Is this the best parties can do?

The S.C. Democratic Party put out this release today in reaction to the governor’s disappearance, which, let’s face it, is pretty silly:

Columbia, SC- In anticipation of Governor Mark Sanford’s return to the state, the South Carolina Democratic Party will host a virtual town hall meeting today. The meeting is open to all residents who wish to ask questions to the governor who has been out of town (and out of touch) since last week.

“South Carolinians have been very concerned about Governor Sanford’s actions over the last eight months. They have a right to ask the Governor about our state’s unemployment rate, the stimulus and his reasons for abandoning the state.  This virtual town hall meeting will give these concerned citizens a real opportunity to ask these questions,” said SCDP Chair Carol Fowler.

The town hall meeting, which will be held on the SCDP website, begins today at 4 p.m. and will end when Sanford responds to the questions.  Residents wishing to participate in the SCDP meeting should visit

Tell you what, Democrats: Concentrate your energies on nominating someone better for governor in 2010. And Republicans, you do the same. THAT would be worthwhile. Stuff like this is not.

18 thoughts on “Is this the best parties can do?

  1. Roundgal

    I think this was a spoof on the Daily Kos. I can find no evidence of it on the SC Dem website. Only they and you have this per Google.

  2. jfx

    Roundgal, it’s linked in Brad’s item.

    The scdp homepage has a clickable red box, top right, that says “People Want To Know! Ask Gov. Mark Sanford.”

    And yes, this is retarded. If ever there were a state Democratic party apparatus crying out for help from Tim Kaine and the DNC, it’s SC’s.

  3. Roundgal

    Yeah, but go to the site. It doesn’t say anything about a virtual town hall meeting at any particular time. Unfortunately, I don’t see any date stamp looking at the source data for the page so I don’t know whether this page is new today and whether the red button on the home page is new today. It’s not listed as an event on the web site. The quoted text is not anywhere on their web site as a press release. The only place it mentions 4 p.m. is on quote here and on Daily Kos. The tweet announcing a town hall meeting was distributed about 4 p.m. but it just links back to this post. I guess I’m confused.

  4. jfx

    Hmmm Roundgal you are correct. I wonder if they yanked it, or it was a spoof as you suggest. Perhaps they had planned a lame virtual town hall, and then modified that to a questions-page idea. Still…insipid!

  5. Randy E

    jfx, can’t you avoid using a label, “retarded”, associated with a special needs child in a deragatory way.

    I do agree with your intent. This is petty and a political miscalculation. They should step aside and let him continue to shot himself in the foot.

  6. bud

    Brad has this annoying tendancy to achieve balance between the two major parties. Since he’s spent a buttload of time dissing the governor his bipartisan meter was about to explode. So now we have a bit of dem slamming. It must be tough being such a devout non-partisan that you can’t even see how far out of whack the GOP is while the Dems are attempting to move the nation and state forward.

  7. Brad Warthen

    No, sometimes it’s at one extreme, and sometimes it’s at another. And often, it’s not on the visible, popularly accepted spectrum at all, but on another plane.

    As for questions about the legitimacy of the release, all I know is that I received it from Keiana Page ([email protected]) at 1 p.m. today.

    If if turns out to be a hoax, I’ll apologize readily. But I don’t think it is.

  8. Birch Barlow

    That anyone would openly identify with either of these two organizations, the Republicans and Democrats, is beyond me.

    It’s one thing to be a liberal or conservative. But to be a Democrat or Republican is to have no self respect.

    They care not about moving the country forward, only about constantly bickering with each other over nothing and everything. How childish, petty and disgraceful they are. American politics is all the worse for their existence.

  9. Bill C.

    Brad can’t help but dig himself into a hole. Now he’s pointing fingers at someone else. I guess this is what happens when you sit at home and are too damn lazy to look for a job, you start gossipping like the old ladies in the neighborhood.

  10. Mike Toreno

    Bill, Brad is trying to achieve success as a blogger, but he doesn’t understand that blogging is hard. I don’t, however, understand why he’s doing the same things he did at the State that led to the failure of his career. He had a job with basically no standards, but he failed at it. His job at the State wasn’t to provide insight, it was to define boundaries of acceptable discourse and exclude unorthodox views. He parroted Republican talking points and sought to exclude or marginalize Democratic view, all the while maintaining a faux bipartisanship.

