Category Archives: Catherine Templeton

James wins it all! And that’s just the start! These may be the best primary results I’ve ever seen in SC, all around!

I dropped by Smith HQ this afternoon and the front room was empty -- everybody was out working. And they did a great job!

I dropped by Smith HQ this afternoon and the front room was empty — everybody was out working. And they did a great job!

Don’t know what to say, except I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. In fact, I don’t remember a primary election EVER when I was so pleased with the results across the board. By my standards, everything clicked just right:

  • James Smith wins it all in a landslide! 62 percent with 75 percent reporting! No runoff or other folderol! It turns out that Democratic voters (and smart people who crossed over to vote for James) in South Carolina aren’t nuts after all, despite those anxiety-causing polls. On to November!
  • Catherine Templeton is out of it! So I guess Republicans aren’t nuts, either. Perhaps they’re beginning to recover from their malady of 2016.
  • A weakened McMaster came out on top, but faces a runoff against an unremarkable unknown most of us still don’t know (which is way better than being in a runoff with the “buzzsaw”). Which just couldn’t bode better for James in the fall — and a guy with a D after his name needs EVERY break he can get! Which is great news for South Carolina.
  • Micah Caskey seems to be cruising to a big win, so I need not feel guilty for not having personally helped him by voting in his primary. Way to go, Micah (it was that sign in my yard that did it)!
  • Byron Gipson seems to be easily beating Dan Johnson, so I worried about that unnecessarily, too. Maybe. It’s not all in yet by a long shot…

Finally, an actual great day for South Carolina at the ballot boxes…

landslide

OK, Micah, NOW you’ve gone and disappointed me

At least he's not in the picture the Templeton campaign sent out! Maybe it's not true!...

At least he’s not in the picture the Templeton campaign sent out! Maybe it’s not true!…

How’s this for irony? Just as I was sticking up for my representative today — again — this release was going out — and I just now saw it:

SC Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, State Reps. Bill Hixon, and Micah Caskey & Military Vets Endorse Templeton
Momentum Keeps Building for Templeton

(COLUMBIA, S.C.)  Conservative buzzsaw and Republican candidate for governor Catherine Templeton secured a long list of major endorsements Tuesday. State Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R-Aiken), Representative Bill Hixon (R-Aiken), and Representative Micah Caskey (R-Lexington) all threw their support behind the buzzsaw at two separate press conferences in Aiken and Lexington….

AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!

Take a breath… count to ten…

I was talking with a mutual acquaintance over the weekend who speculated that Micah had early on wanted to support Ms. Templeton, but just hadn’t been able to do so on account of, you know, the campaign she has run.

What happened?!?

What happened?!?

I almost yelled, “Shut your mouth!” But then I realized that Micah is a freshman who has boldly confronted his party’s governor, so of course he would want an alternative to Henry. He’s made a semi-powerful enemy.

In any case, I left the conversation pleased that of course, of course, Micah wouldn’t endorse the “buzzsaw.”

And now this.

As I read it… I had skipped the headline… I first read “Shane Massey,” and I thought, wow, I’ve had a lot of respect for that guy, so this is disappointing… (Shane, come back!…)

And then, WHAM! Right between the eyes.

Whatever… Do y’all remember when Micah first ran two years ago? How I had been thinking of running myself (on the UnParty ticket), but decided not to when I met him because I was so impressed with him? I’ve told that story a number of times, and each time I recall that there was only one topic that came up during our conversation that we disagreed on (which is phenomenal; I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I know in politics I can say that about) — and I couldn’t remember for sure later what that one thing was.

Well, I don’t have to. From now on, I can say this is the thing we disagree on. And it’s a biggie.

Oh, I’m not going to take the sign down. He’s still a great representative. Just not as great as he was this morning…

Caskey wadding up the governor's veto message and throwing it away last year.

Caskey wadding up the governor’s veto message and throwing it away last year.

You can be ‘bold,’ OR you can be ‘conservative.’ Choose.

Just caught Catherine Templeton’s latest ad. At the end, she says:

It’s time for a governor as bold and conservative as the people of South Carolina.

Um… you can’t be both of those things at the same time. You can be bold if you choose. Or you can be conservative instead. You have to choose.

Otherwise, words have no meaning. And who wants to live in a world like that?

“Bold and conservative” is as nonsensical as, well, “conservative buzzsaw.” Again, you can be one of those things, but not both…

Cath

Another message from ‘Conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate Cath…’ oh, never mind!

long name

Yeah, I know I’ve written about this before, more than once. But they keep doing it, so I’m going to keep pointing out how ridiculous it is.

The more I see her campaign refer to her, over and over and over again, without deviation, without letup, as “Conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton,” the more I marvel at their apparently limitless tolerance for tedium.

You’d think that at some point someone writing one of these releases would just get fed up with the monotony and say, “The hell with this! I’m not going to keep people in suspense! I’m just going to go ahead and tell the reader who I’m talking about!”

You have to wonder, is this mind-numbing tactic that her campaign just will… not… drop, even in the face of withering satire from the likes of my good buddy Robert Ariail, something that will work against their ability to build name recognition? Will voters who might have chosen her get frustrated and give up in the booth after perusing the ballot and being unable to find anywhere a name that begins “Conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate…?”

