Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to get to all week…
Fellow Rotarian Jimmy Covington asked my long-ago managing editor, Bobby Hitt, what he thought of the news media today. Bobby, who is now SC Commerce secretary, said:
I think that it’s as good as it can be.
That was followed by a long pause, with Bobby regarding the crowd with one of those patented Hitt wiseguy grins as they laughed with appreciation, before he added:
… but not as good as it was.
That said more succinctly what I say so often in answer to the same question. My more wordy answer goes something like, “You have to understand that my friends who still have jobs in the MSM are working heroically in the face of a really horrific lack of resources, yadda yadda….” Bobby put it more cleverly.
Here are some other things he said to the Columbia Rotary Club Monday…
- Between the newspaper and Commerce, Bobby spent 18 years at BMW. So it was with some authority that he said that whatever you may think about the government providing economic incentives to attract jobs — however much you may want markets to take care of everything — the truth is that “BMW has never built an Interstate highway, and has no plans to do so in the future.” But without them, no BMWs would get delivered, and there would be no BMW plant in Greer.
- A core strength of South Carolina in economic development is that “We’re good at making stuff.” When’s the last time, he asked, that a manufacturing company located here and then left? That’s why, aside from the new Bridgestone plant, Michelin has just expanded. Those are jobs that are here to stay, he said: Our grandchildren will be working at those plants. “The world gets us, maybe better sometimes than we get ourselves.”
- Tensions between one part of the state and another are “foolish.” A great advantage we have is that we are a small state, and it’s possible for us to work together statewide. “I look at South Carolina as one big county” in promoting economic development.
- “I would like to see a time when South Carolinians are not just on the plant floor; they’re in the front office.”
- Staying a right-to-work state is key to economic development, and in any event it’s not up to him. He just doesn’t see any political chance of it changing. He said he doesn’t see South Carolinians as interested in third-party representation: “Most people in South Carolina don’t want to be told what to do by anyone other than the one that pays them.”