Sorry. I buried the lead on that one. A colleague had earlier brought the Andre nonsense to my attention, and I had made a mental note to post something on it.

When the Senate actually REJECTED this critical legislation — in a classic, befuddled manner that renders it virtually impossible to fix blame, which is of course the hallmark of the Legislative State — I failed to pause to pass on the enormity of it to you. I figured we’d save the important stuff for the paper.

Scratch that plan.

The Senate’s action today is nothing short of a big, fat middle finger flipped at the people of South Carolina, as senators once again say "Hell, no!" to a commonsense effort to construct a rational form of government.

They insist upon sticking to the Ben Tillman formula. Well, this newspaper was founded in 1891 to fight Ben Tillman, and we’re not done, not by a long sight. You will hear more, much more, from us on this.

Meanwhile, to save you the trouble of following links, here is the AP’s story:

m1088 scsc-nbx
Sanford’s constitutional officer agenda dies in Senate
Eds: AMs. UPDATES throughout.
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – State senators scuttled Gov. Mark Sanford’s plan to have voters decide whether several statewide offices should be appointed by the governor.
    Sanford lost mostly party-line votes Wednesday, with senators only giving the necessary two-thirds approval to eliminating elections for comptroller general.
    The Republican-controlled Senate gave majority approval to whether the state’s education superintendent, agriculture commissioner, National Guard chief or secretary of state are elected or appointed, but all fell short of the two-thirds needed. And a bill requiring governors and lieutenant governors to run on a joint ticket couldn’t muster a majority.
    The bills that didn’t pass were sent back to the Senate Judiciary Committee to die. "I’m not putting them back on the agenda," committee chairman Glenn McConnell said.
    It was a disappointment for the Republican governor, whose re-election campaign was filled with calls to modernize and streamline state government and give governors more control of day-to-day state operations.
    Sanford said senators show a lack of faith in letting the people of South Carolina decide if their government was inefficient.
    Power "is hard to give up and there is a minority in the Senate who are working to protect an antiquated, inefficient and unaccountable government structure," the governor said in a prepared statement.
    Wednesday’s votes means South Carolina’s "governor will continue to be one of the weakest in the nation," said Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms.
    Sen. Chauncey "Greg" Gregory noted that probably 90 percent of the voters couldn’t even name the state’s agriculture commissioner and many of the rest wouldn’t know his name unless they’d seen it on a gas pump’s certification sticker or a campaign sign.
    The Senate is clinging to the idea of having all those elected offices "just like we clung to segregation, just like we clung to Jim Crow" and the Confederate flag flying at the Statehouse, said Gregory, R-Lancaster.
    South Carolina "takes a long time to get over bad ideas," Gregory said.
And even the bill getting rid of elections for comptroller general may not survive. It now just needs a majority vote to get to the House, but if an amendment is attached to the bill, it would trigger another two-thirds vote, said McConnell, R-Charleston.
    If a second two-thirds vote is taken, some senators may change their minds. "Are we really accomplishing anything with one office?" asked Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, who voted for all the bills except the one involving the lieutenant governor.
    Sanford isn’t giving up. He said he plans to take his case to voters and talk to them "about the unwillingness of many in office to make those changes."
    The governor will also push the House to pass similar bills, even though McConnell said the Senate won’t reconsider them.
    Sanford also will continue to push his plan to restructure some state agencies, spokesman Joel Sawyer said.
    The decision to pass the bill allowing the governor to appoint a comptroller general was easy because Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom told voters the office should be appointed as he campaigned for re-election and asked legislators Tuesday to make his office an example for government restructuring, said Sen. Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia.
    "Be careful what you ask for, you might get it," Knotts said.

6 thoughts on “Outrage

  1. LexWolf

    Sorry if I’m off-topic on this one, Brad, but I couldn’t find any place to comment on your picture at the top.
    Please, please, please, get rid of it! I tried the beard thing myself and it made me look like a mediocre Santa Claus. Your picture makes you look like an apprentice member of an Oktoberfest oompah band, complete with the instrument strap around the neck.

  2. chrisw

    Your pettiness is incredible.
    Who would you have take the gavel? Glenn McConnell? The man that stands to gain the most by this? Or perhaps a senator that would like to be the Lt. Gov and have little or nothing to do except bask in the perceived glory of the position? Which one is disinterested? Please tell me Brad…who in that body does not have an interest?
    The effect of the law will be enacted till AFTER Andre’s term expires. Your pettiness against several officials like Andre seems to have no bounds.
    You spent the last 4 years telling the state that Andre’ had no power or influence, and you seem to relish the insult of calling him the “Governor Lite”…and no, all of a sudden…he is all powerful. I thought it was admirable that he kept his pledge and stayed out of the mix!!!
    Gees…Brad, take a break and try to gain some perspective.
    PS..in reading the article, I must have missed the place where they say Andre’ worked against this bill. Can you point it out to me??

  3. Brad Warthen

    Uh, the other one was about Andre. This is the serious one, about the Senate deep-sixing restructuring. Let’s talk about that.
    Oh, and I’ve been calling the position GovLite since Nick Theodore held the position in the 80s. You didn’t know that because I didn’t have a blog then, or a column. I was purely a desk man in that period, supervising reporters. Also, the irony is that Andre thinks he is so influential in that a word from him will sway the state, but he declines to step away from the gavel, which is the one thing that gives him any sway.
    Now, let’s talk about the Senate and its eternal opposition to change…

  4. chrisw

    I agree with you 100% on the need for restructuring. Yesterday was a terrible waste.
    The Gov is not handling this correctly, IMHO…not Andre…
    If the Gov had enlisted Andre, I think the matter would have gone differently. My understanding is that there has been no substantial discussion between them. The Gov should have requested those discussions…and asked for his assistance, and I suspect he would have gained a supporter.
    The State is invested in change, but the harping on speeding tickets and the like does not make for an environment likely to build consensus or partnership…so there to is a missed opportunity.

  5. Dave Tavernier

    Last Wednesday’s vote by the senate was in the image of Ben Tillman, replete with all the arrogant disregard for where the source of their power comes, the people? Sadly, I don’t hear any hue and cry throughout the state. Wouldn’t it be great if the voters of this state had as much interest in their legislators’ shenanigans as they do about Gamecock and Clemson football?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *