Thursday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. — Our latest interview with the breezy Thomas Ravenel provided another portrait of the classic confidence — some would say arrogance — of the self-made young man.
It shapes his political philosophy — he made it on his own, so all we really need for everyone to be prosperous is to remove obstacles (such as taxes), and everybody else can do the same. "Everybody talks about ‘education, education,’" he says, in a way the indicates that he believes its value is overrated. Look at Cuba, he says — it’s loaded with highly educated people, and the economy is pathetic because of the lack of opportunity. Same with Russia.
It influences his approach to politics as well. I don’t know if he cares as little about people’s opinion of him as he projects, but he sure does try to project it. About using the office as a stepping stone, he says, "What’s wrong with that?" But then, he says "I have no intention of challenging" Sen. Lindsey Graham in two years — with a tone that implies, "if that’s what’s bothering you." He notes that there’s a picture of him and the senator together on his Website (I couldn’t find it. If you do, point it out to me and I’ll link to it). So what does he think of the job Mr. Graham is doing in Washington? "I’d say fair to middling."
Asked about being advised by the controversial Rod Shealy, he says, "I have a lot of consultants." And then he brings up the fact that he’s got Will Folks, admitted girlfriend-pusher, helping him out, too. "I believe in giving Folks a second chance," he says, punching the pun to make sure it’s not missed. He says he thinks people understand "that in politics, you have to deal with some unsavory characters."
I’m sure he meant no offense there, Will. I don’t think he cares enough one way or the other whether you are offended, though.
The bottom line is that even though we have philosophical differences, it is most likely that Mr. Ravenel will be able to do a better job as treasurer than the incumbent, who should have retired before now. And yes, it may seem awfully superficial to refer you to three-minute video clips to back up such an assertion, but this is one of those rare cases in which the impression you get from these short glimpses pretty much matches what you see when you dig a lot deeper.
Would we rather support someone else? Absolutely. Greg Ryberg would have done a far better job, and we would have known that he was there to provide the best possible service as treasurer, rather than to position himself for higher office. But these are the choices we have, and so we just have to take his word that this isn’t simply about attacking the finest member of our congressional delegation from the libertarian fringe — which is the way this looked right up until the time he said he had no immediate plans to oppose Mr. Graham.
This is the alternative to Mr. Patterson, the only one we have now. So that’s why we endorsed him.