Category Archives: Nikki Haley

I heartily disagree with Mia on food stamps and junk food

Here’s the latest from Mia McLeod:

 Dear Governor,


Seriously? Can you just “SNAP” and in an instant, delete certain foods from some South Carolinians’ grocery lists?

Sure, obesity is a genuine, significant health concern for too many people in this state. But that’s not why you’ve made a recent “SNAP” decision. You know it. We know it. And soon, citizens across this state will know it too.
Contrary to South Carolina’s definition, “SNAP” doesn’t mean “Simply Nonchalant About the Poor.” It’s actually a federal program, fully funded by the USDA. Now, isn’t it ironic that our state’s most notorious critics of “BIG” government, are arrogantly hypocritical enough to assume the despicable role of “BIG Brother” when it’s politically expedient?Mia leopard jacket

As asinine as this latest stunt is, it’s even more offensive. Targeting a segment of the population in furtherance of your own political agenda is one thing. Refusing to allow federally-funded healthcare for hard-working South Carolinians while in the same breath, expressing concern about obesity and its impact on their health and well-being, is another.

You don’t want the federal government telling us whether to accept or how to spend our federal tax dollars when a state match or financial investment is required. But yet, you wanna dictate which foods we can buy with SNAP, a fully-funded federal program that doesn’t even require state funds?

The list of qualifying items that can be purchased with SNAP is very straight-forward. As with any program, there’s always room for improvement. But last time we checked, you were able to make nutritional decisions for your family without our intrusion or input. We’re just wondering why you think we need yours.

And since your cronies are traveling the state at our expense, trying to convince us that this is about obesity prevention, perhaps we’ll remember your “heartfelt” concern on our next nonemergency trip to the ER…if we can even find and get to a hospital that’s still open and accessible.

With all due respect, Governor, when it comes to obesity, it’s not the foods that we’re able to buy on SNAP that are making us fat. Perhaps it’s your empty rhetoric that’s making us sick.

If you really cared about this state’s obesity rates or us, you’d do what is well within your purview and power to ensure that we have access to quality, affordable health care, just like you do.

You’d realize that some of us would love to eat the same fresh and organic foods that your family enjoys, but because of “food deserts” across this state, many of us are without the means or access. If you’re genuinely concerned about addressing obesity, you could start by addressing that.

If only we could “SNAP” back from the regressive, debilitating tactics of centuries past, we’d all feel much better. So while South Carolina continues to reek of ignorance, intolerance and insanity, many of our best and brightest continue to leave this state in search of parity, inclusion and meaningful opportunities.

But unlike obesity and other chronic conditions, many never return. Neighboring states too often become the benefactors of our most creative minds and talented contributors. And we’re left with a weaker South Carolina.

So as you continue to cater to your political base by serving folks like us up on a party platter, the only thing that seems to be getting fatter is your reelection campaign account.

At some point, obesity may no longer be an issue for South Carolina. Under your “leadership,” our state is gradually becoming so malnourished on so many levels, it may not be strong enough to “SNAP” out of it.

But you still can, Governor, before it’s too late.

p.s. – South Carolina’s forgotten citizens (a.k.a. – your “other” constituents) may not be members of the Tea Party. But in number, we’re “the real majority.”

She really doesn’t like the idea, does she?

Well, I do. Still. So I guess I’m playing the “despicable role of Big Brother.”

Yes, there are reasons to be concerned about people who live in “food deserts.” I don’t dismiss that, and I can’t say for certain that the stores that now sell junk food in those communities would shift and sell healthier stuff if that’s all their poor patrons could buy. I think that might happen, but I don’t have the full faith in markets that some do.

So that should be thoroughly studied and taken into account before a final decision is made. But I most certainly do not agree with those who have a philosophical, rather than practical, objection to insisting that tax money not be used to buy foods that ruin the health of the poor.

The populists will call this patriarchal, but we are indeed in a position for taking responsibility for people when we undertake to feed them. We are culpable for providing people with the means of poisoning themselves when we could adopt a policy that prevents it.

When we discussed this previously, my old friend and respected colleague Burl Burlingame noted, “when the government wants to experiment, they do so first on the poor.” That may seem a particularly devastating argument against this change. But I submit that we have been running the experiment for half a century now, and the results are in: Paying for junk food kills poor people. It’s time we stop it, and do what we practically can to have a positive, rather than an actively negative, effect on people’s health.

I particularly liked this Sheheen quote about Haley, Sanford

I thought this was good in The State‘s story about Vincent Sheheen running against Nikki Haley again. It quotes him as saying:

“The current administration and previous distraction have presented the same ideas and done the same things. It’s not just (about) Republican control, it’s this ideology of self-promotion and extremism that both Sanford and Haley have brought to the table that has occupied South Carolina’s government for 12 years.”

How very true. What he’s doing there is tapping into what so many Republicans (that is to say, the ones who’ve dealt with them) don’t much like about Nikki or Mark Sanford, either. They didn’t like that everything Mark Sanford did (from “look at me” stunts like bringing the pigs into the State House to his appearing on national FoxNews 46 times while fighting against stimulus funding) was about Mark Sanford, not about South Carolina or its Republican Party. If anything, Nikki Haley has taken that me-me-me approach to new depths.

So that was a highly relevant thing to take note of. I also like the reference to the Sanford administration as the “previous distraction.” It has the same tone of genteel disdain that I hear when South Carolinians speak of the 1860-65 conflict as “the recent unpleasantness.”

I hope to see more such perspicacity from young Mr. Sheheen this time around…

Cindi Scoppe’s righteous rant this morning

Cindi had a column this morning on the new post of cybersecurity chief that the Legislature is adding to the state payroll (maybe the title could be, “Officer in Charge of Closing the Barn Door after the Horses have Run Off”) — or rather, on the outrageous fact that they want this person to be immune from firing by the governor.

As she correctly points out, we have too many state employees like that already — people who don’t really “work for” anyone, since no one can fire them.

There is zero reason to make this particular person independent — unlike, say, the attorney general or the inspector general. Arguments can be made for those. Not for this new post.

