So is Kirsh still on the Club’s ‘nice’ list?

What did you think when you read John Monk’s piece over the weekend about Herb Kirsh’s bill to limit contributions by Howard Rich and others who get around limits now by giving through multiple corporations?

I just had one, simple thought: Will Rep. Kirsh still be on the Club for Growth’s list of approved legislators, or did he just make the "naughty" list?

Yes, I realize Howard Rich and the Club are different things, but they share the same aims. And the effort of groups with similar aims to stack the Legislature in the image of Mark Sanford is a very sore subject at the State House, where the governor is persona non grata.

11 thoughts on “So is Kirsh still on the Club’s ‘nice’ list?

  1. Lee Muller

    Brad Warthen has often defended Lindsay Graham, John Spratt and James Clyburn for receiving most of their financing from outside SC, but he attacks small donations to help small citizens defeat big spending.
    Herb Kirsh wants to protect incumbents. If he cared about good government, he would do something about the pork of other senators who have been in office most of their adult lives.

  2. Brad Warthen

    If the facts don’t help his case, Lee just makes ’em up, doesn’t he?

    Let’s have a few examples of me defending those three individuals for receiving "most of their financing" from out of state — or for receiving ANY of it from out of state (I won’t hold you to your own standard, I’ll lower the bar, since I’m a nice guy — and since I know you can’t back it up on ANY level).

    I’ve been pretty lenient lately, but I’m conflicted. Do I just let Lee say things like this, and run the risk of some readers thinking there’s a grain of truth there (thereby wasting a lot of time of nonproductive digressions)? It’s certainly not worth my time to prove myself innocent of every charge he invents. And I won’t do it. I’m an American, not a Frenchman living under the Napoleonic Code, which holds that you’re guilty until proven innocent.

    Or do I just delete things like this — and whoppers like this one from a previous post:

        The only principle of taxation for Brad and his ilk is, "Tax as much as you can get away with."
        Fairness, justice, morality, and economic pragmatism are not given one iota of consideration.

    … in which he essential said black was white, and vice versa — it flies directly in the face of what I’d said in the column, and what I always say and think.

    As I hope I’ve made clear, I want this to be a forum in which we engage each other on our actual ideas, rather than having circular arguments about what each of us improbably accuses others of thinking.

    I take what y’all say as being what you really mean (and hold me accountable if you see me stray from that). All I ask in return is the same courtesy — not for my sake, but for the sake of honest, productive, relevant discourse. Either extend that to me and to everyone else here, or go away from my blog.

  3. Doug Ross

    > at the State House, where the governor is
    > persona non grata.
    That’s a plus in my book… I hope Sanford stacks the entire State House with people who have a similar approach toward limiting government and creating a fair tax system.
    Sanford was easily re-elected easily in 2006, so he must be doing something right. What do the people of South Carolina know that the legislators don’t?

  4. Brad Warthen

    Sanford was re-elected easily because he had the following opponents: Oscar Lovelace and Tommy Moore.
    Is he popular among people who don’t actually have to work with him? Yes. He’s an affable guy. But don’t exaggerate that popularity based on election results. The voters have the same problem as we do with endorsements — an endorsement doesn’t mean a candidate is such a great guy; as often as not it means you didn’t have a good alternative. Again, he’s popular among those who don’t know him well; just don’t make too much of that.
    Finally, on the national level, it looks like we’re about to have a presidential election between two strong candidates. We’re a good distance away from having our first gubernatorial election that you could say that about.

  5. Doug Ross

    > Again, he’s popular among those who
    >don’t know him well; just don’t make too
    >much of that
    So you’re saying the voters are ignorant?
    Or lemmings who just pull a lever based on the “R” next to Sanford’s name?
    How well do the voters know Glenn McConnell or Bobby Harrell — guys who have far more power and influence than they should have in a representative government?

  6. weldon VII

    I’m much more concerned with the vouchers debate itself than Howard Rich’s money.
    I’m aware the South Carolina School Boards Association is putting together an anti-Howard Rich campaign, but before I decide Rich’s campaign contributions are a bad thing, I need to know what he’s backing isn’t a good thing.
    If private schools are spending half what public schools do per child and getting twice the results, what’s so bad about vouchers?
    Wouldn’t a little real competition for the public school bucks likely strengthen public schools?
    If the public schools couldn’t win the battle with the infinitely deep pockets of the government at their disposal, what, pray tell, would that mean?

