Category Archives: Republicans

Hoffman: Another TV ad from the 1st District

Looked at from this distance, the contest for the 1st Congressional District GOP nomination has looked like a case of Sanford sitting atop the name-recognition hill, and Larry Grooms exerting the most energy trying to take it from him.

A third candidate I keep hearing from (and let me remind you that my perspective is skewed by the fact that I keep hearing from this guy and Grooms; others could be running just as hard but not making the effort to let me know about it) is Jonathan Hoffman.

No, I hadn’t heard of him, either, so of course he’s running a standard “I’m not a politician” campaign. To the extent that is appealing, he certainly has an advantage over Sanford and Grooms.

But this new TV ad tells me next to nothing. It shows him in uniform, and I thank him for his service. It shows him with the last Republican president. He uses the word “conservative” only once in 30 seconds, which by Republican primary standards shows extraordinary restraint. Of course, he uses other phrases that suggest such values to the base, such as “small business owner.”

And he makes the usual dubious claims that Republicans in SC tend to believe as gospel, such as:

  • He wants to be elected “to take on out-of-control spending and the growth of government.” Compared to what absolute measure, I find myself wondering. It’s interesting to contrast this belief to what I read this morning in the libertarian Economist, which, after asserting that “By most measures Mr Obama’s positions have been rather moderate,” notes that the public now is in a more conservative mood: ”The conservative idea that spending must be cut is taken for granted, even though government spending is already lower in America than in most advanced economies.” Did you catch that? Looked at from outside, the U.S. government is not some out-of-control behemoth. It is only that to people who choose to believe it is.
  • Then there’s this chestnut: “let’s get back to constitutionally limited government.” Something that, of course, we’ve never left. He doesn’t have to explain what he means because no on in the GOP base would challenge him on it. Me, I want details. Back during the Bush administration, Democrats would say this very same silly thing. They were usually referring to the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 measures that Democrats as well as Republicans voted for and legally passed, under lawmaking provisions of our, ahem, Constitution. Now, Republicans generally mean something like Obamacare. Which, according to the GOP-appointed Chief Justice and a majority on the Supreme Court, is constitutional. Or is he referring to killing U.S. citizens with drones and without the benefit of due process? If so, I’d like to hear him square that with is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush in fighting the Global War on Terror, which the current president is only guilty of pursuing a tad more aggressively than his predecessor, casting drones far and wide and putting boots on the ground in the very heart of Pakistan.

Mind you, I’m not being critical of Mr. Hoffman. He’s not doing a thing that pols of both parties don’t do in this ridiculously facile medium, the 30-second ad. It would be practically impossible for him to answer the questions he raises in my mind within that format.

But these ads aren’t meant to answer questions. They are meant to communicate, in the most minimalist, Gestalten flicker, a set of emotions along the lines of “he’s like me,” or “I trust that man.” So they deal not in facts, but in presumptions, ones that are shared, even if they fly in the face of reality.

Grooms’ ads are the same. Sanford’s go a bit farther, because so much is known about him, and some of what is known is problematic and has to be addressed. But it is of course addressed in the most emotional, simplistic kind of way, merely communicating, “You must not hold it against him.” Why? Because “I trust that man, despite all.”

But it is on these extremely thin, grossly inadequate bases that we decide elections in this country.

hoffman

Of COURSE Sanford wanted Jenny to run his campaign…

Jenny

The quirks of SC politics continue to fascinate national media.

The most recent edition of Slatest leads with Mark Sanford having wanted Jenny to run his congressional campaign.

Personally, when I heard that a week or two ago, I really didn’t think much of it. I was like, Of course he wanted her to run it; he has no clue how to run for office without her telling him what to do.

Jenny was always the brains in that outfit. Here’s my favorite anecdote illustrating that, which I’ve  probably already told here before…

Early in the process of running for governor — probably in late 2001 or early 2002 — Sanford asked to come see the editorial board and tell us about his economic proposals (in a nutshell — reduce or eliminate the state income tax). Fine, we said. So when he came, Jenny came with him. I went down to greet them in the lobby, and Jenny handed me a basketful of cookies (message: I’m not Hillary). I was sufficiently nonplussed that I thanked her, then handed them back to her. Which wasn’t very gracious of me; I just wasn’t prepared to be presented with cookies (to which I’m allergic, anyway).

