Category Archives: Elections

Mia gives her perspective on delegation’s election board vote

Mia McLeod is still giving the “Old Guard” hell over the Richland County elections board:

Will we ever get it right?Once again, the Old Guard  (OG) has put personal loyalties, friendships and agendas above your fundamental rights. Haven’t the voters of Richland County suffered enough?  Here we are a little more than a month away from the November elections, and your Richland County Legislative Delegation has not only taken its sweet time meeting to vote on County Election Commission candidates, but delegation leaders purposely postponed our meetings until the OG was absolutely sure it had the votes to get at least one incumbent reappointed.
So much for restoring integrity, public trust and confidence to the voting process…Now, with the November elections looming, four of the five appointees have been seated, while one has been denied confirmation by the Governor’s Office.  It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the Governor or Richland County Election Commission incumbents.  And the fact that our delegation leaders have remained steadfast in their efforts to keep pertinent information from voters and certain delegation members, while insisting upon this appointment override, is just more proof (not that we need any) that the OG continues to play by its own self-serving, manipulative rules.If I seem frustrated, here’s why:

May 2014 – Delegation members were asked to submit their written votes/ballots for County Election Commission candidates before the House adjourned. Those ballots were supposedly our “official” votes, although several of us requested (and were denied) a full/formal, publicly noticed delegation meeting

June/July 2014 – No appointments were made, no follow-up provided and no meetings of the legislative delegation were scheduled, despite several requests

August 2014 – No appointments were made, no follow-up provided and still, no meetings

September 5, 2014 – The Richland Delegation finally met to vote in person (approximately 2 months before the General Election) to fill 5 Election Commission seats, with no discussion/disposition of the May ballots

Obviously, that May ballot thingy was yet another “shady,” unofficial OG poll/ploy to determine whether they had enough votes to reappoint the incumbent.  Despite the OG Senators’ secret weapon (a.k.a. – “weighted voting”), the numbers still didn’t quite work, so what’s the OG to do?

Take no public action/votes until the numbers do work…in their favor, of course…not yours.

Waiting four more months puts new appointees at a severe disadvantage before a major general election, but that’s not their fault.  It’s the delegation’s.  And alas…the OG got the one incumbent it had been holding up and holding out for.

I know. Shocking, isn’t it?

Here’s where it gets a little tricky…er.  Turns out, after the Governor’s Office conducted the requisite screenings, only four of the Delegation’s five appointees could be confirmed and that 5th one just happened to be the 5th highest vote-getter…you guessed it, the OG’s only incumbent appointee.

Now, I don’t know why this appointee wasn’t confirmed and that’s not my issue.  I’m more concerned about whether we have a fair, transparent process so that our delegation’s OG loyalty and lack of leadership won’t cost you your vote again this November.

Knowing your vote counts is just as fundamental as the right itself.

And yet some of our delegation members have chosen to submit a letter of support, which effectively “overrides” the Governor and the procedural safeguards that are in place to protect voters–without any public input, deliberation or discussion.

Gotta give it to em…the OG gets what it wants–unequivocally and unapologetically. “The system” is set up that way.  By strategically diverting attention away from the truth and pouncing on anyone who doesn’t support its agenda, the OG successfully:

  1. reappoints incumbents over standard procedural screenings/safeguards
  2. makes it “personal” by falsely accusing dissenters of character assassination

Truth is…not too long ago, I was accused of assassinating the character of yet another member of the OG’s protected class–former Director McBride.

How’s that for déjà vu?

For me, it’s always about the process—never personal.

But as I’ve told you many times before…we can’t change the message until we change the messengers.

You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your vote counts in this upcoming or any other election, but the sad truth is…until the OG is no longer running the Richland Delegation and County Elections, you’d better worry.

For Richland County voters, it doesn’t get any more personal than that…

Sheheen calls Haley some more names

The drumbeat is pretty steady from the Sheheen campaign, calling Nikki Haley all kinda mean, nasty, ugly things.

One wonders when he’ll use some of these ads to push what he will do if elected. He has plenty of proposals, as well as accomplishments to tout. It would be nice to see him emphasize some of them.

Even in an ad when he does talk about his plans, he can hardly get to them for complaining about Haley. In this one last week about education policy, he spends more time complaining about what the governor has or has not done than saying what he would do. In the whole 31 seconds, these are the only words he speaks that describe his plans:

As governor, I’ll restore school funding and raise teacher pay….

It takes him 3 seconds to say them.

Anyway, here’s the release that went with this new video:

NEW TV AD: “Unethical” Calls Out Nikki Haley’s Repeated Ethics Violations
“No wonder, Nikki Haley has been called ‘unethical, perhaps even corrupt.’ We just can’t trust Nikki Haley.”
Camden, SC – Sheheen for South Carolina today released a new television ad addressing Nikki Haley’s repeated ethical violations and her secretive, dishonest behavior. The spot, “Unethical” is part of a substantial six-figure statewide TV buy which began last night. “Unethical” is the fifth television ad Sheheen for South Carolina has run in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
“From using the state plane for political events to taking the state car to pick up campaign cash, Nikki Haley has repeatedly violated ethical standards for her own personal benefit and then covered up her bad behavior,” said Andrew Whalen, Sheheen’s campaign manager.  “South Carolinians deserve honest leadership and real accountability from a governor they can trust. With all her unethical behavior, it’s clear we just can’t trust Nikki Haley.”

AD BACKUP:

Ad Backup
The South Carolina State Ethics Commission has opened an inquiry into the campaign finances of Republican Governor Nikki Haley. Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News, 4/10/2012
We thought we could trust Nikki Haley to look out for us.
But Haley used the state plane to fly to political events – and was forced to repay taxpayers. 

CG: Used State Plane for Political Events

 

CG: Forced to Repay Tax Payers

 

“Gov. Nikki Haley reimburses state for plane usage,” Seanna Adcox, Associated Press, 10/8/2012COLUMBIA — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has repaid about $10,000 for using state planes to attend news conferences and bill-signings, after The Associated Press informed her of a rule against that.