  7. Austin

    I suspect the Club for Growth will have no problem with Herb Kirsh. The old guy puts more energy into picking apart the budget than anyone in the General Assembly. I think that kind of thoughtful consideration is laudable, and I would hope the Club would agree.
    The bill has admirable goals, and I would expect the Club would recognize the value in opening up the political process or decentralizing influence. Ultimately, they’re all about decentralizing the influence government has over all of our lives.
    At the end of the day, the Club for Growth folks are playing by the rules – flawed rules that should be changed – but the rules nonetheless. It would seem to me this kind of bill would be appealing to an organization dedicated to limited government.
    Moreover, I don’t agree with the organization on all fronts, but when did zealous advocacy become a bad thing. If nothing else, their input has been an energizing force in the sometimes slothful South Carolina marketplace of ideas.
    I think the influx of new ideas – and even new people – can be a good thing for government. I’m as disturbed as the next guy about even the appearance of quid pro quo politics, and I hope this bill can be a meaningful step toward ending that sort of thing.
    Finally, Brad – I think this kind of post is beneath your usual standards. You might look to Professor John Freeman’s comments. The contributions of people like Howard Rich may have provided the impetus for this bill – but this is ultimately a bigger policy question about how we want to finance politics. I would appreciate your more substantive thoughts on that front.

  8. Lee Muller

    Brad, please provide a list of all the tax cuts you support, and that your fellow editors and newspaper support.

  9. Lee Muller

    Well, I posted a reply to Brad, naming some specific things Brad could do to demonstrate that he wanted some taxes reduced, some waste and corruption he was exposing, etc.
    He edited it, removing all but the last sentence above.
    I posted another response to his personal attack on me, explaining why readers base their opinions of his ideology on what he says, not what he says he is. He could also discuss the philosophy behind his opinions, if he doesn’t want people deduce it from his support for various big government spending programs and restrictions of personal liberty.
    He deleted that, too.

  10. Matt

    As Executive Director of the SC Club for Growth PAC, I am happy to answer your question – of course we stand by the endorsement of Representative Herb Kirsh that we made last week. Our endorsements are neither made on a whim, nor based upon petty personal politics. We endorsed Rep. Kirsh based upon his voting record over the past three years. Like all seventeen of the incumbents we endorsed, Rep. Kirsh has shown himself to be a supporter of government restructuring, a reformer and a fiscal conservative looking out first and foremost for our state’s taxpayers.
    I am not sure what about Rep. Kirsh’s potential bill would have you question our support of him, as we don’t address campaign finance in the list of six issues where we focus our efforts. (Our website/issues are at In fact, with your reputation as “Mr. Unparty,” I would think that rather than pose an unrelated question, you might actually give us praise for an improved bipartisan approach. Rep. Kirsh is the first Democrat we’ve endorsed.
    Another approach you might take would be to acknowledge that the state’s one PAC focused on government restructuring – the issue we (including The State, CFG, you) agree is our state’s biggest opportunity – has endorsed seventeen incumbents in part because of their strong track record on that issue.
    Like many of our legislators, you seem awfully infatuated with Governor Sanford. We are focused on policies to improve our state rather than personalities. However, despite your constant criticism he’s obviously doing something right- as winning two terms as governor and continuing to earn high approval ratings from regular South Carolinians isn’t easy.
    The fact is, we’ll have a new governor in early 2011 and our efforts are more about putting the state on the right path in the next 10-50 years. We would like to have a legislature that is “stacked,” in your words, with people of any party who will vote more often with our endorsed incumbents on important issues like taxes, pork spending and restructuring.
    PS – The now-defunct blog that you link, supposedly talking about the SC Club for Growth, actually talks about a different group with a similar acronym. An understandable mistake but I’ve never heard of it nor the candidate involved.

  11. Lee Muller

    High Taxes Killing the US Economy
    Income tax rates on working Americans increased 50% under Bill Clinton. Hillary says salaried and hourly employees need to pay more.
    Our capital gains tax rate was also raised to 35%, among the highest in the world. Many European nations have no capital gains taxes, and no dividends taxes, in order to encourage savings.
    Meanwhile, Clinton and the Democrats in 1993 reduced the long-term capital gains for investment bankers and venture capitalists to 14%.
    Democrat voters are suckers.

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