Sheheen’s latest ad

I got a link to this new Sheheen ad, along with a reminder to watch the debate tonight:

The third and final debate will be held tonight at 7:00PM in Florence. The debate, sponsored by Francis Marion University, Coastal Carolina University,  WBTW-TV and the Morning News, will be broadcast live on WBTW News 13, C-SPAN and  Anchor Bob Juback will moderate the debate, which will feature a media panel as well as voter-submitted questions.

The ad, of course, doesn’t ad anything to our knowledge, but then political ads never do. At least, not for people who actually pay attention to politics. No, campaigns raise all this money, and spend most of it on television, in order to communicate to people who simply are not paying attention. Which is depressing…

It would be great if Vincent had a chance to be elected just by emphasizing his own virtues, but if I were advising his campaign, I don’t know what I would tell them to do differently. The thing is, his positive traits are not simple, bumper-sticker things. At this stage in the campaign, the reasons NOT to vote for Nikki are so very many and so sharply defined that they are much, much easier to communicate to those distracted souls who have not yet made up their minds.

So he goes with trust. On one level, that’s a good thing, because I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone at the State House I trust more than I do Vincent. But I wish our political debates went deeper than this. Sure, there are more than enough reasons for people to go to great lengths to avoid having Nikki Haley as their governor. The reasons are objective, indisputable and nonideological. No sensible person who wants the best for South Carolina — regardless of his or her ideology — would want her to be our governor, knowing all the things we now know. Some of you will object to that categorical statement, but I’m sorry… you see, I’ve been paying attention. I’ve seen how the facts have given the lie to every virtue she has claimed, one after another.

And yet people — people who would protest that they DO know the score, and they DO care what’s best — will vote for her. It’s stunning the degree to which people will allow foolish, shallow distractions — party, gender, what have you — prevent them from focusing on her utter unsuitability.

So Vincent Sheheen, who is capable of greater depth, keeps it simple in the hope that if you keep stating the PAINFULLY OBVIOUS, people will act rationally.

And if they don’t, well… combine that with what happened with Alvin Greene, and I may end this year beginning to have real trouble with my lifelong faith in the Democratic process.

34 thoughts on “Sheheen’s latest ad

  1. Barry


    I emailed the Sheheen campaign last week about their ads.

    They had some very good 30 second videos on his facebook page that I greatly encouraged them to use as 30 second commercials.

    They had him simply answering a question about what trust meant to him, character, integrity. Each video took a different word and the unseen questioner would ask him his thoughts on those values.

    They were short, basic, and very effective.

    Why they didn’t make those into short commercials I don’t know. They didn’t mention Haley or anyone else. In short, they were terrific and let the voter see a little bit into how he thinks.

    but they didn’t use them on tv.

  2. Brad

    OK, did anyone besides me have as much trouble as I did watching that debate?

    First, I was running late, then I couldn’t find it on CSPAN. Finally, I went to that Website and saw a couple of brief bits, but it kept disconnecting on me.

    Really frustrating…

    For those who saw it, how was it?

  3. Leon

    The entire debate was broadcast on WLTX 19.2 and could be picked up with an old-fashioned rabbit ears antenna! I only saw a few minutes of it and not nearly enough to comment on it.

  4. Shannon aka Scout

    I saw most of it. I also had trouble getting it on C-Span and went to the website. The website worked pretty well for me except for the picture freezing occasionally – but the audio continued except for an occasional glitch.

    I don’t know how to tell how it was. I always think Vincent makes far more sense and seems far more sincere, but my opinions rarely coincide with general opinion. It’s a bit depressing. I might develop a complex.

    He got in a really good line that got applause where she was picking on him about “sueing the state” again and he defended it by saying he was defending the state and he had some people in the audience whom his firm had represented. And then she got in another dig against lawyers in general, and he said something like…”I’d rather be a successful lawyer than an accountant who doesn’t pay their taxes.” She persisted on the department of ed # of employees fallacy. She attacked him on healthcare. They talked about immigration. She repeated her insane belief that faith based volunteers can fill our state’s need for 4k programs.

    Basically he made sense and she didn’t. But I don’t know if anybody noticed.