 

Haley’s spokesman said her office was unaware legislators put a clause in the budget last year that added the restrictions. She returned $9,590 on Friday to the state Aeronautics Commission, which operates the state’s two taxpayer-funded planes. The reimbursement covers flights taken across the state over seven days since last July.

Nikki Haley used an official state car to get to an out-of-state political fundraiser… 

CG: Used State Car for Political Fundraiser

“SC Gov. Haley unhurt in previously undisclosed June wreck,” Andrew Shain, The State, 8/27/2013:Haley, her political adviser Tim Pearson and political fundraiser Marissa Crawford were riding in a state-issued Chevrolet Suburban driven by SLED agent Kenneth Williamson to a political event at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro on June 27, according to an incident report from the N.C. State Highway Patrol….

 

Haley was visiting Greensboro to attend a retreat for a political group run by backers of Republican N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory.

 

“Unreported fender-bender involving Nikki Haley leads to questions about her ethics,” Paul Bowers, Charleston City Paper, 8/30/2013:

But as the governor gears up for a 2014 re-election campaign against likely Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen, the previously unreported car accident raised questions about whether Haley uses state-owned vehicles to travel to campaign fundraising events. The vehicle and the driver are provided to the governor through the Executive Protection Unit, which according to SLED spokesman Thom Berry includes “a number of different vehicles from a number of different agencies.” According to a spokesperson from the Department of Public Safety, which owns the SUV, the repair expenses were paid from the state Highway Patrol budget.

 

The accident took place just outside the Grandover Resort, a conference center and golf resort in Greensboro, N.C. According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, supporters of N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory hosted a $5,000-per-person retreat at Grandover on June 27 and 28, and Gov. Haley was scheduled to appear on the 27th for a reception, dinner, and forum. The article noted that the event was “expected to draw 100 to 150 corporate representatives and wealthy donors.”

 

“SC Gov. Haley agrees to pay state for campaign expenses,” Andrew Shain, The State, 10/8/2013:

More than a week after the wreck was revealed, the governor’s campaign announced it would start paying mileage for state-owned vehicles taken to campaign events.

 

The campaign has reimbursed the S.C. Department of Public Safety and SLED $1,178 for mileage dating back to Haley’s start in office in January 2011, spokesman Rob Godfrey said. The campaign already has reimbursed the state $7,610 for out-of-state travel.

And then she didn’t tell us when the car was wrecked.  “SC Gov. Haley unhurt in previously undisclosed June wreck,” Andrew Shain, The State, 8/27/2013:SLED did not report the accident when it happened because it was minor, agency Chief Mark Keel said Tuesday.

 

“Unreported fender-bender involving Nikki Haley leads to questions about her ethics,” Paul Bowers, Charleston City Paper, 8/30/2013:

But as the governor gears up for a 2014 re-election campaign against likely Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen, the previously unreported car accident raised questions about whether Haley uses state-owned vehicles to travel to campaign fundraising events. The vehicle and the driver are provided to the governor through the Executive Protection Unit, which according to SLED spokesman Thom Berry includes “a number of different vehicles from a number of different agencies.” According to a spokesperson from the Department of Public Safety, which owns the SUV, the repair expenses were paid from the state Highway Patrol budget.

 

The accident took place just outside the Grandover Resort, a conference center and golf resort in Greensboro, N.C. According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, supporters of N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory hosted a $5,000-per-person retreat at Grandover on June 27 and 28, and Gov. Haley was scheduled to appear on the 27th for a reception, dinner, and forum. The article noted that the event was “expected to draw 100 to 150 corporate representatives and wealthy donors.”

 

“SC Gov. Haley agrees to pay state for campaign expenses,” Andrew Shain, The State, 10/8/2013:

More than a week after the wreck was revealed, the governor’s campaign announced it would start paying mileage for state-owned vehicles taken to campaign events.

 

The campaign has reimbursed the S.C. Department of Public Safety and SLED $1,178 for mileage dating back to Haley’s start in office in January 2011, spokesman Rob Godfrey said. The campaign already has reimbursed the state $7,610 for out-of-state travel.

 

 

No wonder, Nikki Haley has been  called “unethical….Perhaps even corrupt.” 

CG: The State 8/10/2014

CG: “…her actions were unethical. Perhaps even corrupt.”

 

 

“Scoppe: There were signs then; there are signs now,” Cindi Ross Scoppe, The State, 8/10/2014 

Even if then-Rep. Nikki Haley was acting within the confines of the law when she tried to turn votes at the State House and turn around the bureaucrats at DHEC on behalf of the hospital that was paying her a six-figure salary for a job for which she had no apparent qualifications, her actions were unethical. Perhaps even corrupt. Ditto accepting more than $40,000 in consulting fees from a government contractor who hired her for her “good contacts.”

We just can’t trust Nikki Haley.

###

They have an odd sense of ‘longtime’ in Kansas

roberts

Or at least, at The Washington Post.

I was struck by the above headline on the Post’s iPad app this morning. I immediately thought, “Longtime? Well, Pat Roberts wasn’t a U.S. senator when I was in Kansas, working as the news editor of the Wichita paper. The senators then were Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum. Or am I remembering it wrong.”

No, I was right. And while I admit my stint in Kansas was a  “long time” ago, he wasn’t elected to the office until many years after I left there, in 1996.

Which means he has served three terms. LIndsey Graham is running for a third term, and by South Carolina standards, he just got there. He replaced a man who served in the office from 1954 to 2003 (with a brief respite in 1956 when he resigned and was immediately re-elected to the office). Fritz Hollings was still our “junior senator” when he had been in office for 37 years!

Kansas just seems terribly fickle by comparison. People come and go so quickly there

Sheheen’s latest ad attacking Haley over DSS deaths

I almost posted about this yesterday when it came out, but I wasn’t that interested, because there was so little new in it.