So I led them upstairs, Jenny still carrying the cookies. When we got to the boardroom and sat down and started the meeting, Mark said something like, “Jenny’s going to make the presentation; this is her plan, after all.” And she, having ditched the cookies somewhere along the line, proceeded to run us through a Powerpoint presentation.

Another anecdote, illustrating the way she ran his campaigns with an iron hand… I forget who told me this; it was probably either Tom Davis or Kevin Hall…

Anyway, they were running that same campaign out of the Sanfords’ Sullivan Island house. Whenever Jenny was mad at someone in the campaign and wanted to have a private chat to unburden her mind on the subject, she would have that campaign staffer meet her in a secluded part of the house. I think it was near the backdoor or something. Anyway, there was a rack for multiple hats on the wall in that location, loaded with the boys’ baseball caps and such.

Thus, when one campaign worker told another he’d been “taken to the hats,” it was understood that he was in the doghouse for the moment.

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine a Sanford campaign without Jenny, so his request is understandable on one level. The other thing to understand is what Josh Voorhees of The Slatest intuited: “that Mark Sanford still hasn’t figured out how personal relationships work.”

Anyway, the subject was brought up by this profile of Sanford in New York magazine, if you’d like to go read it.

The weekly update from SC Senate Republicans

Wesley Donehue sends out these reports on behalf of the SC Senate Republicans every week:

It was an eventful week in the Senate. Here are some things you may have missed:
bill that will enforce tougher DUI laws was passed this week. The bill will require drivers convicted of a first-offense DUI with a blood alcohol level of .12 or above to install ignition interlocks on their cars.
The budget subcommittees started work this week, hearing from agencies, as we begin crafting a budget.
The Finance Committee discussed a bill, S.163, that will increase the incentives for motion pictures made in South Carolina. They also discussed a bill, S.237, that will require the lowering of flags atop the State Capitol Building when a military serviceman is killed in the line of duty. The bill will ensure that the state honors our servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in a dignified manner.
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If y’all would like me to, I could start passing them on to y’all regularly. Sure, it’s from a partisan point of view, but it does provide a way of keeping up with some of what’s going on over there. And the links to the bills are handy…

Don’t count Joe Wilson among those wanting the sequester

Joe Wilson put out this release today:

At midnight tonight, the Department of Defense and other government agencies will fall victim to the President’s sequester. Every American family will be affected by the shifting of funds. In the South Carolina’s Second Congressional District, which I am grateful to represent, the Army’s base at Fort Jackson in Columbia is expected to lose approximately $75 million dollars. Additionally, the Savannah River Site in Aiken and Barnwell will be forced to furlough thousands of hardworking employees and stall critical national missions due to a possible $200 million budget cut. Both of these shifts will endanger our national security. The President and the Senate have refused to negotiate with House Republicans on a possible solution until today. House Republicans have voted twice to avoid sequestration. Our nation has a spending problem and we must address these issues before it is too late and our debt spirals out of control. The President should change course and begin working with both Houses of Congress to tackle the nation debt, which threatens American families. In conclusion, God Bless our troops and we will never forget September 11th in the Global War on Terrorism.

I’m glad that on this, Joe is going the traditional Republican strong-on-defense route, rather than the Tea Party way, as voiced by Mick Mulvaney:
When pressed about the defense cuts, Mulvaney said, “an 11 percent across the board reduction is probably not the best way to run a military. And

I do worry about a hollowed out military – a military that looks the same, but it not capable of performing the missions that we want it to perform. That’s what frightens me.”

But the second term Republican added, “I was the one who offered the amendment to freeze defense spending. I offered a 1 percent across theboard cut to help pay for (Hurricane) Sandy. I’m not one of those Republicans who thinks that defense spending is off the table.

“And that’s why I’ve supported previous efforts to replace those reductions with other reductions. But again, that being said, the only thing worse than those military cuts would be no cuts at all.”

