Mark Sanford vs. Tommy Moore

Why must we choose
between vision and effectiveness?

THIS IS THE election year for complementary pairs. For treasurer we have the Brash Rich Kid vs. Everybody’s Granddaddy. For lieutenant governor, Mr. Mature is challenging Wild Thing.
    But the most marked dichotomy is at the top of the ticket.  On one side, we have incumbent Gov. Mark Sanford, a policy wonk who has all sorts of ideas, but who can’t get anything done. The fact that he can’t get anything done is both a bad thing and a good thing, because some of his ideas (restructuring state government) are excellent, while others (paying people to abandon public schools) are very, very bad.
    Opposing him is veteran state Sen. Tommy Moore, a “git ’er done” kind of guy. He prides himself on bringing together lawmakers from across the spectrum who may be miles apart on a given issue, and getting them to sit down and work something out. He can flat get a bill passed, sometimes in the face of considerable odds.
    While he can do what the governor can’t, Sen. Moore is lacking in the very department where the governor is blessed with an overabundance. When I suggested as much to him last week, noting that he seemed to lack as strict and specific an agenda as the governor’s, he said rather grumpily that “I’m glad you didn’t say I didn’t have ideas.”
    Well, I didn’t. But by the time the interview was over, he had provided little in the way of specific proposals. If I put all the ideas he set forth in that meeting in my pants pocket, I could turn it inside-out without making much of a mess on the floor.
    This is not good. I’ve lived all over the country, and I’ve never seen a state that needed principled, effective leadership as much as my dear native South Carolina.
    Some would say I’m asking too much. But people who would fit that bill do exist in our state. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley for one. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for another. They have vision, they see how things are connected, they see what needs to be done, and they have the skills to work with political friend and foe alike to bring about results that represent significant progress.
    But they aren’t running for governor. Instead, we get an ideologue who is so into libertarian think-tank theories that he has no idea how to persuade real people — even in his own party — to work with him. That’s been our governor for four years. And our alternative is a very grounded, realistic veteran deal-maker who can work with whatever you bring to the table, but who doesn’t throw much on it himself.
    This is not to say Tommy Moore lacks principles. In fact, I’d say his principles — grounded as they are in real-life experiences — are probably closer to those of the average South Carolinian than the hothouse hypotheses of the incumbent. He’s certainly a lot closer to me when it comes to understanding the role that government must play in improving life for all South Carolinians.
    “I agree with those folks who are saying, ‘More money isn’t the answer’: More money isn’t necessarily the answer,” Sen. Moore said. “But I can guarantee you that less money over the last three and a half years hasn’t gotten us anywhere.”
    He said he would want his legacy to be that he made government more efficient in performing its legitimate functions.
    “The government can be a partner to people,” he said. “Government isn’t evil. You don’t need to starve government to where it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub.” That’s a reference to the governor’s ideological ally Grover Norquist, who has said that’s his ultimate goal as leader of a national anti-tax group.
    “The easiest thing is to come to Columbia and be against something,” said the senator. “The hard thing is to be for something.”
    Trouble is, it’s hard to find much that Sen. Moore is for, specifically, when it comes to education. He’s definitely against being against the public schools. But that doesn’t quite add up to being for a substantive agenda for moving the schools forward.
    He wants to improve prenatal health care and early childhood education. He wants comprehensive tax reform. He would pursue economic development for rural areas. But when you dig for specifics, they are scarce. He keeps saying he wants to hear other people’s ideas. He’s confident he can then sell the good ones to the Legislature.
    The general impression is that he would be a reactive governor who would deal with things as they were brought to him, but would not initiate particular proposals.
    By contrast, the current governor is all about throwing out his ideas to see what will happen — which, generally, is nothing, except for a lot of hard feelings.
    He claims that his pushing of extreme ideas such as the “Put Parents in Charge” bill has led to accelerating public school choice and the development of charter schools. So should we interpret his advocacy of paying people to abandon public schools as a mere strategy to achieve some more moderate goal?
    No, he admits, “because I actually take those extreme positions.” He laughed, and said “I would love to get there if I could.”
    Ultimately, he said South Carolina needs someone who believes in fundamental change, not someone who knows how to work the system.
    “We come from different vantage points,” the governor said of himself and Sen. Moore. “I come from outside the system; he comes from within.”
    “He’s basically said the system ain’t broke…. We say the system is broke.” So if he gets four more years, will we be able to look back and say the system is fixed to any degree? “Nah,” he said. “The political system is such that we all know that you never get the whole bite of any apple.” Nevertheless, he hopes he’d have “a material impact” on government restructuring.
    The governor misses the point. It’s not an either/or. South Carolina needs a governor who is not only committed to positive change, but who also has the ability to work with others to make that change come about.
    Once again, when we go to the polls Nov. 7, we won’t be offered a candidate who fits that description. We need and deserve better.

