Yeah, OK, I’ll help spread the truth

Just got this from the Sheheen campaign under the headline, “Help Vincent Fight Back with the Truth:”

Dear Brad –

This week, the race for governor changed. Vincent Sheheen’s second week of television ads have introduced him to a statewide audience and voters are impressed.  We learned that Nikki Haley, who claims her skills as an accountant qualify her to be governor, had even more problems paying her taxes, this time for her business.  The onslaught of bad news has the Haley campaign on the defensive.

Having already misled the public on her record, her positions and her business acumen, Nikki Haley has now resorted to false attacks on Vincent Sheheen rather than answering tough questions about her positions and her business problems.

In the last week, she falsely accused Vincent of wanting to raise taxes to solve the budget crisis but she is the only candidate who wants higher taxes; Haley wants to raise our grocery tax.

She claimed: “Vince Sheheen will kill our state’s competitiveness” but the Sanford-Haley philosophy of the last eight years has already left our job recruitment efforts in dismal shape and more of the same won’t improve them.

She even blamed Vincent for the fiscal problems of Washington DC and border security in Arizona.  Vincent responded that maybe Nikki Haley was running for governor of the United States that the last thing we needed was another governor focused on national office and not our state.

Then she called him “slippery.”  Her tactics are desperate and an embarrassment.  We need your help to fight back with the truth.  Donate today so South Carolina can elect a governor we can trust.



Trav Robertson
Campaign Manager
Sheheen for Governor

OK, all that is true.

But here’s some more truth: Nikki’s not on the ropes. She’s not on the defensive, even thought she should be, since every supposed strength she’s touted (transparency, business acumen) has turned out to be a weakness. She’s on a roll.

Today, I heard two different accounts of the appearance of the two candidates before the Palmetto Business Forum yesterday. Both said Vincent was fine and said the right things, but was low key and seemed to lack the fire in the belly.

Nikki, they said, was ON. She was in the zone. She had obviously been superbly prepared by her handlers, and recited everything perfectly. My witnesses knew, as I know, that Nikki’s understanding of issues is at best skin deep, generally not going beyond a bumper-sticker message. But she delivers the bumper sticker well.

This is a continuation of what I saw at the Sarah Palin event a couple of months back. I saw something that is unmistakable to me after my decades of observing politics and politicians closely: A candidate who was peaking, who was confident, poised, energetic and on message. She was ladling out stuff that that Tea Party crowd was lapping up, and she’s still doing it. Knowing that the business community doesn’t trust her, she has worked hard at learning key things to say to win them over. And that, according to my witnesses, was what was on display last night.

It is extremely important to South Carolina that Vincent Sheheen win this election. He is THE reform candidate, and the governor our state needs. But unless something happens to change the game, he’s not going to. Win, that is. And the business community, and the rest of us, are going to suffer another four years of a governor who fundamentally does not understand or appreciate economic development, and can’t work with key players to help move our state forward.

And we can’t afford that. But right now, that’s where we’re headed.

14 thoughts on “Yeah, OK, I’ll help spread the truth

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Nikki is looking more and more like Sarah Palin every day. The media-savviness, combined with a slim resume and murky personal dealings which are at odds with her message.

    Maybe she’ll resign early, too.

  2. bud

    I’m going to vote for Vincent but I really doubt it will matter much. The governor is precious little control of anything.

  3. Karen McLeod

    Mr. Sheheen really needs to alternate his attacks on Ms. Haley with some positive plans of his own. For example, he needs to pair her proposal to raise the grocery tax with a proposal he has(preferably one that is better thought out than hers). Basically, he needs to show that not only is she bad news, but also that he is good news.

  4. Doug Ross

    I’ve been telling you since June that Sheheen hasn’t made the effort necessary to be Governor. If he loses, it’s his own fault. Or should I say his handlers fault.

    That email from the campaign is a perfect example. “Vincent Sheheen’s second week of television ads have introduced him to a statewide audience and voters are impressed. ” Seriously? Impressed by what? That he drives a truck, drops his kids off at school, says grace before dinner, and carries a shotgun?

    And then the rest of the message is all about Haley.

    The biggest mistake the Sheheen campaign made was to run against Sanford and Haley instead of running on a platform of what Sheheen would do to make the state better. You guys just don’t get it (and I include you in the “you guys” group, Brad) — the majority of the people in this state WANT a Sanford style Governor. We see the problem is with the Legislature. We want someone who will continue to expose them for what they are – self serving career politicians who have wasted our tax dollars with little to show for it.

    Honestly, I don’t want Sheheen to win but I could come up with a better campaign to get him close to Haley than his paid handlers have. If he can’t win in this environment, blame the campaign not the people of this state.

