How did it go?

OK, for those of y’all who saw it — how did the debate with the GOP treasurer candidates go? Dave and Lee have already started off with their impressions on this post, but I thought I’d make the invitation more explicit — and share some of my own thoughts — with this one.

Here are my initial impressions from the inside:

  • Thomas Ravenel seemed to haveRavenel dusted off some leftover speeches from his Senate race. Most of what he said was fairly generic, one cliche after another from the libertarian wing (which now calls itself "conservative") of the Republican Party — time to stop the gravy train, they do nothing but spend, smaller government, etc. And excuse me, but how is he not a politician? Just because he hasn’t been actually elected to anything yet? He’s coming in for his interview Wednesday, but this initial impression of him as a treasurer candidate wasn’t great.Quinn
  • Rick Quinn seemed to be there to fight with Thomas. Or rather, Thomas seemed to be there to fight with Rick. Whatever. There’s some kind of feud going on between the Quinns and the Ravenel-Andre Bauer cabal. I think. It’s confusing. Beyond that, Rick was the second most relevant and businesslike guy there. His experience in the Legislature, working with the nitty-gritty of how tax and spending policies are made, showed in his performance.
  • Jeff Willis was the only guy who thought this job should continue to beWillis elected rather than appointed, and for me that’s a problem. But at least he wants the comptroller general to be appointed (the opposite of Rick’s position). He also likes the Budget and Control Board; his only beef is that they don’t get along well enough. So interference by the legislative branch in executive decisions would be OK as long as there was total collusion? I like his repeatedly bringing up Home Rule — somebody needs to — but I’m not sure what it has to do with the treasurer’s office.
  • Greg Ryberg was the winner of this one in my book — and not just because, as one of the ETVRyberg guys remarked afterward, he remembered that most of the people watching this were at home, and he actually addressed them. He gave the strong impression — accurate, as far as I’ve been able to tell — that he’s given more thought to the responsibilities of the office, and his own qualifications for that office, than any of the others. He came across as the grownup in the room.

Oh, I should add — when I ran into Mr. Ryberg in the makeup room, he told me he said billions, not millions, last week in terms of the money S.C. lost in getting into the stock market too late. That was a reference to the end of my column this morning. Fair enough.

And did anyone else go, "Say What?" when Mr. Ravenel said he supported "PPR… Put Parents In Charge?"Treasurer2

12 thoughts on “How did it go?

  1. Dave

    Ryberg did come across as the mature candidate but age wise he probably is the senior there. I would like to know how he and Quinn voted on the billboard give-away. I would also check on how many times they have overridden Sanford’s vetoes. Quinn seems to really want this one and actually personally called my home, although he left a message since no one was there to take the call. Ravenel kept bringing up the 5 headed monster but I could only surmise it’s the equivalent of too many cooks in the kitchen. Ryberg used the term once also. Ryberg told us three times he was cutting grass at the age of 10 and also delivered newspapers. He threw that one in for Brad. Ravenel told us he mowed lawns and pounded nails to start his working career also.

    Brad, when Ravenel made that mumbled comment about Put Parents in Charge, you could have gotten all four to expound on it. As I noted before, with four guys, it should have been a 90 minute or even longer session. Willis wanted to eliminate the TERI program and Quinn explained how it was put together wrong and now the state must backpay $130 million to working teachers. Interesting.

  2. Lee

    I listened to it on the radio.
    * It was too short. Just as the candidates and moderators got past their canned plans and settled down to business, it was over.
    * Most of the answers had a lot less sloganeering than expected, which was good.
    * They talked more about the failures of the legislature to control spending, than about this office and what they could do to make a difference.
    * The moderators failed to focus the debate on the office and the major problems which it can affect.

  3. Nathan

    I was struck by how ill-informed Ravenel appeared to be (Wesley Walker?) He seemed to have some canned phrases and little else.
    I wasn’t really impressed by any of the candidates.
    Ryberg lost my vote by giving so much money to his campaign. What is he buying?
    Willis seemed okay, but this may be a little bit too big for him.
    The spat between Ravenel and Quinn was comical. Quinn goes after Ravenel for saying he is an outsider, but then wants to stick to the issues when Ravenel comes back at him.
    Overall, if these are my choices, I go with Quinn because he has the least negatives. But none of them are particularly impressive.

  4. Frank

    It seems like Ravenel isn’t really putting much effort into this race. When I’ve seen him in person, he either shows up late or gives a desultory performance. This debate wasn’t much better for him. Judging from how many Ryberg, Willis and Quinn signs and how few Ravenel signs I’ve seen, his campaign’s shortcomings don’t stop at his speaking.
    I think he’s just trying to keep his name in the public’s consciousness in preparation for a run against Lindsey Graham, and doesn’t really care how this race turns out for him. Either that, or he just really wants to get elected to public office but isn’t a very good campaigner.

  5. Lee

    Anyone who wants to challenge Lindsey Graham needs to be talking about how to neutralize Graham’s sellout on immigration through state and local laws. Graham’s amnesty plan would negate a lot of that, too.

  6. Lee

    Senate Democrats and 18 Republicans last week quietly slipped into their “immigration reform” provisions granting amnesty for all civil, criminal and tax laws for both illegal aliens and their employers.

  7. David

    I watched the debate.
    I liked Ryberg going in and nothing really changed that. I agree – he seemed to not be trying to talk down to the other folks in the room – just talking to folks at home.
    I was shocked but I sort of liked Quinn’s comments. He moved up to # 2 in my book.
    Ravenel – I guess- just tries to hard to sound like someone else – anyone else. I just don’t get his answers. He seems to be running for governor or Senator or something else – anything else. I just don’t believe he wants the job. Nothing personal but I am not wasting my vote on someone that doesn’t want the job.
    Willis – sounded sort of ticked off and looked it. No thanks. I am sure he is a decent man.
    Nathan wrote
    “Ryberg lost my vote by giving so much money to his campaign. What is he buying”
    Crap dude- I had rather the man pay for his own darn campaign than to come with me with his hand hat. Good for him.

  8. Tim norwood

    This is my first posting to a blog so here goes;
    I watched the debates on ETV
    I did not think any of the canadates were focusing on the job of treasurer all of them were talking about issues they would have very little control to solve.
    Ravenal seemed arrogant and insincere about winning this race, I think he feels he is above the position
    Ryberg seemed very sincere and would be a good choice. although I have never liked the public image of Quinn; I liked what he said ,his sincerity and his ability to improve the job of treasurer

  9. Nathan

    David, I can see what you are saying with someone financing thier own campaign. Part of me feels that way as well. Another part of me questions why someone who is going to be the “CFO” of the state would spend $2 million of his own money to get a salary of $100k. Naturally, the question arises: Does he expect to financial benefit in another way? He has provided no reason to think so, but I am just uncomfortable with that kind of money.

  10. David

    Nathan, I can understand that concern.
    I think it simply boils down to
    1) He is a millionnaire and money isn’t really an issue. I mean if you can loan yourself $2 million, you are already financially set – no need to benefit from the state treasurers job. I’d have more concerns on this issue if he had say loaned himself $400,000 or something – not 2 million. He is loaded already.
    I agree with you on Quinn. I felt the same exact way about him but last night I actually was impressed with his answers. I still prefer Ryberg right now – I think – but it could get close between him and Quinn.

  11. BLSaiken

    I admit to knowing Greg Ryberg personally, but what does the amount of money he donated to his own campaign have to do with it? At least he made his money himself, rather than inheriting it (Ted Kennedy) or having a well-developed network of family and friends who have been all too happy to bail him out of one disaster after another (George W. Bush)?

  12. Lee

    Rick Quinn tried to drive a wedge between Ryberg and the state employees by accusing him of being against the TERI program, but Ryberg refused to take the bait.
    Willis and Ravenel missed the opportunity to deflate Quinn’s self-promotion as a tax cutter right then, by asking him about the huge expense of TERI and how it has just turned out to be another wasteful scam.


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