Cindi and I have been fighting the Legislature’s aversion to accountability for a lot of years now. So she can be forgiven for winding up into a bit of a rant at the end:

Frankly, I’m willing to trust that politics will keep the governor in line on this one. It’s tough enough for a governor to have to explain that 6.4 million individuals’ and businesses’ Social Security numbers and bank records were hacked because her agency director either didn’t know about or ignored concerns from his own IT people. She certainly doesn’t want to have to explain that we had another breach because she fired the state cybersecurity chief, or cowed him into backing off basic protections.

Truth be told, I’d be more concerned that a governor wouldn’t be aggressive enough if a cybersecurity chief gets out of control.

As much as some legislators are fond of saying that no price is too high to secure our personal information, the fact is that there is always, always more that can be done to provide security, be it for our computer networks or our cities or our businesses or our homes. The fact is that some prices are indeed too high, and it’s the job of our Legislature and our governor, or whoever a cybersecurity director reports to, to balance the risk against the cost, in money and in time.

If you’re going to give union-style job protections to the cybersecurity chief, then why not give them to the governor’s lobbyists — since she might not like it if they tell her that legislators don’t like her? Or to the prison director — since she might not like it if he tells her how much it’s going to cost to keep the prisons safe?

In fact, why not just go back to the way we did things when I moved to South Carolina, when the governor couldn’t fire the directors of any state agencies? When those directors reported to part-time board members who, even if the governor could appoint them, couldn’t be fired.

For that matter, if S.C. governors are that untrustworthy, maybe we ought to go back to the old system whereby the Legislature elected the governor. After all, what’s the point of bothering voters with the matter of electing a governor if the governor has no power to carry out the agenda those voters elected her to carry out?

Or maybe, just maybe, we could decide that government officials should be held accountable for their actions. Maybe we could decide that it’s better to trust that a governor won’t abuse her power over powerful officials than it is to risk that those officials will either get too comfortable in their jobs or else let their power go to their heads, and be less aggressive, or more aggressive, than they ought to be, because they don’t have a boss — and they know they’ve got a job for life.

Amen to all that.

Mia McLeod on Medicaid expansion in SC

Speaking of people who sort of seem like they’re running for higher office, here’s the latest missive from Mia McLeod:

Well…ladies & gentlemen, it’s time to “weigh-in.” And unlike her Republican counterparts in New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, North Dakota and Michigan, your Governor is once again “flexing” her Tea Party muscles and refusing to support healthcare coverage for uninsured South Carolinians.Mia_leopard_jacket_1_217670

So what separates her from a growing list of anti-Obama Governors who have recently decided to expand Medicaid in other states? Common sense and compassion, for starters.
And if South Carolina refuses to expand healthcare coverage, here’s a glimpse of the impact on hard-working folks like you:

Higher medical costs – as the uninsured forego preventive care and are forced to seek medical care in the emergency room, hospitals will be forced to shift those costs to insured individuals and employers.
Less independence – as our seniors, veterans and disabled citizens forfeit access to home health and other medical care, it’ll be extremely difficult for them to lead independent lives.
Fewer options – as our state refuses federal funding to the tune of 100% for the first 3 years, neighboring states will gladly accept and use our federal tax dollars to cover their uninsured.
Poor quality of life – as hard-working folks forfeit medical care they need to live longer, healthier lives, our state misses opportunities to be more proactive, productive and economically sound.

But this is South Carolina. Obviously, expanding Medicaid makes sense, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Republican Governors (in other states, of course) are saying…

“No mother or father should despair over whether or not they can afford — or access — the health care their child needs. Quality health care services must be accessible and affordable for all — not just those in certain zip codes or tax brackets,” said outspoken Obamacare critic and Florida Governor, Rick Scott, as he reflected on the death of his mother and her struggle to raise five children with little money, while worrying constantly about having family health coverage.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer also made national headlines when she supported Medicaid expansion, acknowledging that it would lessen the impact of uncompensated care that drives up medical costs to hospitals and taxpayers.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said, “Let me be clear, I’m no fan of the Affordable Care Act…” but it’s “now the law of the land,” acknowledging that rejecting it would mean that New Jersey’s tax dollars will be spent elsewhere.

While Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was the first Republican governor to officially embrace Medicaid expansion, his decision seemed to be based primarily upon the recognition that it wouldn’t be wise to forego an infusion of federal dollars into his state’s economy.

The same is true for South Carolina. Are you listening, Governor Haley? (Oops! rhetorical question…)

Expanding healthcare coverage to people who can’t otherwise afford it should be a no-brainer. States can opt-in or out at anytime, “risk-free” for the first 3 years. That’s an offer Republican Governors across the nation believe is too good to refuse, because while expanding healthcare coverage is voluntary, picking up the tab for the uninsured, isn’t.

Our Governor has said that SC can’t afford to expand Medicaid. With 100% federal funding for the first 3 years and 90% thereafter, how can we afford not to? It creates over 40,000 jobs, covers over 250,000 uninsured South Carolinians, infuses our state’s economy and improves our quality of life and health.

So while she focuses on restricting foods purchased using federally funded programs like WIC and SNAP (in the name of obesity prevention) or “disease” designations for obesity, here’s an idea…

Let’s expand healthcare coverage so that South Carolinians who struggle with obesity and other medical conditions can get quality, affordable healthcare that focuses on prevention and treatment to help them live longer, healthier, more productive lives.

This isn’t a partisan issue. We all want the strongest military, the best schools, quality, affordable health care, meaningful job opportunities and the ability to live, work and age with dignity. Part of government’s role is to help ensure that every citizen has access to healthcare because a healthier population is a huge, proactive step towards a stronger workforce and business community, improved quality of life and more vibrant economy.

South Carolina is only as strong as its weakest. If our state’s leaders lack the collective compassion and courage to expand healthcare coverage to “the least of these,” the biggest losers won’t just be the uninsured. South Carolinians, insured and uninsured, will pay the ultimate price. Our state will be the biggest loser. But wait…isn’t that what we’ve been since we elected her 3 years ago?

Governor Haley was elected to represent all of us. The sooner she and her party’s leaders “swallow that pill,” the healthier we’ll all be…

From SCDP: A roundup of objections to Haley’s Medicaid stance

There seems to be a new communications director over at the SC Democratic Party – Kristin Sosanie — and she put out a release today that is somewhat more substantive and detailed than the emotional, nyah-nyah stuff we usually get from political parties.