When asked about cuts to other programs, including Homeland Security, education, and owelfare programs, Mulvaney was even more blunt.

“If we have to accept reducing spending in a less than perfect way, then I’ll except reducing spending in a less than perfect way. And keep in mind – this would be the only real spending cuts we’ve actually seen since I got to congress.”

8DCBDF95-9F0E-433C-A46A-6F1FE0E4D5CA copy

Congratulations to Sen. Lindsey Graham for civility award

Congratulations to Lindsey Graham — and Dianne Feinstein, too — for receiving the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life.

It’s certainly well-deserved in Graham’s case (yes, there’s the occasional lapse, but we’re all human, right?).

From the release about the prize:

“As they join in accepting the Allegheny Prize, they stand opposed on one of the most significant and polarizing issues of our time – that of gun control,” said [Allegheny College] President [James H.] Mullen. “And yet, they stand together, not only in receiving this Prize, but in their shared commitment to engage that issue with passion, deep conviction and respect for each other.”

“The one thing about being civil is, it doesn’t mean you don’t have passion,” said Graham. “But I never hesitate about calling Dianne because she is a problem solver by nature.”

“Do Americans want a United States Senate and a House of Representatives that can really do their business or do they want one that is so full of themselves, so polarized and so twisted with partisanship, that their ratings are in single digits?” asked Feinstein. “We have a big job on our hands to be able to restore civility.”…

As y’all know, I regard the lack of civility in public life today as serious threat to our project of self-government — this blog is one place where I try, however feebly, to combat the trend. So I’m proud that a South Carolinian was singled out for this honor.

The State quoted Graham as saying, in response to protestations by Sen. Feinstein that she didn’t deserve the award, “Dianne, I don’t deserve it either, but I don’t deserve most of the crap I get, either, so I’ll take it.”

Grooms running hard to catch Sanford in 1st District

From where I sit, up here in Columbia (admittedly not the best vantage point), the person who seems to be running the hardest to catch Mark Sanford in the 1st Congressional District GOP primary is state Sen. Larry Grooms.

A day doesn’t pass that Hogan Gidley — last seen in these parts acting as spokesman for Rick Santorum — doesn’t send me a release or two on his behalf. Several in recent days have boasted about Tea Party congressmen Mick Mulvaney and Jeff Duncan endorsing him.

And this is the second TV ad for Grooms I’ve seen. Here’s the first.

Of course, it doesn’t really say anything to distinguish Grooms from anyone else (typical line from the ad: “I’m a pro-life Christian conservative who knows DC spends too much”), but when’s the last time you saw originality in one of these things?

Common Cause lauds Courson for ethics stance

Common-Cause-Award-2.21.131

I initially missed this release when it came in yesterday.

Back during the recent election, some in the blogosphere tried to paint John Courson as ethically challenged, citing an instance of alleged nepotism.

It seems that the watchdog group Common Cause doesn’t agree with that assessment:

Common Cause Award Presented to Senator John Courson
Columbia, SC – February 22, 2013 - President Pro Tempore John Courson was yesterday presented with an award from Common Cause for “Outstanding Career Leadership in Promoting Ethics Reform in the SC Senate.”
The prestigious award was given to Senator Courson by John Crangle, Director of the SC Chapter of Common Cause, Kenneth W. Gaines, State Chairman of Common Cause, and former Congressman Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause.
“I am tremendously honored to receive this recognition of my longtime support of ethics reform in South Carolina,” Senator Courson said.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.
To view photo, click here.

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NPR’s take on Lindsey Graham’s political situation

I notice there was another SC story on Weekend Edition this morning, aside from my interview about Mark Sanford. It was their take on why Lindsey Graham’s been posturing so furiously on issues that endear him to the right, in the wake of his risky stepping out on immigration again:

It seems Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has done his best in recent weeks to get as much ink as possible, talking about things that play well with the conservatives in his home state of South Carolina, like Benghazi and gun rights.

Graham also held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary to get more answers about what happened in Benghazi, even as he admitted Hagel had nothing to do with it. But his opposition might have more to do with home state politics than the nomination itself.

Republican senators who have shown moderate leanings have been hit with primary challenges from the right recently, and while no serious challenger has emerged yet in South Carolina, there are a whole lot of people hoping one does.

“There are some legitimate concerns to be asked about Benghazi … [and] Chuck Hagel,” says Tom Davis, a Republican state senator in South Carolina. “That being said, I do think it is fair to say that there has been a conscious effort on the part of Sen. Graham to elevate his role in those debates.”…

Don Gonyea didn’t ask me about this one in my interview, but if he had I would have said the obvious: That Tom Davis, whom they quote, was the threat from the right that everyone had expected, but that he says he’s not running.

But Graham’s still not taking any chances. After all, as we saw in 2010, especially in the 4th Congressional District, these days a successful challenge to a Republican incumbent can come out of nowhere.

Sixteen (that’s 16) candidates in one Republican primary

1stdistrict screen

While Mark Sanford is getting all the attention — NPR wants to talk to me about him tomorrow — he is actually but one of 16 candidates officially seeking the GOP nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

I’m thinking that’s gotta be a record, at least in a special election, and at least in South Carolina. Lord knows our cup runneth over with Republicans these days, and it’s no biggie for six or seven of them to go chasing after a choice situation on the public payroll, but sixteen?

Only four of whom I really know anything at all about. In descending order of what I know about them, they are Sanford, Larry Grooms, Chip Limehouse and Elizabeth Moffly. After Sanford, though, my knowledge drops off extremely. All I remember, without looking back in my blog, about Larry Grooms is that he wanted Fred Thompson to run for president in 2008, and I saw him at Rick Perry’s announcement in 2011 (after supporting Perry, he later very publicly urged him to drop out). I know that Elizabeth Moffly ran for state superintendent once, so I interviewed her, and she later wrote me an angry note that sort of puzzled me at the time.

With Limehouse — well, I knew I had read and even written about him in the past, but I had to go back and search my archive to remember particulars. I found that he supported Rick Perry. He pushed for creation of a special SC license plate that commemorated “Big Red,” the flag under which Citadel students fired on the Star of the West, which was trying to resupply Fort Sumter, in the most extreme, inexcusable, violent incidence of student unrest in U.S. history. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth. He sponsored a bill to make the Marsh Tacky the official South Carolina Heritage horse.

Anyway…

What else do I know about this field? Well, I saw a remarkable picture that ran Feb. 10 in the Post and Courier that showed 15 of the 16 standing together (screenshot above — here’s the original). I saw that all were white (in a race to replace Tim Scott) and Elizabeth Moffly was the only woman. That’s about all I could tell.

Here, according to Wikipedia, are the 16:

I assume that’s accurate and inclusive. I haven’t found a complete list in the MSM. Mind you, there were 16 others who were talked about as candidates, but who declined to run. That included Jenny Sanford, Tom Davis, Jim Merrill, Carroll Campbell III, Thomas Ravenel and Chip Campsen. That’s actually a better-known bunch than most of the people who actually filed.

What about the Democrats? Well, scuttlebutt tells me that Stephen Colbert’s sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, is going to win that over a perennial candidate, Ben Frasier.

And what happens after that? Well, normally in that district, the Republican wins. That’s been the case since Tommy Hartnett in 1980. Which is why so many are seeking the nomination of that party, I suppose. Of course, a Democrat came within a couple of points in 2008, with Obama’s coattails. There aren’t going to be any Obama coattails this time.

Sanford, of course, has the advantage in the GOP contest, by far. Not only does common sense dictate that, but every poll I’ve seen reported. Here’s one. But right now, I’m putting more stock in the common sense thing.

The primary’s next month, and the special election is in May.

One thing Graham definitely is NOT is dumb…

salon graham

Say what you want about the increasingly ubiquitous Lindsey Graham, Salon was way off the mark today when its header featured an unflattering photo of our senior senator next to the teaser hed, “Hagel’s dumbest enemies.”