  5. Doug Ross

    My campaign strategy for Sheheen to win:

    1) Spend the next month getting visible public support from the black community leaders. Tell them why Vincent Sheheen will help them with jobs and education.

    2) Switch the attack from Haley and Sanford to Harrell and Leatherman. Talk about the $100 million wasted on Innovista that could have been used to create real jobs. Talk about paying money for the Hunley museum that could have been spent on critical items. Challenge USC and Clemson to stop building more buildings and cut tuition for in state students.

    3) Say emphatically, “The Confederate flag will come down during my Administration or I will not run again”

    4) Name names. Tell us who is wasting money in the legislature. Give us the details on who the people are in the Commerce Department that you claim are cronies.

    Go big or go home, Vincent.

  6. Brad

    Couple of things, Doug…

    First, another Sanford governor is NOT what the majority of voters in South Carolina want, and they’d know it if they paid attention closely enough. But they don’t. Few voters anywhere do.

    The thing about both Sanford and Haley is that, in small doses, they sound good to your basic voter with anti-gummint instincts who doesn’t think too hard about issues. In small doses, I say again. But if those voters had to spend a month shadowing Sanford in his day-to-day routine, after spending a similar amount of time with a business or political leader who was actually working hard to improve our state, economically and otherwise, they’d go “Wait a minute… something’s off here.”

    And then they’d start to realize how utterly lacking in leadership skills he is — and Nikki is — and how uninterested they are in actual leadership (as distinguished from doing stuff to get their names in the papers), then they would be where I am after years of observing these people. Having started out, remember, liking both of them. Because they sound good in small doses.

    I DO get it, Doug. It’s the people who THINK they want these people as governor who don’t get it. I get what they get, and through EXPERIENCE (that thing you disregard), have learned how that’s not really getting it at all.

    @Bud, continuing on that “leadership” theme. As you know, no one has written more than I about how weak the governor is (or deplored it more). But a governor with true leadership ability can get far more done for South Carolina than anyone else, anywhere. It’s not about the formal powers (although normal formal powers would help); it’s about the ability to persuade other leaders to work with you. And I think you’ll find that’s important even in strong-executive systems, such as the federal government. A president who can’t get the legislative or other leadership groups to work with him isn’t going to get much done. Look at Jimmy Carter. I was a huge Jimmy Carter fan, and was enormously frustrated at his inability to work with Congress. Then Ronald Reagan (whom I’ve never much liked at all) came in and got that same Democratic Congress to roll over and do tricks for him. The Constitution was not rewritten in 1980 to give the president more power. Reagan just made better use of his opportunities.

    Sanford has wasted every opportunity the weak office of governor in South Carolina has given him to lead. Nikki would do the same.

  7. Doug Ross


    So you basically agree that Sanford should have been doing more to stop the legislature from doing what they’ve been doing for the past eight years, right? Or is it that the legislature has been doing the right thing but Sanford should have been more agreeable?

    Which direction should he have led the state? Away from the Legislature (he tried and failed) or with the Legislature (he didn’t try and failed)?

  8. Brad

    Doug, that’s a nonsensical question. Away from the Legislature? The Legislature goes in 170 directions, which is why it cannot lead. I certainly couldn’t tell you whether I’m moving in the same “direction” as the Legislature (unless you ask me about a specific vote), much less whether the governor did, or should have.

    The governor didn’t lead anyone in any direction. Except of course for his admiring fellow travelers — SCRP, the SC Policy Council, Howard Rich, ReformSC. Will Folks, although he has a bizarre way of following. And Nikki Haley, of course. THEY followed him, and still do.

  9. Kathryn Fenner

    C’mon Brad–have you stopped beating your wife?

    Actually, as one who reads Brad’s oeuvre with respect, Brad has been very specific about the parts of Sanford’s original stated positions that actually were good ideas.

    Everything’s not binary, Doug. 😉

  10. Pat

    Haley needs to be hammered on her voting record(or non-voting record), attendance record, tax troubles, who her “handlers” are, her contributors, lack of definitive plans. Sheheen needs to be everywhere all the time, ads running day and night, and laying out for us exactly what his key features for his administration will be – with business people and educators standing behind him and not on some lonely old road.
    And Doug may be right that he lacks fire in the belly. It makes me very sad, because I do believe he would be the best for South Carolina. Haley will have to travel to/or call NY or Pa. or Argentina to be told what to do next.

  11. bud

    Haley will have to travel to/or call NY or Pa. or Argentina to be told what to do next.

    I hear they have some pretty good advisors on the Appalachian Trail.

  12. Mark Stewart

    People want to hear the committment in a candidate to WINNING the election.

    I agree that Sheheen needs to inject some passion into his performance. Nothing out of character – but the “fire” to convince the voters that he really wants the position of Governor.

    It may be kind of dumb of us voters to look for that, but that’s the way it is.


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