No regrets about Ravenel, CowBoy

One of the respondents to my guest appearance on the news editors’ blog — a fella who style himself  "CowBoy" — had this to say:

Thomas Ravenel is not a "smart guy".  Thomas Ravenel is a nice guy and a slick guy.

I enjoy reading Brad’s editorials, but Brad should be banned from
making endorsements. Let’s see–he endorsed Bush and regrets it. He
endorsed Sanford and regrets. He endorsed Ravenel and now (I’m sure) he
regrets that. Ravenel is a lot of things–exceptional in many ways–but
he is not a state treasurer.

Brad once again has had one of his endorsements come back to haunt
him. Brad, how about no more endorsements in the future? Why don’t you
just cut your losses?

To which I have this to say:

Howdy, Pardner. I do not regret endorsing Bush. I regret having no choice but to endorse Bush.

We laid out all the things that were wrong with the president in the endorsement editorial. No surprises. But I was pretty sure that Kerry would have abandoned Iraq, and that would have been a mistake of catastrophic proportions.

It was a tragic choice we were presented with, and for the sake of our nation, I hope the political parties will not impose another such lose-lose choice on the rest of us, because we can’t afford this partisan nonsense any more.

Nor do I regret endorsing either Sanford (in 2002) or Ravenel. Knowing what we knew at the time, those were the right decisions.

We are deeply disappointed in Sanford; that doesn’t mean we would have preferred another four years of Jim Hodges.

As for Ravenel, we’re in better shape with either the governor or the Legislature appointing a treasurer to serve through 2010 than we would be with Grady Patterson again. Grady, God bless him, had served his country and state with devotion, but it was past time for him to retire.

Once again, blame the parties for not giving us better choices.

I’ve got to mosey along now.

16 thoughts on “No regrets about Ravenel, CowBoy

  1. Joe

    “I hope the political parties will not impose another such lose-lose choice on the rest of us”
    That’s a nice thought, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that’s ALL we’ve been given lately.
    The parties don’t care a whit about us. They’re in it together. It’s about money and power – how much of both they can get from us.
    It’s at its worst in Washington and is filtering down to the state and local levels.
    If not Ravenel this week, it’s Geddings last week, Bauer the other week and on it goes. On both sides.

  2. Hal Jordan

    Brad’s analysis doesn’t address the crucial issue. The question isn’t whether he was satisfied by the choices put forward by the parties. The question is, what entitles Brad Warthen to speak on the issues?
    On the question of the Iraq war, Brad Warthen is a 26%-er, a dead-ender. There is no partisan divide on the war, there is a divide between America and Brad. Brad is not entitled to lecture us on the supposed catastrophic consequences of ending the war, because he hasn’t answered the threshold question. The question that Brad needs to answer is, what right do you have to speak on the subject?
    Until he can answer that question satisfactorily, any remarks he makes on the Iraq war should be met with a request to talk to the hand.
    Similarly, Brad’s endorsement of Ravenel has proven spectacularly and hilariously wrong, and he is not entitled to lecture the parties on failing to provide a candidate suitable for him. When faced with the fact that he endorsedfor treasurer someone who thinks that cocaine is the way to liven up a party, nothing he says on the subject should be entertained unless he first answers the question, who asked you for your opinion, and what entitles you to speak?
    Brad’s objection isn’t to “partisan nonsense,” it’s to the fact that he can’t get support for his views. He may think that’s a bad thing, but I sure don’t.
    Brad, tell us why we should listen to you. Tell us why we should allow you to speak. If you have anything to say other than that, tell it to the hand.

  3. Randy

    Dear Mr. Warthen,
    The characteristics you attribute to Thomas Ravenel would be obvious to anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with him. As someone who knew him when he was in his late 20’s and “earning” his MBA at USC, I was shocked when he was nominated, endorsed by your paper, and then elected SC state treasurer, of all things. Of course, those of us fortunate enough to have a name, money, and perhaps a telegenic face have no need for such recommendations, or qualifications either for that matter.
    While we all share responsibility for informing ourselves about our political candidates, I believe that the media in particular are failing the people when it comes to looking closely at the character and qualifications of those who run for office or are appointed to office at all levels. During the next election cycle, I hope you and your colleagues will probe more deeply.
    Thanks for your time.

  4. Ready to Hurl

    I do not regret endorsing Bush. I regret having no choice but to endorse Bush.

