era. He opens his mouth, and you wonder, “What century is this guy from?” and the answer is likely to be one before the 20th. And certainly before the 21st.

                If Henry is the nominee, which remains to be seen, I don’t think you’ll hear James pointing that out overtly very often. He doesn’t have to. Other people will.

                And it doesn’t surprise me to see him retweet it when someone does…

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  Yeah, that’s an easy way out. Let others do his dirty work so he can appear to be above it all.

                  Or, maybe someone from the media could ask him to explain what makes McMaster past his prime if it isn’t his age. McMaster is the same guy he was ten years ago. A political animal of the first order. They never go out of style in this state.

                  I’ will never vote for McMaster but Smith has done nothing yet that would even make me consider him.

                  But then I realized – that like Sheheen, there is no downside to losing. He goes back to what he was doing, making a high income, enjoying his family life. There’s no risk for him. Worst case, he’s just another in a long line of white Democrat lawyers who took a run at the office. I’d like to see someone with a little more passion for the job or a different perspective than we’ve seen since Jim Hodges got in there on a fluke.

    2. Claus2

      Because the younger Todd Rutherford and James Smith have accomplished so much in their years in the House. Two lawyers looking for power that they’ll never obtain. Smith should back out and run for Courson’s seat.

      Reply
  9. Karen Pearson

    Can we,who despise Trump, get enough of the voting public to vote out every candidate who has supported Trump? If we did that we might be able to rescue the Republican party from the Trump dictatorship.

    Reply
  10. Doug Ross

    Trump will be in Columbia on Monday to endorse McMaster. How many of the Trump haters on the blog will be out there protesting him? Plenty of time to get your signs ready. Oh yeah, it’s really hot out. And you know there’s that TV show you just HAVE to watch. Plus it’s probably a 30 minute drive. I get it. It’s HARD to actually do something.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You’re confusing me.

      Why on Earth would I want to make a sign and take to the streets? Why would anyone? You know what I think of that kind of thing.

      I don’t consider that to be doing something. Quite the opposite. You can’t offer a thoughtful argument, you can’t provide any individualized commentary that adds to the conversation, when you’re carrying around a bumper-sticker-length sign and chanting some simplistic formula along with a bunch of other people.

      Quelle idée!

      Reply
  11. Doug Ross

    An argument to whom? The echo chamber on this blog?

    You don’t think if you could get 100 of your associates to protest Trump that it would have zero effect on McMaster? Or are you okay with McMaster being governor for the next four years? Because that is the likely outcome at the moment.

    You’re going to have to expand your audience beyond the people on this blog and the folks on twitter who also spend there time writing about Trump versus doing something to make a difference.

    Donate money to Smith rather than wait for him to pay for an ad. Take to the streets and campaign against McMaster if he wins the primary. Oh yeah, you put up your sign. How many votes will that draw from the Republican?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Sorry, Doug. I know you have contempt for all that I do — especially since you don’t see words as being meaningful — but this is me. This is what I believe in. I will choose my words carefully and present them, in complete form, the best I can in whatever poor venue I have at hand.

      Other people have to do what they think is right. But I’m having trouble imagining a situation in which I’d take to the streets with a sign and think I’m doing the right thing.

      I’m not a person who can “donate money” to anyone. You keep suggesting that about various things. Maybe I should take you to the bank with me one day and get you to show me this money I’m supposed to give.

      What I have is my words. I know you think money is real and words are worthless, but I don’t have money and I do have words. And I’m not throwing them away by standing on a street corner yelling.

      This repeated argument of yours — “You’re not serious about X unless you do this thing I dare you to do!” — is wearing kind of thin with me. It’s not persuasive, and it’s started to get kind of insulting…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        It’s not intended to be insulting. If you get satisfaction from writing what you write, more power to you. I just wonder about the separation between what is written and what impact it has. Somebody has to take action at some point. I’ve read almost all you’ve written about Trump for the past two years and I just wonder what effect it has? Have you changed people’s minds? Do you WANT to change people’s minds?

        All I keep reading from you is that Trump is the worst President in the history of the U.S. and a threat to the future of the country. Yet you won’t actually confront the people directly who support him. Have you cut people out of your life who do? When you see Henry McMaster out and about do you tell him he’s wrong to support Trump? How many more times does Lindsey Graham have to suck up to Trump (the worst President ever) before you’d go beyond your “gee, Lindsey’s such a great guy it’s too bad he does that” equivocation. Geez, Mark Sanford has been harder on Trump than Lindsey but you just can’t quit Lindsey.

        Actions DO speak louder than words in my book. Sorry if that insults you. When I didn’t like what I saw in the school system in Richland 2, at least I made an attempt to run for the school board. I sat in front of my opponents and told them what I thought. I went out and did two years as a PTO President and put the time in myself in the classrooms as a volunteer. Because I wanted to make a difference. These things don’t cost money — if you don’t have money, use your time to engage directly with people.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “Somebody has to take action at some point.”

          I don’t consider standing on a street corner as part of a demonstration to be action. I just don’t. I doubt that I ever will.

          Expressing ideas is what I do. It’s using whatever poor gifts God has given me. I used to get paid well to do it, but that way of life is, to borrow a phrase, gone with the wind. But it’s still the one thing I know how to do. (And when I offer my services in any cause, it’s always the first thing people ask of me.)

          I’m not going to give you a list of the boards I’ve served on (and serve on now), or the sweat I’ve shed in volunteer work (or the money I gave back when I had money to give, or the little bit I give now), for three reasons: I don’t think it’s relevant to our discussion (the ideas rise or fall on their merits), I don’t think it’s right for any fellow mortal to demand such an accounting from me, and I think Jesus was serious when he said not to do your good works for others to see.

          And I utterly reject your assertion that because I don’t express my convictions in ways that suit you, or the way you would do it, I’m failing to live up to those convictions.

          Reply

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