SCTempletonAriailW

‘… and we gon’ KEEP it dat way…’

Forgot to share this Henry McMaster ad a couple of weeks back. Remember when I said Henry’s accent needed to be preserved and placed in a museum?

Well, he outdid himself in that one.

I got to thinking about that ad because of his new one, in which he takes on a nastier edge and makes like Catherine Templeton voting for Vincent Sheheen for governor in 2010 was a bad thing. When in truth, it’s one of the few good things I’ve ever heard about her.

Meanwhile, he suggests that being “friends” with Donald Trump is a good thing. It’s just a topsy-turvy world that Henry inhabits.

But snark aside: That’s one very ugly ad. Listen to the irritating female voice that just drips with sarcasm when it says, “because Nikki’s Democratic opponent was her friend.” As though there could be nothing more contemptible on Earth than calling Vincent Sheheen your friend. Or any Democrat. As though they were some subhuman species.

That’s a truly disgusting video, governor, and you should be ashamed of it. Are you going to keep going down this trail?

To what depths of absurdity will this woman not stoop?

That’s about all I have to say about it, for now. Except to add this…

She bragged about that .38 her granddaddy gave her for months on end, making herself out to be some latter-day Annie Oakley. Or someth‌ing.

Then, she led a TV crew to a shooting range, pulled out the gun, and… couldn’t get it to fire.

So I guess you can say this is progress. Of a sort…

What do you want to bet whether she actually hit a rattler with that snub-nose? Or whether she was even within a mile of the varmint? These questions I’m asking don’t matter a bit, of course, except to the kind of voter she’s trying to reach.

Sorry, ma’am, but for sheer, mind-numbing idiocy, this still doesn’t touch Ted Cruz and “Machine-Gun Bacon“…

Anni

What kind of person wants to elect a ‘buzzsaw?’ And would those who do please stop voting?

buzzsaw

Catherine Templeton makes me wonder about a lot of things:

  • What makes her think anyone would want to vote for someone who calls herself a “buzzsaw” — whose entire public persona is about being as destructive as possible?
  • Is she right that there are people out there who want to do that? (I fear she is.)
  • What is wrong with such people? Are they just nihilists — do they simply want to “blow s__t up?” Do they really, truly not want to see people they vote for accomplish anything positive at all — just rend and destroy?
  • Could people who want that please take a break from voting? Because I think they’re why we have a lot of the problems we have in this country. Ever since we started electing people to run government whose main message was that they HATE government, things have been on a downward slide.
  • When the Toby Maguire version of “Spider-Man” came along, people understood that a character who called himself “Bonesaw” was a character to be avoided. “Buzzsaw” isn’t that far off in terms of imagery (just less anatomical). What has happened to people’s common sense since then?
  • Oh, and must we even get into the fairly obvious fact that the words “conservative” and “buzzsaw” do not go together? That phrase is a contradiction in terms. Conservative people wish to conserve, not destroy.
  • Why would any normal person — and presumably we still have some normal people voting, without whom an electoral victory is difficult — want to vote for a candidate who has opted to run as the kind of candidate who appeals primarily to people who want to elect a “buzzsaw?” In other words, doesn’t getting the votes of the “buzzsaw” voters negate your chances of getting anyone else’s vote? Let’s hope so…

Great to be ‘working with’ Robert Ariail again

SCMcMasterSanctuaryCitiesAriailW

Back during the years when I worked with Robert Ariail, he would occasionally pay me the great compliment of saying I was the one editor he’d worked with who “thought like a cartoonist.” He had respect for my cartoon ideas, which is not always the way it goes between a word guy and an artist. (He also knew when to ignore my ideas, which was important.)

He never really needed my ideas, but it was fun for me to brainstorm with him — maybe some of the best fun I ever had as a journalist.

Well, I ran into him today at Lizard’s Thicket — he had just had a solitary lunch before heading back up to Camden — and he paid me another compliment, telling me two of his recent cartoons were inspired, at least in part, by things he’d read on this blog.

The one above came from this post, and the one below from my making fun repeatedly of the monotonously pandering intro to Catherine Templeton’s name in all her press releases.

It’s great to be “working with” Robert again, even it it’s for free…

SCTempletonAriailW

If Templeton would stop ranting and posturing for just a moment…

jasper-site-plan

… she might be able to contribute to a serious discussion about important issues. Maybe.

For instance, she might have been able to say something enlightening about the Jasper port, somewhere in the 1,190 words of this release, if she’d made the slightest effort. I would have found that helpful, because I feel like I’ve been out of the loop on the topic for the last few years. In fact, I’m not sure if the drawing above, which I found on this blog, is current and accurate.

Instead, we got another full broadside of unfocused fulmination, painting a picture of a world that consists of two kinds of people: Catherine Templeton, and the rest of the human race, which is all worthless and corrupt:

CATHERINE TEMPLETON RIPS POLITICS AND CORRUPTION AT PORTS
Outlines Plan for Stopping Public Corruption in South Carolina

(COLUMBIA, S.C.)  Proven conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton brought back her buzz saw on Tuesday, this time to rip the corruption and politics surrounding the building of the Jasper Ocean Terminal in the Lowcountry. In addition, Templeton outlined her plan for more broadly ending corruption in state government.