    Once again, Brad, you floor me with your absolute cluelessness.
    How, in the name of all that is good, can you not regret endorsing the worst president of modern America? How can you NOT regret endorsing the president who has presided over the most pernicious assault on the constitution and constitutional rights since Richard Nixon.
    How can you not at least regret endorsing an incompetent president whose policies have resulted in the pointless deaths of 3,600 American soldiers and tens of thousands of civilian Iraqis?
    How, in good conscience, can you say that a Kerry administration could possibly have been worse than an administration that spies on Americans illegally, turns the goverment into a partisan political machine, and chooses the welfare of a clump of cells slated to be washed down the drain over people suffering from curable diseases?
    You didn’t have a choice? Oh, pul-leeze. That’s your lamest cop-out yet.

  5. ed

    Hal, you are asking the very question I have asked myself (and Brad at times) over and over:
    What exactly is it that qualifies Brad and the others on the editorial board at The State to pontificate and opine about every single frickin thing that ever comes up in this state? And what,exactly, makes their opinions any better than anyone elses?
    I have come up with the same answer to both questions, and that answer is that there is NOTHING that qualifies them in any special or unique way to editorialize about everything, other than that they work for the paper. Given that their opinions are absolutely no better than anyone elses (and in many cases worse), it is a marvel to observe how sanctimonious they can get when telling the rest of us how we ought to think. Marvelous, and frankly a little sickening. The supercilious and preachy tone regularly taken by Brad and Cindi on the oped page is among the main three or four reasons I stopped taking the paper about six years ago. And yet these supposedly brilliant editors can’t seem to figure out why their circulation is dropping like Brittanys’ britches. Ed

  6. Hal Jordan

    Ready to Hurl, you make good points, but they are irrelevant. The questions you ask are not the right questions to ask of a 26 percenter. The only question that you should ask of Brad or any other 26 percenter is, what right to you have to speak on this issue?
    I mean, you ask some good questions, but do you really care what Brad’s answers are? I certainly don’t. Who cares what reasons he gives for his opinions? I want to know why he thinks he is even entitled to have an opinion. Until he can explain that, I have no interest in hearing anything he has to say on the subject.
    Do you?

  7. Hal Jordan

    Ed, the question you ask is slightly different from the one I ask. You ask why Brad thinks that he has more of a right to express his opinion than does anyone else. I don’t have an answer to that either, but that’s not my question. My question is, why does Brad think he has as might as anyone else to exprss an opinion. With respect to the war in paticular, my question is why he thinks he has any right at all to express his opinion.

  8. Hal Jordan

    Ed, the question you ask is slightly different from the one I ask. You ask why Brad thinks that he has more of a right to express his opinion than does anyone else. I don’t have an answer to that either, but that’s not my question. My question is, why does Brad think he has as much right as anyone else to exprss an opinion. With respect to the war in paticular, my question is why he thinks he has any right at all to express an opinion.

  9. bud

    Hal, Brad, as an American citizen, has as much right as any other American to express his opinion on issues, no matter how stupid or unpopular those opinions might be. The 10/31/04 endorsement of Bush is interesting in that it argues quite eloquently for all the reasons we should vote for Kerry! As it turned out all the criticism of Bush in that endorsement showed just how incapable Bush would be to handle a crisis of the magnitude of hurricane Katrina. How prophetic. If Brad had just connected the dots that were right before his eyes he might have seen how flawed that endorsement was.
    The problem with Brad is not so much his incredibly dumb endorsement of Bush in 2004. Rather, it’s that he STILL supports the main reason for that endorsement. That, in spite of a total lack of any evidence to support that reason. Iraq is no more likely to become a haven for terrorists than Kansas if we withdraw our troops. The people of Iraq, those who are still left, are too busy fighting each other to worry about attacking the U.S. The dead-enders will continue to insist that Iraq has some relationship to American security. That we now know to be false.
    Still, Brad is entitled to his opinion. That opinion inexplicably continues to prevail as the official policy of the United States Government. For that reason we cannot ignore his words, no matter how far removed from reality they have become.

