Andre Bauer, Lieutenant governor, Republican

Thursday, 4 p.m.
Here’s the answer to my last post: The way you interview a lieutenant governor about whom you have so many troubling questions is … you ask him those questions. Duh.

And if you’re Andre Bauer, the way you deal with such a barrage of questions is … you answer them. Which he did. That may sound obvious, but I didn’t expect him to do so. I expected him to dodge and weave, and complain about us picking on him and ignoring his virtues. He did complain, but he also answered the questions.

And you know what (and here’s the part where my loyal readers ride me out of the blogosphere on a digital rail)? He did a good job, considering.

Of course, that’s a big "considering," what with all the ways that he’s screwed up. But if there is a good way to deal with all that stuff, it’s what Mr. Bauer did in our board room today: He was candid. Mostly. And sometimes surprisingly so.

More about that in a minute. First, I want to talk about the part he really did well: Fight his corner on the role of the lieutenant governor, and what he personally has done with the office.

He noted that four years earlier, when he was sitting in the same seat, my colleague Cindi Scoppe had been so dismissive of the office of lieutenant governor that he was determined to make something worthwhile of the office. He told her he had often thought about it.

So he welcomed the new authority lawmakers gave him over the Council on Aging, and went into detail about the ways he has worked to raise the profile of the services provided by that agency to our growing senior population.

He spoke of the mutually respectful relationships he’s built in the Senate
(and truth is, I’ve often marveled at the bipartisan support he has there), how he has tried to make a difference with the limited parliamentary powers he possesses and his right to break ties.

He spoke of how his previous service in both the House and the Senate gave him understanding into the legislative process that has enabled him to do all of that with an effectiveness his predecessors lacked, and his opponents similarly lack.

He talked about the long hours he puts into a part-time job (which of course, raises specters of his adventures rushing about as a motorist) doing constituent service and trying to improve services to the aged.

So then we got to the tough stuff. As he said, "We all know that I’ve had some things that I’m not so proud of." On these, he both hurt and helped himself, sometimes at the same time and in the same way — by being candid.

Some of his worst answers were on the deal
in which he sold a small parcel of land to the state Department of Transportation at twice what the DOT had wanted to pay for it — after the Gov Lite showed up to the negotiation with both state Sen. Yancey McGill
and a member of the transportation commission. (How hard do you suppose the DOT employee bargained with one of his bosses sitting across the table?)

"I see your point" about how that looked, Mr. Bauer admitted, but he still believes he got shafted on the deal to the extent that "I’m embarrassed as a real estate person."

So how did such a meeting occur? Well, it seems Andre went to Sen. McGill just for some friendly advice. "They set up a meeting," he said. "I didn’t ask for any preferential treatment." Did he have to ask?

What about the time he was stopped, but not ticketed, going 78 in a 65 mph zone? "I thought I was in the 70 zone." So he admits taking advantage of the infamous 10 mph cushion. Yet on this one incident, you can just about swallow the point his supporters raise on other, less-excusable items: Let him who is without sin, etc. It’s not right, but nobody would hang him on this one alone.

So what about going 101, telling the cops who were trying to stop him he was "SC2," never giving his name, and taking it so matter-of-factly when the cop drove away with a "You have a good night, sir?"

He said he was "confused" at the cop stopping him, then driving past him, only coming back after Andre called him on the radio to say he was pulled over and waiting. Which was odd behavior, as one can see on the video. But still, why didn’t he say something when the cop was obviously letting him off? "I’m not gonna ask him for a ticket." Especially not after taking eight points on the Assembly Street incident. Candid.

And how about his failure to admit the above two incidents when asked by a reporter? He said the question was along the lines of whether he had been ticketed, which he had not. (The reporter in question was present during this interview, and did not dispute that.)

Oh, come on, I said. You’re going to retreat into that kind of Bill Clintonian dodge? "You knew what he was asking about," I said.

"Uh-huh," agreed Mr. Bauer, nodding his head. But he had been knocked around by the paper a good bit already, and "I wasn’t going to do your journalism for you."

Like I said: Candid. Even more so when I asked if there were any other incidents over the past four years in which he was stopped and not ticketed that still haven’t been reported? Yes, as it turns out. "I’ve been pulled over a time or two." But not, he claims, anything in the range of the 101 incident.