Watching the ad, I had the strong sense I’d seen it many times before. And I don’t mean it was like deja vu. It was more like I really had heard it all before.

But I share it in case y’all want to comment.

Here’s the release that came with it:

 Sheheen Blasts Haley on Lying & Ignoring Problems as Children Died 

 
NEW AD: “Every child deserves better than this. We can’t trust Nikki Haley to protect our children.”
Columbia, SC – Sen. Vincent Sheheen today criticized Nikki Haley for repeatedly refusing to address the crisis at her Department of Social Services as children died due to mismanagement. Sen. Sheheen rolled out a new ad to raise public awareness about Governor Haley’s actions and unveiled his updated plan of action to protect children who have been ignored by Nikki Haley.
“Because Nikki Haley refuses to be honest, more children have died,” Sen. Sheheen said. “Honesty and accountability in leadership matters and it’s never more important than when children’s lives are at stake. Under Nikki Haley, these children have been ignored. That’s a disgrace and it’s time to fix it.”
The spot, “Ignored,” is part of a substantial six-figure statewide digital buy, and will begin running today. Watch the video here:  http://youtu.be/YEfdO_e33nY
“As leaders, it’s our job to do two things: tell the truth of what’s going on to raise awareness, and put forth our ideas for how to move forward and fix the problem,” Sheheen continued. “Last April, I released my plan to reform DSS while Nikki Haley stonewalled, lied, and refused to take action. Now, months later, she’s done next to nothing to address the problem and children are still at risk. It’s time for honest leadership and real accountability.”
Sen. Sheheen laid out several new ideas to reform DSS and to help immediately address the crisis:
  • Ask retired DSS social workers to return to work on a temporary basis
    • These seasoned professionals can address the need until new case workers can be hired and trained.
    • If they do not want to work in the field, they can take on the administrative functions to free up caseworkers’ time, or serve in a mentoring and advisory role for new caseworkers.
  • Hire temporary workers to take on administrative functions for case workers until caseloads are reduced.
  • Create a task force of former and retired DSS caseworkers to mentor and regularly check in with current caseworkers around the state.
    • This will help address the morale issue and begin to change the toxic culture.
    • Will also free up time for management to help them determine what’s most needed and allow social workers to talk to a respected peer about what’s needed without fear of retribution.
  • Begin training social workers earlier & recruit caseworkers right out of school
    • Students about to graduate can learn on the job training while in school, just like we do with student teaching.
    • This will provide some immediate help to existing case workers, and create a pipeline of young and invested talent to DSS.
These proposals are additions to the plan of action Sen. Sheheen laid out earlier this year to truly reform DSS and right the wrongs that have allowed children in danger to be ignored under Nikki Haley.
Read Sen. Sheheen’s full plan of action for South Carolina’s children and families, which he rolled out in April, here:  http://vincentsheheen.com/news/leadership-for-south-carolinas-children-families/
###

 

The best SC headline this week: ‘Lawmakers consider gas tax hike’

headline

It was the most encouraging headline I had seen out of South Carolina in some time: “Lawmakers consider gas tax hike.”

But before we write this into another chapter of Profiles in Courage, let’s ponder the cold-water caveat:

A bipartisan group of S.C. lawmakers told business leaders Monday they are ready to raise the state’s gas tax — one of the lowest in the nation — to repair roads and bridges. But, they added, they need the support of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley, who is seeking re-election, has said she would veto increasing South Carolina’s 16-cent-a gallon gas tax, which has not been increased in 27 years…

The boldface emphasis is mine.

In other words, we’re going to be brave and step out and do the right thing — but only if the one person in South Carolina least likely to go along with us steps up and leads us.

So, no dice.

Still, the fact that they’re floating this is encouraging. It makes me think, maybe something positive can be possible — after the election. Of course, barring some road-to-Damascus conversion on the governor’s part (assuming she’s still governor), the initiative would need a veto-proof margin of support.

Which is a ridiculously high mark to have to meet in order to do the right thing, the commonsense thing.

But that might be the reality. And that’s in a best-case scenario.

Speaking of elections, allow me to remind you that only one candidate for governor has had the guts to take the right position on this issue. That’s long-shot independent Tom Ervin.

This turnip isn’t giving YOU any blood, anyway

I knew the Democrats were in trouble this year, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw this email appeal today from Nancy Pelosi:

Dear Brad,

What’s the main difference between Republicans and us?

Them: They rely on the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, and outside interests to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy elections for them.

Us: We rely on grassroots support from Brad…

Wow, y’all really are hard-up.Turnip_2622027

I mean, first, you can’t get blood from a turnip. And second, even if this turnip had blood to give, he wouldn’t be giving any to you or any other political party.

So you might want to review your strategy. Better do what the Republicans — and you — have long done. Turn to George Soros, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg and the rest of your “outside interests.” (And while you’re at it, take a good look in the mirror at the beam in your eye.)

Oh, but speaking of blood — I have an appointment this afternoon to give again at the Red Cross over on Bull Street.

This time, I’m doing something new. I was all set to do my usual double red-cell donation, but then on Friday, they called to say that right now, they need platelets even more. So I’m going to do that.

I don’t even know what that entails. I’ll tell you later…

Haley really needs you to feel good about SC economy

Dems are heavily pushing the idea that Haley's ecodevo success story is "smoke and mirrors."

Dems are heavily pushing the idea that Haley’s ecodevo success story is “smoke and mirrors.”

Did you see Andy Shain’s piece in The State over the weekend, digging into just how good a job Nikki Haley has really done on economic development? A key excerpt:

Some of Haley’s economic claims and numbers are inflated, The State newspaper found in an analysis of jobs announcements and federal data:

  • While political scientists say most voters think the 57,000 jobs that Haley mentions in speeches have been filled, only a little more than half of the jobs announced in 2011 and 2012 exist, according to a survey by the newspaper of major economic development announcements made during Haley’s first two years in office.
  • Haley’s 57,000 announced-job figure also includes businesses that never opened, or opened and then closed, based on a list provided by the S.C. Department of Commerce this summer. Her tally also includes 4,350 jobs — nearly 8 percent of the total — for stores planned by Wal-Mart. Low-paying retail jobs typically are not part of economic development tallies.
  • And contrary to a Haley claim, South Carolina has not had the East Coast’s fastest-growing economy since 2011, according to revised federal data.