In part of her ongoing series of events addressing different issues in the 2018 campaign, Templeton outlined her plan at a news conference in Hardeeville with Mayor Harry Williams and Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka.

“When I worked for Governor Haley, I earned the reputation as a buzz saw because I cut spending, cut the size of government, and cut regulations… When I went back to the private sector, the Port of Charleston asked me to do there what I had done in government, but there was a big difference. The Port of Charleston didn’t want any change at all.” said Templeton.

Templeton said she exposed corrupt contracts between the Port of Charleston and the Columbia-based consulting firm of Richard Quinn and was fired as a result.

“I released corrupt state contracts to the public showing money flowing from the Port of Charleston to pay the Quinns –  the political consultants who have been on Henry McMaster’s payroll for decades,” said Templeton. “As long as the Port of Charleston is a political arm of the corruption in Columbia, the Jasper Port will never get built.” 

Though not in attendance, Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort also weighed-in. “The SC Ports Authority took a position against an appropriation for Jasper port permitting when the budget was considered by the House, and as a result no funding for it was included in the budget passed by that chamber,” said David. “However, based on my discussions with Sen. Hugh Leatherman, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, it is my expectation that a $2 million appropriation for Jasper port permitting will be included in the Senate’s version of the budget, and I will submit a budget proviso to that effect for consideration by the Finance Committee when it meets later today. Simply put, money in this year’s budget is oxygen the Jasper port needs to survive.

During Templeton’s time as the head of two state agencies, Templeton fought big labor and won, stopped the Obama Administration from killing South Carolina jobs, called out corruption at the Port of Charleston, and fired entrenched state bureaucrats on the taxpayers’ payroll. She is equally committed to stamping out Columbia’s culture of corruption.

“Corruption is actually costing you money – daily. The power to run your light switch costs more because of lobbyists, your safety and time are sacrificed on the roads because of self-dealing, and now the very future and economic prosperity of this entire region is being postponed. Why? Because the Port of Charleston paid Henry McMaster’s political consultants almost $3M to make commercials and give him board advice. Now the Port of Charleston want $5M from the Jasper Port’s permitting budget because they are out of money.  Which do you think is more important – using the money to pay Henry’s political consultants or permitting a port for the people of this state that will be a national economic driver?” Templeton asked.

As governor, Catherine will:

Pass a Term Limits Law

  • Enact term limits for all legislators to end Columbia’s culture of corruption and force those who make the laws to return home and live under the laws they created.

“It’s time state legislators live under the same laws they create for the rest of us,” Templeton said. “What’s good enough for us should be good enough for lawmakers, too. The first step in creating legislative accountability is establishing term limits. When someone seeks public office, they must realize it is about service, not self dealing.”    

Accept No Salary

  • Return the governor’s paycheck to the people.

“I’m running for governor to serve the people’s interests,” Templeton explained.  “That’s why I will not take a salary while I’m serving as governor. I’ll return that money where it rightfully belongs – to the taxpayers who pay it.”

Close the Revolving Door of Corruption

  • Crack down on politics as usual by imposing stiffer criminal penalties and significant jail time for those who secretly lobby government.
  • Enact a lifetime ban on gubernatorial staff becoming lobbyists.
  • Enact a lifetime ban on legislators becoming lobbyists.
  • Enact a lifetime ban on all executive branch employees becoming lobbyists.
  • Ban lobbying by any taxpayer-funded organizations.
  • Ban lawyer-legislators from voting on the judges they argue before.

“We must stop politics as usual in Columbia by shutting the revolving door where people go from public service to lucrative lobbying,” Templeton vowed. “I’ll do that by imposing stiffer criminal penalties for those who secretly lobby government. I’ll follow that up by enacting lifetime bans on gubernatorial staff, legislators and executive branch employees becoming lobbyists. I’ll also ban lobbying by any taxpayer-funded organization and stop lawyer-legislators from voting on the judges they argue before. These steps will make sure public employees become public servants once more.”

End Pay-to-Play Politics

  • Prohibit legislators from taking state contracts for themselves or their families.
  • Prohibit all state officials from appointing relatives to public boards, commissions, and posts.
  • Ban family members of elected officials from doing business with state government to end corrupt conflicts of interest.
  • Ban publicly subsidized utility companies from making political contributions to politicians who authorize their funding.

“If we elect you to protect our money – you can’t have any of it for yourself or your family.  I will act swiftly to end the shameful practice of pay-to-play once and for all,” Templeton said.  “We’ll do it by prohibiting legislators and their families from taking state contracts; prohibiting all state officials from appointing relatives to public boards, commissions and posts; and banning publicly subsidized utility companies from making political contributions to politicians who authorize their funding.”

Empower the Ethics Commission to Enforce Ethics Laws:

  • Require all candidates for public office to give the Ethics Commission real-time access to their campaign accounts.
  • Direct accrued interest from campaign accounts to the Ethics Commission to fund the hiring of more staff for increased enforcement of ethics laws.

“The Ethics Commission should be more than the paper tiger it currently is,” Templeton explained. “I’ll make sure it’s empowered to adequately enforce ethics laws.  I’ll do that by   requiring all candidates for public office to give the Ethics Commission real-time access to their campaign accounts to ensure full compliance with ethics laws; and directing accrued interest from campaign accounts to the Ethics Commission to fund the hiring of more staff for increased enforcement of ethics laws.”

