Well, as you can see, we didn’t do an about-face on our position regarding Andre Bauer‘s suitability for holding the post of lieutenant governor. We endorsed his challenger, Mike Campbell.
But as I wrote on Wednesday, Mr. Bauer has grown in his political abilities that he can make a strong impression in spite of all his sins against the public confidence. That helps explain why he seems to have so many supporters in the General Assembly and, more significantly, among the electorate.
It helps explain it, but doesn’t quite fulfill the task. I mean, even if he makes a better impression than he use to, there’s still the little matter of his record to be dealt with. I decided I needed a little more info to help me understand Andremania. So I called one of the victims of that malady.
There were a number of surprising names listed as supporters on a recent Bauer mailing — surprising to me, anyway. They included John Courson, Nathan Ballentine and my own representative, Ted Pitts.
I gave Ted a call, and essentially asked: Why do you stand behind this guy?
He said that Andre, the Joker and the Kingpin were holding Ted’s dog hostage in an abandoned warehouse down by the river.
No, wait. That’s the kind of thing I’d hoped he’d say. What he said was what people usually say to justify being Bauerites: That he was doing a heckuva job helping old people.
"I do think Andre has made some strides in the Office of Aging," said Rep. Pitts. "I’ve talked to some seniors who are pleased" with improvements in the office since it was placed under the Gov Lite’s authority.
At the same time, of course, "I’d never do some of the things he’s done." I hope not since my rep and I agree that such actions are "very irresponsible," particularly (I would add) in the case of someone a heartbeat away from the governor’s office.
"I do think he’s been straight-up in his efforts" to explain those incidents, though.
Really? I asked. What about the infamous land deal in which he brought along a member of the highway commission and a state senator to help him negotiate with an employee of the state Department of Transportation? Andre still says there was nothing wrong with that.
"That’s wrong," Ted admits. "No two ways about it."
There are two types of people in this world," a Bill Murray character once said: "Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him."
The world can also be neatly divided between those who accept the idea that Mr. Bauer’s sterling service presiding over the Senate and serving senior citizens outweighs his abuses of power and other stunning flaws, and those of us who don’t. Rep. Pitts is in the first category.
There’s another reason, and it is a classic South Carolina reason: "We had mutual family friends."
He says he’s known Andre since "before high school." They didn’t go to the same schools (Bauer to Irmo, Pitts to Lexington), but they knew each other. Mr. Bauer is about the same age as Mr. Pitts’ older sister.
But it goes back even further: Our mothers put us in the Children of the Confederacy chapter here."
Well, that opened up a whole new topic, since I had heard of the Sons, and I had heard of the Daughters, but I was not familiar with the more inclusive "Children." Ted says it didn’t last long. They had about three meetings, and interest faded.
For all those who make the performance outweighs character issue, how many wanted W in the office in 2000 for purely character reasons. I bet Rep Pitts supported W for those vary reasons.
Many of the people who voted for Bush in 04 didn’t do it because of character, though that helped, but because of his performance in SOME areas. Sure, he failed us in others. But I will take 75% good performance over the 5% that Kerry would have given us any day.
Now, for Bauer, I am not surprised that The State declined to endorse him. Quite frankly, I think that they would have endorsed “Ready to Hurl” or “Mary Rosh” first.
In 2000, NOT ’04, character was a major issue. The GOP made Clinton’s lack of character a big issue. If character was a big issue in 2000, why not now?
“character helped in ’04” is an understatement. Kerry’s character was called into question BIG TIME and the GOP took full advantage.
Quite frankly, I think many of us would vote for RtH or Mary over SC2.
Clarification of last post: I originally addressed the character issue that came out in 2000. Then replied to Dave that character came again in 04.
Randy, contrary to your thinking, Bush’s character was a huge plus for him. Christians forgive those who have repented and gone the right way as W did. That is why he pulled a big majority of Christians and Catholics in 04. Remember this, our own Catholic Bishop Baker actually put out an official letter that Kerry was NOT permitted to take communion in any Catholic church in SC. A Catholic bishop will ONLY do that as a last extreme measure to a sinner or person of really poor character. That was Kerry to a tee. OTOH, Bush is a man of truly great character, honest, straightup, family man, and true to his word.
Dave, if you scroll up you will see that you are taking the character issue in another direction. I was not challenging the idea of using character as an issue in the last two prez elections.
Some republicans on this thread are challenging the idea of using character as an issue with Bauer. My point was that these same republicans, I would bet the ranch, made character an issue in those W elections. I agree with making it an issue which is why Bauer’s behavior and underlying character issues overshadow his hard work in my view.
Everything comes to him who waits