I found it interesting, and relevant, enough to pass on in its entirety:

March 7, 2013

 

To: Interested Parties

From: Kristin Sosanie, SCDP Communications Director

RE: Governor Haley at odds with rising tide of public opinion on Medicaid expansion

 

As the debate over Medicaid expansion continues, support for bringing tax dollars back home is echoing around South Carolina and Governor Haley is on the defensive trying desperately to explain her choice to put partisanship ahead of the best interests of the people of the state.

 

 

Let’s review: In the past week alone, members of the public, hospital leaders, businesses, state leaders and editorial boards have all spoken out in support of the expansion:

 

Survey finds majority in SC support Medicaid expansion. “More than half of older adults in the state disagree with Gov. Nikki Haley’s plan to turn down Medicaid expansion, according to a survey by the AARP. The survey found that 54 percent of the respondents support expanding Medicaid to cover low-income adults.” [The State, 03/06/13]

 

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]

 

Sheheen: SC lawmakers should put ideology aside, accept Medicaid expansion money. “I call on Gov. (Nikki) Haley and every Democrat and every Republican to heed the example of other states and provide leadership that will mean more tax dollars in South Carolina that belong to South Carolinians,” the Camden Democrat said. [Associated Press, 03/07/13]

 

Also remember: Governor Haley is out on a ledge as Republican governors around the country (many of whom have been staunch opponents of Obamacare) have put partisanship aside and decided to act in the best interests of the people of their states by opting-in:

 

Florida Governor Rick Scott: “I Cannot In Good Conscience Deny Floridians That Needed Access To Health Care.” “‘While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost, I cannot in good conscience deny Floridians that needed access to health care,’ Mr. Scott said at a news conference. ‘We will support a three-year expansion of the Medicaid program under the new health care law as long as the federal government meets their commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost during that time.’” [New York Times, 2/20/13]

 

Ohio Governor John Kasich: “Ohio Taxpayer Dollars Are Coming Back To Ohio.” “Kasich has said his proposed Medicaid expansion would save the state $235 million over the next two years, free about $100 million in local funds for mental-health and addiction services, and ‘Ohio taxpayer dollars are coming back to Ohio to support a significant need we have which is the insurance, the health coverage of poor, working Ohioans.’” [Columbus Dispatch, 2/12/13]

 

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]

 

Finally: Governor Haley’s chief points of opposition have been debunked by researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business, who found that the economic benefit of bringing taxpayers’ dollars back in-state would create 44,000 jobs in South Carolina.

 

Medicaid Expansion in South Carolina: The economic impact of the ACA. “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]

 

So, in the face of such widespread support, two questions remain: How long will Governor Haley continue to make decisions based on ideology? And what will she say to South Carolinians who lose their jobs because of her Tea Party allegiance?

AARP poll: SC grownups favor Medicaid expansion

I say “grownups” because all the respondents were over 45. It was the first word that came to mind. I’ll allow that there may be some grownups out there younger than 45. Anyway, here’s a report from the Charleston paper on the poll:

Most South Carolina adults interviewed for a new poll think the state government should expand Medicaid eligibility to include more low-income residents.

The poll was commissioned by AARP, a group in favor of expanding Medicaid in South Carolina under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A statement about the poll was published Tuesday on AARP’s website, but the full results have not been released.

It found that 54 percent of 800 adults polled in February favor Medicaid expansion and 57 percent disagree with Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to decline federal money to accomplish that. All of the adults included in the survey were 45 and older.

South Carolina has a choice to opt out of the expansion because the state would eventually need to pay for part of it — 10 percent of the costs by 2020. The federal government would fully fund Medicaid expansion for three years and at a minimum of 90 percent after that…

Maybe when Nikki Haley gets to be 45, she’ll develop a more sensible approach to this, too. It’s possible. I don’t know what the excuse of the GOP majority in the Legislature might be.

By the way, AARP is lobbying in 40 states (including SC) for Medicaid expansion. But that should come as no surprise, since AARP has a lot of grownups in it…

Under fire, Gen. Turner quits state employment agency

This broke at about midday today:

SEANNA ADCOX
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP, WLTX) – The director of South Carolina’s unemployment agency has resigned, effective March 1.GeneralTurner2

Department of Employment and Workforce Director Abraham Turner turned in a hand-written resignation letter to the governor Friday.

In the letter, Turner says he’s resigning for personal reasons. His resignation follows questions from legislators stemming from the agency’s decision to eliminate one-on-one help for people seeking benefits in 17 rural offices statewide…

It first came to my attention because of this emailed comment from state Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland:

“Governor Haley has allowed her agency, SC DEW, to become an absolute embarrassment. In the last two weeks the governor’s agency has made news because of crippling layoffs, massive pay raises, lavish taxpayer funded beach retreats, the closing of seventeen unemployment centers in rural counties, and now the resignation of the Executive Director. Governor Haley must regain control of her agency before it is too late. Millions of South Carolinians depend on this agency to be functional and effective. As it stands today, it is the opposite.”

But not only Democrats have been complaining about how the agency has been run under the retired general. As thestate.com reports:

The employment agency’s woes have become a subject of almost daily criticism in the Legislature.

State Sen. Ken Bryant, R-Anderson, took to the floor Thursday to blast what he said were outlandish raises — some of more than 50 percent — recently given some agency employees. Bryant also said the agency was claiming victory for lowering jobless benefits improperly paid to $50 million from $90 million.

Other senators joined in a bipartisan display of frustration.

At one point, Bryant and Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, exchanged criticisms of the agency, with Setzler, a moderate Democrat, and Bryant, a Tea Party Republican, both ripping the agency and its leadership, citing recent cuts in its staffing and the raises, the closing of rural offices and an oceanside management retreat…

‘This is why art is important!!!’

2006_196535000485663_630701289_n

Consider this picture a gentle protest against our governor again putting the state Arts Commission in the crosshairs.

Here, of course, is the problem with her repeated efforts to do this agency in: It’s not, near as I can tell (and maybe I’ve just missed the stories explaining this), because she thinks there is a better, more efficient way to accomplish the agency’s mission.