Ensure Greater Transparency

  • Require the legislature to comply with Freedom of Information request and remove the legislative exemption.  The people’s work should be conducted in the sunlight.

“The people’s work should be conducted in the sunlight. I will establish greater transparency by requiring the legislature to comply with Freedom of Information requests” Templeton said.” 

Templeton will continue to discuss her positions on a variety of issues that are important to South Carolinians in the coming weeks.

###

The only passage in all of that that communicated anything about what’s going on with the Jasper Port was the digression about something Tom Davis had said. From that, I gathered that the Jasper Port is a much-needed project that has suffered from the grabbiness of the Ports Authority, and that a $2 million appropriation promised by Sen. Leatherman is a good thing. Which is rather remarkable — that Tom Davis would be pleased that Hugh Leatherman wants to spend millions on something is a pretty good-sized miracle.

But I remain confused what that paragraph has to do with the rest of the release, and whether it is meant to suggest that Davis supports her candidacy. So while I appreciate the perspective from Tom, I’m left even more confused.

Ms. Templeton could have explained what is happening on this issue, right now, and set out what she thinks should happen in the future. That would have been helpful. Instead, we just get the usual overheated rhetoric as she slashes up, down, left and right in her bid to represent herself as the only possible cure to unmitigated, universal, but often ill-defined corruption that is eating the vitals of South Carolina.

We just get these quick hot bursts of rhetorical fire here, there and in every direction:

  • I almost didn’t read the release because it started out exactly the same as her other releases: “Proven conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton…” And by the time I get to her name, I’m always tired and ready to move on.
  • “When I worked for Governor Haley, I earned the reputation as a buzz saw…” Oh, cut me a freaking break, would you? Yeah, you’re a real terror, and a joy to have around…
  • “When I went back to the private sector, the Port of Charleston asked me to do there what I had done in government, but there was a big difference. The Port of Charleston didn’t want any change at all.” Which was it? They wanted you to do what you claimed you had done in government, or they didn’t want you to do that? Also, this is interesting: Are you saying the private sector is less friendly to your hard-eyed efficiency than government?
  • “Templeton said she exposed corrupt contracts between the Port of Charleston and the Columbia-based consulting firm of Richard Quinn and was fired as a result…” the Quinns being “the political consultants who have been on Henry McMaster’s payroll for decades…” OK, now we see where you’re going with this, but still waiting to understand the relationship to the Jasper facility.
  • “During Templeton’s time as the head of two state agencies, Templeton fought big labor and won, stopped the Obama Administration from killing South Carolina jobs, called out corruption at the Port of Charleston, and fired entrenched state bureaucrats on the taxpayers’ payroll. She is equally committed to stamping out Columbia’s culture of corruption. Corruption is actually costing you money – daily. The power to run your light switch costs more because of lobbyists, your safety and time are sacrificed on the roads because of self-dealing, and now the very future and economic prosperity of this entire region is being postponed.” Boy, that’s a lot of different topics you just threw at us, none of them really explained, and I’m still waiting to see the relationship between them and the topic at hand.
  • “Why? Because the Port of Charleston paid Henry McMaster’s political consultants almost $3M to make commercials and give him board advice.” OK, so I think we’re on board with the idea that the Authority wasted money on the Quinns, even though the relationship to all that other stuff — like, say, that awful, wicked Obama fellow — is still a little fuzzy.
  • “Now the Port of Charleston want $5M from the Jasper Port’s permitting budget because they are out of money.  Which do you think is more important – using the money to pay Henry’s political consultants or permitting a port for the people of this state that will be a national economic driver?” Now you’ve lost me again. I haven’t seen any indication that this is a choice in front of us at the moment. There’s a fallacy there that probably has a fancy name, but I don’t know what it is.

I think she’s trying to communicate that the Port of Charleston wouldn’t be trying to hurt the more worthy Jasper Port if it hadn’t wasted money in the past. But that could be expressed more clearly if she didn’t have so many other agendas cluttering up her explanation.

What follows that is a bunch of populist buzz phrases about how she’s gonna clean up this town:

  • “Pass a Term Limits Law…” No, thanks. Anyway, can a governor do that? Won’t you need help? Who do think is going to want to help you, since you’ve lashed out at everyone you’ve mentioned… except Tom Davis?
  • “It’s time state legislators live under the same laws they create for the rest of us.” Which, you know, they do already. The idea that they don’t is some sort of populist fantasy.
  • “Accept No Salary.” Yeah, you know what? Don’t do me any favors. I’ll settle for a governor who accepts the modest salary provided — and earns it.
  • “We must stop politics as usual in Columbia by shutting the revolving door…” I was thinking she might cram one or two more cliches into that sentence, but I think she was getting tired by this point.

Anyway, toward the end she settled down long enough to say two things that made sense:

  • “Empower the Ethics Commission to Enforce Ethics Laws”
  • “Ensure Greater Transparency”

Yeah, I’m with you on those. But man, we sure did have to get through a lot of ranting to get to them. And, well… these are good ideas in general, and don’t really have a direct connection to the Jasper Port issue…

Andy Brack’s piece on Catherine Templeton

brackAndy Brack of Statehouse Report contacted me yesterday saying he was working on a column about Catherine Templeton and wondering whether I had any comments to share. He suggested in passing he might see a parallel between her and Phil Noble (in terms of their stress on corruption in Columbia).