I don’t know, quite honestly, what to think after reading that. I mean, would we have seen the same thing under previous administrations — total jobs not equaling the announced number, two or three years later? Yes, I think so. This has been a constant refrain for a lot more years than Nikki Haley has been in office — boosters make excited predictions, which aren’t always borne out in the end.

Of course, if you want the state’s economy to grow, you do tout announcements and make a big deal of them because you’re trying to create a bandwagon effect — giving the impression that your state is attracting growing businesses, because you want other growing businesses to see SC as a happening place. And you’re not lying, or even exaggerating — you’re passing on the numbers offered by the growing or moving businesses themselves. Big plans don’t always pan out. Doesn’t mean anyone was lying.

But these numbers are particularly important in the case of Nikki Haley, as is pointed out later in the story:

Political observers said they are not surprised Haley is focusing on her economic record as her strong suit for her re-election bid.

“What else is she known for?” said Neal Thigpen, a retired Francis Marion University political scientist. “It may be her only biggest suit.”…

Ignore the odd wording in that quote (“her only biggest suit?”) and think about that. Really, what else does Nikki Haley have to point to? I mean, when you hear the idiotic narrative from some of her supporters, you have to laugh — that because she did the books for her parents’ small business (a business that had trouble paying taxes on time) she is some kind of business mogul, with all kinds of real-world experience that a “trial lawyer” lacks. Never mind that through his law practice, Vincent Sheheen has been a considerably more successful businessman than Nikki Haley ever dreamed of being.

She really needs to be seen as an ecodevo powerhouse in office, because her record is otherwise so thin on accomplishments, both before and after she became governor.

This is her main accomplishment, ever. So it’s natural that she would make a big deal about it — and that Democrats would go to such lengths to question it. And while political opponents often pose such questions, such challenges are particularly critical in her case, because the numbers loom so large in her legend.

Sheheen’s new education ad

This ad doesn’t strike me much one way or the other, but I thought I’d put it up to see what y’all thought…

Here’s the release that went with it:

NEW TV AD: “Futures” Contrasts Sheheen Vision for Education with Haley Record of Cuts
“A strong economy depends on great schools – and South Carolina deserves both.”
Camden, SC – Sheheen for South Carolina today released a new television ad contrasting Nikki Haley’s repeated vetoes of school funding and teacher pay raises with Sen. Sheheen’s long-standing record of support for public schools and plan to expand four-year-old kindergarten and increase teacher pay. The spot, “Futures,” is part of a substantial six-figure statewide TV buy beginning today.
“Nikki Haley’s veto pen has hit education harder than any other area, and she’s spent three years standing against pay raises for teachers while she increased her own staff’s pay — that’s not leadership we can trust,” said Andrew Whalen, Sheheen’s campaign manager.  “Vincent Sheheen has spent his career fighting for public schools, expanding four-year old kindergarten, and has worked across the aisle to achieve results. South Carolinians deserve honest leadership and accountability from a governor who understands that our children’s future and our economic well-being depends on great schools – that’s Vincent Sheheen.”

And below is supporting material (provided in the email I received, but for some reason not with the version on the website) for the assertions in the ad:

AD BACKUP:

Claim Backup
My mom was a teacher, and my sons go to the same public schools I did.
We know education builds futures.
Image of NH over shot of empty school hallway w headlines/quotes.CG: Nikki Haley

CG: Cut Over $100 Million From Schools

“SC governor’s veto pen has hit education hardest,” Adam Beam, The State, 6/27/2013Of the nearly 200 budget vetoes Gov. Nikki Haley has issued during her three years as governor, no government service has been struck more than public education.
A review of the governor’s budget vetoes shows the first-term Republican has vetoed $110 million worth of public education programs and services since 2011, vetoes that account for more than a quarter of the $419 million she has vetoed in state spending since 2011.
But Nikki Haley cut millions from our schools… “SC governor’s veto pen has hit education hardest,” Adam Beam, The State, 6/27/2013Of the nearly 200 budget vetoes Gov. Nikki Haley has issued during her three years as governor, no government service has been struck more than public education.
A review of the governor’s budget vetoes shows the first-term Republican has vetoed $110 million worth of public education programs and services since 2011, vetoes that account for more than a quarter of the $419 million she has vetoed in state spending since 2011.
Image of NH over shot of empty teacher desk w headlines/quotes.CG: Nikki Haley

CG: Raises for her staff

…and vetoed both teacher pay raises “Gov. Haley Vetoes $10 Million for Teacher Raises,” Robert Kittle, WSAV, 7/6/2012:Gov. Nikki Haley has vetoed 81 items from South Carolina’s budget, including $10 million for local school districts to give teachers raises.
and four year old kindergarten. “Haley, in veto, says early childhood nonprofit needs a closer look,” Jamie Self, The State, 6/12/2014:Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed a bill that supporters say would improve a nonprofit that distributes public money to private pre-kindergarten providers.

 

Image of NH over shot of empty school auditorium w headlines/quotes.CG: Nikki Haley

CG: Raises for her staff

“Gov. Haley sets premium staff pay,” Jim Davenport, Associated Press, 1/13/2011 

COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley will pay her chief of staff $125,000 per year, a salary that eclipses her own pay and is $27,000 more than former Gov. Mark Sanford paid his chief of staff, according to records obtained today by The Associated Press.

While giving her own staff twenty five percent raises. 

That’s not leadership we can trust.

