Thomas Ravenel, state treasurer


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.


24 thoughts on “Thomas Ravenel, state treasurer

  1. LexWolf

    I think you’re right, and right now I can’t see anyone more qualified out there to succeed Sanford. I still wish he would bump Graham off his little media throne.

  2. Ed

    “Vote for Ravenel…he’s not as bad as the other guy.”
    Brad, have you ever considered that the more principled position might be to refrain from endorsing a candidate, than to endorse someone for every single race, even if the guy you endorse has absolutely nothing going for him? You’ve essentially endorsed a guy whose only two assets are that he’s younger than Grady Patterson (who isn’t?) and he says he won’t jump ship for a senate bid. Pretty thin soup for a newspaper endorsement, I’d have thought. This obsessed need to endorse someone or other in every race doesn’t make you guys look good. To me, it really says more about you than either candidate. Ed

  3. LexWolf

    Actually Brad is trying to pad his endorsement batting average. It’s a pretty safe guess that Ravenel will win.

  4. Silence Dogood

    Brad, “This is the alternative to Mr. Patterson, the only one we have now. So that’s why we endorsed him.” Your only reason for endorsing him is that he is not Patterson? Is Grady as sharp as he was years ago, no, but would the the State have endorsed my pupppy skip, the devil incarnate or ‘none of the above’ over Grady Patterson. According to this sentence, the anser is yes. Which is fine, but that is not the level of analysis I think most of your readers want. How about, “while not a thrilling set of choices” which I would whole heartedly agree with you on, “we ultiately chose Ravenel” or “lesser of two evils et cetera.” More than a half hearted endorsement of Ravenel, I took this to be an absolute categorical, and completely uncaveated renoucement of Patterson, which I think is a little overboard, but that may be what you meant. While I will probably vote for Patterson I respect the State’s opinion on the race, yet that closing sentence of the blog really cut me the wrong way.

  5. mark g

    Politics is in such a sorry state in SC.
    I think for governor, there are two clear choices, and they are both dedicated, decent guys. I might strongly disagree with Sanford, and feel his reelection would mean more pettiness and infighting, but I don’t doubt his sincerity or honesty. Moore’s heart is in the right place, and I feel he could work well with others on real progress.
    I have to say the same for commissioner of agriculture– you couldn’t find two better candidates than Emile and Hugh. I wish this race had received a lot more attention.
    But the other races…what a mess. No one decent for adjutant general; no one capable of being a responsible treasurer. On the republican side, Bauer is immature and wreckless; Eckstrom is downright dishonest; Floyd, shallow and evasive.
    The democrats aren’t much better, with Footman a joke; poor Grady– whom I like and admire– just not up for another term.
    And the negative campaigning and whiny debates– they are downright embarassing.
    While I think it’s close enough for anything to happen, the most likely outcome: Sanford, Bauer, Ravenel, Eckstrom, Floyd. I don’t see much hope for SC’s future with this line-up. I hope I’m wrong.

  6. Brad Warthen

    Here’s the thing about that: Neither “none of the above” nor, regretably, your puppy Skip, is on the ballot.
    One of these men will be the treasurer. The voters will choose one of them, either by voting or by not voting (thereby leaving the decision to those who did).
    For that reason, we decided years ago that whenever faced with a situation when both candidates are unsuitable, we force ourselves to sit back down and pick the less objectionable, and not cop out.
    This year we had one of our rare exceptions. In the adjutant general’s race, we really could not in good conscience endorse either. This case fell slightly short of that.

  7. Captain Worley

    I’m not voting for that guy. he’s a second generation politician, a developer, and despite what he says, in three years, he’s running against Graham.

  8. Silence Dogood

    Brad, admittedly, as you noted in the follow up to the first post you were responding conflatedly to mine and Mark’s comments. My issue really didn’t have anyting to do with my dog skip (though if he had been on the ballot in a couple of races I may have given him a second glance because he has some qualities other candidates don’t). My problem was only with the ultimate analysis that Ravenel is endorsed, or anyone, for the sheer purpose that they were not Patterson. The categorical nature of it is what I found poor. Therefore if a 105 year old of even further dimished capacity were running against Patterson the State would have endorsed that person because “This is the alternative to Mr. Patterson”? I realize you might not have thought analysis any good, which is fine, but I still don’t understand why Ravenel’s not being Patterson is enough. Hence why I wrote “the better or two not-so-stellar choices,” or “lesser of two evils” vs. anyone who is not Patterson merits endorsing seemed problematic to me. I promise I am not trying to be overly petty about semantics, even if it may seem such.

  9. One of many he's hit on

    Was “breezy” a typo? Surely you mean sleazy. Anyone who leaves a girl waiting at the alter with her family in the church pews as he boards a plane fits into that category. Cheesy maybe?

  10. hunter

    I think he maybe is as bad as the other guy, since he has been indicted on cocaine felony distribution charges.

  11. morg

    Silver spoon boy in crooked real estate dealings, used family political connections to gain favorable land deals and tax shelters.
    Arrogant, self centered coke head. A man of family values…. Put him in jail and revoke his bond. Public servant?

  12. upstate democrat

    When the coke charges were announced yesterday I got to say, one more time, “I told you so.” This guy was sleazy from the get-go and I knew it the minute I saw him, smiling from his low-country plantation with all his family around him in those stupid commercials. When will SC voters wake up??? I agree with silence dogood above: if this is what gets elected there is no hope for this state. Can’t wait to rub this in to every Repug. I talk with.

  13. DNR

    Let’s see, Ravenel has been indicted on “Cocaine Distribution”, he wants a smaller boat to traverse the creeks around Edisto Island, and he is cozy with the (DNR) Department of Natural Resources. Hummn. What is he doing pulling favors with the DNR.


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