Within minutes, I replied:

The last thing South Carolina needs right now, with the challenges facing it, is someone with no experience in elective public life. And she is wearing that as a badge of honor. Why? Because Donald Trump, which is the worst of reasons, since the man demonstrates every day how important qualifications actually are.

Phil Noble is doing the same. Why? Because Bernie Sanders. Which is another bad reason, when you’re talking about leadership for South Carolina.

More appalling is the fact that I doubt Ms. Templeton is nearly as clueless as Trump. She seems to be an intelligent woman. She’s not a moron, but is willing to play one on TV to get elected.

Which implies that if elected, she’d be willing to govern like a moron. When she knows better.

A person who stoops to conquer makes for an unseemly spectacle. In her case, she’s stooping so low it’s hard to see how she gets back up.

Of course, I’m talking about the gun stuff, and the “my ancestors didn’t fight for slavery (except they did)” stuff. You’re talking more about the anticorruption angle, which causes you to make the comparison to Noble.

There’s an anticorruption case to be made, with the Pascoe probe continuing and the nuclear mess. But it becomes dishonest, and destructive, when the pitch becomes, “Everyone with experience is corrupt, so elect me.”

Whether you find that particular brand of populism on the left or the right, it’s harmful to public life, and undermines hope for our democracy…

Which caused Andy to do a sort of “Whoa!” and say, “well, I guess you have an opinion!”

Yup. A bunch of ’em.

Here’s Andy’s column. An excerpt:

Just as a burglar might throw drug-laced meat to a vicious guard dog to make it go to sleep, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton  is using every trick she can to lull voters that she’s right for the state’s top job.

She’s not.  She’s a political burglar.  And she’s dangerous.

Templeton doesn’t have the temperament, experience, tact or moral compass to lead South Carolina to better times.  After months of campaigning, she seems to want to lead South Carolina backwards to a time that embraced racism and the plantation….

Catherine Templeton’s gun problem

Conservative Outsider and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton (which I’ve come to think of as her full legal name, based on her campaign’s releases) is talking tough on guns again:

Yeah, those darned kids, lacking the gumption to stand up for their God-given right to get gunned down in geometry class…

Anyway, guns are kind of a theme for her at the moment.

Over at the Greenville paper’s website, you can find video of her squeezing off a few rounds at a local range.

She’d better hope folks only watch the video, and don’t read the story that goes with it. An excerpt:

SLED disputes Catherine Templeton’s claims…

In a campaign ad posted online last week, Republican candidate for governor Catherine Templeton said she “ruffled so many feathers” after starting work for former Gov. Nikki Haley in 2011 that state law-enforcement officials grew concerned for her safety.

“The State Law Enforcement Division actually called and said, ‘Catherine, we need you to get a concealed weapons permit; we need you to start carrying, and we need you to protect yourself because of you’ve made a lot of people mad,'” Templeton says in the ad.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said he could find no evidence that his agency told Templeton to obtain a concealed-weapons permit or carry a gun.

“It is not our practice to tell, instruct or order a person to obtain a concealed-weapons permit,” Berry said in response to questions from The Greenville News and Independent Mail….

Both SLED Chief Mark Keel (through Berry) and his predecessor Reggie Lloyd deny having made such a recommendation to her.

Berry confirms that she did take a concealed-weapons class organized by SLED in 2011, along with some court officials.

Which makes this part even more embarrassing:

Before Monday’s interview, Templeton took a .38-caliber handgun that belonged to her grandfather out of her purse at the gun range. As two campaign aides, a photographer and a reporter watched, Templeton tried to fire the weapon several times but it repeatedly malfunctioned…

But there’s a happy ending for this campaign’s pistol-packin’ mama:

Using another .38-caliber handgun provided by an employee at the business, Templeton struck a body-shaped target in the head and chest with several shots.

That’s in the video. After which, she says of the man-shaped target, “Yeah, he’s done…”

No, it’s not Ted Cruz makin’ machine-gun bacon, but she does what she can…

"Yeah, he's done," she says of the target.

“Yeah, he’s done,” she says of the target.

I thought Templeton had one good idea. I was wrong…

When I saw that Catherine Templeton had put out a “Conservatives Issues platform” on Monday, I assumed it would be more of the same. Which is to say, another instance of an intelligent woman trying to appeal to the most atavistic blood-and-soil reflexes of a traumatized Republican Party, in keeping with her strategy of trying to out-Bannon Henry McMaster.

Templeton

Templeton

But then I was delighted to see one good idea — or at least, to see what I initially thought was a good idea: The State reported that she wanted to protect “Home Rule.”

I was impressed. Too few people understand the problem of the Legislature’s utter failure to fully implement the Home Rule Act of 1975, maintaining its feeble influence over local matters and keeping local governments weak.

If she was standing up for Home Rule in South Carolina, it would be the second time in a week that someone had stood up for a long-overdue “Power Failure” reform — the other time being the freshmen’s proposal for a constitutional convention to address fundamental structural problems in our state government.