Of course, as is often the case with such hyperbolic come-ons, the actual headline that the teaser linked to took it down a notch: “The increasingly ridiculous Hagel opposition.” The subhed, situated atop huge mugs of Graham and John McCain, begins, “Republicans block a vote for no reason…”

The very first paragraph of the body copy then refutes that (boldface added):

Sen. Graham and his best friend John McCain have been blocking the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary, because they want to know whether President Obama called the president of Libya the night of the Benghazi attack. While that’s not a very good reason to filibuster a Cabinet nominee, it is at least “a reason.” The White House has complied, giving Graham and McCain what they want. Graham’s response: Now he is just going to pointlessly delay the Hagel vote, because it will make him feel good. As always, with Lindsey Graham, being a senator is all about feelings.

Disagree with Graham — and McCain — all you want, but making him the poster boy of the “dumbest” is, well, pretty stupid.

I find a lot of the indignation on the left about delaying the Hagel nomination a few days a little on the disingenuous, even absurd, side. My least favorite manifestation of this is when I hear a Democrat express absolute mystification that these Republicans could possibly be objecting to Hagel, since he’s a Republican. There is no mystery as to why this is a Republican Democrats love. and Republicans have problems with him for the same reasons.

There are actual substantive reasons to question this nomination. We could start with his having been completely wrong on the Iraq surge. Which is kinda relevant in a candidate for SecDef. But then, of course, we’d have a whole other argument that we’ve had too many times before…

So never mind all that. I don’t call the president “dumb” for wanting a guy who looked at Iraq the way he did. I have more respect for the president than that.

But there’s a bigger reason I wouldn’t call Barack Obama dumb: I’ve heard him speak. And the same goes for Lindsey Graham.

I was speaking to a class at Lexington High School yesterday, and I let slip a comment that always makes me sound arrogant when I say it, but it’s true: It’s pretty unusual for me to interview a political officeholder in South Carolina who makes me think to myself, “This guy’s smarter than I am.” But I’ve had that thought more than once when talking with Lindsey Graham.

And I may have a host of faults — correction, I do have a host of faults — but being dumb isn’t one of them.

Tom Davis not running: Am I the only person in SC who missed this? (Apparently so)

Not only did I miss it, but I only found out about it now because I saw a 12-day-old reTweet of a Gina Smith item on a mutual friend’s Twitter feed. Here’s the story, from Gina’s current paper, the Island Packet:

State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said today he will not run for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat or any statewide office in 2014, including governor.

Instead, Davis said he can do more good in the state Senate, where he has recently gained appointment to powerful committees that include the Senate Finance Committee, a force in shaping the state’s budget.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tempting (to run for Graham’s seat,)” Davis said. “But when you get right down to it and realize you have a limited amount of time, a limited amount of energy, and you sit down and figure out where you can make the most difference, it’s a clear-cut decision. I can make far more of an impact in the (state) Senate.”…

Speculation has run high since the summer that Davis would seek the Republican nomination for Graham’s seat. During a Tampa rally for then-presidential contender Ron Paul, Davis blasted Graham and called for the defeat of the senior senator.

Actually, the speculation goes way back earlier than the summer.

So does this mean Lindsey Graham can relax now? Not really. In any case, he probably won’t.

Strangest email of the day: Orrin Hatch wants me to host a breakfast for him

I have no idea why I received this email an hour ago:

Hope you are well and that your New Year is off to a nice start.

I wanted to be in touch with you and ask if you would consider Hosting a small breakfast  for Senator Hatch and his leadership PAC, ORRIN PAC.

You and others like you were instrumental in our hard fought victory last year.

It is critically important to Senator Hatch that he be in a position to help our Senate and House Republican incumbents, challengers and candidates in open seats this cycle.

I have taken the liberty of suggesting a few dates that we have held on the Senator’s schedule for such events (listed below).

If you are able to step up and host an event please just let me know if any of these dates work for your schedule.

Thank you for your consideration, and for all of your past support of Orrin!

Hope to speak with you soon.

Liz

Liz Murray

ORRIN PAC and Hatch Election Committee

703.749.1819

Possible dates:

February 28 Breakfast

March 5, 7, 12, 14 Breakfast

I assure you, I did nothing to help him win anything last year.

Todd Kincannon seems to have found his own Heart of Darkness



I’m not sure how else to put it.