    Republicans and Democrats “bicker” because they have different views about what should be done and they are trying to get into a position to put those views into practice. The invitation to question Sanford is directed along those lines. There’s nothing the matter with it. Brad’s pretended devotion to bipartisanship seeks to marginalize those who take government seriously. But government vitally affects people’s lives, and often nothing is more important than who will control the government. If Brad had his way, John McCain would be President right now, and his belligerent and erratic behavior would be controlling the America’s response to the crisis in Iran.

    Bloggers succeed because they gain readers, and they gain readers because they provide value, and the main value they provide is insight. Successful bloggers don’t endlessly repeat their idiosyncratic viewpoints.

    Brad succeeded for a long time in mainstream journalism because the standards for success there are so low. Standards for blogging are a lot higher. Brad’s got his choice, he can keep doing what he did before and continue to spiral down, or he can try to provide some value to people and have a chance to succeed.

  11. Michael Rodgers

    Brad Warthen is an excellent editor, truly outstanding. He is excellent at copy-editing and at layout-editing and at selecting topics and articles. While his colleagues who remain at The State are doing a good job (Cindi Ross Scoppe is absolutely fantastic!), still The State clearly misses Brad Warthen. For example, if he was there, there is no way that the headline in the letters to the editor would have incorrectly read Iraq instead of Iran.

    Brad Warthen’s writing is good, quite good, and yet as an editorial columnist (and a blogger) he spent much too much time talking about himself (e.g. his Barack Obama and John McCain analyses both featured himself, and all that SCAASC and UnParty stuff was clearly imaginary) and too much time meandering to the point.

    For example, one of Brad Warthen’s best columns in his Brad Warthen style is “Fuming with Impatience.” It’s a passionate column about something that Brad Warthen is passionate about, reducing teen smoking by raising the cigarette tax.

    It starts off, of course, with Brad Warthen talking about his doing something that is completely unrelated to the cigarette tax. How fuming can he be about the cigarette tax if he wants to talk about going to see Australia with his wife? And about his going golfing with his dad and a daughter? Even Brad Warthen realizes that he’s way off his point and so he says, “My point here is ….” (And, amazingly, his point is still not about the cigarette tax but more about him, again.)

    Finally, after more than 1/3 of the way down the column, he gets to the introduction, “But sometimes the need for change is painfully simple and obvious. Take our lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax.” This is where the column should start. And then, instead of having to use bullets for the facts, he could write more about whatever, the history, the people, the arguments that Sanford and others give, you know, something to go along with the facts (instead of just ridiculing “excuses for inaction” in parenthetical asides).

    Instead, he talks more about himself, and he even reports on a conversation he had with himself (a 2-fer!): “A 50-cent hike would be progress, I told myself. And whatever it is spent on, it would save a lot of lives in South Carolina. Take what you can get. Be reasonable.”

    The last 1/8th of the column is outstanding. Brad Warthen only mentions himself once, and that mention is done in an effective way: “This makes me fume with impatience. It should do the same to you.” (And then he blows the tagline — instead of saying, “For more about the cigarette tax….” he says, “For more evidence of my growing impatience, please go to”)

    As for politics, well, Brad Warthen wishes to achieve something and he also wishes to stay aloof. He yearns to belong and yet treasures his independence. He wishes there was no such thing as parties (because parties demand too much allegiance and play too many political games) and that real debates on issues would take place (because he could win such debates!).

    Brad Warthen should run for state representative, and he can win, and he will do a great job. Brad Warthen has a lot of good ideas, is very smart, is very kind, and is (usually) very reasonable. Also, it seems to me that he brings out the best in those around him. He’s got to choose a party, and that may be the hardest thing for him to do.

    Brad Warthen should recall Yogi Berra’s famous saying, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” And if Brad Warthen ever decides to change parties down the road, he’ll be following in many people’s footsteps (Ronald Reagan, Arlen Specter and Dennis Moss, to name just a few.)

  12. jfx

    Mike Toreno:

    At the risk of seriously, irrevocably re-offending Randy, I’m must going to say:

    Some of your comments are EXTREMELY RETARDED.

