Initial impressions from this morning’s gubernatorial debate

HA debate 001

Andre Bauer, Dwight Drake, Henry McMaster, Jim Rex, Vincent Sheheen and Allan Stalvey of the S.C. Hospital Association.

Well, we had the SC Hospital Association’s gubernatorial debate this morning at Embassy Suites, and it went pretty well. Either this evening or over the weekend I’ll post video from the event.

At that point, I think I’ll invite y’all to rate how the candidates did. I know I did that after moderating the mayoral forum, but I just didn’t feel like I was paying close-enough attention this time even to get a rough, gestalten impression of how the candidates did relative to each other.

However, The State’s John O’Connor was there, and he was paying attention. Here’s what he wrote, in real time, on Twitter:

  • At the SC Hospital Association gov debate. Here: Bauer, Drake, McMaster, Rex, Sheheen. Not here: Barrett, Haley, Ford, McLeod.
  • 1st Q: Budget cuts. Drake says cutting state employee pay releasing non-violent offenders possible. McMaster says cut taxes.
  • Rex and Sheheen both advocate raising the cigarette tax. Bauer says priority budgeting, only specific cut is conservation bank funding
  • This is friendly audience for cig tax hike: SCHA advocates raising tax, putting money into Medicaid.
  • 2nd Q: mentally ill in ERs. McMaster wants ERs protected if they turn mentally ill away. Rex says cig tax hike and tax reform can add $.
  • Sheheen wants tele-psychiatric services, shield DMH budget cuts. Bauer says “break cycle.” Drake says make people aware of problem.
  • McMaster answers Q about restructuring health care agencies by saying boost Commerce, market South Carolina
  • The rest say take it on a case-by-case basis for restructuring. Drake says the problems are known, restructuring not a cure-all.
  • Drake, Sheen and Rex advocate expanding Medicaid, which mostly covers children of the working.
  • McMaster just said we have a “propensity” to rush to raise taxes in S.C. Which state? Last general tax increase was fuel tax in 1987.
  • Bauer would not commit to cig tax hike. Wants income tax cut. Drake, Sheheen and Rex say raise tax. Drake says votes not there for natl avg
  • Drake says he fought for cigarette pack stamp — working as lobbyist for world’s top-selling brand worried about counterfeit smokes
  • Spending tax $: Rex 1/2 Medicaid, 1/2 teachers plus ag marketing and cessation. Sheheen “plow” it into health care.
  • Bauer likes the current bill in the Senate, also wants corporate income tax cut. Drake says health care.
  • Rex is the only candidate that mentioned cessation programs, though Bauer likes current bill which has funding.
  • Rex and McMaster oppose restructuring DHEC. Others want to make cabinet agency.
  • Q on incentives for to train docs to practice rural medicine: Bauer, yes; Drake, yes; McMaster, no money; Rex, yes; Sheheen, yes.
  • Candidates making closing statements now.
  • Bauer just said, when elected, he would probably offer jobs to the other candidates.
  • Excellent governor’s debate on health care today. Focused, substantitve. Nice work by @schospitals and moderator @bradwarthen 37 minutes ago from TweetDeck

Here’s about all I can add about the forum:

  • Sen. Robert Ford was the only one of the six candidates who had said they’d be there who did not show up. Even halfway through the forum, I was still expecting him. And between watching the door, thinking about whether I would interrupt discussion of the current question to let him have an opening statement, juggling the questions to save the cigarette tax question (which was the hot issue, both because of pre-debate hype and because it was a top concern to this particular audience) for when all the candidates were there and so forth, I made a couple of slight flubs — almost not giving Dwight Drake his turn to answer a question, and calling on Henry McMaster when he had already answered one. (By the way, so that no one feels deprived due to Sen. Ford’s absence, I’ll tell you now what he would have said: He’s for bringing back video poker. And there you have it.)
  • Having planned on six candidates, and judging by how long each question had taken at the mayoral forum, I doubted we’d get in more than about six questions, what with each candidate getting a minute to answer, and 30 second rebuttals. But I had prepared 10 questions (based on the Hospital Association’s issues), just in case. To my shock, we got to all 10 questions, and had enough time left that, at the Association’s Allan Stalvey’s suggestion, I allowed each candidate two minutes for a closing statement, rather than the planned one. The good thing about that was that, judging by feedback that I got afterwards (from John and others), it provided for an unusually meaty debate. Trav Robertson of the Vincent Sheheen campaign said it was the best yet — maybe that just means his candidate did well, but I don’t know, because I was just too distracted with details to judge anyone’s performance.
  • Being personally on a first-name basis with all the participants but not wanting to seem too familiar with any, I started off calling upon them with their full names and titles, and generally called them “Mr.” so-and-so subquently. But that felt so stiff that I called each of them by his first name at least once or twice. Vincent Sheheen jokingly complained that I called him “Vincent” and the others “Mr.,” which made me feel obliged to explain. I called him that, I told the audience, because I know his daddy and his uncle. And next time I see them, I’ll tell ’em the boy talked back to me.
  • I had to cut people off for talking past the allotted time more than I did at the mayoral debate, which is to be expected. You expect people running for governor to be more experienced, and more aggressive, than mayoral candidates. But to my surprise, they took relatively little advantage of the opportunity for a 30-second rebuttal. Another reason why we got to all the questions.

Well, there you have it. I’d like to thank the Hospital Association for letting me participate in an interesting and educational experience. I’ll post video when I have it.

HA debate 004

7 thoughts on “Initial impressions from this morning’s gubernatorial debate

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    McMaster wants ERs protected if they turn mentally ill away.

    I’m disliking him more and more.

    Folks, we are a poor state with many needs. If we all kick in, by paying more taxes, we just might be able to pull out of the legacy of poverty and illiteracy and poor health (stroke belt, anyone?) left by Reconstruction/Jim Crow/hardheaded conservatives who want the state to go back to the way it was when their great great grandaddys owned everything and everyone. Bootstraps are not a very effective means with which to pull oneself up.

  2. David

    hardheaded conservatives who want the state to go back to the way it was when their great great grandaddys owned everything and everyone.

    And the American political discourse continues to be held hostage by the conservative vs. liberal back and forth. Obviously no one wants to return to freakin’ slavery.

    And Obama’s not Mao and Bush wasn’t Hitler. Liberals don’t want to take away “our freedoms” and conservatives don’t want people dying in the streets. But don’t tell any of the Liberal/Conservative warriors that. They have to win their little game.

  3. orphan annie

    ER’s don’t turn mentally ill away. They put these people away and bill them for it.
    Hospitals more often abuse mentally ill patients by using the comittment procedure, using out of area probate judges familiar with the scam.
    McMaster is bad bad out of touch on that q.

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    Sorry if I lost the nuance there, David, but my point is that there persists a strong political strain of aristocratic elitism that wants to keep government services as tiny as possible because these elites can send their kids to private, often boarding schools, they play at private, sometimes still barely integrated, if at all, clubs, and so on. I just read about the separate-but-“equal” schools built feverishly in the 50s to avoid integration, and, solely because of the impetus of the federal gummint, drag the state’s education of its poor, mostly black working class out of Reconstruction era minimalism. I then read about how shocking it would be to spend raised cigarette taxes on public education.
    So where did I go off the rails in my tirade? It *is* largely the historically slave-owning, property-owning aristocratic/plutocratic class that controls the legislature and hence the state.They were born on third base and think they hit a triple and can’t understand why the poor, who don’t even have bats, can’t seem to score.

  5. zzazzeefrazzee

    Where’s Rebekah Sutherland? Greetings Brad.

    Back in 2002, you had a lovely little interview with “Reb”, which was memorable for a number of choice quotes. I wish I had kept it. In any case, would you have the text? I tried to search the State Newspaper archives, but am having no luck. I recall a comment made with reference to Warren Bolton about “relations with your race” and how public schools are “socialism” and other little ditties. Teabaggers would love her!

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