  5. David H

    I watched it on WLTX 19.2. They had WBTW’s raw feed sans graphics. It was a decent showing by Sen. Sheheen, IMHO.

  6. Ralph Hightower

    I am amazed that the Republican elected officials fail to see the character flaws of Nikki Haley.

    We didn’t know what we were getting with SC Guvernot Mark Sanford, but now we know. He also has the same problem with zippers that Bill Clinton had.

  7. bud

    And if they don’t, well… combine that with what happened with Alvin Greene, and I may end this year beginning to have real trouble with my lifelong faith in the Democratic process.

    I had a similar epiphany in 2004 when the nation inexplicably elected the worst president in American history. That one was even easier than the gubernatorial contest this year. But, I kept the faith. We have a good president now and even though times are bad, as we should have expected given the Bush policies, we have survived and will eventually recover. Hopefully South Carolina will eventually come around.

  8. Tom Fillinger

    If the electorate is consigned to dependence on TV ads as the source of the data that shapes “an intelligent and informed vote” then the Republic is gone. All that the voter needed to know was essentially avaialble and known BEFORE the ‘campaign’ began.

    The party affiliation discloses a great deal. Who wants more of the current administration? Nuf said! This is not to say that the “other party” is pristine and totally desireable. Politics is always the lesser of two evils in a 2 party system.

  9. Greg Jones

    I saw it, in fact, I saw all three.
    Haley is a one trick pony, all full of hyperbole, and using the same pitches over and over. Sheheen at least changes his angles a little bit, and each time, he has sparpened and re-directed his jabs at Nikki.
    They were more contentious; the stress is showing. In fact the moderator asked them if they liked each other. Sheheen quickly said yes, Haley said “Used to”.
    Why is it always the lesser of two evils?

  10. Doug T

    I watched all 3 debates. Looked to me as if Nikki was caught off guard by Sheheen’s aggressive critism in the 1st debate but was ready to trade jabs in the other 2.

    Conventional wisdom is a viewer is prejudice toward their candidate in a debate, so I think Sheheen did really well. But trying to be objective, he did come across sort of smarmy a couple of times.

  11. Doug Ross

    So when the people vote for people you like it’s because they are smart but when they don’t it’s because they are dumb. Got it.

    80-90% of the Haley voters probably voted for Graham.

  12. bud

    Brad brings up Carroll Campbell. This illustrates how truly awful journalism has become in this state. Campbell was not a particularly good governor. But you’d never in a million years know that by the news coverage of the day. He was largely responsible for what was without a doubt the worst piece of legislation in the state’s history. At least since the days of slavery. Yet not one journalist EVER, not for one nano-second considered the restructuring legislation anything other than a smashing success. No my friends Carroll Campbell was not a good governor. Yes, he did do some good stuff recruiting businesses to come in, especially BMW. But all in all he was not very good. Just look at the state’s ranking before and after his tenure. Not much change.

    Which of course gives us hope that maybe Ms. Haley will perform better than her resume would lead us to believe. Maybe she can reform state government in a positive way. And she is right on at least one issue, the I-73 funding. Sheheen suggests making this a toll road. Just check out the problems with the Southern Connector. Nobody will actually use it given the numerous alternates that will still be available.

    Maybe we should just look to the future and stop with all the negative vibes. Perhaps Brad and I will be wrong afterall and Haley will do OK.

  13. Brad

    No, Doug, you don’t “got it.” I said absolutely nothing of the kind.

    I said that no rational person who cares about this state and is paying attention to this election will vote for Nikki Haley, regardless of ideology. That doesn’t have a damned thing to do with whom I like or don’t like, or with what I think about issues or they think about issues.

    Nikki Haley has demonstrated time and time again — on her taxes, on her work history, in her characterization of her legislative record — that she can’t be trusted. This is an objective fact; it has nothing to do with opinions regarding her or politics or anybody else. I can’t even imagine what you think that has to do with the fact that the Republicans who elected Lindsey Graham will also vote for her. All that does is show how foolishly blind partisanship makes voters — they vote for the bad (and bad by their lights as well as by mine — if they’re paying attention) as readily as the good, as long as that stupid “R” is there.

