Rep. Smith: Democrats WILL vote to override all 107 Sanford vetoes

Not as a bloc, mind you, because as you know, Democrats don’t do blocs. But according to Rep. James Smith, who called me a few minutes ago to set me straight (thereby saving me a call to him or Minority Leader Harry Ott), it will be the official House Democratic leadership position that ALL of Gov. Sanford’s 107 vetoes should be overridden. And he hopes they will be — but of course that will depend on the Republicans doing their duty by South Carolina — which James suggests the Tea Party has made GOP lawmakers scared to do.

James called me because a lot of y’all were calling him, egged on to do so by this blog (in the absence of really helpful coverage of the

Rep. James Smith

budget vetoes by the MSM). I urge y’all to keep on calling your lawmakers, Democrats and especially Republicans (since there’s more of them) to tell them what you think. And if you’ve forgotten who your lawmakers are, or how to contact them, here are instructions on enabling yourself.

If you’ll recall, House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham told me over the weekend (“Lawmakers will uphold most of Sanford’s vetoes“), the governor is likely to prevail on most of his vetoes of funding for such things as public libraries, the State Museum, technical colleges, SC ETV, the Arts Commission and the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in part because Democrats can’t be relied upon to vote to override. He based this on the lack of support he got from Democrats on some key votes on the budget.

James says that was then, this is now.

Indeed Democrats were divided on some things such as court fees. But that has nothing to do with these budget vetoes. If the Legislature fails to override, says the former Minority Leader, it won’t be because of lack of Democratic votes. And of the governor’s 107 vetoes, “I have yet to find one that we would not override.”

And while Kenny is worried, James still hopes “to be successful in overriding them.”

If the Democrats can indeed stick together tomorrow, that means the fate of these vetoes will lie in the bitter rivalry between regular mainstream Republicans and the Sanford fringe — a fringe that was emboldened by Nikki Haley’s near victory in the primary last Tuesday. All Sanford and Haley and their allies need is to drum up a third of either the House or the Senate for Mark Sanford to have his biggest victory in his eight sorry years in office.

So once again, folks, rather than merely refer you to a link, here are the instructions on how to contact your legislator, as we used to say at the bottoms of editorials:

To find out who your legislators are and how to contact them, go to and select “Find your legislator” on the left. Or call Project Vote Smart at 1-888-VOTE-SMART.

19 thoughts on “Rep. Smith: Democrats WILL vote to override all 107 Sanford vetoes

  1. Doug Ross

    So if all the vetoes are overridden, is it fair to say that Mark Sanford has no impact on the spending of the state government? And yet he will somehow be blamed for any and all economic conditions that result.

  2. Brad

    Doug, Mark Sanford has been COMPLETELY successful in changing the conversation in Columbia from “How can we best invest limited resources to catch up with the rest of the country economically?” to “What can the Legislature keep the governor from decimating with his vetoes?”

    And that’s been hugely destructive. But you always miss that, just as you fail to understand that while he hasn’t gotten his way on vouchers and tuition tax credits, he HAS succeeded in making the only conversations we have about education about those items.

    The governor DOES have a bully pulpit, which can easily drown out any leadership that lawmakers can provide — which is one reason they’re calling me in an effort to get their messages out. When you couple that with the efforts of Howard Rich and the Club for Growth and ReformSC to attack lawmakers who oppose him and elect some who will not, you get 8 years without any kind of positive conversation about what sort of future we need to build in South Carolina.

    And if Nikki Haley is elected, we’ll have four more years of the same — except that in her case, she’ll START OUT with no cred in the State House, a status which it took Sanford some time to achieve, since he started with a honeymoon, at least among Republicans.

    But we digress.

    Doug, I’m not going to change your mind on how destructive Mark Sanford’s lack of leadership has been, so let’s discuss it later.

    Today, the critical issue is these vetoes.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    I am so proud of my congressman, James Smith, yet again! James Smith, Vincent Sheheen, Joel Lourie–there are some fine young politicians in our state.

  4. Matt

    This may not be true in every case, but it strikes me as a cop-out to say either “I’m going to either vote to override all 107 vetoes” or “I’m going to vote to sustain all 107 vetoes”. Such a position even before the debate has taken place reeks of putting politics and ideology above all else.

  5. Brad

    Actually, Michael, I posted something about that on my Virtual Front Page today. James and I talked about it, and we both think that’s a perfectly fine place for Vincent to be, after the tidal wave of NATIONAL publicity that Nikki has gotten in the last few weeks.

    Remember, there was a time when Jim Rex enjoyed a comfortable lead over Sheheen. Vincent has been here before.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Matt, If they stop to quibble over which ones to override, they will lose momentum. Sanford started it with his steamroller veto.

  7. Doug Ross

    “C’mon everybody, let’s show everyone how tough we are by voting to spend every dime the legislature wants to spend. Who cares that the economy isn’t close to recovery yet! We need to make sure all the unemployed people have free museums to wander through in their spare time!”

    Oh, if we only had that $100 million that went into the empty Innovista buildings… That would have covered all the costs for the “extra” stuff people want now.

    One day, there won’t be enough tax dollars to cover all the wishes of those who think it’s admirable to spend other people’s money.

  8. Michael P.

    What Doug said. Actually I believe Mark Sanford said this in his State of the State 6-7 times already.

  9. Brad

    Doug, and Michael, and others: Something that I have perhaps not made clear:

    The budget, before Sanford’s vetoes, is balanced. The budget is always balanced. The constitution requires that lawmakers pass a balanced budget.