It’s because — and please, I’d love to be shown how I’m off-base on this — she wants to be seen by her base as attacking government-funded arts, period. Which I know some of my readers will applaud. Others will not. (Doug will likely argue that we shouldn’t fund the arts when roads, prisons, etc., go unfunded. I will reply that we can adequately fund all those things and give the arts a boost as well. Just because we haven’t doesn’t mean that we can’t.)

My headline, by the way, was the text that accompanied the above photo, which I saw when my wife shared it on Facebook. For a split-second, I thought it might be one of my granddaughters, because that’s just the sort of thing they would do. But the hair was wrong.

The picture, and the message, seem to have originated with Marymount Manhattan College’s Department of Theatre Arts.

Two starkly different views of Nikki Haley’s State of the State

Apparently tired of excoriating Lillian McBride and all who sail in her, Mia McLeod has now turned her verbal artillery upon Nikki Haley:

For all of you who had the misfortune of watching the Governor’s State of the State address last night, I’m gonna do what she should’ve done…apologize.

If the state of our state is as hollow as the empty rhetoric she offered, then we really do need to have “the conversation.” At least our Governor was right about one thing…the people of South Carolina deserve better.

And while she spent two pages starting “the conversation” about public education funding, here’s a newsflash: that conversation started years ago. So instead of wasting two pages talking about it, Governor Haley could’ve spent two years being about it.
But since we’re having “the conversation,” maybe we should talk about the recent hacking of the Department of Revenue’s database because it exposed the personal financial information of almost four million South Carolinians and is considered the worst state government data breach in U.S. history. Even the identities of our children, vulnerable adults and businesses have been compromised.

Saying it won’t happen again isn’t an apology. A year of free credit monitoring isn’t enough. And although “what happened at DoR was a jolt to all of us,” S.C. residents are the victims. She’s the Governor. Maybe she should stop “talking” and start “doing.”

Perhaps you should ask what she wants you to do after that year is up. Surely she knows that anyone who is sophisticated enough to hack into our SSNs and bank account information, is certainly patient enough to wait at least a year before using it.

So now that she’s “talking,” ask her why she’s okay with almost one million South Carolinians not having healthcare. Oops…she already answered that one for you:

“As long as I am Governor, South Carolina will not implement the public policy disaster that is Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion.” (translation: it’s not about you)

Obviously, she would rather send your federal tax dollars to citizens of other states, who will gladly accept them. But don’t forget that you’ll pay regardless, with higher premiums to pick up the slack for S.C. folks who aren’t covered, and for those lucky recipients in other states who’ll get to use our money at our expense.

And while we’re talking, let’s also ask the Governor why she takes credit, even for jobs that she had no part in creating. Sadly, South Carolina’s unemployment rate is still well above the national average and as she focuses on large corporations, small businesses, our state’s biggest job creators, are still struggling.

She must not care to talk about election reform, workforce development or public safety either. After all, these necessary reforms might actually benefit you.

I mean, why should she care about your confidence in the elections process or how early voting might help ease the process for millions? Why should she care that in S.C., we’ve got jobs without (skilled/trained) people and people without jobs. Training and preparing S.C. citizens for S.C. jobs might actually allow us to recruit our best and brightest back to the state, and keep those of us here who haven’t left yet.

The term “conversation” suggests a dialogue or an exchange of information. So Governor, please let us know when you’re ready to have a real conversation…one that includes all of us, instead of the familiar monologue we heard again on Wednesday.

While you’re wasting our time and yours railing against Obamacare, the reality is…you and I have quality healthcare, while millions of South Carolinians don’t.

And although you finally recognize that investing in our infrastructure is an economic development issue, so is investing in our children and the public schools that educate them. So is investing in quality healthcare so that all of us are healthy enough to work and feed our families. So is protecting our financial information for the long haul, since it was your failure to lead that allowed it to be compromised.

Before S.C. can ever become the “It” state you so arrogantly described (when it comes to jobs and economic development), we must first get off the “IT” (that’s Information Technology) disaster list, stop blaming Washington for our self-inflicted wounds and show the people of South Carolina real accountability, real transparency, real reform and hopefully, real leadership.

But alas, her rambling rhetoric (“As long as I am Governor…”) does offer us one small glimmer of hope…for a day when she will no longer be Governor.

Here’s an idea: let’s start “the conversation” about how we can make that day come sooner than later.

To my surprise, she hasn’t posted that on her blog yet. I got it as an email.

Just so you know that not everyone saw it the way the Richland County Democrat did, here’s a gushing appraisal from the Senate GOP caucus:

 

Haley knocks third State of the State address out of the park

 

 

Columbia, SC – January 16, 2013 – This evening, Governor Nikki Haley gave her third State of the State address focusing on job creation, infrastructure, cyber security, education, school safety and healthcare.
Governor Haley said that in the last two years, 31,574 jobs have been created in South Carolina and $6 billion has been spent on new investments. The SC government has cut taxes on small businesses, passed tort reforms, and fought unions. Unemployment is also at its lowest in four years, due to Governor Haley’s dedication to job creation.
Governor Haley has also been committed to fixing the state’s security issues, since the recent cyber attack on the Department of Revenue. She has made it a priority to guarantee security to South Carolinians.
Another major concern has long been the poor condition of South Carolina’s roadways and bridges. Governor Haley is determined to allocate the money necessary to improve the state’s crumbling streets this year.
“The state has been working hard to come up with a plan to improve its roadways,” said Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler. “It’s our hope that putting these improvements into motion will also create more jobs and be a sound investment in our state’s infrastructure.”
Senators were happy to see Governor Haley reaffirm her commitment to government restructuring.
“We won’t have true government efficiency until we pass the Department of Administration bill,” said Senate Majority Whip Shane Massey. “Governor Haley’s dedication to fiscal responsibility assures me that less government expansion and more spending cuts will happen.”
Finally, Governer Haley addressed the issue of federal health care.  She made it clear that she does not think it is in the best interest of South Carolina and that the state will not implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
“I’m happy to see that Governor Haley won’t let the Obama administration continue its intrusion on our state’s rights,” Said Senator Larry Martin.
Governor Haley ensured South Carolinians that 2013 will be a prosperous year in South Carolina and that she intends to tackle the state’s biggest issues.