48 thoughts on “Mark Sanford vs. Tommy Moore

  1. Dave

    Brad, one need not be a political junkie to envision the results of a Moore governorship. Yes, he will work hand in hand with the billboard lobbyists, with the “We need more money education” lobby, increased farm programs and subsidies crowd, more departments, agencies, and in general higher spending. That will translate into higher taxes. Sanford’s biggest constraint to getting results has been the legislature, which has more power than he does. They continually override his vetoes when he has tried to limit government growth and spending. So, even though Tommy Moore may be a nice guy, and get along fine with the legislature, who will be left to govern with the concerns of the overtaxed public in mind?

  2. Randy Ewart

    Sanford’s biggest constraint to getting results has been the legislature – Dave
    That’s the REPUBLICAN legislature Dave, which is Brad’s whole point. How can a REPUBLICAN governor not get anything done in that situation…unless he can’t get it done. Other SC govenors, in less favorable conditions, accomplished a whole lot more.

  3. Randy Ewart

    Personally, I’m tired of the democrats, local and national, not providing a vision or set of ideas or initiatives. Rex runs as the Anti-Floyd candidate. Kerry ran as the alternative to W. Hillary runs as a bridge to the past, the 90s (ironic that Bill was the bridge to the future).
    Can Connecticut Joe run as a carpet-bagger down here? When’s Lourie going state wide?

  4. Olin Sansbury

    Jonathan Alter’s recent account of FDR’s first hundred days, “The Defining Moment,” is instructive. FDR was not the source of all the ideas that burst forth when he came into office. He had a general notion of the direction in which he needed to move the country. He recognized that government had a “positive” role to play in addressing the country’s economic crisis, and he was willing to listen to the experts from the various areas that needed attention. The situation is no different today.
    We should not expect any political leader to be the expert on all subjects. The leader should be clear about the direction in which he wants to take us, but also have sufficient humility to realize that there may be more than one way to get there.

  5. Emile DeFelice

    Dave, I’d like to respond to your “increased farm programs and subsidies crowd” comment. Thank you for bringing up an important, but often overlooked and misunderstood, subject.
    Just to set the record straight, Hugh Weathers is the clear tax and spend candidate in the race for Commissioner of Agriculture, despite being appointed by Sanford, and despite being a Republican, albeit a new one.
    Consider the following examples:
    1) Mr. Weathers asked for and received $600,000 to study how to market South Carolina farm products–not to do it, mind you, but to study it. Another expensive report from a blue ribbon panel of non-farmers is not what we need to market SC to ourselves and the rest of the world. Take a look at what Colorado, North Carolina, Alaska, Georgia, Vermont, Idaho, Florida, Kentucky and many other states are doing–no need to reinvent the wheel. Even my own campaign website does a better job than the current SCDA website. I can do and have done much more with far less.
    2) In our debate on ETV, Mr. Weathers mentioned that farm subsidies amount to “only 20% of your food dollar.” For starters, most South Carolinians would love a 20% reduction on groceries–especially to stop funding the very entities that help wreck our rural economy. Makes the recent grocery tax reduction look like peanuts. Most of the $20 billion annual subsidy payments go to gigantic multi national corporations, not people like Mr. Weathers, whose farms have received about $750,000 over the past nine years. Regardless of my opposition to subsidies, and Weathers’ dependence upon them, they won’t be here for much longer, and we need to start planning now on ways to farm without them. My experience and my Put Your State On Your Plate plan emphasize value over volume, and provide a great start in the direction of farming the free market.
    3) Last year, The State printed several of my Letters to the Editor, one of which was in opposition to a taxpayer funded $60 million new state farmers market (this is the number that Mr. Weathers now uses, which, like a typical government project, doubled since the original discussions.) A week later, a State editorial made the same case. And a week later, Sanford weighed in with his opposition. In contrast, Weathers has solidly supported and championed the market, despite the fact that only 20% of the product passing through there is from our state. Sure, its a necessary piece of our food infrastructure, and some of the money will be privately reimbursed over time, but the SC taxpayer is still being held liable for marketing other states’ and countries’ products. We could have a couple hundred great All-Local community markets throughout the state for the same money, and reinvest in our own farms and towns.
    My point is that a Moore victory doesn’t necessarily translate into “increased farm programs and subsidies”–unless both he and the incumbent Agriculture Commissioner win. If I am elected, you will have a Department of Agriculture that works ceaselessly for the South Carolina farmer. In addition, I will be working toward using your existing tax dollars to reinvest in our own economy via school lunch, state food procurement, and tipping the balance back in favor of our own farmers, rather than those in California, Iowa, Florida, Mexico, and South America.
    These comments are a critique, not the basis of my campaign. Randy Ewart, and others looking for a candidate with “vision, a set of ideas and initiatives,” please visit
    I happily accept charges of enthusiasm and innovation, and reject any association with the “increased farm programs and subsidies crowd”–that’s Mr. Weathers’ territory.
    Put Your State On Your Plate,
    Emile DeFelice
    Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture

  6. Lee

    The only reason Mark Sanford “can’t get anything done” is because obstructionists like Tommy Moore will block any new idea that doesn’t originate in the legislature, doesn’t buy votes, and doesn’t increase their power.
    That is why it is important to support people like Sandford and reject the Moores, Hodges, and Lands of this world.

  7. Lee

    Emile DeFelice also needs our votes, to send a message opposing business-as-usual in Agriculture.

  8. Mark Whittington

    What about The State’s role in all of this? You’ve written a pretty good piece here, but still, I don’t see The State generating groundbreaking ideas about how to solve problems. As much as I disagree with Governor Sanford, I certainly do not doubt that he is a principled person (undoubtedly, Tommy Moore is also principled). Sen. Graham and Joe Riley both have good political skills, however I question your assertion that these men have the “vision” necessary to make substantial progress. All of these men may have a vision of what a future SC could look like, but none of them have viable, concrete ideas about how to get there in my opinion. The problems that we are encountering are far beyond only specific proposals on any given issue. Our problems are systemic in nature-the result of a three hundred and twenty year old political philosophy that on too many points is inconsistent with modern knowledge. I don’t blame the above mentioned politicians for all of our woes. I do however believe that the corporate media has been falling down on the job by limiting the debate between two rather narrow poles within classic liberalism. Neither Corporate America nor Special Interest America has viable solutions. Perhaps we should look to civic and democratic groups for proposals and solutions.

    On a lighter note: Republicans and Democrats, Gamecocks and Tigers, you may want to download my new 3D computer game demo called “Palmetto Pool”. It’s totally free. No agenda. No solicitation. After you download and “save” to your computer, just right click on the zip file and select “Extract All…”. Inside the folder, click on the red rocket icon named “Pool Demo”. It works on all the Windows based computers that I have tried it on, however there are no guarantees. Have fun. Thanks.
    Palmetto Pool

  9. Dave

    Emile, I can support your ideas. With your programs of building up instate farming and responsible spending, it sounds like a winner to me.

  10. Agricola

    Great editorial. An earlier commenter noted the Gov’s inability to pass legislation in a Republican legislature. Well, they are, for the most part, Republican in name only, as a fair percentage of the members switched parties to hold onto their offices, without the requisite change in philosophy. In a legislature that has, over time, proved its inability to provide an agenda for change, improvement, and reform, we see an interest group whose primary motive is the retention of power at the expense of change. Sanford may not have the acumen to succeed, but at some point our state will have to recognize that it is our legislature that has delivered us to our current abysmal standing in the metrics of progress.

  11. Jackie Bouvier

    You don’t get ranked at the bottom of the nation’s governors because you get things done.
    I have lived in this state all my life. Personally, my children deserve better than what Sanford, as well as the rest of the Republicans, can offer.
    To do nothing is a waste. Let’s move on and elect someone that can get something done.

  12. Lee

    “Get more done” for too many people means “hand out more freebies to me and mine”.
    Taxypayers and businessmen want more done to reform the corrupt and bloated government.

  13. Randy Ewart

    Mr. DeFelice,
    I posed this question before. Can you identify a democrat in this state who can be the leader for his/her party? Currently we have Inez, who ran against weak opposition to win a state wide post, with no one else even coming close.
    Brad offered up Joe Riley, but he’s local. Has the party dropped this low where there’s only ONE person and she’s out of here in months?