Oh, yes, the Assembly Street incident. He still insists the officer should not have been alarmed, and that after he pulled his gun, the Gov Lite was meek as a lamb. And afterwards, rather than try to get the charge reduced, "I pled it up" and took the eight points.

So, no excuses. Well, not many. Anyway, he admits he’s messed up, "But in my job role I have no regrets."

Facing surgery Friday that will entail signing a power of attorney and keep him out of action through the primary, he says he’s decided after what his miraculous plane crash survival that "There are more important things" than being lieutenant governor.

"Yes, I would like to be re-elected," but "No, I don’t have the drive that I once did."

Not that he has to, what with the sympathy vote and all. But I admit I didn’t mention that.

Andre said repeatedly that he knew there was no way we’d endorse him, but he had decided to hobble in anyway. He said it would probably finish him off if we did; he’d have a heart attack.

Well, at the risk of this being considered an attempt on the lieutenant governor’s life — which could lead to him actually getting the protection detail that his fans would like him to have — let me say that endorsing him isn’t entirely out of the question.

His opposition (not counting the inexplicable Dr. Jordan) is a guy who doesn’t have the Bauer sins. But oddly, Mike Campbell has refused to make any kind of an issue of that — even though it is he one advantage. There’s not a lot to being Gov Lite of South Carolina — but you CAN be an embarrassment, if you really try. Andre has succeeded beyond even the wildest dreams of Nick (I’ve Got to Have an Army for a Security Detail) Theodore. That seems to me to be a legitimate issue, but Mr. Campbell has never seen fit to bring it up. Sometimes, candidates take this "playing cricket" thing to an extreme (especially in the polite state of South Carolina), and this is one of those times. Amid all that pussyfooting around on all sides in the debate the other night, Mr. Campbell never gave any compelling reasons why we should think he would be a better lt. gov. at the actual (although limited) work parts of the job. He should have.

And as hard as he has worked at being a doofus outside the State House, the fact is that Andre has worked just as hard at being of service in the State House. I don’t think the lieutenant governor needs to be doing all that stuff, and I’m not very impressed with all the Strom-style constituent service he does. I don’t vote people into office to do me or anybody else personal favors. But he has really tried to make a difference by his own lights, and sometimes (both for better and for worse) he has.

So we take all that into consideration. We also take into consideration all the crazy, bad, irresponsible stuff he’s done. Which he admits.

So is this an easy call? Or not? Your turn. Our endorsement, yet unwritten, runs Saturday.


35 thoughts on “Andre Bauer, Lieutenant governor, Republican

  1. Randy E

    “I see your point about how that looked” regarding the real estate deal??!?! He had to see it from YOUR point? I’m glad someone was there to explain it to him.
    “Let him who is without sin” – He’s the frekin #SC2 man, he is held to a higher standard.
    “Candid?” Duke “Con Man” Cunningham was candid. And? Let him go do a reality TV show and be as candid as he wants.
    SC2 may be a hard worker, but this sense of entitlement and lack of respect for the dignity of the office at such a young age would get worse with greater power. Let him be a hard worker as someone’s chief of staff.
    More power to Campbell for not going negative. How can you not champion that as a worthy position Brad? I appreciated the fact that a politician, with such an easy target, he stood clear of the mud. Easy choice here!!!!

  2. Randy E

    Zeb, forgot to mention SC2’s negative blogging that your colleague brought up at the forum. SC2 claimed to be running a positive campaign while sticking it to Campbell behind his back. That ain’t right, only we are allowed to do that!

  3. Brad Warthen

    True. Andre claims not to be a blogger, so where does he get off doing stuff like that?
    Here’s the thing: A lot of people believe there’s not much point in trying to change our minds. Well, there is. We’re more willing to listen to counter-arguments than people realize, and sometimes we do change. At the very least, we cogitate on everything people say before we reach a conclusion. This post is about cogitating out loud.
    Karen Floyd was always convinced we would endorse Bob Staton, but I wasn’t sure until a day or two after the debate. I went over and over the part where it was so hard to pin her down over PPIC, and everything clarified.
    But I appreciate her efforts to engage us and not just write us off. And I appreciate the same in Andre’s case. I’m well aware that both have people around them who consider us not worth talking to.
    So I do them the return compliment of trying to consider everything they say as thoroughly as possible. I think this is the way public discourse ought to be.

