Well, that was a bust. As I Tweeted when I arrived at the “Reinstate Darla Moore” rally at the State House on this sunny day:
The big protest over Darla Moore being unceremoniously dumped by Nikki Haley looks like a bit of a bust so far. They DID say noon, right?
As I said again at 12:43, it was still a bust. Which is a shame. Because Nikki Haley insulted all of the 30,000 or so students on the Columbia campus alone with her petty patronage move — not to mention the way she dissed the other 4 million of us who have a right to expect a governor to exercise some modicum of responsible stewardship at our most important state institutions. Instead of, you know, what she did.
Old New Left Activist Tom Turnipseed grumbled about these kids today who don’t know how to stage a protest: They think they do something with social media, and it’s done, he says. Well, yes — the “We Support Darla Moore” Facebook page has attracted 4,703 people who probably think they’ve made a statement by “liking” it.
But that doesn’t mean that Martha Susan Morris, the 22-year-old economic and poli sci senior who started the “Students for the Reinstatement of Miss Darla Moore” FB page, lacks seriousness in her convictions.
After all, she showed up, and spoke at the rally — once it finally got around to getting started. And she understood why she should be there, and why thousands of others should have been there with her:
Gov. Haley cited that her main reason for replacing Mrs. Moore with Mr. Cofield was the fact that Mr. Cofield’s vision was more clearly aligned with her own.
And we the students ask ‘What vision?’ What vision is not aligning with Gov. Haley…?… Mrs. Moore’s vision for years has been one of high expectations, increased educational funding, and increased standards for universities, research and development in our state…. and we could not be more grateful to her…
Our university is on the upswing, and we want her to be a part of it. She’s been an amazing benefactor… since she was appointed to the board in 1999…
Amen to that, Martha Susan. She said afterward that she started the FB page at 4 a.m. after having hearing about Ms. Moore being dumped. When she next looked at the page later that morning, there were 400 fans. There are now 2,495.
Too bad more of them didn’t show up. Because although we know Nikki Haley loves her some Facebook, she’d have been a tad more impressed to look out her window and see some folks show up to protest her action. Not that she’d have changed her mind, but it would have made an impression.
One of the people I chatted with before leaving was Candace Romero, communications director of the South Carolina House Democratic Caucus, who observed how much of the crowd were media types, and she complained that that there was no media turnout like that for the “Rally for a Moral Budget” back on March 12. (I asked her, and her Senate counterpart Phil Bailey, whether they were in any way involved in this rally. No, and no. They had just dropped by. That’s the answer I got from all the usual suspect-types I found.)
Well. As one who didn’t even thinking about going downtown on a Saturday for that particular quixotic gesture, I must accept service. But I will add that good-government-type rallies tend not to draw multitudes. Have it about something people get passionate about, such as the Confederate flag, and you can get a crowd (5,000 or so if it’s pro, as many as 60,000 if it’s anti).
Which is a shame. Today’s rally was for good government — or at least, against grossly irresponsible government. (I enjoyed hearing a speaker who followed Martha Susan say he and his fellow protesters were there to “change the usual business of government.” You know, what Nikki Haley is always saying she wants to do — right before she does something as old-line political Business-As-Usual as dumping a highly respected board member in favor of someone whose only known qualification is having contributed to her campaign.)
But it was a bust.
Oh, one more thing — it was announced, late in the rally, that Darla Moore herself will address students “in a town-hall meeting at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in the Russell House.”
I wonder whether that will be better-attended.