    Doug, you have absolutely no justification for saying such a thing to me as “when the people vote for people you like it’s because they are smart but when they don’t it’s because they are dumb.” Nothing in my history; nothing I have written (unless I was joking, of course) indicates anything of the kind.

    What the hell have I written these millions of words for over the years, if when I say we have an extraordinary case here in which NO objective case can be made for the candidate who is, against all reason, leading in the polls, YOU, who have supposedly read these millions of words, can make such a dismissive, blanket statement about me and my values? (Especially after I have given you this forum all this time, in spite of the fact that you make a fetish of saying “black” when I say “white” as often as possible. If I am so intellectually dishonest as to completely dismiss those who disagree with me in the normal course of things, how do you explain that behavior on my part?)

    You are COMPLETELY unjustified in saying that to me…

  14. Brad

    No way this is a case of the lesser of two weevils, as Capt. Aubrey would say.

    This is a clear case of a choice between an honest, qualified candidate who would lead for the betterment of South Carolina, and a deeply untrustworthy, unqualified opportunist.

    I’ve never seen such a clear case in South Carolina since I came back here in 1987. I was thinking about this just yesterday. I tried to think of when there was such a contrast. For a moment I thought of the Democratic primary runoff in 1994, in which Joe Riley (without a doubt THE most qualified candidate to run for governor in my time covering politics in this state) faced Nick Theodore, a run-of-the-mill political time-server. (To the great shame of the voters, Mayor Riley lost by less than one vote per precinct.)

    But no, that wasn’t as sharp a contrast as this. I say that because, while Riley towered above his opponent, Nick Theodore was merely run-of-the-mill, as I said. He was an ordinary politician. By contrast, Nikki Haley has exhibited so many bad traits, from her incompetence as an accountant to her penchant for exploiting her position for personal gain, from her unhesitating misrepresentation of facts to her eager willingness to stoop to any demagogic stratagem to win, that Nick towers over her as a considerably less objectionable candidate.

    Carroll Campbell vs. Theo Mitchell in 1990? Perhaps, but that was SUCH a non-contest that I honestly don’t remember much about it. The issue was never in doubt, and there were so many other things occupying our attention at the time — Lost Trust and all those other scandals of 1990 — that the gubernatorial election that year was almost an afterthought.

    Anyway, we can debate all day whether this is the most clear ever, I suppose. But there is no doubt that it is startlingly clear.

  15. Gene

    I am a registered Republican but I gave up a long time ago voting “straight ticket”. There are several Republicans that will get my vote next Tuesday but Nikki Haley is not one of them. There are just too many documented incidents of Nikki’s tax issues, employment history to include reasons she was hired or fired, lack of legislative work for the years in office, voting record, failure to provide access to state provided e-mail, and many more.

  16. Doug Ross

    The fact is Brad that you find Nikki’s transgressions horrible while many people just say “eh, she paid her taxes late.. and who is Vincent Sheheen?”.

    You want 50.1% of the people of South Carolina to believe you when you say Sheheen is a nice guy and your favorite politician. The problem is that Sheheen hasn’t done that job for himself. That’s his fault. He chose a scorched earth strategy against Haley and he got burned by it. He should have used his resources to make the case why he was the right person. He didn’t. He figured he could drag Haley down into the mud and crawl out on top. We’ll see if that works on Tuesday. If it doesn’t work, he needs only blame himself.

    You may not say the words explicitly but the message is clear: “You’d have to be an idiot to vote for Haley based on what I have been telling you.” It’s apparent in the growing frustration. Jeez, you’re willing to claim the end of believing in representative democracy if Haley wins.

    Here’s what you write:

    “So Vincent Sheheen, who is capable of greater depth, keeps it simple in the hope that if you keep stating the PAINFULLY OBVIOUS, people will act rationally. And if they don’t, well… combine that with what happened with Alvin Greene, and I may end this year beginning to have real trouble with my lifelong faith in the Democratic process.”

    What level of reading comprehension do I need to take that you consider a vote for Haley an irrational act?

    You have gone so far overboard in the past few months trying to throw everything you can at Nikki and elevating Sheheen to sainthood that it has just lost its objectivity. You’ve made the proverbial mountain out of the molehill based on your personal feelings toward Sheheen.