But I was wrong, as I realized when I saw a release in which Jim DeMint (remember that guy?) was praising her position. This was NOT a case of someone standing up for fixing an actual problem that plagues South Carolina (and which far too few people understand). Nope. She was just touching another far-right base, trying to get the ganglia to twitch.

She was sticking up for “Home Rule” in a way that only makes sense to people who keep up with the latest fetishes of the far right. She, too was seeking a constitutional convention — only in her case on the federal level, and to address nonexistent problems:

  • Make South Carolina a signatory of the Convention of States movement.

“Our Founding Fathers intended for this government to be of the people, by the people, for the people,” Templeton explained. “The U. S. Constitution gives South Carolina the right and duty to make sure the federal government doesn’t interfere where it is not welcome. Today, the federal government exercises control over our very livelihood.  Every day Congress takes more and gives us less. As governor, I will support the current push by conservatives in South Carolina’s General Assembly who are fighting to take back states’ rights from a bloated, bureaucratic, overbearing federal government. While the President fights top down, I join him in our fight from the states up.”

Today, former United States Senator Jim DeMint commended Catherine Templeton’s courage in fighting for conservative values.

“States must do more to chart their own course for the future and reign in the out-of-control federal government.  I commend Catherine Templeton for her wisdom and courage to support the Article V Convention of States Project.  It is the only constitutional way to save our country and our state.”
-Jim DeMint, March 5, 2018

Remember the recent resurrection of Nullification? Well, it receded for awhile, but apparently it’s back. You just can’t keep a bad idea down in South Carolina.

What does it tell us that a bunch of House freshmen can take a bold and risky stand in favor of a sweeping, needed and too-little-understood reform, but a viable candidate for governor of the whole state sketches out a vision that is nothing but one knee-jerk pander after another?

Anyway, she got my hopes up for a second, but then crushed them…

My connection to the guy Catherine Templeton mentioned

Following up on my post about our ancestors owning slaves… I ran across something else interesting. To me, anyway. You know what a geek I am about this stuff.

As native South Carolinians know in their bones, and as interlopers from elsewhere (just kidding! y’all are welcome!) soon find out, we’re all related one way or another.

Here’s an illustration of that…

In the story cited previously, Catherine Templeton mentioned someone who I suppose is one of her forebears, since he had the same surname and her father is named for him. The story wasn’t specific, though:

Templeton said her family arrived in South Carolina in the late 1700s, adding her father was named after Judge William Brawley, “who fought for this state, fought in the Battle of Seven Pines, even lost an arm for this state.”..

Anyway, whatever her connection is to Judge Brawley, it’s apparently one of the things that makes her proud of the Confederacy.

So I looked up Judge Brawley, and found this:

William Hiram Brawley (incorrectly reported in some works as William Huggins Brawley; May 13, 1841 – November 15, 1916) was a U.S. Representative from South Carolina and later a United States federal judge. He was the cousin of John James Hemphill and great-uncle of Robert Witherspoon Hemphill….

And the light flashed in my head: Hemphill! So I clicked on John James Hemphill and found this:

John James Hemphill (August 25, 1849 – May 11, 1912) was a U.S. Representative from South Carolina, cousin of William Huggins Brawley, nephew of John Hemphill and great-uncle of Robert Witherspoon Hemphill.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. I then clicked on this guy’s uncle John Hemphill and found what I suspected:

John Hemphill (December 18, 1803 – January 4, 1862) was Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, and a United States Senator.

Sen. John Hemphill

Sen. John Hemphill

The picture was familiar, because it appears on my family tree. That John Hemphill is my fourth-great uncle. He was the brother of my great-great-great grandmother Margaret Hemphill — my Dad’s mother’s mother’s father’s mother.

He was an interesting guy, playing a prominent role in the early history of the state of Texas. A while back, someone told me that he was interesting in another way.

I don’t know whether the story is true or not, but it made an impression at the time, and it’s why his name rang a bell.

A couple of years ago, having run across my tree, a woman wrote to me to ask me what I knew about Sen. Hemphill. I didn’t know much — for instance, I’d never found the name of his wife if he had one — but she said she knew why I hadn’t found a wife:

John Harrison Hemphill is my maternal 2nd-great grandfather. The Senator never married, although he had 2 daughters by his female slave, Sabina. Their names were Theodora and Henrietta. I know Theodora was born in Austin, but I’m not sure if Henrietta was. Hope that helps….

I wrote back and forth with this lady, and she shared what she had, but she wasn’t sure of all the precise connections. And I’ve looked at her tree since then, and I don’t find Theodora or Henrietta or Sabina. So maybe she’s decided she isn’t as sure about being descended from Hemphill that way.

And she might even be wrong about being related to Hemphill at all — which wouldn’t be a shock, given the circumstances and the lack of the normal confirming sources, forcing her I suppose to rely on family anecdote. I’ve come to doubt it because she mentioned doing the Ancestry DNA test, but she doesn’t show up in my DNA results as related.

But it was a fascinating story, and the main reason why his name rang a bell.