I’ve known Todd, slightly, for several years now. Once, I would have said, “I know him to say hello to.” Now, I say, “I know him to exchange Tweets with,” which I have done frequently. I’ve only met him in person a handful of times, and when I have, he’s been a polite, friendly young man who seems to know how to behave himself in public.

But lately, his Tweets — and there are a LOT of them; I don’t personally know anyone who Tweets more constantly — have been trailing off into a strange, dark, extreme place. Following them is like traveling up the Congo (or, in Coppola’s version, the Mekong) in search of Kurtz, who had lost himself in savagery. Increasingly, they are of a sort that I can’t quote here without violating my own standards. Even showing you the ones that this post is about is a departure. But now that Todd has gone on national media to defend these truly indefensible Tweets, and not backed down an inch or admitted in any way that they are beyond the pale, and been identified to the world as a former executive director of the state GOP, well… I’m laying them out before you.

Here’s the one that the above video interview is about:

todd1

Here’s another related to it:

todd2

I don’t know what has led Todd on this path. I know that when he stepped it up (or rather, down) a few degrees a month or so ago, he found himself gaining a lot more attention, and I’ve seen that do bad things to people’s heads before.

Is it just immaturity? When Rusty DePass posted something on Facebook that deeply offended all who saw it, he immediately took it down (too late; it had been grabbed and preserved) and truly, sincerely apologized to everyone for it. (I think Kathryn, and others here who know Rusty, will back me up as to his sincerity.)

Todd operates in an environment where… well, the maturity level is pretty well established in the language used in this Wonkette piece criticizing him. A place where there are no rules of civility, or at least it seems that there aren’t — until Todd manages to find a way to violate them. (The problem with Wonkette’s reaction, of course, is that it helps Todd believe in his explanation that this is just a left-right thing, and he’s just doing what everybody does to people on the other side.) A place where obscenities that would only sound daring to a 7th-grader are the standard.

How hard is it to simply say that, for instance, Trayvon Martin was just this kid, you know? He was neither an angel nor a devil, he was just a kid who didn’t deserve to die because he had a run-in with this George Zimmerman guy, who wasn’t an angel or a devil either. MIsguided people on the left and right have glommed onto these people as some sorts of symbols, but they were just people. And his shooting was what the prosecutors in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities would have called a “piece a s__t case,” a case that’s just a horrible, tragic mess any way you look at it, with no heroes, no one to admire, no good coming out of it, no redeeming lesson to be drawn.

But one thing is clear: Now that the kid’s dead, he sure as hell doesn’t deserve to have his memory trashed in terms that shouldn’t be used in public under any circumstances, about anybody.

Todd’s performance in the above video is nothing short of appalling. I don’t know what to say but to define it in Conradian terms, and express how sorry I am to see it. He might not be sorry, but I am…

Yeah, but they didn’t necessarily mean it as a compliment…

I enjoyed seeing the profile on Larry Grooms’ Twitter feed:

SC Senator who believes in faith, family and freedom. Named the “Conservative’s Conservative” by @TheState. Candidate for SC’s 1st Congressional District.

Leave it to Larry to hear “conservative’s conservative” as an honorific. But he’s far from alone in his  party. As I’ve said before, I expect that any day now, we’ll see a release from a GOP candidate — one running in a contested primary, of course — that consists of nothing but the word “conservative” repeated over and over, 40 or 50 times.

There are some who have come pretty close to that ideal.

By the way, I was being ironic when I said “ideal.”

The Gang of Eight offers a solution on immigration

“As far back as I can remember,” said Henry Hill in the opening to “Goodfellas,”  ”I always wanted to be a gangster.”

The same might be said of John McCain and our own Lindsey Graham. And I honor them for it.

The gangs they tend to join are all about uniting to get around the partisan dysfunction of Congress. This time, despite having been so badly burned by the issue six years ago, they are once again ganging up to try to pass a version of comprehensive immigration reform.

This time, there are some new gangsters, such as that kid out of Florida, Marco Rubio. And Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez, Michael Bennet and Jeff Flake. The Washington Post is calling this “a bipartisan push that would have been unimaginable just months ago on one of the country’s most emotionally divisive issues.”