  17. Fred

    Actually Brad, I believe Doug was right on the money. You say you’re not affiliated with any party, but I’m guessing your left leg is three inches shorter than your right the way you lean.

  18. Sally McDaniel Thornton (Mrs. Christopher)

    The bottom line is that IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that Vincent Sheheen is a far superior candidate. The idea that anyone even considers Haley a viable candidate speaks poorly of them. When you ditch the “R” and the “D” beside their names, and simply look at the candidates on their own merits, Haley loses and loses HUGE. The problem is the simple-minded folks who say and think ridiculous things like “a vote for any Democrat is a vote for Obama, Pelosi, Reed, et al.”
    I think those people are idiots. Period. Brad may be kinder.
    I’ve been following this blog for the entirety of the general election campaign, and, Doug, I don’t think that if Sheheen sat down with you and gave you a point by point map of his plans that you would be satisfied. The bottom line is this: look at his record, at what he has worked to change and improve. In his past you will see how he means to go forward.
    You don’t know me, and my opinion doesn’t make a hill of beans to you, and rightly so. But give it a rest. To pretend that because Sheheen has not spent the last few months bragging on himself that he is the inferior candidate is intellectually dishonest.

  19. Mark Stewart


    Yes, I think you are dead right about the party affiliations smokescreen. That will be the biggest test in this election without a doubt. Will people think with their vote?

    I care less which way other people think; a thoughtful vote is all any of us can ask of each other as citizens.

    It became painfully obvious to me after the primary that Nikki Hailey is not qualified to be Governor. The issues that concerned me did not arise from her platform, but from her character and lack of competency. Unfortunately this was reinforced to me in the debates where it was almost painfully obvious that while well-spoken, Hailey is totally in over her head for the position. In fact, it’s also an unfortunate truth (in hindsight) that she was not up to serving as my district legislator either.

    I will vote for competency over party every time when forced to make that call. So while a Republican, I will caste my vote for Vincent Sheheen.

  20. Fred

    I bet if Sheheen sat down with anyone there’s be one of those six minute clocks that lawyers use ticking away in the background.

    I’m voting Haley on Tuesday. The latest polls on 538 have her back up to double-digit leads, and this was from a rumored Democratic leaning polling company. So her debating skills must not be all that bad.

  21. Shannon aka Scout

    Doug, I don’t think you have been paying attention. My guess is Brad’s favorite politician clearly is either Tony Blair or Joe Riley.

    You also don’t seem to be paying attention to what Sheheen is saying. He is saying a lot more than just the negative stuff, but you and countless others just seem to not hear it. He has talked a lot about what he wants to do – with specifics. It is clear he has a much deeper understanding of the way things work in our state, combined with a history of getting things done.

    So have you just not heard him talk about comprehensive tax reform, appointing a competent director of commerce, investing more in higher education in better budget years, developing a programmatic budget process, reforming the ACT (???) funding disaster, etc. So are you just not listening? You don’t have to agree with it, but you ought to at least acknowledge he is saying more than just the negative stuff.

  22. Ralph Hightower

    This race boils down to character versus irresponsibility and “Good Ol’ Boy/Gal” politics.

    If Nikki Haley’s problem with personal and business taxes (income and property), tax liens against her family’s business (withholding of employee withholding taxes), suspension of an Employment Security Commission audit of her family’s business and her alleged infidelity (the “Bill Clinton Problem” of zippers that her mentor SC Governot Mark Sanford has), then there could very well have been a different result in the GOP primary and this race would be against two qualified people.

    The only one qualified to be governor of SC is Vincent Sheheen.

    Nikki Haley is not even capable of passing the vetting process to be a Vice-President nominee for Sarah Palin in 2012. Please Lord, never let that happen!

  23. Barry

    @ Brad- got to let it roll off your back.

    I am a conservative person. I voted for Mark Sanford twice. 2 times too many- but twice.

    But I personally think anyone that picks Nikki Haley for Governor of South Carolina isn’t paying attention.

    From her ludicrous explanation about ACT 388, to her lying about something as simple as how many employees work for the SC Dept of Education, to a friend of mine who works for another news organization telling me that some of her folks have “treated me worse than anyone I’ve ever covered” to her “the biggest problem in South Carolina is the culture” comment.