    Sanford is cutting this stuff not because “Oh my God, there’s no money to pay for it.” He’s vetoing these things because he wants to.

  10. Karen McLeod

    Meanwhile, he’s cutting those thing cultural and educational that the poor can access. Cut the public libraries. Of course, the rich can buy books for their kids, not to mention themselves. Cut ETV? Of course, and go buy the Veggie Tales for the kids; they shouldn’t have the subversive influence of Dora the Explorer (not to mention that gay Tele-tubby)! And no, I’m not putting down “Veggie Tales.” I’m merely saying that the more affluent have access to cultural/educational amenities that the poor don’t.

  11. Michael P.

    I have a BS degree in Economics, I’m familiar with balanced budgets. You are the one who doesn’t quite understand the finance world… which you’ve confessed to taking an afternoon to balance your checkbook and use a financial advisor.

    If the budget is balanced and less than you need to fund everything on your list, you prioritize where money is spent. Let’s look at state employees who are facing layoffs. Who is more important to the state Brad, a $40K grade school teacher or a $40 art curator? What would be a wiser use of construction money, a grade school or a fine arts museum?

  12. Doug Ross

    So why not spend 10 times more? It would still be balanced, right?

    Balanced means nothing if you’re spending money on the wrong things… especially when you’re spending other people’s money.

    It’s like me borrowing someone’s credit card and spending up to the credit limit. The other guy is on the hook to make sure the balance goes to zero.

  13. Brad

    No, Doug, it would not be balanced if you spent 10 times as much, because that would be 10 times as much as we have available in revenues.

    And Michael, the governor is not proposing to take money from the these things he’s cutting and spent it on schoolteachers. In fact, the idea of Mark Sanford wanting to do that is pretty laughable.

    This is about the governor wanting to cut these things he’s cutting, on the basis of the absurd argument that the cuts would have to be made NEXT year.

    Which I suppose is the bottom line for Sanford. He just can’t stand the idea that there are going to be big cuts to state government next year, and he will miss it. So he wants to make the cuts NOW so that he can enjoy them. That’s my supposition, of course, based on the fact that I see no other rational explanation.

  14. Doug Ross

    No, Brad, you are saying that a balanced budget is fine because the expenditures equals the revenues. They could balance the budget by spending ten times as much if they taxed people more. Balanced means nothing.

    You need to stop talking out of both sides of your mouth. You want “representative government” but you don’t want Sanford to do the job he was elected to do. He has every right — and in fact his duty — to attempt to shape the budget in the way he feels represents the interests of the people of South Carolina best. He submits the vetoes and the legislature can override them. If they are important enough, there should be no issue with getting the override. But if legislators votes for or against the override based on either their desire to a) get re-elected or b) to stick it to the other party, then who is at fault here? Sanford for doing EXACTLY what he has said he would do if elected Governor or the legislators who are motivated by personal self-interest?

    Sanford is the only adult in this process. The only one who has tried to rein in the excessive spending when we all know next year will be worse. He’s using the only tool he has it his disposal – the veto pen.

  15. Brad


    Say what?

    Talking out of both sides of my mouth? What?

    I’m been perfectly consistent here. In fact, Emerson would maintain I’m being too consistent. I think I should find some inconsistency to throw in just to avoid the “hobgoblins of small minds” trap.

    Folks, I’ve done my best to set out common sense here. Those of you who are susceptible to common sense, please act accordingly. Doug and Michael… sheesh.

    Yeah, Doug, on the fantasy planet where lawmakers would actually raise taxes tenfold (or at all), a budget that spends 10 times as much would also be balanced. But on THIS planet, where the leadership would sooner open a main vein than raise a tax an iota, THIS budget is as big as a balanced budget will get.

    Sheesh, again.

    I did enjoy your joke, on the other post, about Sarah Palin being able to see her breasts from her backyard…

  16. Michael P.

    “absurd argument that the cuts would have to be made NEXT year”

    “absurd”??? Have you talked to anyone who deals with management or finance within a state agency? Unless we get Stimulus Money – Part II the stimulus money being spent this year is gone. For some agencies this one time money is a large portion of their budget. I know people who are losing sleep over next year’s budget because the only place to cut is personnel. And for many agencies they’re already running on a skeleton crew and they have no idea who to cut next.

    Don’t “sheesh” me, you are the one who has proven you have no budgetary knowledge. I certainly hope you didn’t run a budget at The State, but if you did it would explain why they’re in the situation they’re currently in right now.

  17. Doug Ross

    You do realize that the only reason South Carolina can balance its budget is due to the large percentage of money coming from the Federal government which is doesn’t have to balance ITS budget and is running up enormous deficits, right? All those deficits will be paid back eventually by the people of South Carolina. So balancing a budget using borrowed money isn’t exactly showing much fiscal stewardship.

    And that borrowed money won’t be there next year (unless Obama/Reid/Pelosi) decide to borrow even more against our future economic capability.

    We can make tough decisions now or make tougher decisions later. The legislature chooses to stick its collective head in the sand.

  18. Michael P.

    Doug just reinforced my comment(s). Yes the state budget is balanced. Remove the stimulus money and we’re in a serious world of hurt… fast forward to next fiscal year. Democrats are wanting to spend this year’s money like it’s free money. Any money not spent this year can be carried over to relieve some of the sting from next year’s budget… we’ll only have the hand chopped off next year instead of the whole arm.

    Don’t expect any more money from the Obama/Reid/Pelosi trio. What country would loan us a dime now that we’ve borrowed from everybody and their neighbor and not begun to pay anyone back.

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