The counter-Haley insurgency within the GOP goes mainstream (but sotto voce)

Republicans who are enamored of their gubernatorial nominee can dismiss Cyndi Mosteller (sister of close Sanford ally Chip Campsen) if they like. But they’ll have a bit of trouble shrugging off this missive from their own Speaker of the House:


Dear Friends,

This Election Year there are a lot of accusations flying around and very few facts backing them up.  Republicans need to make sure all voters are fully informed before they go to the polls this November and that is why we felt it was so important that we get the real facts out.

Recently, special interest groups in our state have tried to accuse State House Republicans of fighting against reforms that we not only support, but that we have actually voted on and passed.  They are even accusing Republican leadership of not supporting the very reforms that we have worked hard to get passed.

The SC House Republican Caucus is a conservative body that has a record of conservative reforms and a clear vision for our state’s future.  Over this series of emails, we will tell you the facts about that solid record and share with you our plans to build on that record.


The House Republican Caucus supports more transparency in our state government.  A more open government makes for a more accountable government.  We believe the people should be able to see how their elected officials vote.

FACT:  In January 2009, we adopted a Rule in the House of Representatives that was authored by Representative Nikki Haley that put more of our votes on the record. Click here to see the House Rule.

FACT:  Just this past session, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Rep. Haley’s bill that would make the House Rule requiring more recorded votes a law.  Click here to see the bill we passed.

Even though it passed unanimously and would appear as though it was easy to pass, there were still hurdles we had to overcome to get us there. The House Republican Caucus and I, as the Speaker, worked very hard to get this important rule passed and to get the legislation through the House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, this bill never made it through the SC Senate.  Because of that, the House Republican Caucus has put Transparency at the top of our election agenda and plan to address this issue again in the next legislative session.

As I said at the beginning of this email, there will be a lot of untrue allegations made during this election season, but facts are facts.  The House Republican Caucus, and I as the Speaker, have not only supported more transparency in government, we have backed up the talk with action by passing a House Rule and a House Bill.  This is the kind of leadership you expect from Republicans, and I am proud to be able to tell you about it.

Bobby Harrell


South Carolina House of Representatives


A friend sent this to me, noting rightly that “you’re certainly not a Republican, but I thought I’d pass it on anyway.” I’m much obliged.

Whoa. Normally, when a Republican leader starts out a mailing, less than a month from a general election, with “This Election Year there are a lot of accusations flying around and very few facts backing them up,” he’s unloading on the Democratic nominee. Not this time, baby. Not the way I read it, anyway — because I’ve only heard one person try to paint the leadership as opposed to transparency.

Sure, in keeping with Reagan’s 11th Commandment, Bobby didn’t come right out and say “Nikki Haley is a liar!” But even your more comprehension-challenged Repubs ought to be able to understand this message. Right? Or are they thicker than I give them credit for being?

Or… is there something I’m missing?

23 thoughts on “The counter-Haley insurgency within the GOP goes mainstream (but sotto voce)

  1. Doug Ross

    You aren’t missing a thing. Of course Harrell wants Sheheen to win. He knows it will mean getting away with all sorts of things with the candidate who will “work with him”.

    Harrell and Leatherman run this state. All the way into the ground.

  2. Mark Stewart

    The only people who will get it already got it.

    Although since neither party is ever shy about dising the other at election time, the lack of a named opponent clearly indicates that a back-handed swipe at one within the same party is the intended read.

    Is this not also the same as waiting for Nikki to be out of town before voting on her measure in the house of representatives?

  3. Juan Caruso

    Brad, S.C. Republicans (the status quo R.I.N.O.s) have about the same respect from independents like me as career Democrats – zilch.

    Haley win or lose, Sheheen would just be another one-termer like Hodges, whom you don’t remember, since you were not yet in SC yet.

    Since you are someting of a Sheheen expert, I would like to know where he stood (if he had a public opinion) on the disgraced A.C.O.R.N. organization that was once operative in SC.

    Where does Vincent stand on Alvin Greene’s candidacy? Does he prefer Greene or DeMint?

    Wonder why the S.C. Chamber is really supporting Sheheen: does he wish to largely excuse ( maintain the current status) businesses from liability for hiring illegal immigrants?

    Transparency – since he conveniently hides behind his attorney-client privilege, we surely do not know who has paid him for what that may be at conflict with his legislative authority.

    As far as lawyers go, he is better looking than most and slick as they come. Glad you trust him, because I win either way.

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    They needed to add that a Republican failed to forward this letter and bad things befell him, but that if they forward to at least ten of their Republican friends, they will receive $100!

    Juan C is an independent? Have you ever voted for a Democrat or Green Party candidate?

    He doesn’t “conveniently hide behind his attorney-client privilege” he has released every thing hepossily could, and is COMPELLED to honor attorney-client privilege. He could lose his license if he violated it!! If he were your lawyer, wouldn’t you want him to honor it?

  5. Joanne

    Juan, I’ve known Vincent for most of his life and kept up with his service in the GA. “Slick” is not the adjective I’d use. Sure, if you only knew Vincent is a lawyer, I’m sure the stereotypical response is yours, but I don’t think Vincent’s record exactly puts him into slick mode.

    If you have ever used a lawyer, I’m sure you’d want your business with that lawyer protected, and it should be.

  6. Mark Stewart

    That’s hilarious; but Harrell’s already made mince-meat of Haley.

    And that’s all this is about; grinding the ax.

    So, Doug, do you think that Haley is going to be able to successfully take on the legislature (and Harrell) from the Governor’s bully-pulpit? Because this press release is just part of the proof that that’s not going to happen.