###

When Wesley Donehue sent that, I looked at the headline and could only think, “She did? So who was pitching?” Whoever it was, it may be time for the other team to make a call to the bullpen…

Everything that is wrong with our politics, in state & nation

Haley Palin

OK, so maybe it’s not everything — there’s personal pettiness, and anti-intellectualism, and an appalling willingness on the parts of too many to stoop to the lowest common public impulses for advantage — but it’s something that runs through it all, and ruins everything it touches. And besides, those things are more or less related to this thing.

It was on display in this story today about the campaign “warchest” — oh, let’s not forget that another thing that is wrong with our politics is that we pretend that it is war, with all that attendant “fighting for you” trash — that Nikki Haley has assembled for an as-yet-undeclared re-election campaign.

I’m not talking about Nikki Haley in particular here. I’m talking about something that is all too much a part of modern politics, and she just provides us with a good example, because she’s a particularly avid practitioner of what I’m talking about. The relevant passage:

Haley had six fundraisers last quarter, half of them out of state, in California, New York and Florida.

Donations from S.C.-based businesses and residents accounted for less than 60 percent of the total she raised during the quarter. Florida donations were next at 10 percent, followed by New Yorkers at nearly 6 percent.

Californians’ 51 donations ranked second in number behind the 418 reported from South Carolina, but their combined $21,000 ranked fifth in total amount, at 4 percent.

“It’s a strong showing,” Pearson said. “It shows that people in and outside the state want her to be re-elected gov

Haley had six fundraisers last quarter, half of them out of state, in California, New York and Florida.

Donations from S.C.-based businesses and residents accounted for less than 60 percent of the total she raised during the quarter. Florida donations were next at 10 percent, followed by New Yorkers at nearly 6 percent.

Californians’ 51 donations ranked second in number behind the 418 reported from South Carolina, but their combined $21,000 ranked fifth in total amount, at 4 percent.

“It’s a strong showing,” Pearson said. “It shows that people in and outside the state want her to be re-elected governor if she runs.”

And no, I’m not saying it’s awful that she goes after money where she can get it, or anything like that. The thing that I am saying is a problem is the fact that it is possible for a governor, any governor, to go outside his or her state to raise campaign money. It’s the fact that those outsiders will give, when asked the right way, that is the problem of which I speak.

Reading that story, I tried putting myself in Nikki Haley’s place. I tried imagining that I was running for governor, and I was on a fund-raising trip to New York or Florida or California or wherever, and I was standing in front of a well-heeled group of people with checkbooks in their pockets, and I thought:

What on Earth would I say to those people to get them to give money to me for my campaign for governor of South Carolina?

And I couldn’t think of a thing. I mean, I think about the reasons I would run for governor if I did, and they are many. I refer you to my last column at the paper for just a tiny few of those reasons. But not one of the reasons that could ever conceivably motivate me to run could ever possibly motivate someone who does not live in South Carolina and has no stake in South Carolina to give me money.

I would have nothing to say to them. Nothing that would be relevant to them, in any case.

But Nikki Haley, and other politicians who do what she does, have no problem in that regard. That’s because pretty much everything they say, and think, as political creatures is cookie-cutter stuff, the kind of stuff the national talking heads constantly spew out of the Beltway via 24/7 TV “news.” You can’t tell one from another.

That’s why it’s so easy and comfortable for someone like Sarah Palin to campaign alongside Nikki Haley, which they did with such aplomb and comfort in one another’s company during our governor’s first campaign. That’s because, even though they are from very different states with different issues and different needs, they think the same thoughts and say the same things. Henry Ford’s methods of mass production have been applied to politics, so that parts are interchangeable.

This is made possible by the fact that all these folks talk about is ideology — pure, simple, lowest-common-denominator ideology, unsullied by the specifics of reality, which is understood everywhere because of modern communications.

Their words and their thoughts have nothing to do with the messy, organic, ad hoc, practical, idiosyncratic business of governing — which to an honest person who engages it with an open and critical mind practically never meshes with the neat constructs of ideology.

And that’s what’s wrong. That’s what that story made me think about.

We don’t need special elections to replace senators

Rick Quinn has an idea that sounds good — especially under circumstances that empower Nikki Haley to make the decision unilaterally — but I can’t go for it:

S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn (R-Lexington) today submitted legislation for pre-filing to change the way vacancies are filled for the office of United States Senator. If enacted, the bill would require a Special Election to be held to fill any future vacancies.  To explain his legislation, Rep. Quinn released the following statement:

“This proposed legislation is not intended in any way as a criticism of Governor Haley or any of the outstanding leaders she is apparently considering for appointment to the United States Senate.   I am certain they would all do a fine job.

My concern is the lack of public involvement in the process of selecting a person to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate.  The present system allows a governor to pick a replacement for up to two full years before any votes are cast.

No one person should be able to select a U.S. Senator for the over four million citizens of South Carolina.  When we vote for our United States Senator, it is one of the most important electoral decisions we make.  One person should not be empowered to appoint that position for such an extended period of time.

An incumbent United States Senator has a huge advantage.  Not only can incumbents raise far more money than challengers but also the bully pulpit gives incumbents a forum unavailable to those who might run in the future.  It is a simple reality that money and media access dominate the modern election process.

The present system gives an appointed Senator what may well amount to an overwhelming advantage before an election is held.  That is why all candidates for the office should start from a level playing field as soon as possible when a vacancy occurs.  This gives the voters more choices and a more decisive role in choosing their next U.S. Senator.

The need for change is highlighted by the fact that the U.S. Senate is the only Federal office handled in this non-democratic manner.  In fact, if the Governor appoints any of the current elected officials on her short list, the law would require an immediate special election to fill those vacancies.

Looking around the nation, many states have gone to a special election process to fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate.  Today, fourteen states would call for an immediate special election.  Under current South Carolina law, a special election would take sixteen weeks to conduct.