Here’s the memo they’ve put together. This is the introduction:

We recognize that our immigration system is broken. And while border security has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, we still don’t have a functioning immigration system.This has created a situation where up to 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows. Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited.

The document has a tendency to redundancy — “tough but fair” is mentioned three times on the first page (OK, technically, the third time it was “a tough, fair and practical roadmap”) — but readable. I just think it could have used a tough, but fair, editor.

Amid all sorts of stuff about tightening border security, giving our border patrol the latest technology and making sure people who are supposed to leave by a certain date actually do leave, there is the path to citizenship part:

While these security measures are being put into place, we will simultaneously require those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the
government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society
by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow
them to live and work legally in the United States. Individuals with a serious criminal
background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal
status and subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes
face immediate deportation…

Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal
status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an
additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of
work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to
earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who
successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.

Individuals who are present without lawful status – not including people within the two
categories identified below – will only receive a green card after every individual who is
already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received
their green card. Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated America’s
immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who
have complied with the law….

There’s a lot more. I invite y’all to go read it, and react.

View of Jim DeMint changed radically after the 2004 campaign

I was rather startled to run across something I’d written about Jim DeMint in 2004.

For so many years now, I’ve seen him as a hyperpartisan ideologue, as responsible as anyone in the country for pulling his party into Tea Party extremism right up until his recent resignation from the Senate, that I’d forgotten I used to see him differently.

Here’s what I wrote right after the 2004 election, when he had defeated Inez Tenenbaum in the contest to replace Fritz Hollings:

While I criticized Rep. DeMint heavily for choosing to run as a hyperpartisan (despite his record as an independent thinker), there’s little doubt that that strategy was his key to victory. The president won South Carolina 58-41, and Mr. DeMint beat Mrs. Tenenbaum 54-44, demonstrating the power of the coattail effect. I congratulate him, and sincerely hope he now returns to being the thoughtful policy wonk he was before he wrapped himself in party garb in recent weeks.

Wow. What a difference a few years make. “Thoughtful policy wonk?” I only vaguely remember that Jim DeMint.

So that’s when it began. Before the 2004 campaign, I saw him as a fairly thoughtful guy. But I guess that campaign showed him what red meat could do for him…

Columbia’s Donehue Direct becomes Push Digital

Wesley Donehue’s political tech outfit, which has helped campaigns across the country, is making a change, it announced today:

Top SC political internet firm rebrands as Push Digital
Columbia, SC – January 24, 2013 – Wesley Donehue, founder and CEO of leading political tech firm Donehue Direct, announced today the rebranding of his firm to Push Digital.
The new Push Digital will continue its nationally recognized work in website and application development, mobile marketing, online advertising and targeting, fundraising, brand management, and social media. Push is also reemphasizing its commitment to data collection, management and analytics, something that Donehue has working toward for several years.
“Four years ago when I was asked what the next big tech trend was, I said ‘data,’ and a lot of people rolled their eyes,” Donehue said. “Too many people think data is boring and it isn’t sexy, but we all saw firsthand the results of a data-driven campaign this year in the presidential race. Our goal, quite simply, is to be second to none when it comes to data, and that’s something that will mean big dividends to our clients in terms of their ability to target their message and raise cash.”
Push is one of the few political Internet firms that has run campaigns from top to bottom. Its team has been involved from the state legislative level all the way up to the presidential, as well as numerous marketing campaigns for state parties, issue groups and nonprofit organizations. The team has had broad experience running the political, finance, and communications operations.
Push Senior Vice President Joel Sawyer noted that too often, those branches of the campaigns are “siloed” from one another, and not integrated with regard to technology.
“Part of our new mission with Push is to give clients the tools they need to integrate tech into all aspects of a campaign, and more importantly, making sure all the data integrates,” Sawyer said. “We live in a world where the internet is completely pervasive in our lives, yet too many campaigns out there are run on a model from two decades ago.”
In addition to its political business, Push will continue its work with non-profits and issue advocacy groups. Push will maintain its office presence in both Columbia, South Carolina and San Francisco, California.
Learn more at www.pushdigital.com
Follow us on twitter: @pushdigitalinc

“Politics is always going to be our bread and butter,” Joel Sawyer told me this afternoon. But the kind of increasingly sophisticated data mining that the firm does can “apply to any persuasive endeavor.”

