What about Gresham Barrett?

Either today or tomorrow I'm going to call and talk to Gresham Barrett about his candidacy for governor, for the purposes of a column — like the one I did on Vincent Sheheen. As I've indicated, I plan to focus on candidates for this job early, and give you, the voter, as much information as I can about each of them, so that you can make a better choice than we, the people, have made in the last few gubernatorial elections.

Assuming, of course, that we're offered a better choice — and frankly, we haven't had a really good one since Joe Riley just barely lost the runoff in the Democratic primary in 1994. And maybe, if I shed enough light on the subject, it will encourage good candidates to run this time. Don't ask me how my shedding light will accomplish that — admittedly, it's a fuzzy concept — but I feel compelled to do all I can to help us get better leadership, and all I really know how to do is shed light. ("It's what I do, darlin'," as Captain Mal said to River Tam, about robbing payrolls.)

In that same vein, I recently posted what I had on dark horse candidate Brent Nelson.

I find myself at a slight disadvantage in the case of Rep. Barrett. I just haven't had very many dealings with him. This morning, off the top of my head, I compiled a list of what little I know about him:

  • Like Bobby Harrell, he was critical of the job that Mark Sanford's Commerce Department had done with regard to developing the state's economy. When he came to see us one day in 2005 (which may be the last time I sat and talked with him, although we've talked by phone more than once since then) that's one of the things we talked about, because there had been a story that morning in The Greenville News (sorry, the link is no longer available) in which he had said "more could be done" by the governor to help the state's economy. He wasn't OVERTLY picking a fight with the governor, but he WAS disagreeing with him about such things as the role of our research universities in boosting the economy.
  • He was an early supporter of Fred Thompson for president.
  • He's an enthusiastic backer of nuclear power, particularly of the idea of generating power from the Savannah River Site. As often as not when I've talked to him, that's what he's wanted to talk about.
  • He voted against the TARP bailout, before he voted for it.
  • He was dubbed one of the 10 "Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill" by The Hill, which frankly caused me to lose whatever respect I had for that publication. The photo above is the one they offered to support their insupportable case. His staffer Brooke Latham, yeah. Absolutely. In fact, I wondered why she was rated only No. 2 on the list, going by the picture. But Gresham Barrett? Come on. And this is not just glandular bias, although I would argue that if you really listed the 50 most beautiful people on the Hill without any regard to gender, they would all be young women. Why? Because the system tend to attract, and choose for employment, attractive young women. Whereas there is NO mechanism in place to reward and promote physical attractiveness in males, at least not to the same degree. Yeah, there are a few gay members of congress hiring pages I suppose, and politicians as a class sometimes tend to look like TV newscasters, but the phenomenon whereby attractive, nubile women are drawn to halls of power would tend to overwhelm such other factors. Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong, but Mr. Barrett looks about as average as they come. Which is not to cast aspersions.

And that's pretty much it. Other than those things, he has struck me, to the extent that he has struck me at all, as a vanilla Southern Repubican in Congress, neither better nor worse than the average. He has not stood out. Of course, he has seemed somewhat more engaged — watching from afar — in the business of Congress than Mark Sanford was when he was there, but that's not saying much of anything at all.

So I look forward to learning more about him, and sharing that with you.

In the meantime, here's today's news story about his candidacy, here's his still-under-construction Web site, and here's the full text of his first campaign press release:

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 4, 2009                                                                                        


Third District Congressman Will Seek Republican Nomination

WESTMINSTER, S.C. – In a video posted on his website, www.greshambarrett.com, and in an email to the voters of South Carolina, U.S. Congressman Gresham Barrett announced his candidacy for Governor of the Palmetto State in 2010.
    In the video entitled “Opportunity,” Congressman Barrett said, “I learned my values from my family’s furniture store in Westminster and from the Citadel in Charleston: hard work, community, and commitment to causes greater than self.”
    Congressman Barrett also wrote the voters saying, “I believe South Carolina has tremendous potential, despite our serious challenges. I feel God has blessed me with strong experiences – in running a small business, raising a family, serving in our military, and leading in elected office– that give me a unique conservative perspective on the challenges we face and how to fix them. I believe I have certain strengths in these uncertain times. And I believe we have to hold on to our conservative values, and change the things that hold us back… I am excited about this campaign, and honored to have the opportunity to share my vision for a more prosperous South Carolina with the hard-working people of our great state.”
    Barrett named Travis Butler as his campaign Treasurer of Barrett for Governor.  Mr. Butler is President of Butler Properties and Development. 
    Currently, Gresham Barrett represents the people of South Carolina’s Third District in the United States House of Representatives. Barrett earned his undergraduate degree from The Citadel. He served four years in the United States Army before resigning his commission as a Captain in order to return to his hometown of Westminster, South Carolina where he would later run the family’s furniture store. Prior to his election to the U.S. Congress, Gresham Barrett served three terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives where he fought for numerous pro-family and pro-economic growth initiatives. Gresham and his wife of 24 years, Natalie, have three children Madison, Jeb, and Ross.