Unexpected vacancies happen from time to time.  It’s part of life.   Any way we fill those vacancies will have flaws.  But we must not dilute the people’s right to choose their representation at the ballot box.  It is a fundamental right in our American system of governance. “

# # #

The Framers of our system intended for each constituent part of our government — the House, the Senate, the president and vice president, the judiciary — to be balanced in a number of ways, including having very different methods of selection, meaning they answer to very different constituencies.

Senators were supposed to represent states, not groups of voters like House members. We made the Senate more like the House when we passed the 17th Amendment — although they are still elected by all of the voters of a state, rather than the voters of narrow districts, which is something. I have yet to be convinced that was an improvement.

A better idea than Rep. Quinn’s would be to let the Legislature choose an interim senator. That would return us to the original idea, and it would address the problem Rick is too polite to confront, which is having a U.S. senator being chosen on the basis of Nikki Haley’s political priorities.

But there’s no question that Rick’s idea would be more popular than mine.

Yes, that’s what we have experience for

While I was out with the flu, we had a good-news-bad-news situation arise here in South Carolina.

The good news was that Jim DeMint was leaving the Senate.

The bad news was that, incredible as it still seems every time I’m reminded of the fact, Nikki Haley is actually the governor of our state.

But looking on the bright side even of that, Gov. Haley inadvertently explained something important yesterday (while meaning to say the opposite):

COLUMBIA, SC — Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday (sic — since this was in this morning’s paper, I’m assuming she actually said it Wednesday) that political experience is not a requirement for the successor to resigning U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

Haley will name that successor, and two of the governor’s five reported finalists for the coveted seat – former first lady Jenny Sanford and state agency head Catherine Templeton – have not held elected office.

“It is not about time in office, which I think is the wrong way of looking at government,” said Haley, who was a political newcomer when she won a state House seat in 2004. “It’s the effect and the result they can show in office.”…

Focus on that last sentence: “It’s the effect and the result they can show in office.”

Indeed. In fact, in deciding who might be suited to public office, you have no better guide than what you have been able to observe that person doing in public office in the past. Nothing else is truly useful.

Of course, if she were to elaborate, the governor would no doubt say that what she meant was “the effect and the result they SAY they can show in office,” since with populist ideologues of her ilk, it’s all about the talk and the theory.

But no practical person gives what a candidate says he will do even a hundredth the weight of what the observer has actually seen that candidate do under real-world conditions.

That’s the test.

A reasonable person would not insist upon experience in a school board or city-council candidate, although it’s nice to have. One can excuse the lack of it in a state legislative candidate, if one doesn’t have a better alternative. But the United States Senate? Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith aside, when you have a universe of qualified people out there to choose from, there is NO excuse for choosing a public-office novice. None whatsoever.

And for any who don’t understand the difference, experience running a business — or running your husband’s gubernatorial campaigns, or occupying a government job to which your friend the governor appointed you and in which you have not under any stretch of the imagination distinguished yourself — are not the same as having been elected by the people to public office and spent observable time in that fishbowl, discharging the duties of that office.

South Carolina’s U.S. House delegation is nearly full of relative neophytes (the governor’s kind of people) who at least have spent a couple of years each in an office that is a reasonable precursor to the Senate. Beyond that, the Republican Party has in the past generation produced a large number of potential senators with better resumes that that.

Under the circumstances, there is no excuse at all for choosing inexperience.

Is Gov. Nikki Haley growing in face of crisis?

Cindi Scoppe first raised the question in her column yesterday headlined, “Is SC computer breach transforming Gov. Nikki Haley?” The column was made possible by one of the first signs of new maturity in our governor — a phone conversation with editorial writers (as opposed to her usual pep rally with her admirers on her Facebook page), to engage in actual dialogue about the Department of Revenue hacking mess:

… (F)rom her first public utterances, Gov. Nikki Haley insisted that there was nothing anyone in state government could have done to prevent the breach.

Even more troubling were her assurances that weren’t so absurd on their face. She said that hacking experts told her thieves usually use stolen data within six to eight months and that “Usually after a year, they don’t see anything,” but security experts say that while that’s true with credit card numbers, just the opposite is true with Social Security numbers. She insisted that leaving Social Security numbers unencrypted was an “industry standard” in the banking industry, but some banking officials disputed that. She said other states didn’t encrypt their data, but failed to mention that our go-to comparison neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia, do.

I’ve never been comfortable with the governor’s tendency to speak in absolutes, of her black-and-white sense of certainty. But there’s a world of difference between being careless or misleading when defending yourself from political attacks or engaging in policy debates and doing the same thing when what you say affects how 4.25 million current and former South Carolinians make potentially life-changing decisions about their personal financial security.

So it was a relief earlier this month when, confronted by comments to the contrary by an investigator hired by the state, the governor told reporters that she didn’t yet know enough to say whether anyone could have prevented the breach. Of course, she also insisted that she had never said otherwise. Still it was a start.

Then during a conference call with editorial writers on Friday, Ms. Haley gave an uncharacteristically tentative answer to a question about the hacking and added: “Understand that I can’t speak in absolutes because I feel like I learn something new every day.”

“I hesitate on saying whether there was something internal or external, because the one thing I think I’ve learned in this is you can’t talk in absolutes,” she said a few minutes later, noting that after she thought she knew everything about the hacking, “the second day they added more, the third day they added more … .”

Yes, as Cindi noted, the governor still doesn’t know how to acknowledge her mistakes. She follows more the Orwellian approach of adopting a new line and insisting it has always been her line. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia…

But let’s embrace the encouraging new signs. This is a major development, for Nikki Haley to base her perceptions of the world on actual facts and experience, rather than her ideological, self-affirming preconceptions. For an unsullied ideologue like our governor, for whom truth has been whatever aphorisms help to get her elected, to start learning a little more each day, and recognize she’s doing so, and actually apply the lessons she’s learning, makes for a great day in South Carolina, compared to what we’ve known.

After trying out her new approach on editorialists, our governor has gone public with it:

Columbia, SC — As more South Carolinians learned that hackers hold their tax return data, Gov. Nikki Haley admitted Tuesday that the state did not do enough to protect their sensitive financial information and accepted the resignation of the agency director in the middle of the controversy.