In the past, he said, many campaigns have had volunteers who are willing to wave a sign on a street corner on the one hand, and people who give $10 or $15 on the other — often missing that a sign-waver could well be a donor, and vice versa. What Push Digital will do is pull all of a campaign’s data together and make it work in ways it hasn’t in the past.

Y’all know Joel. He was for awhile Mark Sanford’s press secretary, and was the guy the gov left to hold the bag when he ran off the Argentina. Joel resigned shortly after that, although I don’t ever recall him saying that there was a cause-and-effect relationship between the events.

Wesley y’all will know from all those communications for the Senate Republicans, and from Pub Politics, which just kicked off its new season last night. (Joel fills in for Wesley occasionally, as their business often requires travel.)

Check out Pinterest for a look at the newly-renamed firm’s portfolio.

Good luck with the new identity, guys.

 

One of the newly-renamed firm’s many national clients.

Senate passes bill to fix last year’s ballot fiasco

This moved last night but I’m just getting to it — from Wesley and the Senate Republicans:

Senate Passes bill to fix ballot issue
After a third reading today, the Senate the “Equal Access to the Ballot Act” to fix a technicality that kicked hundreds of candidates off the ballot in 2012.
The bill, S.2, sponsored by Senators Campsen, Martin, Cromer and Hayes, will make the requirements of incumbents and challengers equal.  It also clarifies the law to state that candidates seeking Congressional, Statewide, or district office including more than one county must file a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC) with the State Election Commission, and General Assembly Candidates must file a SIC with the election commission of the county in which they reside. Candidates must also file a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) electronically with the State Ethics Commission.  Incumbents and challengers will be treated equally, with both being required to file a SEI by noon on March 30 for any year which there is a general election.
Those who fail to file an SEI by the close of the filing period will be subject to a fine and then given a grace period to file the proper paperwork, rather than being immediately removed from the ballot.  Candidates who intentionally refuse to comply with the filing requirements after repeated notices and fines will not be allowed to take office until a completed SEI is filed.
“Last year, voters were denied choices because of a small technicality,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin. “This bill will ensure that voters will be given the choices they deserve, and eliminate the potential for an issue like the one we had in 2012.”
Senator Campsen believes that the sooner we get the ballot issue taken care of, the better:
“An issue which removed more than 250 candidates from the primary ballot is definitely one that needed to be addressed as soon as possible,” Campsen said. “Voters can now be assured that they will have the opportunity to vote for the candidate they choose.”

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Yeah, it would be nice if they get this passed and it does fix the problem. Because that was some seriously messed-up, um, stuff last year.

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.

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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…

Graham plants himself squarely in pro-gun territory

Lindsey Graham, widely expected to face a challenge next year from right out of the 1830s, has responded to President Obama’s gun proposals today with words that place him safely in NRA territory:

Graham Expresses Opposition to President Obama’s Gun Control Proposal

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement in opposition to President Obama’s gun control proposal.

“The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is heartbreaking and beyond words.  However, the gun control plans brought forward by President Obama fail to address the real issues and I’m confident there will be bipartisan opposition to his proposal.

Graham-080106-18270- 0005

“One bullet in the hands of a homicidal maniac is one too many.  But in the case of a young mother defending her children against a home invader — a real-life event which recently occurred near Atlanta — six bullets may not be enough.  Criminals aren’t going to follow legislation limiting magazine capacity.  However, a limit could put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage when confronting a criminal.

“As for reinstating the assault weapons ban, it has already been tried and failed.

“Finally, when it comes to protecting our schools, I believe the best way to confront a homicidal maniac who enters a school is for them to be met by armed resistance from a trained professional.”

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But take heart, gun control advocates: At least he doesn’t want to arm teachers, right? Not unless that’s what he means by “trained professional.” I initially took it to mean “cop,” but can we be sure?