  14. LexWolf

    Yes, it has, and don’t forget that even Inez lost her last race. The Dems are basically up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

  15. LexWolf

    I wasn’t defending Foley – he’s gone and good riddance. I was simply saying that you guys, with your extensive history of sex scandals, are the very last ones who should be casting stones and playing holier-than-thou.
    This piece puts the whole thing in great perspective: Honor Among Thieves (my retitle)

  16. Lee

    When they cannot come up with any ideas for statewide vision, you’d think they might change the subject to baseball or anything besides scandals which are trademarked Democrat.

  17. Randy Ewart

    My “extensive history of sex scandals”? I didn’t know I had such skeletons. Were you referring to the democrats? I personally was sickened by Clinton’s actions. I think it sent a terrible message to our young people.
    How sadly partisan to suggest that democrats should turn a blind eye because of the past transgressions of others democrats. Wasn’t Henry Hyde, he of marital transgressions, leading the charge against Clinton? Because Republicans have a history of scandals as well, they should of been prohibited from holding Clinton accountable?
    Lex, your first post regarding Foley was a flimsy and poorly researched article suggesting that hitting on a 16 year old was not an issue because of the age of consent. Nah, you weren’t defending him.

  18. LexWolf

    “When they cannot come up with any ideas for statewide vision”
    That’s the real problem for the Dems, state or national. Their last new idea is older than the median age of the party and it shows.
    They also don’t know when to stop, especially in an area like sex scandals. Lord knows they have many more potential targets there than the GOP, and the payback has already started, too. Now that they have established how terrible gay and straight predators are in their opinion, we can look forward to a decimating of the Dem party.
    Once Again, They Overplayed Their Hand
    Some Florida Democrats call Kevin King a rising star amongst the ranks of Democrats, but others, like the head of the Pinellas Democratic Party, Ed Helm, have doubts.

    According to published reports, King sent e-mails or instant messages to two female students, aged 14 and 15, trying to get them to skip school and drink alcohol with him. In addition, the reports say that King also asked the 14-year-old to perform a sexual act on him.

  19. Randy Ewart

    Keep protecting your boy Foley Lex. Atleast the W administration’s handling of NK will help you out. Now everyone’s talking about the failed “Axis of Evil” approach as opposed to republican leadership covering up for a CONGRESSMAN hitting on a MINOR which you don’t seem to mind.

  20. Lee

    No one has defended Foley. Not here. Not anywhere.
    Randy, the way you have to feint at your own fabrications in every discussion is something you need to work on curing.

  21. bill

    Bottom line.The State will endorse the worst governor in the country for reelection.I’m not fooled by the “non-partisan” nihilism.

  22. Lee

    That you are fabricating and unable to discuss the thread topics is a fact, not anyone’s opinion. You just demonstrated it again with your failed, attempt at some sort of juvenile put-down.

  23. Lee

    If Tommy Moore wants to run for any office, he needs to explain why, after all these years in office, he has no ideas for fixing:
    * Bankrupt state retirement system
    * Out-of-control Medicare spending
    * Broken state procurement system which wastes money
    * DOT which spends far more money per citizen than other states
    * Illegal aliens taking jobs and consuming welfare
    * State universities which serve the state students less and less each year
    * Corrupt workers comp system enriching lawyers while not paying injured workers
    * Tootless DHEC, Dept of Labor, Consumer Affairs, and Insurance Commission not protecting the little guy.

  24. abc

    Thank you so much for providing the link to the interview with Grady Patterson. It is the first time I’ve seen him speak. The video speaks VOLUMES! Bless his heart! And, yes, he does remind me of my late grandfather, whom I loved dearly, but I would never have wanted him to be the treasurer of SC at his age!

  25. bud

    Lee, point of fact. The DOT spends less than most, if not all states in the nation per mile of roadway maintained. Further, we have one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the country and maintain one of the largest highways systems. Here’s a link that shows how our system compares to the rest of nation.
    As you can see, most state highway department’s do not maintain such a high proportion of their state’s roadway mileage. Even so the SCDOT does a pretty good job efficiently utilizing available resources. The problem is not that we spend to much per-capita for the DOT but that we spend far too little. And our deteriorating highways are the result.

  26. Lee

    The DOT spends less per mile only because it maintains a far greater percentage of the roads than any other state. Its money is spread too thin to do a good job.
    There are few roads with life cycle maintenance plans in place, so politics drives the process. The state has no business building any new roads until it can maintain what it now has.