“Gov. Haley sets premium staff pay,” Jim Davenport, Associated Press, 1/13/2011 

COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley will pay her chief of staff $125,000 per year, a salary that eclipses her own pay and is $27,000 more than former Gov. Mark Sanford paid his chief of staff, according to records obtained today by The Associated Press.

VS talking to elementary school kids / talking to teacher in busy school hallway.CG: Vincent Sheheen

CG: Restore School Funding / Raise Teacher Pay

As governor, I’ll restore school funding, and raise teacher pay.
Because a strong economy depends on great schools – and South Carolina deserves both.

Open Thread for Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Special Scottish Referendum Edition

Today, I’ll offer you two choices:

  1. Discuss the independence referendum in Scotland, results of which will come in over the next few hours.
  2. Discuss whatever you like. I mean, if the Scots can do whatever they like, including committing economic suicide, then why shouldn’t my fellow Americans say what they please? (Within reason, and my civility rules, of course. Because this blog isn’t a bloody democracy. Harrumph.)

I see that YouGov has the Scots deciding to stay in the UK. If that’s correct, they haven’t gone completely mad. Or, if you prefer, they haven’t gone totally radge.

As to why I oppose Scottish secession, I do so for the same assorted reasons I oppose the Confederacy, Quebec secession, the disintegration of the Balkans, the Anschluss and Putin slicing off a chunk of Ukraine on the grounds of protecting ethnic Russians. Throw in my Anglophilia and my affinity for the Special Relationship, which causes me not to want to see Britain divided and weakened.

Also, I think the Union Jack is one of the most beautiful flags ever. By comparison, the St. Andrew’s Cross alone seems rather sad…

1200px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg

SC Club for Growth endorses Democrat. In related news, temperature in Hades drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit

This had social media buzzing this morning:

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Club for Growth, a network of fiscal conservatives, made history today by endorsing its first statewide Democratic candidate – Ginny Deerin – who is running for Secretary of State.Headshot_Ginny_Deerin_color_SM

“We are endorsing Ginny Deerin for three reasons,” said SC Club for Growth Chairman Dave Ellison. “First, her plan to cut the budget, cut the fees and cut regulations in the Secretary of State’s office compellingly aligns with our commitment to fiscal conservatism.”

“Second, her opponent – the 12-year incumbent – has allowed the Secretary of State’s office to become a bloated bureaucracy that wastes taxpayers’ money and makes doing business in our state more cumbersome for South Carolina companies and charities.”

“Third, Ginny Deerin wants to make our state government more efficient, not only by cutting the budget, fees and regulations in the Secretary of State’s office but also by making the Secretary of State an appointed office, rather than an elected one.”…

The SC Club for Growth, up to now, was best known as Mark Sanford’s most reliable cheerleaders. While he was governor, the organization seemed to exist primarily for that purpose. It has from the start been the champion of the kind of airy, theoretical, ivory-tower, Ayn Randian libertarianism that Sanford represented (as opposed to the more populist, down-home, nitty-gritty, anti-intellectual Tea Party libertarianism that Nikki Haley represents).

So yeah, this is kind of a milestone. While the Club certainly has not loved all Republicans in the past — just as Mark Sanford never did (and the Club went after the ones he really didn’t like) — but this is the first time it has been sufficiently down on a Republican as to endorse a Democrat instead. So I guess that makes Mark Hammond a bit of a record-breaker, too.

Not sure what kind of an impact, if any, it will have — partly because I’m not sure how many of those folks who will vote for anyone or anything with an “R” after its name have even heard of the Club for Growth.

But it’s interesting…

By the way, my first instinct when I saw the news was to be a wise guy about it:

But I see that she’s posted some of the social media buzz about the nod on her website. And well she might: If not for this, you might have gotten to Election Day and beyond without ever having heard of her. So even if it’s just because of the novelty of the thing, this helps.

Deerin 2

Arrrggghhh! Sheheen ad appropriates one of Haley’s most clueless tropes

Doug Ross brought this to my attention with the words, “You’re not going to like this… Sheheen using Haley-speak to bash Haley.”

Boy, was he right.

As I said just yesterday in a comment on the importance of civics education:

… I’d like our electorate to be sophisticated enough that no one who says “I want to run government like a business” (which shows a lack of understanding of both government and business) would ever get elected. I’d want every voter to understand the basic, profound ways in which government and business are different and SUPPOSED to be different….

The link was to a previous post that referred to how, even back in the days when we used to endorse her for the House, it drove me nuts to hear Nikki Haley repeat that phrase.

So imagine my dismay to see this ad, in which a Sheheen surrogate says, without a trace of irony or suggestion that he is mocking the opposition:

I think government should run like a business and be accountable.

The addition of “and be accountable” is intriguing, and interesting twist. Because one of the chief differences between a business and government is that government is expected to be accountable in ways that a private business most assuredly is not.

So one is tempted to hear that as, “I think government should be run like a business, but still held accountable, like a government.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t mean it that way.

The speaker cites an incident in which the head of a corporation — Target — stepped down when hackers breached credit-card customers’ information.

Well, that’s not a case of someone in business being HELD accountable by anyone other than himself. In government, it’s different. This election is about whether the present governor will be held accountable by the voters. Government has that mechanism, and business does not. Customers of Target do not get to vote the CEO out of office. See the difference?

The fact that voters don’t always vote wayward politicians out of office is one of the messy facts of democracy that makes business owners — who run their own businesses the way they see fit, and see that as the natural way to run anything (when it most decidedly is not the way to run a government in a republic) — think government should run more like a business.

When it shouldn’t.

My very gratifying conversation with Tom Ervin, who now favors a gas tax increase

This morning, I was on my way out of having my breakfast at the Capital City Club, and saw today’s WSJ on the sideboard by the door to the grill, and paused to pick it up and glance over the front page.

Then I hear someone say “Brad,” and look up and it’s Liana Orr, and she’s got someone in tow — a guy about my age dressed in a yellow polo shirt. As she’s introducing me, I see that it’s Tom Ervin, the independent candidate for governor.