    I see no reason to have a 3rd term of Mark Sanford.

  24. Fred

    Ralph are you saying that Haley is playing “good ol’ boy” politics? Where did you hear that from? Good ol’ boy Jakie Knotts?

  25. Matt

    We tend to go round and round with Brad on this.

    At the end of the day, Brad, you’re just another guy with an opinion–just like the rest of us.

    Some of the 2.6 million voters of South Carolina agree with you. Some don’t.

    And some might even be smarter than you too…

  26. Doug Ross


    I’ve seen Sheheen’s website and his issues page. It is sparse and gives few details. He has spent the vast majority of his time in the debates and in advertising trying to tear down Haley. We’ll see if that strategy works.

    I believe Brad told me that he looks at candidates as if they were interviewing for a job. Now, if a job candidate came in and said “Hire me because the other guy is a lowlife slime” what would make you hire that person? I’ve been waiting all summer for a reason to vote for Sheheen that went beyond “I’m not Sanford”. He couldn’t do that. Because to be the type of candidate I would vote for, he would have had to be open and honest and provide details about the specific things he would do as Governor. He couldn’t do that because he had to play like a good Democrat to get all those votes while trying to chip away Republican votes from Haley by talking about his guns, and his sorta pro-life background.

    I’ve done plenty of research on Sheheen. He’s not a game changer, he’s a nice guy. I want a game changer.

    Note: I already voted absentee and did not vote for Haley or Sheheen.

  27. KP

    Here’s part of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal’s endorsement of Sheheen. The SHJ’s editorial board is ultra-conservative. I don’t remember a time when they endorsed a Democrat:

    South Carolina cannot afford four years of ineffective leadership. It cannot take more government gridlock, sniping and fingerpointing rather than progress. That’s what makes this governor’s race so crucial and why Vincent Sheheen is the proper choice for South Carolinians.

    This is a conservative page, and the most conservative candidates are usually endorsed in this space. While Republican Nikki Haley may be considered more conservative than Sheheen, a Democrat, the state senator from Camden is not “an Obama liberal” as he has been portrayed. He is a conservative Democrat.

    Beyond that, he is the candidate in this race who can best lead this state. He is the candidate who seems to have spent more time considering the problems the Palmetto State faces and how those problems should be met.

    Haley speaks more in sound bites and platitudes. For instance, she talks of finding the money the state needs for education by cutting bureaucrats in the state Education Department and privatizing the state’s school bus system, tactics that may save a small portion of the funds needed. She speaks of reducing the state’s “small business income tax,” when what she really means is the state’s corporate income tax, which is paid by all large businesses as well as some small businesses.

  28. Mark Stewart


    So you voted for me as a write-in?

    Your point about the job inderview is interesting; but I think that Brad was looking beyond the campaigning rhetoric when he examines the candidates.

    Sheheen is a democrat and therefore HAS to earn the support of Republicans to win at this point in the state’s political posture. So he’s had to point out Hailey’s shortcomings. Of course, that’s been not only easy with Hailey but accurate as well.

    Only Andre would have been a worse choice in the primary last spring for the Republicans.

  29. Greg Jones

    If I may be so bold, if you voted for neither Sheheen or Haley, you effectively voted for Haley. I guess you made your point, though.

  30. Doug Ross


    I did write in your name. I learned enough about you in our Walk For Life to know you’d do a better job than either of the candidates.


    My point is that I will vote for someone who I think will do the best job as Governor. I don’t want a consensus builder working with the den of thieves. I want someone who will have the guts to stand up to them. None of the candidates would have done that.

  31. Mark Stewart


    My belief is that a Governor of this state will need popular support, a cordial and/or colligial relationship with the legislature, and a great deal of guile to reshape the governmental balance in SC. The Governor is goining to need to be able to bring some realpolitik to bear to force some game-changers without alienating everyone at the state house.

    As has been proven by the historical record of past 100 years, this is going to require a skillset not seen in the Governor’s mansion in what I think is decades.

  32. Pat

    @ Mark – SHJ has come out for Sheheen – He may just have the popular support – especially after they get to know him.

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