    But you are right, the balance of power is out of whack in this state. So in the final analysis, is Haley going to effectively advocate for some incremental improvement; even if this does mean playing nice with the consolidated power bases in the legislature to achieve this? Or is Sheheen in a better position to score some gains for the governor’s office given the playing field that we have today?

  7. Brad

    No, she is not. No question about that.

    And yes, Vincent is. Not only is he better positioned to achieve real reform, but he’s more inclined.

  8. Doug Ross

    What specific reform will Sheheen attempt to achieve? Nobody knows because he only talks about Haley. I’ve been waiting all summer for some actual ideas from the supposed “policy wonk”. His website is a vast wasteland of anything but soundbites and generic statements. “Let Teachers Teach” “Overhaul Tax System” “Free Lollipops for Children” (ok, I made that up).


    I think Haley will have a similar fate as Sanford. She will start off being bold, trying to expose the games that Harrell and Leatherman play. She’ll get smacked down and then spend the rest of the next eight years in an adversarial relationship. It’s what the people want. The position has no power to affect change. Better that she be a roadblock than an open gate.

    I’m not voting for Sheheen unless he tells me specifically what he plans to get done…

  9. Doug Ross


    Don’t you find it odd that you spend more time talking about what Vincent Sheheen will do as governor than he does?

    You have to admit he has run a pretty awful campaign. No energy, no ideas, no game changing moments…

  10. Brad

    Actually, no, I don’t. Find it odd, that is.

    I’ve had in mind a blog post on this, but I’ll go ahead and address it briefly now:

    I don’t like campaign promises. I don’t like hearing a lot of specifics along the lines of “I WILL do this in office,” or “I WON’T do this in office.”

    And that has to do with the understanding I’ve developed over time about the proper role of elected officials in a representative democracy.

    The ideal candidate, for me, is a person I have come to trust, based on what he has done and stood for in the past. Then I want to elect that person, and once he’s elected I want him to decide what do based on the circumstances that actually arise while he’s in office. The LAST thing I want him to do is make a bunch of promises in advance, and feel like he has no room to make decisions once he’s elected.

    Very, very few people have this expectation. Unfortunately in this country, binding candidates with promises has been embraced as some sort of right of the voters — whereas as a voter, I want no such thing. I want officeholders who THINK, not automatons.

  11. Doug Ross

    So for those of us who don’t know Sheheen personally, what are we supposed to go on? You endorsed McCain and Bush. That would be a red flag for me.

    I’d rather hear him speak about what he would TRY to do than who he is not.

  12. Mark Stewart

    Doug, I agree with your assessment of Hailey’s trajectory. You are dead on. The question is, however, is there a chance that Sheheen can find another path? I think, given his record in the legislature and his more collaborative approach, that he might be able to achieve some long-term gains for the Governor’s office. At least there is a chance with Sheheen.

    Sometimes a percentage bet is more prudent than wagering on a sure thing.

  13. Doug Ross


    Can you tell me one thing that you think Sheheen would be able to get the legislature to do in the next four years that wouldn’t happen under Haley?

    That’s what I want to hear from Sheheen.

    Will he be able to accomplish tax reform? What might it look like?

    Will he be able to influence legislation that will lower the high school dropout rate by the end of four years?

    What can he do to cut put people back to work?

    Will he be able to redirect spending away from the pet projects and into the areas of serious need?

    I can’t vote for Sheheen unless he tells me what he wants to get done. Then we can measure him against those objectives if he wins.

    I’m not voting for Haley but she is going to win easily.

  14. Doug Ross


    If you won’t put your name to your endorsement, why should I trust you?

    Vincent Sheheen – the best choice if you don’t want to admit you are for him

  15. Mark Stewart


    You are just being ornery. But in a rational way (except you say you are not going to vote for either candidate for Governor). So here goes:

    Politics is not a closed system. There isn’t an “end” to the game. Politics is about looking for opportunities to move forward an agenda. Therefore, if it is pre-ordained that one is going to fail to be able to negotiate any gains, why play – or why elect the player? Sheheen has the possibility of being able to incrementally add to the powers of the Governors office. This will not be easy – look at the last 300 years of this state’s history.

    And yet if we look at the differences between what has been successful for the country versus what has been successful for the state of SC, we can clearly see that this state has not been well-served by the institutionally crippled nature of the executive branch. We don’t have that fluid dynamic between the President and Congress that has worked for the country. We in SC have gotten the shaft because we only get the parochial viewpoint of the legislature. That should be intolerable to every citizen of the state.

    So I don’t care about Sheheen’s platform “promises”. I will not score his term based upon how many vapid campaign promises he can fulfill. Governance isn’t like that. We should elect the candidate most qualified to play, and then give them a chance to shape the game.

    The Governor is not going to achieve tax reform. The mess we have now was created by the legislature; it will be their job to fix it. I do believe that the Governor will have a major responsibility in communicating to the citizens of this state just how destructive to the state the current system really is. The same goes with education reform. Everyone knows that one big improvement for kids would be to consolidate school districts. I’d like to see one per Circuit Court district. That way they would still be locally representative, but not so locally hidebound. But it doesn’t really matter; the Governor is once again not going to single-handedly achieve any educational reforms without the legislature’s cooperation.

    I will vote for Sheheen because he is committed to negotiating a better outcome for the citizen’s of this state. Clearly, that is not Haley’s goal in her campaign. We will just have to see how Sheheen plays the game over the four years to answer your questions with specificity.

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