He’s a pleasant and personable guy, and as he smiles and tells me that he enjoys my blog, I’m thinking, “Yeah, and you probably say that to all the bloggers, but thanks…”

But then he says something to let me know that he’s read the blog at least once.

Back on July 3, I wrote a post headlined “Tom Ervin won’t say how HE’D pay for roads, either.” It took him to task, along with Nikki Haley and Vincent Sheheen, for ducking the simple fact that if we want more money for roads, we already have a mechanism for that — raise the state tax on gasoline.

Today, Ervin tells me that I was right and he was wrong, and now he’s advocating for a gas tax increase. And of course, he makes sure I realize that he is the only candidate for governor who dares to do that.

So I congratulate him on his new position, and thank him for sharing it with me, and walk around the corner, and immediately whip out my notebook. My friend Roscoe Wilson started to say something to me, but I said, “Wait! I have to write something down.” I wanted to get the exact words that Mr. Ervin had said to me, to wit:

You were absolutely right. You were right to call me out on it.

Because those are words that one might normally put in the “Things no politician said to an editorialist, ever” category.

And yeah, he was flattering me and being disarming and all, but the fact is that when I Googled it, I found that six days after my post, this headline appeared in The Greenville News: “Ervin says he’d raise gas tax to fix roads.” From that story:

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has vowed to veto any proposal to raise the gas tax, while her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, says he won’t endorse a gas tax hike but is willing to talk about it.

Neither Haley nor Sheheen have a realistic plan to fix roads, “and that’s irresponsible,” Ervin told The Greenville News. “Both of these career politicians should be ashamed for not being truthful to the people and telling them straight up.”

Budget surpluses won’t do the trick, Ervin said, and fees can’t be raised enough to meet all the needs, which a state task force projected to be $29 billion over 20 years.

“Nobody likes a tax increase,” said Ervin, a former judge and state legislator from Greenville. “I don’t like it because I’m constantly on the road, too. But we want our highways to be safe. And we also want to continue to attract quality industry to our state, and you can’t get products to market when the highways are falling apart.”

I don’t know how I missed that. Maybe it didn’t get picked up down here. If I’d read it earlier, I would have written something congratulating him.

Anyway. I may not agree with Tom Ervin on everything, but I definitely appreciate his position on this.

‘Doctors for Sheheen,’ and more on the Medicaid expansion that wasn’t

This release came over the transom last night:

Sheheen Campaign Launches “Doctors for Sheheen”
Doctors want an honest leader like Vincent Sheheen who puts South Carolinians ahead of personal political gain 
Camden, SC – Today, Sheheen for South Carolina launched “Doctors for Sheheen,” a grassroots effort uniting Democratic and Republican doctors and medical professionals from around the state who want a governor to put politics aside, do what’s right for the people, and use tax dollars responsibly and honestly.
Rural hospitals are struggling and closing because of Nikki Haley’s decision to block South Carolinians’ own Medicaid tax dollars from coming back to the state. A study shows that expanding Medicaid would create 44,000 jobs, and help hundreds of thousands of working families. Medical professionals are standing with Vincent Sheheen to restore common sense and honesty to the state’s leadership.
Tonight, Sen. Sheheen will kick-off “Doctors for Sheheen” with a state-wide launch call for supporter in the medical field. Through this grassroots effort, Sen. Sheheen will work with medical professionals on hearing solutions to improve our healthcare system, addressing the financial struggles in rural hospitals, bringing our hard-earned tax dollars back to South Carolina to not only provide coverage to children, veterans and senior citizens, but will also end penalties on local businesses, and keep billions of dollars in revenue in South Carolina.
Medical professionals across the state are joining Doctors for Sheheen and showing their support for Vincent:
Dr. Donna Miller Potts, Anderson County:
 “As a free clinic volunteer, I come across too many hardworking people every day who don’t receive coverage from their employer, and don’t qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. They often feel backed into a corner with no options available to them and Governor Haley just doesn’t get it. She allows our federal tax dollars meant to fund local hospitals go to other states. We need Vincent as our governor because we need a governor who actually cares about South Carolina.”
Dr. Theresa Alderson, Kershaw County:
“The biggest problem with the health care debate is too many leaders are worried about the politics instead of being worried about the people. Nikki Haley’s refusal to expand Medicaid in South Carolina makes no sense. Nikki Haley is hurting our economy — leaving tens of thousands of new jobs on the table, and sending billions of our hard-earned tax dollars to other states. This isn’t a matter of political ideology, it’s a matter of common sense. As a doctor, as a Republican, and as a South Carolinian, I believe we need an honest and logical leader who gets it.”
Dr. Charles Rittenberg, Charleston County:
“There are over 200,000 South Carolinians from working families who are going without healthcare because of Governor Haley’s refusal to expand Medicaid. Some of those working South Carolinians or their children could die because Haley has allowed our federal tax dollars, which we’ve already paid, to go to other states. Vincent Sheheen will work with our legislature to correct this problem and, according to a study from the University of South Carolina, the Medicaid expansion with create 44,000 jobs in South Carolina not just in the big cities, but all over the state.”
Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Richland County:
“Throughout my career, working to save children’s lives has been the ultimate privilege. But in recent years, it’s become increasingly difficult to take care of patients. When South Carolina did not accept our Medicaid expansion, insurance premiums spiked for many people. As a result, many patients could not get access to health care. This affects us all. South Carolinians deserve better.”
###

You know, of all the sins that her critics have tried to pin on Nikki Haley, her deliberate refusal to allow Medicaid expansion is the one in which she most clearly, deliberately and with malice aforethought did the wrong thing.

Seems we’d hear more about it from Sheheen.

And perhaps we will. This morning, the S.C. Democratic party put out this release in that same vein:

Today with Chris Christie, Nikki Haley will claim South Carolina’s economy is booming — but don’t be fooled by her smoke and mirrors. She’s proven time and again that she cannot be trusted.