  4. Randy E

    As I wrote before, you and your possee get props for chewing on alot of info before making a decision. Thanks. SC2 being there is better than SC1 hiding out on Arsenal Hill watching his buddy Scarborough on TV.
    On a tangent, Scientology is joining NASCAR. Tom Cruise and company can perceive they win races and it will reality.

  5. Lee

    Tom Cruise is another kooky lib who wants to run our great country into the ground. I know because I read People magazine last year.
    What did Andre say about Ann Coulter? I was telling my friend David Duke that she should be appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Not only would it shore up our fringe base, but she’d set all those hypochondriacs straight that keep crying about needing medicare.

  6. David

    I think Andre is Bill Clinton lite.
    Like Bill, Andre has that unique ability to make a lot of people really buy that he is
    1) truly sorry for his actions
    2) his only crime is caring too much and working too hard.
    3) The Senator McGill explanation is LAUGHABLE.
    Andre is yet another politician that abuses his power and then throws his hands up after it is over with a “hey, I didn’t personally ask someone to help me” explanation.
    He doesn’t have the ability to look at a situation and say ” Would the everyday citizen be able to do this.”
    Bill Clinton couldn’t be prouder.

  7. Tim

    Your quandary brings up a question I’ve always been curious about – why feel compelled to give an endorsement at all? I would go so far as to say that Andre is the lesser of three evils (as opposed to the treasurer’s race where we have the evil of, what 4,5,6 lessers), but isn’t that setting the bar a little low for an actual endorsement?

  8. Randy E

    His shirt’s not buttoned because he had rushed over to the interview from Anderson County where he was meeting with constituents at the Miss Belton Blueberry Festival.
    I like Campbell. He seems go get tepid support in here. Will you give some feedback on him?

  9. Preston

    I always thought that Campbell was taken to school in the “short-limo” from the Governor’s Mansion. He was then locked in a closet with a stuffed animal for the day. At 3:05 he was released from his closet to go back to the Mansion.
    After several years, he “graduated”. He went on to not graduate from college, and become a “successful” businessman (he inherited several Wendy’s across the state from his father).
    He pays managers $5.15 an hour to do his “business” while he spends his days working on coloring books with the Neil Bush while Auntie Barb watches them to make sure they don’t get into any trouble.

  10. Aaron

    Even if you do not endorse a man, and he may be lying, it seems he did exactly what I wanted him to do and stood up to the questions and said what he did and why he did it.
    I have more respect for him now, and the public discourse should be open, but if I had the power to vote I’d still be looking for alternatives.

  11. Randy E

    Preston, he’s an SC version of W then. W was a failed business man until he got a major break from a connection from Daddy Bush. That’s how he made his initial fortune.
    Thanks for your input. Have you read his proposals? I like where he stands on education. The guy is sharp, no matter his upbringing. And I give him props for not going negative.
    Aaron, I see your point, but SC2 has been so slick, I don’t know if it’s sincerity or political expedience that came out in the interview.

  12. Aaron

    Yep, the slickness is obvious. I’m taking Brad’s word that the guy appeared to be genuine, but I certainly hold my doubts against the man.

  13. David

    How about
    Little Slick Willie Andre Bauer?
    or Bill Clinton, Lite
    Has a decent ring to it.

  14. David

    “And if you’re Andre Bauer, the way you deal with such a barrage of questions is … you answer them. Which he did. That may sound obvious, but I didn’t expect him to do so. I expected him to dodge and weave, and complain about us picking on him and ignoring his virtues. He did complain, but he also answered the questions.”
    “How to survive in politics when you do really stupid stuff over and over.”
    Foreward by Bill Clinton.
    “What you do first and foremost is you apologize over and over. You admit you are just human. Everyone can relate to that. If you can muster up a tear or bite your lower lip ever so gently – that adds to your credibility. But never forget to add that you don’t think the questions or fair but in the interest of honesty that you will answer them. That gets them every time.” – Bill Clinton

  15. Brad Warthen

    Absolutely, kc. Here are links to a few recent ones:

    Jim Rex
    Dennis Aughtrey
    Michael Ray Ellisor
    David White
    Harry Huntley
    Tommy Moore
    Chris Hart

    But have I written as much about Democrats as Republicans? Nope. I only bother with contested races (note the Jim Rex piece above), and there aren’t many of those.

