Our last interview: Phil Black, who’s challenging Joe Wilson

OK, technically this wasn’t our last interview, but it is that last one from which I have video. As we neared the end (I lost count somewhere around 45 interviews, but there weren’t more than a handful after that), we had to do some of them (Buddy Witherspoon, Joe Wilson and Bob Conley) by phone.

You may not have heard much about Phil Black, who’s running against Joe Wilson in the 2nd congressional district. He’s not one of your big-budget candidates, and by his own account he’s pretty much been treated like "a red-headed stepchild" at party functions.

But I think you’ll like him. I did, when I met him Tuesday. I particularly liked his willingness to think outside his party’s box. He’s a single-payer health care guy, like me, and he actually has an intriguingly creative idea on how to deal with illegal immigration.

So, Doug Ross will say, why didn’t you endorse him? Why did you go with the incumbent, yet again? Doug won’t like my answer, which is this: Yep, I really liked Mr. Black. But I’ve never seen him hold public office (he’s serve on two school boards, but I wasn’t aware of it at the time), so I’ve had no opportunity to observe from experience whether he would really be the smart, down-to-earth regular guy he seems to be, or whether he just makes a good first impression.

With Joe Wilson, you know what you’re going to get. And there’s great truth in what Mr. Black says about him: "Joe Wilson is a fine individual, (but) Joe Wilson is a career politician."

But I’m just not prepared to send a guy as far away as Washington when I’ve never had a chance to observe him on the job.

See, Doug? I told you you wouldn’t like it. Anyway, watch the video. Get to know Phil. Joe you know already. Make up your own mind.

9 thoughts on “Our last interview: Phil Black, who’s challenging Joe Wilson

  1. Doug Ross

    Hey, you’re the one who has to live with your endorsements… your fascination with career politicians is 180 degrees in opposition to all the supposed reforms you’d like to see in government. I don’t know how you can logically reconcile those two views.
    You like big government guys. You think politics is apparently a skill you have to develop over many years… that it’s a complex system that just some regular guy with half a brain and a full set of ethics couldn’t figure out in a couple months.
    Just please stop talking about reforming government when you aren’t willing to replace career politicians.

  2. p.m.

    And the first round goes to …
    Doug Ross.
    If Black’s successful interview had no chance to win your endorsement because you’ve never seen him on the job, why bother to interview him in the first place? You’re being dishonest to him. You wasted his time.
    “Well, Mr. Black, we liked your answers to the questions, and your ideas, and your approach in general, not to mention your hat, but Joe Wilson, well, we’re used to him, so we’re endorsing him, even if you might be better.”
    That really makes exactly no sense, but it does compute just as well as a $2 tax on gasoline, so why should I complain?
    By the way, could somebody please explain Black’s immigration idea? I can’t spend four hours downloading the video of him with dial-up, which is all I have.

  3. Billy Bob

    Couldn’t have said it better, Joe make up your own mind!!!
    What a puppet and a loser. Must get very tiresome kissing Bush’s ass!!

  4. Doug Ross

    Anyway, considering The State’s editorial backrub of Lindsey Graham is its endorsement this week, we already know everything we need to know what to expect.
    Lindsey Graham’s primary accomplishments over the past six years have been:
    1) Being Bush’s lapdog on the Iraq War… supporting the phony reasons for invading, never admitting that the strategy from day one was completely flawed, declaring victory time and time again in the face of all evidence, staging propaganda photo ops on his trips to Iraq (you know the ones where he surrounds himself with a company of soldiers and helicopters to show how “safe” Baghdad is).
    2) Working with McCain to come up with a horrendous immigration bill that completely ignores the rule of law and offered amnesty to illegal immigrants. Then whining about how everyone who opposed his bill had to be racist. And now, even McCain won’t even answer a simple question as to whether he would support the bill THAT HE WROTE! That’s just how out of touch with America he and Lindsey were. Here’s Lindsey’s direct quote on the matter: “We are going to solve this problem. We’re not going to run people down. We’re not going to scapegoat people. We’re going to tell the bigots to shut up, and we’re going to get this right.” Sounds like a petulant school boy to me.
    3) Compromising all basic Republican principles to walk hand-in-hand with seven Democrat Senators in the Gang of 14.
    That’s what The State considers worthy of another term. A guy who essentially did nothing in six years.

  5. Barry

    I like Lindsey. I’ll vote for him and he will easily win again.
    I have many reasons for supporting him. The fact that a serial whiner and complainer like Doug Ross doesn’t like him is an additional reason.

  6. Brad Warthen

    As I said, Doug — you wouldn’t like it. Of course, you ignore my reasoning — somebody comes out of nowhere, makes a good first impression, but could turn out to be the worst pick in history when he really gets into office. Mark Sanford is an example of this. He had served quietly and obscurely, well out of our sight, in Congress. We had never observed him actually on the job in a position of public trust. He had come by to see us a few times and said all the right things. He has been a total loss for South Carolina, eight years of missed opportunity — and if he had his way, he’d be actively harmful (fortunately, he is so off-putting once you’ve had the chance to observe him in office, he can’t get the Legislature to go along with him).
    Also, you say “You like big government guys,” which in this context makes NO sense. Between these two — if I take them at their word, which is what I’d be doing if I endorsed Phil based on this first impression — the big government guy is Phil. It’s certainly not Joe. Note what I like about him — a single-payer national health plan. We’d never get that out of Joe, unfortunately.

  7. Doug Ross

    Thanks for your brilliant analysis. What Lindsey Graham needs is more people who claim to support him who are also afraid to actually reveal their names. Is it that embarrassing to associate yourself with him?

  8. Doug Ross

    Your “reasoning” is completely flawed. If Sanford was so bad, why was he re-elected with ease? Just because you don’t like him doesn’t make him a bad choice for SC. It’s very likely he’d get re-elected again if he was able to.
    So keep endorsing the status quo and keep calling for reform. We’ll see how that works out.

  9. p.m.

    Well, thanks for not explaining Black’s immigration idea, whoever wants credit. I guess if he’s elected I’ll find out what it is.
    By the way, Mr. Warthen, Mark Sanford has promoted as governor almost exactly what he showed “quietly and obscurely” out of your sight in Washington: frugality.
    If you think he was bad, how bad do you think Tommy “Payday Lender” Moore would have been?

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