Jeanette McBride’s underwhelming endorsement interview performance

eek before last, I posted video from our interview with the other local runoff candidate who should not have won but did — Gwen Kennedy. If you’ll recall, I said at the time that getting her to provide a rationale for her candidacy was "like pulling teeth."

Today — a bit late to do any good, but then I wasn’t able to accomplish much with Ms. Kennedy even though it was ahead of time — I provide a similar clip of Jeanette McBride, who just ousted longtime Richland County Clerk of Court Barbara Scott. Here’s what I had to say about that outcome in my Sunday column:

    In the primary on June 10, we endorsed incumbent Barbara Scott,
since — and we saw no clear evidence to the contrary — she was doing an
adequate job running the courthouse, collecting child support payments
and overseeing the other routine duties of the office. She was judged
clerk of the year by the S.C. chapter of the American Board of Trial
Advocates, which surely knows more about the quality of her day-to-day
work than we do.

    Before making that decision, we considered endorsing Gloria
Montgomery — who had worked in the clerk’s office for years and seems
to understand it thoroughly (certainly better than we or most voters
do) — or Kendall Corley, who offered some interesting ideas for
improving service.

    But we never for a moment considered endorsing Jeanette McBride.
That’s not because Mrs. McBride is married to former state Rep. Frank
McBride, whose political career ended in 1991 when he pleaded guilty to
vote-selling in the Lost Trust scandal. We didn’t consider her because
she offered us no reason whatsoever to believe that she would do a
better job than Ms. Scott. She didn’t even try. She did not display any
particular interest in what the clerk of court does at all.

    She said, quite simply, that she was running because she thought
she could win. She did not explain what went into that calculation, but
so what? She was right.

    Her victory will inevitably be compared to the defeat of Harry
Huntley — regarded by many as the best auditor in the state — in
Richland County in 2006. And it will be suggested that both of these
incumbents were the victims of raw racial politics. Mr. Huntley and Ms.
Scott are white; Ms. McBride and Paul Brawley are black. A candidate
who can pick up most of the black votes in a Democratic primary is
increasingly seen as having an advantage in the county.

    I hope voters had a better reason than that for turning out
qualified candidates in favor of challengers who seemed to offer no
actual qualifications. In fact, I’m wracking my brain trying to think
of other explanations. Ms. McBride, in her interview, didn’t help with
that. And Mr. Brawley didn’t even bother to talk to The State’s
editorial board, so I have no idea what sort of case he made to voters.
I hope he made some really compelling, defensible argument. I just
haven’t heard it yet.

Mrs. McBride was somewhat more forthcoming in her interview than Ms. Kennedy was, but still rather vague. She seemed to be going through the motions with fuzzy observations about the clerk’s office having poor communication, or not being "inclusive" enough. One was left with the distinct impression that she was running, not because she had any clue how to run the courthouse better, but because she believed she could win. And of course, she was right.

Note how, at the end of the clip, she brightens considerably as she explains, with a contented shrug, that "I think the people will elect me." And that seemed to be what really motivated her.

11 thoughts on “Jeanette McBride’s underwhelming endorsement interview performance

  1. penultimo mcfarland

    Kick ’em when they’re up,
    Kick ’em when they’re down,
    Kick’ em when they’re stiff
    Kick ’em all around
    … Give us dirty laundry.
    You or Don Henley, Mr. Warthen? Who’s more morally superior?

  2. Mike Cakora

    In the spirit of another comment on another post about another Col*mbia on your blog, McBride’s victory tells me that Richland County residents have FARCed themselves.
    But such is racial politics in the county. Ms. McBride’s record of service on the Richland District One school board includes her role in the firing of Allen J. Coles as district superintendent. I wonder if she agrees with Rep. Leon Howard who said at the time that Coles’ problem was that he “catered to white folks”?
    Ignoring competence, experience, and ability actually makes voting quite simple. To make it even simpler, why not add a picture of the candidate next to the candidate’s name on the ballot so that those so inclined can vote based simply on color?

  3. Karen McLeod

    Are the birds coming home to roost. The hackneyed saying “what goes around, comes around” is often all too true.

  4. Jim

    It’s not just black Democrats in Richland. In other areas of the state, good public lose because they are not white Republicans tied to the religious right.
    The same year Harry Huntley lost, Mary Strom lost in the Auditors position in Greenville. She had been doing the job and doing it well for years. Why did she lose? Because she was a Democrat in a Republican county.
    The problem is that the state and country is becoming more divided. Too many people put party or ethnicity before the concerns about who can best do the job.

  5. Mike Cakora

    I missed Thursday’s report about McBride’s tax liens. Too bad her opponents didn’t look that up before the election, not that it would have mattered.

  6. Lee Muller

    Tax liens mean nothing, because they are usually created without even notifying the taxpayer of a dispute, much less any due process. Most are put on by computer. Never is there a name of a bureaucrat who made a decision, much less a written reason why. They have the power, so they abuse it.
    Mrs. McBride may actually owe taxes. She may not. Given how corrupt the tax system is, and the fact that many taxes should not exist at all, I withold judgement on any taxpayer in dispute with the government, until I see all the facts.

  7. just saying

    Understanding Lee, take 25: If it is about something he agrees with, Lee will use one study from the mid 1970s and personal anecdotes as the gospel truth. If it is about something he disagrees with he needs _all_ the facts (which of course are rarely there for any issue).

  8. Lee Muller

    As usual, “just saying” didn’t say anything, from the 1970s, or anywhere else.

  9. Perry Strdford

    I am a black male who supported Barbara Scott in the both the primary and the runoff. I didn’t vote for her experience because she learned that on the job. Just like Jeanette McBride, Barbara Scott prior to her election to Clerk of Court was a member of the Richland One School Board; therefore, if she can learn on the job, why is it such a big issue for Jeanette McBride. I am sick and tired of white peoples double standards. Obviously when Barbara Scott was first elected experience didn’t matter.

    1. gary rice

      Lee Muller
      July 14, 2008 at 11:01 am
      What did Jeanette McBride “learn on the job” at the Richland One School Board? She was part of the gang which screwed things up there, and hired dozens of cronies and ran off anyone who tried to change things.
      Besides, Jeanette McBride has given no indication that she ran for office in order to do a better job. She says she ran just because she saw a $90,000 job she had a chance to get.

      Reply ↓

  10. Lee Muller

    What did Jeanette McBride “learn on the job” at the Richland One School Board? She was part of the gang which screwed things up there, and hired dozens of cronies and ran off anyone who tried to change things.
    Besides, Jeanette McBride has given no indication that she ran for office in order to do a better job. She says she ran just because she saw a $90,000 job she had a chance to get.

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