 

The truth is: Nikki Haley is sending $11 billion of South Carolinians’ federal tax dollars to states like New Jersey, and she’s blocking 44,000 jobs here at home just because of politics.

 

Nikki Haley is refusing to  create 44,000 jobs. She’s forcing SC residents to pay Federal taxes that will only help other states. Instead of helping working South Carolinians, she’s opposing the Charleston Chamber and economic interests of MUSC. Here’s your daily reminder of the economic reality for South Carolinians over the past three years, which Nikki Haley has been sweeping under the rug:

 

Medicaid Expansion in South Carolina would create 44,000 jobs. “By 2020, the total annual economic impact of the increase in federal funding due to the ACA Medicaid expansion on the state of South Carolina will total approximately $3.3 billion in economic output, $1.5 billion in labor income, and support nearly 44,000 new jobs for South Carolinians. Approximately one – third of these jobs (15,000) are projected to occur outside of the health care industry due to the economic multiplier effect.” [USC Moore School of Business Report December 2012, accessed 03/07/13]

 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: “We Are Putting People First” – Not Expanding Medicaid Would Send Taxpayer Dollars Elsewhere. “‘[R]efusing these federal dollars would not mean that they wouldn’t be spent. It just means that they will be used to expand health-care access in New York, Connecticut, Ohio or somewhere else. … It’s simple. We’re putting people first.’” [NPR, Political Junkie, 3/4/13]

 

Head of S.C. hospital group says politics blocking Medicaid expansion. “There is a lot of ideology and politics in this debate — it is not just a financial question,” said Thornton Kirby, the state hospital association’s president and chief executive officer. He said South Carolina and other Republican-leaning states “don’t want anything to do” with a federal health-care reform initiative championed by President Barack Obama. [Independent Mail,03/04/13]

 

Charleston Chamber to Gov. Haley: accept Medicaid expansion. “There are two options,” said Bryan Derreberry, president and CEO of the local Chamber. “South Carolina can accept the Medicaid expansion and receive 90 percent of costs from the federal government, or reject the plan and absorb 100 percent of the costs and lose revenue from Washington, D.C.” [The Examiner, 03/07/13]

 

Editorial: Expanding Medicaid in SC. “The only conceivable reason to reject the expansion of Medicaid would be to make a hollow political statement in opposition to Obamacare. But that is political grandstanding at the cost of losing billions of federal dollars to other states and denying health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured South Carolinians. And that, we think, would be impossible to justify.” [Rock Hill Herald, 03/02/13]

 

 

See through Nikki Haley’s smoke & mirrors, read more at www.HaleysSmokeAndMirrors.tumblr.com

If I were Sheheen, I’m not sure I’d WANT more debates

Just got this release from Vincent Sheheen’s campaign:

Sheheen Calls for Four Additional Debates
Democratic gubernatorial candidate confirms participation in both Post & Courier debates, works with Myrtle Beach Area Chamber to push for Grand Strand, Midlands, Aiken & Rock Hill as well.Sheheen crop
Camden, SC – Today, Sen. Vincent Sheheen called for open gubernatorial debates in the Grand Strand/Pee Dee, Midlands, Rock Hill, and Aiken areas after working with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to resolve their debate scheduling conflicts with the Charleston Post & Courier.
“Honest leadership means looking people in the eye and telling them what you’d do as governor — I can’t think of a more appropriate way to accomplish that than by debating in every region in the state,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen. “The people of South Carolina deserve the opportunity to hear directly from their candidates for governor, there are plenty of days left until the election do the right thing. I urge my opponents to immediately agree to at least three more debates to cover all regions of the state.”
Last week, The Post and Courier announced their intention to hold a debate in Greenville on October 21st, a date previously requested by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and several of their local media partners. After conversations with the campaign, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has stated their willingness to find an alternative date for their proposed debate, and as such, Sen. Sheheen confirmed his participation in the Post and Courier/WLOS-TV/WMYA-TV debate in Greenville on October 21st.
“The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to holding an open forum for honest debate between all the candidates about how to build a stronger state economy,” said Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are willing to accommodate schedules, because voters deserve to hear directly from those who are running for the state’s highest office.”
Sen. Sheheen also urged all the other gubernatorial candidates to participate in at least four other debates – in Myrtle Beach, the Midlands, Rock Hill, and Aiken – to ensure that South Carolinians in all parts of the state have the opportunity to see and hear their gubernatorial candidates.
###

Yes, I know the Sheheen campaign needs a shot in the arm, but I’m not sure more debates give him that boost.

There’s one area in which Nikki Haley just walks all over Vincent Sheheen — public speaking. She almost always makes a good impression when standing before a group — while Sheheen underwhelms, and when he tries to ramp up his presence (which he’s been doing lately), it looks like he’s trying. She connects well with an audience. I’m not sure I’d want to give her more such opportunities, were I Vincent.

Maybe he doesn’t realize how much better she comes across, or how diffident and offhand he seems. or maybe he’s just willing to try anything at this point.

Frankly, I’ve always sort of doubted the value of debates, especially given how much emphasis we tend to place on them. Should a potential governor, or president, or legislator be judged on stage presence, like a beauty pageant contestant?

I’ve had extensive exposure over the years to both of these candidates, and I have no doubt that between the two, Sheheen is the policy heavyweight, not only in theory, but in terms of getting things done. As for the theory, here you can find video proof of his depth of understanding of issues. But while he’s the heavyweight, that’s also the way he comes across in front of a group — as heavy.

Whereas Nikki tends to dazzle. Until you stop and really analyze what she’s saying, and compare it to the reality that you know — assuming you know it, which is expecting a lot.

It took me awhile to get to that point with her — like, years. Voters aren’t going to get to that point in five debates.

Is Ervin inappropriately politicizing the horrific deaths of those five children?