    Now I have talked to a couple of Democrats that I haven’t written full posts on — Dennis Aughtrey and Frank Willis. But I have a much longer list of Republicans I haven’t gotten to. The most notable in that category would be the governor and Oscar Lovelace. All I did for them was copy over the tidbits I included in columns. I guess I need to go back and do the same on Aughtrey and Willis; I hadn’t done so yet because I wanted to do more than that on them.

  16. Randy E

    Brad has to spend more time keeping an eye on, er covering the republicans.
    Besides, Jim Rex is reading from a script. Just think what a stereotypcial democrat would want to hear from a candidate for education and you have Rex’s positions on reform.
    Brad, when do we get some coverage on the Green Party?

  17. Preston

    Is anyone watching the “debate” on WIS. Are these monkies for real?
    When asked if he would run for Guv in 2010, Dr. Jerdan, MD said “I am the only on here with any military experience….” and then went off into some rant about being Sanford’s lapdog.
    Lt. Guv looks like a robot that is about to malfunction. Will someone tell him that he is neither married, nor does he have any kids, so he should leave all of the “family” stuff to those who know what they are talking about. Also, what is this about being a substitute teacher for four years without pay? How old is this clown-ape anyway? I love the Richard Nixon 5:00 shadow. Can he get a shave during commercial breaks?
    I can’t believe it, but Campbell Lite is the only one who seems to be speaking English.
    These three make Thomas Ravenel seem sane and coherent.

  18. raven shadowwinds

    Ivory Tower Andre Bauer, by “Jesse James Dean”, a friend of mine.
    Governor Sanford, you might as well give up
    Them Legislators they just hate your guts
    But there’s something you could do for all of us
    Toss that Andre Bauer out of the State House
    Give the Palmetto State some real hope
    Wash his mouth out with a bar of soap
    You need to take that boy over your knee
    And put a stop to his statewide crime spree
    He races down our state’s highways
    Running red lights along his way
    Governor you need to put your foot down
    And run that loose cannon our of our town
    He needs “time out” for a couple of years
    Send him to anger management ya hear
    Who’s he think he is…the midnight rider
    Knock him down off his Ivory Tower
    We couldn’t get away with what he’s done
    They would have already locked us up
    And a couple thousand dollars in fines
    And they let him go everytime
    Put him on a good four years restriction
    Or even better make him serve some detention
    Send him to stay with the prison warden
    And give your vote to Henry Jordan
    You need to start an investigation
    Sounds to us like class discrimination
    Knock him down off his ivory tower
    Toss out that loose cannon Andre Bauer
    Well people you know what you gotta do
    They keep wildmen down at the zoo
    Register to vote down at Hampton and Harden
    And give your vote to Dr Henry Jordan

  19. Anna

    I was shocked but not surprised at the comments that were printed as well as the stupid endorsement you made in the Saturday’s paper regarding the Lt governor and your choice. It’s terrible that no matter what Andre Bauers does you people are obviously against him. Instead you would rather have troll in office running on his father’s name. And if you didn’t see the debate’s he was always trying to echo whatever he thought Andre might say.It was good to see that someone there thought for himself and has worked so hard for the state for the last four years. You and your board should be sued for what you can do to someone and their reputation and if I were in that position I would do just that. I’ll be voting for Andre Bauer just because of your hate mail and for what he stands for which is much more admiral than all of you put together.

  20. Doug

    I found today’s endorsment of Campbell by The State to be quite hilarious. Clutching at any straw they could to find a reason to endorse Campbell, The State’s editorial board settled on two factors:
    a) If Sanford dies in office, Campbell can call on his father’s Good Old Boy network to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
    b) Since the office of Lt. Gov is a position that requires no skills and has little purpose, Campbell is best suited to hold that job. Ha!
    Other than the sun coming up this morning, the Campbell endorsement was the next closest thing to a mortal lock. Well, until Andre wins easily and The State has to endorse his next opponent…

  21. Randy E

    “No matter what Bauer does” reflects a selective memory. It is exactly what Andre has done that has turned people against him.
    It’s not like SC2 was busted one time for reckless driving and everyone pounced. He has done it multiple times and has been deceitful in the process (e.g. “I don’t remember who was at fault in the accident I was in”).
    I get angry when I see people flying down the street shooting past other drivers or when people swerve in and out of traffic and run lights. That puts the safety of others at risk. That’s the reason we have LAWS against such actions. LAWS!
    I find that decision-making to reflect poor judgement and even maturity issues. While Campbell doesn’t have a record to run on, Bauer does. That’s the whole point for me.