Anyway, maybe I’m related, distantly, to Catherine Templeton. Which would make another fairly common Southern story…

If you’re a white Southerner and you think your ancestors owned no slaves, you should probably dig a little deeper

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s a correction that proves the point of this post. While I knew I had quite a few ancestors who owned slaves, just for contrast I mentioned one great-great grandfather (Henry Waller) who did NOT. I was wrong. A first cousin has written to let me know Henry owned at least one slave, whom he mentioned in letters home. I hope to get copies of those letters soon. So even I am guilty of falsely believing that one ancestor owned no slaves…

Last week, Catherine Templeton used the standard cliche rationalization for why she’s proud of her Confederate heritage:

“It’s important to note that my family didn’t fight because we had slaves,” Templeton said to a room mostly filled with university students. “My family fought because the federal government was trying to tell us how to live.”

We won’t get into the fact that the one thing white Southerners — the ones in charge — were afraid the federal government would make them do was stop owning slaves. And I’ll point out only in passing that if your ancestors owned no slaves and took up arms for the Confederacy, then they were victims of a major con job. Some of my own ancestors were duped in the same manner.

But not all of them. I’ve long known that some of my ancestors were slaveowners. But it wasn’t until I started seriously building out my family tree that I realized how many of them fit that description.

As much as I love talking genealogy — as y’all know, to your sorrow — I hesitated to post this. But my tree is the only one I know this well, and I think what I have found argues against the claims that all too many white Southerners make. And I think people should know that. So here goes…

Patrick Henry Bradley

Patrick Henry Bradley

At first, I had thought that slaveholding was limited to my paternal grandmother’s people, the Bradleys (for whom I’m named). Patrick Henry Bradley, her grandfather, was one of the leading citizens in his part of Abbeville County. When the War came, he raised his own company and led it in the field, but soon returned home to serve out the rest of the war in the Legislature. His eldest son stayed at the front, and was killed at Trevillian Station in 1864.

I would have assumed that the Bradleys were slaveholders just because of Patrick Henry’s service in the Legislature, which was largely made up of the slaveholding class. But I don’t have to assume; I have documentary and anecdotal evidence to that effect. I don’t know whether he had a lot of slaves, but he had some.

James Chesnut Jr.

James Chesnut Jr.

I had accepted this as fact long ago, but I had assumed that my ancestors in other branches of the family were generally innocent of having owned other humans. Not based on anything, really, beyond the fact that none of them were quite as upscale as the Bradleys. Of course, when I say “Bradleys,” I’m lumping in a lot of folks who bore different surnames — pretty much that whole quarter of my tree. For instance, James Chesnut — husband of famous diarist Mary Boykin and one of the leading men in Confederate South Carolina — is a 3rd cousin four times removed. (That means my 6th-great grandfather, Alexander Samuel Chesnut, was his great-great grandfather.) He was in that Bradley fourth.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following paragraph is dead wrong. Henry Waller DID own at least one slave, I am reliably informed. I hope to have evidence of that soon…)

But I had liked to think that another great-great grandfather, William Henry Waller, was more typical of the rest of my tree — just an ordinary soldier who got caught up in forces bigger than he was. I’ve never seen or heard anything to indicate Henry owned slaves, or money or much else. But admittedly, I don’t know a lot about him. He went AWOL to visit the family farm in Marion County when his unit was marching north toward Virginia. My great-grandmother — who died when I was 4 years old (yep, that’s how recent that war was: someone who lived then overlapped with my life) — was born nine months later. She, my mother’s father’s mother, never knew her father, because Henry died of disease at the siege of Petersburg. Consequently, I know practically nothing about him. I don’t even know who his parents were, or whether he had siblings. That line is the shortest on my tree, because of that break.

The old lady is the daughter of Henry Waller. The big-headed kid on her lap is me.

The old lady is my great-grandmother, the daughter of Henry Waller, who died at Petersburg. The big-headed kid on her lap, grooving on the apples, is me. This was 1957.

I picture Henry as being one of those guys like Virgil Caine in “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” A sympathetic character caught up in events and trying to get by the best he could. And I tended to lump others from the non-Bradley portions of the family into that category.

But I was wrong, as I learned from early census records after I finally paid to join Ancestry and gained access to that site’s documentary “hints” about my forebears. Later census records name everyone in a household (although their names are often spelled wrong). But in the early decades of the 19th century, the records would just name the “head of household,” and then give a demographic breakdown of the rest of the household — X number of “Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25,” and Y number of “Free White Persons – Under 16.”

But the really revelatory data comes under such headings as “Slaves – Males – 26 thru 44.” I assume the records were kept that way so each slave could be counted as three-fifths of a person for the sake of electoral apportionment.

Perusing these records can be a real eye-opener. While Henry Waller may not have owned slaves, others on my mother’s side did. Take, for instance, my 4th-great grandfather Henry C. Foxworth, also of Marion County: There were six slaves in his household in 1820. This sort of thing will pop up again and again in a white Southern family. However humble and righteous you may think your ancestors were, a family tree is likely far more diverse — here I mean economically diverse in particular — than you give it credit for being. And the people who bore your surname are only a tiny fraction of the people from whom you are descended who lived during the centuries of slavery. Until I really got into building my tree, I had no idea I was descended from anyone named “Foxworth.”

Wesley Samuel Foxworth marker(By the way, like Patrick Henry Bradley, Henry Foxworth also lost a son in the war. My great-great-great grandfather Wesley Samuel Foxworth was also killed during that Petersburg campaign. Fortunately for me, his daughter from whom I am descended had been born 12 years earlier.)