“Could South Carolina have done a better job? Absolutely, or we would not be standing here,” said Haley, who had insisted in the first days after revealing the cyber attack that nothing could have prevented the breach.

Hackers possess Social Security and other data belonging to 5.7 million people – 3.8 million taxpayers and their 1.9 million dependents, Haley said. The number of businesses affected has risen slightly to nearly 700,000. All of the stolen tax data dating back to 1998 was unencrypted.

The theft at the S.C. Department of Revenue is the largest known hacking at a state agency nationwide…

Note how she can’t resist using the word “absolutely,” even in connection with an assertion that is the opposite of what she’d said earlier (which means either it’s not absolute, or she was absolutely wrong earlier).

But hey, when your child starts to speak, do you castigate her for immature pronunciation? This is a start, and I’m inclined to celebrate it, and hope our governor continues her journey out of her hothouse bubble and keeps engaging the world as it actually is.

In case you happen to be, or own, a business…

Because, as Mitt Romney says, corporations are people, too, I pass on this advisory from Randy Halfacre at the Greater Lexington Chamber for my friends out there who may be corporations. Or at least own or operate businesses:

It was recently announced that tax information for as many as 657,000 S.C. businesses was compromised as part of the recent cyber attack at the S.C. Department of Revenue.
The State of South Carolina has arranged through Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp for free credit monitoring services for all S.C. businesses for the life of the business.
Starting Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 a.m., businesses can register at www.dandb.com/sc/ or by calling 800.279.9881 to receive the credit monitoring service.  After signing up, businesses will be notified of any changes to their accounts.

The Governor’s press conference yesterday regarding the breach is available here.

Haley promises government will take care of you (or at least your credit) for the rest of your life

We now have an answer to the question of what happens after the year of free credit protection the Haley administration is offering to those compromised by the massive Department of Revenue data breach:

COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolina taxpayers and their children who were victims of a massive data breach at the Department of Revenue will receive free lifetime credit fraud resolution, Gov. Nikki Haley announced Tuesday….

Now that the governor is promising free cradle-to-grave coverage, I find myself wondering about something that should have occurred to me before… where does the governor get the authority to promise all of this?

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing or that it’s not necessary; I’m just wondering from whence the power derives to do it. It’s her remark yesterday about it being up to the General Assembly to decide how to pay for it that planted the germ of this idea, which for some reason just now sprouted: If the Legislature has to determine how (or for that matter, whether) to pay for this emergency step, does it not have to pass legislation to let her do it to begin with?

Has anyone seen anything anywhere addressing that? I’m curious…

Dems demand answers from DOR chief

Several Democratic lawmakers sent this letter to the head of the Department of Revenue today:

October 29, 2012

Mr. James Etter

South Carolina Department of Revenue

301 Gervais Street

Columbia, S.C. 29214

Dear Mr. Etter,

As you know, many citizens of our state have questions about the recent breach of security at the SC Department of Revenue.  We are among them.  As elected representatives of the people of South Carolina, we are very concerned for the safety of their identities.  There remain important questions, which have not been answered.  South Carolina must ensure that the nature of this breach is fully understood and corrective measures are taken.  To that end, we ask you to answer all of the questions.  Please advise if you cannot complete by this Wednesday at noon.

Do we know that data was actually transferred out of the system or was the system simply breached?

What types of data were compromised- the full tax return? Social security numbers? addresses? charitable contributions? W2 information? or other information?

Why were any credit card numbers kept in an unencrypted format?

To what degree was the breach the result of poor procedural, security control versus human error?

Why was this data kept in a way that was accessible to the internet?

What security audits were performed on these systems during the past two years?

Have children’s SSNs also been compromised and what steps should parents take to ensure that their IDs are protected?

What is the state willing to do beyond the year of (free) ID protection to protect the IDs of children, vulnerable adults and others who have been compromised and may not be able to afford ID protection after the year expires?

Please provide us with a copy of SCDOR’s information security standards and policy.

Please describe the time line of when and how SCDOR learned about the breach, steps that were taken, and when any other entities were notified of the breach?

Please explain how much time passed between the time SCDOR was notified of the breach and the time the public was notified?

Please provide an estimate of how much money the state will expend to deal with this breach and its aftermath?

Thanks so much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Very truly,

Senator Brad Hutto

Senator Vincent Sheheen

Representative James Smith

Representative Mia Butler Garrick

Cc. The Honorable Nikki Haley

Note the “cc” to the governor. Nice touch, huh?

Haley: Blame the hacker, not the government

When I heard Nikki Haley was going to hold a presser this morning to call about most of our tax returns being stolen from the Department of Revenue, my first thought was to wonder whom she would blame for a failure at her agency.

As it happened, she said that no one was to blame except the hacker — whom she portrayed as some sort of unstoppable super-villain.

She could be right as far as my knowledge of such things extends, although perhaps some of y’all may have other thoughts.

Anyway, here are some highlights of what she said:

  • More than 150,000 people have signed up now for the protection being offered by the state.
  • We have until the end of January to sign up for the credit protection that the state is offering, and the protection will be retroactive. (I don’t know how that works, but that’s what she said.)
  • If you don’t have a computer or Internet access, call DOR and someone will do it for you while you’re on the phone. (Someone noted that people were having trouble getting through. Nikki said she and her husband got right through on Saturday, but then, they called during the Gamecocks’ game. She noted that for most people, it’s taking about 12 minutes to get through.)
  • “We don’t know whose information was compromised.” SLED Chief Mark Keel, to whom the governor deferred repeatedly during the event, said it could be weeks before that is known.
  • No one knows yet how much it will cost for the state to provide the ID protection it is offering to citizens free of charge. “We are in negotiations with Experian” on that, she said. The cost depends on how many sign up. All she could say was that the state will get a wholesale rate.
  • How will it be paid for? She said that would be up to the General Assembly; the money will have to be appropriated.
  • Why not just go ahead and enroll everybody in the protection? she was asked. Because tax records are confidential, and the state is not allowed to sign someone up for something that they might not want, she said.
  • Most Social Security numbers are not encrypted, she said, either in the private or public sector. “This is not just a DOR problem; it’s an industry problem.” She said it was “the industry standard” that such information would not be encrypted.
  • How will minors be covered? In the coming weeks, people who signed up for protection will get the opportunity to sign up for family plans to cover the children associated with their accounts.