Note: To view Congressman Barrett’s announcement video entitled, “Opportunity,” please click here.


And here's the above-mentioned video:

Gresham Barrett For Governor from Gresham Barrett on Vimeo.

9 thoughts on “What about Gresham Barrett?

  1. Brad Warthen

    OW. I just watched/listened to that video, AFTER I posted it, and I’m sorrry to say that I don’t think I’ve ever before heard that many bland, flavorless, nonspecific Republican cliches, signifying nothing, strung together all at once.
    It was like trying to swim through a pool of tapioca. With mashed potatoes and white rice on top.
    Hey, I’ve talked to the guy — he’s not that boring. Certainly he can present himself better than this…
    Anyway, I look forward to actually talking with him about his candidacy, and forgetting that video — which shouldn’t be hard.

  2. sallizar

    I linked over from Google News for the info on SC politics and I’ll be adding your blog to my favs for the great Firefly reference… Shiny…

  3. Brad Warthen

    I conjure as how you’re likely to enjoy this blog, then. Not as much fun as a night with Inara, but we do try…
    Anyway, back to Gresham Barrett. It’s interesting that nobody has anything to say about him, when the post after this already has 14 comments.
    I shared everything I could think of right off hand about him. Don’t any of y’all have any thoughts to add?
    Anyway, this reminds me — I’d better get on the horn about that interview… but I have to read this proof first…

  4. Greg Flowers

    You who should run for Gov. (or at least Lt. Gov.) in 2010, Nikki Haley, she has an awful lot going for her: smart, tough, attractive (that counts for more than we would like to admit in politics) she was the major player in getting the house to adopt voter accountability. What I know about her I really like.
    I say the above because I know nothing about Barrett which makes him my favorite of the three probable Rep. Gov. candidates.

  5. Birch Barlow

    but he WAS disagreeing with him about such things as the role of our research universities in boosting the economy.
    If this is true then I like him better than Sanford already.

  6. martin

    I don’t know enough about Gresham Barrett to say anything. But, speaking of the Governor, I saw him on Morning Joe yesterday. As he was telling them it would be 6,12, or 18 months before stimulus money got to the states, I was reading a story in the Sumter Item which was siting the exact amount of stimulus money Sumter had gotten from SCDOT and what roads they were going to use it on.
    This morning I was reading the Greenville News and they were reporting that DHHS had gotten through their hoops and funding would be available for the programs they were going to cut because of SC budget problems.
    Is Sanford THAT ignorant of what is going on in this state or is he a much bigger liar than we give him credit for?
    Oh, after Sanford left Morning Joe yesterday, Joe was talking about how much he liked Mark when they were in Congress because when people threatened to cut funding for his district, he would just laugh. Joe said he just didn’t care. I don’t think he realized what we have recently learned that about Sanford ourselves, i.e., unemployment benefits.
    o, I’m ready for a change. I hope I get the chance to vote for someone who is capable of independent thought.

  7. Lee Muller

    Do you think Governor Sanford was just making it up about the pork not reaching our state for 6 months to 24 months?
    No, it was the Congressional Budget Office which analyzed the Pelosi Pork Bill and found that only about 18% of the money will be spent in 2009. The economy must not be an urgent matter to Pelosi and Obama.
    In fact, most of the spending comes just before the 2010 elections. Hmmmmm. What a coincidence!

  8. Eric

    After writing him to congratulate him on not passing the TARP, he went ahead and voted for it when there was more pork involved. Because of that, he will never receive my vote.

  9. Brad Warthen

    FYI, I WON’T be doing a Gresham Barrett column for Sunday. I had trouble getting together with him in time (which is not his fault; I didn’t give him much notice). We’re going to try again next week…

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