Et tu, Gresham

Rep. Gresham Barrett came by our offices to visit with the editorial board this afternoon. It was the first time I’d met him (as near as I can remember), so I felt pretty bad about entering the room late and leaving early. But Friday is our hardest day of the week, and I was hours behind already.

He had come by prepared in particular to talk about the plan he’s pushing to produce nuclear power at the Savannah River Site. He expressed optimism that he’s making progress on that front.

But before I left the board room, we made sure to ask him about his comments published that day in The Greenville News.

His criticism of the governor’s performance on economic development was of course familiar, since new S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell had said similar things last month. (And Mr. Harrell, it should be noted, has taken that act on the road. He said the very same things at my Rotary Club recently.)

But like Mr. Harrell, Mr. Barrett downplays any notions that there’s some sort of internecine spat going on among the state’s leading Republicans. Also like Mr. Harrell, he stressed that he wants to work with the governor, not against him, on ecodevo.

"I’m not here to pick a fight with the governor," he said. "He and I agree on so many different things." Nevertheless, "This is an area that we can improve." And he stressed that he himself, and others, could do more.

Still, this is an interesting trend.

For his part, when I asked him about it on Friday, Gov. Mark Sanford had little that he wanted to say — on the record. As far as what he was willing to be quoted on, he pretty much said the same things he said before, when Mr. Harrell’s comments were in the news.

4 thoughts on “Et tu, Gresham

  1. David

    Brad, I am only one taxpayer but I can say that one of the few politicians I have any faith in to stand up for working taxpayers is Gov. Sanford. It would disturb me if the governor and the legislature were in a lovefest because it is apparent that most legislators, Harrell included, like to spend tax dollars much more than they like to save money for the citizens of this state. The legislature has basically ignored most of the recent commission’s recommendations to restructure state government. 40 or so colleges and universities in a state of this size is ludicrous. Are many people aware that we have state funded colleges in SC where the education graduates cannot pass the teacher certification test? Yet, this farce goes on.
    Dissension is a positive sign that the governor is rocking the boat and this state needs that.

  2. Bob Coble

    Brad, I think Congressman Barrett and Speaker Harrell are politely and diplomatically stating the obvious: South Carolina is not creating jobs and raising our per capita income at a rate we should be satisfied with nor at a rate that keeps us competitive with our southeastern neighboring States. The evidence of the above facts are clear. Jim DuPlessis of “The State” has done a number of articles recently analyzing Department of Labor statistics that confirm South Carolina’s poor job growth; Standard and Poors downgraded our credit rating based on job growth; and the national homebuilder Centex announced it is leaving South Carolina because of job growth. I think it is also clear that South Carolina’s 50 year startegy of recruiting advanced manufacturing plants and jobs with incentives and low costs is not working. It is clear to me that we are not doing what our competitors are doing: South Carolina, despite great progress and being on the right track, needs to do more to educate our citizens to be competitive in the global economy; we need to continue to invest in our public infrastucture from roads to research universities; and we need to build on our current statewide strategy to use our research univesities to enter the new economy of innovation and technology.

  3. Mark Whittington

    Dear Mr. Warthen,
    You are right that Republican infighting is an interesting trend. It’s happening because white workers (without white, blue-collar workers, the Republican Party is doomed) are finally rebelling against never ending poor treatment at work by management (i.e., supporters of the Republican Party).
    People are sick of continually having to work for low wages while simultaneously being forced into mandatory overtime on
    weekends. People are sick of working scheduled ten-hour days, and then being told at the last minute that they have to come in on Saturday.
    Since most women have to work a full time
    job today to make ends meet, it means that many families are putting in 90 and 100 hour work weeks-for what, to live in substandard housing in poorly funded school districts? I’ve seen women at work in tears because they were afraid to ask for time off to do something so basic as register their children for school.
    Resentment builds when the people who actually do the work have no rights to take care of basic needs, yet the privileged get away with almost anything.
    People are sick of always having to take second best. People are sick of having
    no rights at work. People are sick of having state employment laws work against them.
    Today, many people are savvy enough to realize that the radical Republican, pro-globalization agenda is having disastrous consequences in their personal lives.
    I know the Republican Party is in trouble when my coworkers (electricians, welders, mechanics, etc.) come to me to gripe about being treated like second-class citizens. For decades, the right has played on
    people’s fears and prejudices, and it is not working anymore. I guess David Brooks’ column in The State today is supposed scare people who oppose Globalization policies by some farfetched attempt to link those of us who oppose Globalization policies with the jihadists.
    I’ve got news for Mr. Brooks, it’s not going to work. My shop is mostly (including me) ex-military, honorably discharged, working class in mentality, and opposed to Globalization.
    My conservative friends are just as opposed to outsourcing as I am. If Mr. Brooks and his ilk think that they are going ostracize folks like me, by pigeonholing us as some kind of communists, then they should think
    again. Every man that I work with remembers the day when a man could work, support a family, live in a decent house in a good neighborhood, own a good car, and still save a little.
    Every man that I work with also knows that free market policies are the primary culprits of our economic woes. People such as Mr. Brooks are digging the Republican Party’s grave.
    The reason that working class conservatives have up to this point been voting Republican is that they disagree with too many Democratic positions on social issues, but that justification is wearing thin. I love to hear conservatives in the working class talk about unionizing!
    Smart Republican politicians (such as Lindsey Graham) are moving to the left, and I don’t blame them.
    The problem with the current Democrats is that they don’t seriously address working
    class concerns-they’re too soft on Globalization’s remedies- and it’s more than just education. Good jobs are being outsourced, so it is pointless to build an infrastructure for jobs that aren’t going to exist using current free market fundamentalist theory and practice.
    Besides, public universities are being privatized, and the resulting tuition
    increases are pricing out the children of working class families from attending college anyway. A big chunk of the lottery money was diverted from K-12, where it should have gone, to research universities. Granted, the idea could work, if we focused on developing new energy sources and energy production for example, but it has to translate into good jobs for ordinary South Carolinians, and that’s not going to happen given pro-Globalization, privatization policies.
    Democrats need to learn to talk about God and Jesus again -about the Social Gospel that once delivered the working class from the grips of fundamentalism and exploitation. You can’t serve both God and mammon -if you’re beholden to the Chamber of Commerce, then you can never truly serve the people. Unregulated capitalism is wholly antithetical to the teachings
    of Jesus. Social Democracy corresponds with Jesus’ philosophy on practically every point, yet I seldom hear mainstream Democrats talk about Jesus’ message-even from a secular point of view.

  4. Lee

    Social Democracy is not a permanent form of government, but a transistional phase to globlism in the form of a world communist dictatorship. It was invented by Soviet strategists.

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