  22. Anna

    Maybe you you were as busy finding out just exactly what Campbell might have on his record as you were putting down a great guy like Andre you might just eat those words. Have you ever checked a sled record or did Daddy have all that erased too. And speaking of troll baby and his daddy’s friends. I think I read an article in your paper that stated he doesn’t even talk to his father’s friends much less ask for any advise. But as always you love finding the worst in Andre. Is it true you told him at the board meeeting that you refused to cover any related to the positives in that office? I’ll bet on Cindi for that remark.And another thing what makes you and an editorial board experts on endorsements.What gives you that authority?

  23. Anna

    Another thought, I do have a very good memory and it has been your paper that has”turned people against him” if that is possible but those who have can thank your paper and the remarks you’ve printed about incidents that any person could do. EVer drive the interstate? I’d put money on it you’ve gone over the speed limit sometime in your life even if it was 5 miles, my friend, that’s speeding. I’ll admit I’ve gone over the speed limit but you just can’t let things go. Over and over and over even while the sweet guy is lying in surgery. What a heartless bunch. And what now, he’s careless because of a plane engine failure? And while I’m on a roll, which is what the plane did and saved both of those precious lives. What do you have against Senator McGill. He is the nicest man you’ll ever meet and a perfect example of a Southern gentleman. Something you’ll never master.

  24. Capital A

    Anna, how many batches of homemade dumplin’s did you offer your granddaughter to type all that out for you on the “innernet”?

  25. David

    “No matter what Bauer does” reflects a selective memory. It is exactly what Andre has done that has turned people against him”
    That is 100% right.
    Andre acting like a spoiled 3rd grader is his own problem.
    Not voting for him is the least I can do.
    Sure, Campbell doesn’t jump off the page at me either. But I’d consider it an honor to vote for him – or anyone, rather than freaking Andre Bauer.
    – and yes, I have met the man and If I ever meet him again I’ll tell him that my 5 year old is more responsible than he happens to be.

  26. David

    Anna wrote “I’ll bet on Cindi for that remark.And another thing what makes you and an editorial board experts on endorsements.What gives you that authority?”
    Anna? Are you 16 yet? Do you not understand what editorial writers at every newspaper in America do?
    Their “authority” comes from the fact that their job involves interviewing candidates and making an endorsement.
    Andre is our own version of Bill Clinton. Sad but true.

  27. David

    BTW – Anna – here is a copy and paste from Beth Padgett of the Greenville News – you might just learn something here. She fills a similiar role as Brad does with The State. Here is something she wrote just this past week…..
    “The three of us are opinion writers, mind you. We write the opinions for this newspaper that run 365 days a year. We’re not expected to be objective, and we comment on everything under the sun. So it’s only natural, I think, that we offer commentary on the people seeking public office.
    Earlier this month I was doing a presentation for a class in the Furman University Learning in Retirement program. One woman asked me if I ever regretted our endorsement choice. Well, of course, but then, as a voter, I’ve regretted a couple of ballot punches, too. And what we as the opinion writers face is the same thing that confronts voters every election cycle: We’re often not presented with perfect choices. We’re given a known group of candidates running for a certain elected office at a specific point in time.”

  28. Betty

    My comment is that Mike Campbell is running on his father’s laurels and apparently his riches are coming from the Wendy’s that his father owned (which I just heard about. Without a college education or the equivalent thereof, I do not think that “money in the bank” qualifies him for the position of Lieutenant Governor. Education goes a long way in good performance of the job.

  29. P

    These candidates demonstrate how little the Republicans think of the state and the electorate. They also demonstrate how little the electorate thinks of the office. Finally, these candidates themselves demonstrate how little they think of their supporters. But, let us vote Party over principle.

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