That’s a question that occurred to me when I saw the Tom Ervin campaign’s release below two days ago, and I was reminded of it when I saw the campaign mention it in another release this morning:

TOM ERVIN’S PREPARED REMARKS FROM PRESS CONFERENCE AT DSS HEADQUARTERS ON THE MOST RECENT TRAGEDY

The news that five children from Lexington County have been massacred and left on the side of the road is a horrific tragedy. As a parent, I ask all South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their family. I want to thank law enforcement for their quick response to this tragedy.

20140525_0138-300x300

In cases like these, we may never have all the answers to the questions that come to mind.

However, our state Department of Social Services has an ongoing responsibility to prevent these tragedies from happening over and over again. The children under DSS scrutiny are the most vulnerable population in our state and these children can’t protect themselves.

Unfortunately, we have seen these tragedies repeat themselves over and over again. From 2011 through 2013, 251 children have died under Governor Haley’s watch. This figure does not include the children that have died in 2014.

That is simply unacceptable.

Today’s news reports are that the Department of Social Services interviewed the man accused of killing his five children and concluded he was a, “highly intelligent, responsible father capable of caring for his children.”

On August 7th, DSS was at his home to investigate allegations of child abuse.

Less than a month later, these children are found dead.

Enough is enough.

I’m here today to call on the General Assembly to return in special session with the purpose of removing control of the Department of Social Services from Gov. Haley and placing it under the authority of an independent administrator or receiver.

Governor Haley’s record of failed leadership over DSS necessitates an immediate transfer of authority and control before another child is put in harm’s way.

I’m also calling on the legislative audit council to expedite the release of their independent findings concerning DSS, so we can implement new procedures and practices immediately.

I will continue to make this my focus until we can fix DSS. This is not politics, this is about protecting our most vulnerable children.

Yeah, I know. The failures of DSS to prevent child deaths is easily the most lurid policy failure that can be laid at the feet of the incumbent. There is a policy element to this horror. But to hold press conferences about it so soon…

Maybe it’s just me. I can’t even bring myself to read past the headlines of these stories. It’s just too painful to contemplate. Maybe he’s not being tone deaf. Thoughts?

CNN’s Peter Hamby hereby dubs Bakari Sellers a kingmaker

At home, Bakari Sellers is clamoring for free ink, attacking his better-known opponent for his country club membership.

But on the national level, Peter Hamby — who I suppose got to know Rep. Sellers back when he was stationed in SC by CNN in the months before the 2008 presidential primaries — has now dubbed him a kingmaker in the 2016 contest for the White House:

Hambycast: Want to be president? Talk to this guy

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) — It’s September of 2014, but Bakari Sellers is already getting calls and visits from the small crop of Democrats considering a 2016 presidential bid.

Few voters outside South Carolina have heard of him. But he’s a young star in the state’s Democratic party, and as a key political figure in a pivotal early primary state, Sellers could play an outsized role in electing the next President.

When Barack Obama won South Carolina’s 2008 presidential primary in blowout fashion, boosting his campaign after a devastating blow in New Hampshire, Sellers, then a 23-year old first-term state legislator, was in the crowd at his victory party, beaming.

Sellers co-chaired Obama’s campaign in the early primary state, helping the then-senator go from long-shot to history-maker after vanquishing Hillary Clinton in the heavily African-American state….

Lindsey Graham, weakest incumbent GOP senator in the nation?

Graham chart

Meant to share this yesterday. Lachlan McIntosh of the Brad Hutto campaign brought this chart to my attention, with the commentary:

According to this CBS New, York Times poll of all the US Senate races this year, Lindsey Graham is the weakest Republican incumbent in the nation. He’s getting just 42% of the vote. 

In a quick glance, that appears to be the case. Of course, what is greeted as good news by one Democratic challenger is pretty lousy news for Democrats nationally. Lots of Democrats would give anything to have Graham’s 42 percent. Look at poor Mary Landrieu, trailing at 36 percent!

Erwin touting his ‘mo’ in new poll

You know that ARG poll I mentioned yesterday? Well, Tom Ervin is very proud of the progress it shows for his campaign:

NEW POLL SHOWS THREE-WAY RACE, TOM WITH MOMENTUM 

 

Greenville, S.C. —  The Tom Ervin campaign issued the following statement in response to the poll conducted by American Research Group:

“This poll shows we have a three-way race and confirms what we are seeing on the ground: Tom’s common sense solutions are resonating with voters,” said Matt David, the campaign’s senior adviser. “Whether it’s his push for tough ethics reform in Columbia or his plan to eliminate the income tax, this momentum will continue as more people learn about Tom.”

Link to poll information:

AMERICAN RESEARCH GROUP POLL, CONDUCTED SEPT. 2 – SEPT. 4

Tom Ervin (I)                         18%

Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D)     33%

Gov. Nikki Haley (R)              43%

Steve French (Libertarian)      1%

I’ll bet that if he didn’t have something to show for all that money he spent, he’d really be bummed about now…

If reached by landline, you prefer Haley. Otherwise not…

I was intrigued by this new poll on the SC gubernatorial race. Dick Bennett of American Research Group grabbed my attention in an email in which he wrote:

While Haley leads Sheheen 53% to 28% (and 12% for Ervin) among likely voters living in households with only landline telephones, Sheheen leads Ervin 43% to 30% (with 18% for Haley) among likely voters using cell phones or other mobile devices to complete the survey.

I checked, and he didn’t mean those households with “only landline telephones” had no cellphones, the way it sounded. He had meant to say, “among those reached by landline. If a household has a landline number in the sample we purchase, it gets called.”

Still, that’s interesting — the people reached via mobile devices put the incumbent in third place. I wonder why that is?

Of course, Haley still has a strong lead in the poll overall, since only 181 respondents were reached by mobile device, and 419 interviews were done over landlines. The totals for the poll are Haley 43 percent, Sheheen 33, Ervin 18.

But I wonder what accounts for the difference between those two sets of respondents… Youth? Affinity for technology? What?