    The standards for blogging are “a lot higher”?

    Horribly, stupidly wrong. Perez Hilton’s blog is hugely popular. Why? “Valuable insight”? Or perhaps people enjoy the same sensationalistic crap in the blogosphere that they enjoy in television, radio, and cinema.

    Human “standards” are the same across all media.

    Brad’s problem was that he was a print editor in a dying Columbia outfit in a print medium that’s dying off in the early 21st century. If he’d been a damn good steel mill worker in Pitt, PA 35 years ago he’d be in the same crack.

    If anything, blogging is too easy. It used to be that you had to scrap and fight tooth and nail to get anyone to read what you wrote, much less print it.

    But now, you start a free blog, sling your links around the web, and off you go. In the limitless world of online self-publication, you never have to face another rejection letter.

    As regards Brad’s own blog here, probably one hallmark of success is that the people of low character who disparage the man and revel in his job loss are………still reading and posting on his blog, along with the rest of us. In other words, Brad’s blog has managed to congeal and coalesce the same sort of common blog pond scum that is found on all the “big” blogs. Every time some malevolent asshat posts a variation of “I sure am glad that guy lost his job, because I didn’t like his views!”, the asshat is inadvertently HELPING the laid-off guy get more blog attention. So, keep it up!

  13. Mike Toreno

    jfx, Perez Hilton’s blog is a celebrity gossip blog. It isn’t representative of blogging in general. But unlike Brad, Perez Hilton does succeed in the marketplace.

    A better example of someone who has succeeded as a blogger in the field of commentary on politics and public affairs would be Glenn Greenwald, here is his latest “sensationalistic” headline:

    The “Neda video,” torture, and the truth-revealing power of images

    He goes on to sensationalisitically discuss Obama’s comments on the Neda video, Helen Thomas’s attempt to interject a question on his refusal to release the American torture photos and to sensationalistically analyze the value of images in bringing home the truth of events. Here’s one of his sensationalistic paragraphs:

    “For that reason, to suppress evidence of what our torture actually looks like and the brutality it entails — particularly graphic evidence — is to make it easier for that pro-torture position to thrive, just as it would have been easier for the Iranian Government to slaughter protesters with impunity if they had succeeded in suppressing the images of what they were doing (it was this same dynamic that led the Israeli Army to defy its own Supreme Court and forcibly block reporters and photographers from entering Gaza and which caused the embedded American press to suppress images of the massive civilian deaths which their protectors, the U.S. military, was causing in Iraq).”

    Greenwald and Brad started blogging at about the same time, I believe. Greenwald came out of nowhere, Brad was given a platform by a newspaper. Greenwald succeeded in the marketplace because of the high quality of his commentary, and Brad failed in the marketplace because of the low quality of his commentary.

    From the perspective of someone who is concerned not with the truth or value of commentary, but with its orthodoxy, yes, blogging is too easy. Blogging prevents corporations from being able to control the flow of ideas and to suppress inconvenient ideas. Greenwald would never have been able to write for a major newspaper because his ideas didn’t conform to the orthodoxy newpapers seek to promote. Blogging allows anyone to expose his or her work to the marketplace and succeed or fail based not on endorsement by a corporation, but on the perception by readers of the value of the work.

    Brad failed as a journalist because the marketplace intruded into the journalistic environment in way that couldn’t be ignored any longer, and he’ll continue to fail as a blogger unless he recognizes that blogging is all about the marketplace.

  14. Bill C.

    jfx – If Brad is such an incredible talent in the newsprint world. Why is it that he couldn’t do any better than a 3rd rate newspaper in Columbia, SC? Why was he in the first round of layoffs? Why is it that he can’t find anyone that’ll hire him to write for them on a contract basis? The only way he’ll ever see his name in the paper is if he starts writing Letters to the Editor.

    Do you think that this blog is even seen by anyone outside of Columbia? He can’t even get his high profile (well in Columbia circles) to support him or help him get a job. Maybe Inez needs a press secretary… Brad have you asked about typing up letters or memos for Inez?

  15. Bill C.

    Michael, I live in the same district as Brad… he would have no chance running for office. Most people I know can’t stand him or his views.

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