I am three-fourths South Carolinian, but hey, at least I won’t find any of that slavery stuff among the Warthens up in Maryland, right? So I thought — somewhat irrationally, since Maryland (although it stayed in the Union) was a slave state.

My great-grandmother Rebecca Jane Rabbitt — who married my great-grandfather Warthen — died in 1898, two days after the birth of her sixth child. She was 35. But I’ve been a lot luckier tracing her tree than poor Henry Waller’s, taking it back to the Middle Ages. (Through her, I’m a Tudor, making Henry VIII a cousin.)

But one of the more interesting things I’ve found on that line is much more recent — it involves her grandfather, John Thomas Rabbitt Jr., 1779-1863. It’s an indenture contract. One William Frumfree, described as “a colored man,” owed $40 to the state of Maryland, and was in jail in 1829 because he couldn’t pay it. My ancestor paid it for him, in exchange for which… well, here’s a quote from the document Mr. Frumfree signed:

… I do hereby bind myself to the service of said Rabbitt in any manner in which he may chose to use me for and during the term of one year from the date hereof to be considered and treated as the slave of said Rabbitt during my term of service as contracted by this paper…

Oh, and just in case you thought that would be lighter service than being a permanent slave, there’s this language:

… the said Rabbitt is to be subject to no liability for his treatment or chastisement of me which he would not own in the case of one of his own slaves for life…

But hey, don’t think the only thing Mr. Frumfree got was out of the jail. He was also paid “the sum of one cent.” No, really. It’s all in the document signed on May 13, 1829.

About all I can say for John Thomas is that as of the 1820 and the 1840 censuses, he didn’t own any slaves. So, there’s that.

Why do I tell you all of this? To shame myself, or to perversely brag about what wheeler-dealers my ancestors were? No. Of course I’m uncomfortable with this topic and these details, but my point is that I highly doubt that my tree is unusual. Note that these slaveowners I’ve mentioned had nothing to do with each other. They never met. They were from very different families living in different places under different circumstances. In other words, these incidences of slaveholding were independent of each other.

And it crops up often enough that I can’t believe I’m anywhere near alone in this. Almost half of white South Carolina families (46 percent) owned slaves. What do you think the chances are that none of the many families that led do you owned human property?

If other white Southerners really knew who their ancestors were, you’d seldom hear a proud neoConfederate say, ever-so-self-righteously, that his (or her) ancestors didn’t own slaves. The odds are against it being a fact.

It is a wise child that knows his own father, and a wiser one who knows even more of his forebears, and faces up to reality.

Does that mean I’d actually have to WATCH the Super Bowl? Henry, you ask too much…

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And the silly beat goes on…

Yesterday, we had Catherine Templeton actually seizing upon that silly mistake in The State and spinning it into a tale of deliberate persecution — of herself, of course. (Politicians these days are so whiny, and take things so personally. Someone is always being mean to them.)

On the same day, we had this foolishness from Henry McMaster:

On Tuesday, McMaster issued a statewide proclamation designating Sunday as “Stand for the Flag Super Bowl Sunday.”

The governor’s proclamation encourages all South Carolinians to stand for the playing of the national anthem before the Super Bowl LII matchup between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, according to a news release from McMaster’s office.

“Standing for the national anthem recognizes and honors the sacrifice of generations of men and women who have chosen to serve in the United States Armed Forces,” McMaster said in the news release. “I ask that all South Carolinians show the world our state’s resolute commitment to supporting our troops by standing for the national anthem wherever you watch the Super Bowl with your loved ones this Sunday.”…

All I could say to that was this:

As y’all know, I’m sympathetic to veterans who are sincerely affronted by this particular form of protest by football players. But I can’t for a moment feel sympathy for this kind of shallow, calculated manipulation…

proclamation

McConnell believes the women. Does Catherine Templeton?

Mitch McConnell says, “I believe the women” and what they say about Roy Moore.

So does Ivanka Trump, although she doesn’t actually say his name.

Henry McMaster does, too — in a conditional sort of way. He says: “Unless Mr. Moore can somehow disprove these allegations, he needs to go.” So there’s an “if” in there, but it’s something. You might even say the “if” is moot, since we all know there’s no way Moore’s going to disprove all of this.

But here’s what Catherine Templeton says:

“I think the people of Alabama will make a decision on Roy Moore,” Templeton told The Post and Courier following a Charleston County Republican Party meeting, where she was the keynote speaker. “We’ve got enough to deal with in South Carolina for me to be keeping up with that.”

Now, some of you will say, Well, she’s just saying what you say, Brad! And indeed, I do go on about how it’s none of my business whom people in other states choose to send to Congress. And I mean it.

She's just too darned busy, you see...

She’s just too darned busy, you see…

But here’s the thing: Catherine Templeton isn’t me. She doesn’t embrace my nonpartisan, federalist ethos. Not so’s you’d notice, anyway.

In fact, she’s been nationalizing her own race like crazy, embracing Steve Bannon in a frenetic effort to out-Trump Henry.

You don’t wrap yourself in Steve Bannon and his effort to remake the nation in his scruffy image and at the same time refuse to have an opinion on his boy in Alabama.

Or maybe you do. But nobody should let you get away with it, even for a minute…