  10. ed

    Of course he does Bud, but there is a huge difference between average civilians who express their opinion and what Brad does. Normal people like you and I say what we think as an “army of one. ” By this I mean we have no more influence that our individual powers of persuasion and ability to express ourselves give us. On the other hand, Brad constantly uses every bit of the power, pull and prestige his position on the newspaper staff gives him in order to widely influence general public opinion, change the course/operation of government and effect his will in elections.
    I imagine that Brad would say that this is simply what newspaper editors do…and maybe it is. But for you to say that it is “just his expression of his opinion” and that it is the same as what you and I (as average citizens) do is ridiculous.
    Besides, Brad really is pretty preachy, isn’t he? Ed

  11. bud

    Ed, you have a point. Because of his vocation Brad’s opinion does carry more weight than RTH, ed, Hal, Lex, bud or even Dr. Demarco. That’s why I devote most of my responses here to opinions offered by Brad rather than some of the other writers.

  12. Hal Jordan

    Bud, to say that someone has a right to speak under the law means simply that no one is entitled to forcibly stop him from speaking. It does not mean that he is morally entitled to speak, or that anyone is entitled to pay attention to his comments or to treat them as worthy of a hearing. I say that Brad and the other 27 perceners have forfeited any right to speak about the war. They have nothing to say that is of interest. We cannot and should not prevent them from speaking, but they have nothing to say that is of value. There is no need to address their comments. Their arguments have already been refuted, it is now time to simply quit listening to them. By patiently explaining to Brad over and over again that black is black, and he is wrong for saying it’s white, you give his argument that black is white a status that it doesn’t deserve. When someone says that black is white, you don’t explain no, it’s black, here’s why, you say, you have no creditbility on this issue, don’t talk to me about it any more.

  13. Ready to Hurl

    Hal, in a perfect world, Brad would be relegated to a soapbox in Findlay Park. In the same world, Bush would be impeached and convicted for lying us into a war. Cheney would be either perp walked or led out in a straight jacket.
    You might have noticed that we’re not close to any of those events occurring.
    So, I tilt with windmills– exposing Brad’s arrogant ignorance and the errors of neo-cons (both neo-conservatives and neo-confederates).

  14. bud

    Hal, you ignore the ignorant rants of people like Brad at your peril. His view on Iraq is the one that is currently national policy. That makes it imperative to constantly shoot it down. Al Gore ignored the utter nonsense aimed at him during the 2000 election and enough people believed that crap (he invented the internet, he discoverd Love Canal, etc) that it cost him the election. In effect, he was falsely painted as a kook and because he ignored it many people believed it was true to cost him the election. If Brad’s position was not national policy you would have a point.
    Because his stay-the-course nonsense resonates with a still-sizable minority of the population we simply have to counter it over and over again. Not in a defensive way. Rather we should stay on the offensive and show how American security is harmed by stay-the-course, not by saying simply that the war is costing lives, is expensive, etc. Americans will support a war, no matter the cost, if they believe it is making us more secure. The pro-peace movement has failed to show how this war is actually making us less safe. If they can do that then the war ends quickly.

  15. Harry

    Brad, you also endorsed Bush in 2000, and he went on a ten month Chaney presidency which I warned about. He was so arrogant that a New England Republican senator changed parties to slow him down. 911 and subsequent security issues kept him afloat. By the way, Kerry had a plan to end the Iraq war very similar to what the Iraq Study Group came up with, not a precipitous withdrawal. If you don’t yet regret endorsing President Bush, you will. It will take decades for us and the world to recover from the damage in international affairs caused by his and the Chaney group’s doctrinaire incompetent and wrong-headed actions. Not only did they squander the post 911 opportunities to solve some problems, but they have set our world standing and influence back tremendously.

  16. bud

    American security is best served by it’s military assets when those assets are deployed in a manner consistent with the threat they are intended to thwart. In many cases the status of American military resources serves not just to waste those resources on a mission that does not enhance security but that status actually increases our risk from attack.
    That is clearly the case with our military resources as deployed in Iraq. They may eventually calm things down in Iraq (or may not), but overall the region becomes much more hostile to America and American interests. The proof comes in the form of sharply increased terrorist acts around the globe. Even in the U.S. some tragic shootings may have been inspired by American occupation of Iraq, the Utah mall shooting for example. Clearly Iran feels threatened and this could spill over into an oil embargo that would disrupt our economy in a very serious way.
    Setting aside the high cost in terms of lives and money the U.S. spends in Iraq the continued military involvement in that country increaes our risk from terrorist attacks. This reduced level of security, not the cost, is the primary reason we should redeploy our military assets to other parts of the world where they can enhance our security at home.


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