Another middle-aged white guy heard from about Kitzman letter

And the thing is, this one is one of Eleanor Kitzman‘s bosses — House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper, 50.

This came in over the transom yesterday, and I suppose it’s the letter that John O’Connor (oh, and happy birthday today, John) referred to in this story.

Of course, I kid about the “middle-aged white guy” thing, because I find Identity Politics (particularly as practiced by Ms. Kitzman) so wonderfully goofy. But the real issue is how unprofessional it is to play the defensive toady to ONE of your bosses in such a public manner.

So I can see how Rep. Cooper would not approve.

Pretty scathing, huh?

14 thoughts on “Another middle-aged white guy heard from about Kitzman letter

  1. Doug Ross

    We should have more of these dramas play out in public. The backroom boys hate having to be out in the public eye.

  2. Juan Caruso


    The unexpurgated Kitzman quote in context expresses a tone quite familiar and legitimate to “middle-aged white guys”:

    “We must be fearless and willing to work hard, make good choices and, most importantly, never give up in pursuit of a dream. (Don’t even get me started on yet another middle-aged white man explaining how the real world works to an ethnic woman.) – Eleanor Kitzman”

    Mr. Cooper, has never been a Haley supporter. Here, he has made a kerfuffle for the benefit of his political allies.

    Women get it, and they still outnumber guys like Cooper and their allies.

    By the way, Vincent is trying very hard to prevent kerfuffles in his own camp now. Wonder why you are not telling us about that yet?

  3. Brad

    What kerfuffles? Spill. I saw Vincent yesterday — and last week, up at Furman. He seemed pretty calm. But he always does.

    Juan, have you ever worked in a large organization? Have you been a manager? What Dan Cooper told Eleanor Kitzman is pretty much what any boss I ever had would tell me under such circumstances, and not too different from what I would tell a subordinate who did something so inappropriate.

    The difference is, he did it in a letter. I would have done it in person.

    And what does it tell us that he did it in a letter? It tells us that either he has a very bad relationship with Ms. Kitzman, or no relationship at all. (I suspect the latter.) He seems as uninterested in bringing her along in her career as she is uninterested in showing any respect to him as her boss.

    It tells me that if he could fire her by himself, she’d soon be gone.
    And she’s been in the job what — two months? Wow. That certainly beats MY personal best for poisoning a relationship with a superior.

  4. Brad

    Also, please note that the issue for him isn’t the embarrassing letter she wrote. That is merely another sign of her attitude, which, based upon the way she is conducting herself in the job, Cooper regards as being that she considers Nikki to be the only person she’s serving — not the other four board members, and not the other 4,625,359 people in the state.

  5. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    I suspect Ms. Kitzman got where she is today by being very, uh, assertive. She founded a successful insurance company, as a young woman in a state not noted for being progressive.

    I think she is projecting her own experience onto the situation, and as a successful outsider, is finding it hard to color inside the lines. The political environment that we have here is making a fetish out of outsiderness, and brought us Ken Ard, whose sole qualifications for Lt. Gov. were, according to him, that he was an outsider….

    As a die-hard feminist, I found her letter seriously off-key.

  6. Rob

    The only thing interesting about all of this is that it represents just another reason as to why South Carolina government needs to do away with the Budget and Control Board.

  7. Barry

    I have to agree with Brad.

    I work for a very large company and while I am not a supervisor, I do have the honor (I guess that’s what you call it) of being my supervisors right hand man. For that honor, he fills me in from time to time on the issues he has to face when dealing with his staff and in dealing with his bosses.

    My supervisor is very big on attitude. YOu can do your job well but if you have a bad attitude, or smart off to others in meetings, you are going to have serious issues.

    I could easily imagine him chewing out someone that used the language (or the forum of a newspaper) of Ms. Kitzman.

  8. Brad

    Well, totally apart from all this, the Budget and Control Board should not exist, in any way, shape or form.

    But since it does, and since it has vast responsibilities in managing state government, it needs to be run in a mature and responsible manner. Which makes all this disturbing.

  9. Mark Stewart

    The banality of this all is getting tiresome.

    If the people governing (and administering and legislating) have to engage in this small-ball gamesmanship, could they at least do it with a little more sportiness?

    Did the Chairman of the Way and Means Committee just say nobody pays him the time of day about financial decisions for the state? Of course, the Executive Director also showed her shrewd sense of political adroitness. As did Loftis with his complaints. The Governor has really had a heck of a few weeks, too. At least she has demonstrated her political infighting skills; though what she has shown may not be the best thing for her over the long term.

    How did it come to pass that Leatherman and Ekstrom have somehow managed to find their way to the top of this pool of bile at the Budget and Control Board?

  10. Brad

    And Kathryn, I don’t know what you meant by “I think she is projecting her own experience onto the situation, and as a successful outsider, is finding it hard to color inside the lines.”

    But then, when my friends who happen to be women start to talk about stuff from a feminist perspective, they often lose me.

    Bottom line — I don’t care WHERE she worked, public or private sector, “inside” or “outside,” if she possesses experience commensurate with a job of this level of responsibility, she should have learned better than to conduct herself this way a LONG time ago.

    Oh, and by the way, that would go double for a man. I give women a certain amount of latitude for their sisterhood thing. I don’t understand it, but I know some women are like that. But even after I give her latitude on the letter, you’re still left with a certain lack of professionalism.

  11. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    I’m saying that just as you can be blind to your privilege and tend to see things as management would because that’s been your experience, I think Ms. Kitzman got where she is by being a scrapper. It’s the same problem frequently encountered when an entrepreneur can’t make the jump to long-term manager of a successful enterprise- different skill set and personality.

    Here, she’s expected to at least start somewhere inside the box, and instead she splashes out in a letter to the editor. This kind of behavior was rewarded when she was an outsider…not so much when she’s inside the gates.

  12. Barry

    The CEO of our company is a woman. She’s our new CEO but she’s not new to our company. We have approx 600 employees in our company- which is part of a larger company with 6,000+ employees.

    The way a professional handles such things is – if they just have to make a public statement on something, they get a subordinate to do it for them. That way they appear above it all, but still send the intended message.


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