  27. bud

    Lee, you are correct in that maintenance should come before new construction. However, that’s not the issue you raised. The DOT needs more money to properly maintain the roads. It’s not a matter of efficiency, it’s a matter of money.

  28. Lee

    SCDOT has about 63% of all roads in the state under its maintenance. Most states only have about 17%.
    Too many roads are shoddily built by developers and then deeded over to the state for maintenance, as just another way to make the taxpayers subsidize suburban sprawl.
    If you are really interested, this engineer has been sending suggestions to the DOT since 1975.

  29. Lee

    You have nothing to add to the discussion of issues in the governors race, Randy, yet you feel compelled to respond with nonsense to those of us who do.

  30. Randy Ewart

    Fortunately, this resulted in several advantages for South Carolina. With more roads under the control of a central agency, the legislature has created the opportunity for uniform highway design and lower overhead costs. But, these advantages assume that state government will provide funding consistent with the agency’s responsibilities. This has not been the case in South Carolina.

  31. LexWolf

    “And our deteriorating highways are the result.”
    WHat deteriorating highways? I have to laugh every time I see comments like that because the peeople making them obviously don’t get outside SC very much and have no idea what deteriorating highways really look like, and feel like! In comparison to all the states around us, and even more so compared to the Yankee states, our highways are in excellent shape.

  32. Dave

    Lexwolf – Liberals have an insatiable appetite for finding more places to spend tax money. Not enough health care for all, not enough schooling for all, not enough public transportation for all, and of course the roads, and it goes on and on. And you are right on about the roads. I recently drove the Jersey pike and the PA turnpike. Talk about horrible roads, and these were toll roads. We don’t know how lucky we are in SC.

  33. Dave

    When is Sen. Harry Reid going to resign for violating Senate ethics rules? Should we all hold our breath waiting for Harry to do the right thing. After all, Foley resigned.

  34. Randy Ewart

    Hopefully soon, but probably not until Frist resigns. When is that?
    Oh, you were comparing him to Foley because you don’t think Foley’s actions were a big deal. That’s why you attempt to minimize it at every opportunity. I’ll ask again Dave, you are ok with Foley hitting on minors?
    BTW, what party is in charge of the massive spending we’ve had for 6 years? Answer, the tax cut, spend, and massive debt party.

  35. Dave

    Note to Brad – Are you keeping Oscar’s blog link as a collector’s item? It hasnt been updated since May 15. It had a countdown to the primary gadget, and its at zero, forever it appears. Can you give the Oscar blog a proper burial?

  36. Lee

    I agree that SC has very good highways compared to the unionized states where they get very little for the dollar. In fact, consulting engineers from SC have helped improve the highways in California and most other states, as well as in foreign countries.
    The facts remain that SCDOT has no life cycle maintenance plan and budget in place for the exisiting roads, it assumes title to roads which are not built to code, and continues to build roads which are not needed and the state cannot afford.
    And Tommy Moore is unable to run on his record regarding DOT, the bankrupt state retirement system, rotten procurement system, education, control of spending, or tax reform to any degree.

  37. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, Dave, I need to take a bunch of those links out, and put some new ones in. That’s about an hour’s work, and I just haven’t found the hour lately — as you can tell by the way I’ve neglected the blog this week.

    And abc — thanks for the rave reviews on the Patterson video. I’ve been worried that no one is looking at them since I licked my video problems. And in some cases, such as the Ravenel and Patterson clips, they show you things that are hard to describe in mere words.

  38. Lee

    Patterson is a nice man, but in total denial about the bankruptcy of the state pension plans.
    The state bond rating should be lowered to ‘B’.

  39. Randy Ewart

    So far, I vote for achievement vs vision. The thousand points of light didn’t work before so time for a change.
    Atleast our choices are a little better than choosing between Hodges and Beasley.

  40. Jabikia Grinnies

    hey i just wanted to say i hope that tommy moore wins! he is the best for city and we need him! Mark sanford is wak and i dont like and he can lick my*******

  41. Burial Insurance

    Burial Insurance

    There is a intresting post on “Brad Warthen’s Blog: Mark Sanford vs. Tommy Moore” which I found relevent to those intrested in one dollar Globe Burial Insurance and I recommend that everyone drop by …

  42. Axis Wheels

    Axis Wheels

    Buyers of high quality products appreciate fine details such as emblems and log

Comments are closed.