When asked whether anyone in her administration has been disciplined over this, she said, “The person I hope will be disciplined is this international criminal that came in and hacked.”

“This wasn’t an issue where anyone in the agency could have avoided it. This wasn’t an issue where anyone in state government could have done something to avoid it. This is a situation that a sophisticated, intelligent criminal got into a database, that is unbelievably creative on how he did it, and now we’re having to deal with it,” she said. Earlier, she had said, “You know, it’s amazing, because when you are dealing with international hackers, you are dealing with a new, sophisticated type of intelligence that a lot of us have not dealt with.” She said if the CIA can be hacked into, anyone can.

“It’s the new world in which we live in,” she said.

As for the point on which she is most vulnerable to criticism, she pointedly did deflect responsibility. She insisted that citizens were not notified earlier because she deferred to the judgment of law enforcement professionals, and said that was the appropriate thing to do in such a situation. In fact, emphasizing that she doesn’t accept blame for that, she had Mark Keel start off the press conference.

“I know that much has been made about the timing of making this public,” said Keel. “The timing of notifying the public… was dictated by law enforcement. It was done because we were conducting an investigation. We were trying to … protect this information as much as we possibly could, and by allowing us the time that we had to conduct our investigation, we believe that this information was better protected than it would have been otherwise.”

“It was done because we asked the administration to allow us time…,” he said.

Nikki Haley’s summary on it all? “It’s not the crisis itself; it’s how you handle it.” And she insisted over and over that the protection being offered to citizens after this breach is second-to-none. She said her family’s information was hacked several years ago, and “I wish we’d had what we are offering today.”

Court panel OKs SC voter ID law for 2013

This happened about the time I was going to lunch today:

A federal court in Washington, D.C., has upheld the constitutionality of South Carolina’s new voter ID law.

However, the law — which requires voters to present a state-approved ID with their picture at the polls before casting a ballot — will not take effect until 2013, meaning it will not affect S.C. voters during the November presidential election.

The U.S. Justice Department had blocked implementation of the new law, passed in 2011. Civil rights groups also had challenged the law, saying it unfairly discriminated against minority voters, who were less likely to have access to the records or state facilities necessary to get a photo ID.

However, a three-member federal panel ruled Wednesday that the law’s “expansive ‘reasonable impediment’ provision” made it unlikely that any voters lacking a photo ID would be turned away at the polls. Those voters still can vote “so long as they state the reason for not having obtained” a photo ID, the ruling noted.

That was followed in the report by some silly comments from Nikki Haley about the mean ol’ federal gummint trying to do awful things to South Carolina. (“Every time the federal government has thrown us a punch, we have fought back.”) Because you know that’s what this is about, right? The feds just picking on us for no reason.

The same mean ol’ federal government that wouldn’t let us keep our slaves anymore…

Excuse my disgust. Mind you, as I’ve said many times before, I think this is generally an issue blown out of proportion by both sides. But when I see the way the governor couches it, it’s pretty off-putting.

Looks like Nikki will stay away from SC even more

This is bound to create mixed feelings in people who care about South Carolina:

Gov. Nikki Haley will balance her time between governing South Carolina and stumping for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney over the next two months.

Haley’s target audience? Women voters, a critical voting bloc for Romney because of polls that show women favor incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama by a double-digit margin.

“Governor Haley has a very full schedule of job creation and economic development meetings and events in the next two months,” said Rob Godfrey, Haley’s spokesman. “But as much as her schedule permits, she does plan on helping the Romney-Ryan ticket. …

“Mixed feelings” in that our state could use some leadership in trying to pull out of, not only a recession, but our historic near-last ranking in by so many measures. On the other hand, if the only governor we’ve got is Nikki Haley, well… maybe she might as well run off and have her picture made some more, and leave us alone.

I find myself torn between the two ways of looking at it.

Democrats ask Nikki to come home soon, please

Mia Butler Garrick and James Smith urge Nikki Haley to come home. That blinding light is emanating from the direction of the governor's vacant office.

Alleging that she is now entering her third week of absence from the state for political purposes, Reps. James Smith and Mia Butler Garrick, both Richland County Democrats, stood outside Nikki Haley’s office this afternoon and asked her to return and do the job she was ostensibly elected to do.

Among the points the two representatives made about the gov:

  • The state’s unemployment rate is climbing.
  • Her trips have been purely political.
  • Her activities don’t even have anything to do with South Carolina politics, but are purely national.
  • She isn’t really benefiting Mitt Romney doing this, but merely herself.
  • They fully understand that a governor would go to her own convention, just as SC Democrats are now flocking to Charlotte — but she doesn’t have to spend the week attending theirs as well.
  • No other full-time state employee — a teacher, say, or a DHEC worker — would be able to take such a purely personal extended vacation, at least not without being fired.
  • It is unclear who is paying for her junkets.

I had not realized that the gov was planning on spending all of this week out of town as well. For that matter, I had not known she stayed in Tampa after her speech, but that would be par for the course.

It’s also far from unprecedented for a governor to visit the opposing party’s national convention, when it is in a neighboring state. I remember seeing Carroll Campbell at the DNC — the one Don Fowler ran — in Atlanta in 1988. (It was kind of a hoot because Campbell — or maybe his press guy Tucker Eskew; I forget — noted that he didn’t bring with him nearly the extensive security retinue that Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore had with him there all week, complete with a command post set up on the ground floor in the delegation’s hotel.)

It’s a very tacky partisan practice, this business of trying to spoil the other side’s celebration — I’ve thought so ever since I saw Campbell do it — but it’s certainly not unusual.

But, noted Mia and James, Nikki is spending the whole week up there for the “counter-convention,” doing various national media interviews, with her schedule for the week showing her having no scheduled events here.

That’s hardly fair to the governor, I pointed out. If practically the entire retinue of national political media — Nikki Haley’s constituency, the people who elected her — are just up the road in Charlotte, how could anyone expect her to stay down in Columbia? After all, anyone who voted for her expecting her to do anything other than just what she is doing at this moment was sadly deluded.

Precisely, said Rep. Smith.