Wow. South Carolina creeps a little closer to Washington-style partisanship every day. Here’s one step in that direction…
Earlier today, I received a release saying that Thomas McElveen, a Sumter attorney and son of Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen, was running for the state Senate seat to be vacated by Phil Leventis. The release was a PDF file that won’t let me copy text (I hate PDFs!), but here’s a picture of a portion of the release…
Then, less than two hours after that release came out, I received this from Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, under the headline, “Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler on Democrat Thomas McElveen’s Entry into Senate District 35 Race:”
Columbia, SC – February 21, 2012 – South Carolina Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler today issued the following statement on Democrat Thomas McElveen’s entrance into the race for state Senate District 35:
“Folks in Sumter are ready for change,” Peeler said. “This will be a prime opportunity for the Senate Republican Caucus to add to its growing majority. Democrats in the Senate still have the numbers they need to impede conservative reforms that people across South Carolina have spoken loud and clear on, and that’s something we need to change. Time and time again, Senator Phil Leventis has fought against the conservative agenda, and has led the effort to make sure the Senate is where conservative ideas go to die. After 33 years, we have the opportunity to wrestle away control of District 35 from liberal trial lawyers, and our Caucus will do everything necessary to make it happen.”
Yeah, Harvey, I understand why you want more Republicans in the Legislature, but why should the people of this Sumter district care about whom you, a resident of Cherokee County, want them to elect to represent them?
It would be one thing if you were offering them some insights into Mr. McElveen’s suitability, and suggesting another, specific person whom you believe, for specific reasons, would be a better choice for them. That might be useful. But you don’t even bother for a second to take stock of Mr. McElveen and his qualifications, or lack thereof, for this office, much less demonstrate that there exists a better candidate. No, you just instruct them that any Republican would be better than this guy, just because he has a D after his name.
Which is just beyond offensive.
How about next time you want to butt into somebody else’s district, you have something useful to offer? Or at the very least, let a guy begin his campaign and say something you object to before you attack him.
They use pdfs so opinion journos like you can’t slice and dice it to put your slant on it, since we know, per Doug, that’s what you’re all about.
This can be traced to Wesley Donahue, who is paid to forment this type of crap. A good question is why the Senate Republican caucus requires a paid PR staff, let alone why Donahue basically works out of the SC Senate.
The problem is not so much professional politicians as much as it is the professional PR people hired by the politicians. The PR people are paid to churn issues up — not resolve them in favor of social progress.
sadly, it’s politics.
He doesn’t care. His job is to attack.
Today, Wesley sent out something far more defensible — a reaction from Mr. McElveen’s actual opponent (or will be, if both win their respective nominations — I don’t know who else is running):
Republican Tony Barwick’s Statement on Democrat Thomas McElveen’s Entry into Senate District 35 Race
Sumter, SC – February 21, 2012 – Sumter businessman and Republican candidate for Senate District 35, Tony Barwick, today issued the following statement on Democrat Thomas McElveen’s entry into the race.
“I look forward to a spirited debate and good race with Mr. McElveen, but the fact is that people in Sumter are ready for a conservative change.” Barwick said. “Sumter voters know that the way to build the economy is by cutting government and getting Columbia politics out of the private sector. I am ready to represent Sumter, not the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party – and I’ll do that by cutting spending, cutting taxes, and fighting to restructure government. We don’t need to elect a Democratic Party yes-man to this seat.”
That’s fine. Let the candidates draw their comparisons. But please, no input from outsiders trying to instruct the voters as to which PARTY to pick, with no regard to the qualities of the individual candidates involved.
This just in from Wesley, Brad. While Peeler said in the release, “After 33 years, we have the opportunity to wrestle away control of District 35 from liberal trial lawyers, and our Caucus will do everything necessary to make it happen,” Wesley assured me that the Senate GOP Caucus would be open to a conservative trial lawyer for District 35, so it’s not blanket opposition against attorneys for the post. Hope that helps with the debate.
And, please, let’s not permit taxpayer-funded resources (space, access to GOP senators in the Statehouse, etc.) be any part of any input.
If memory serves me correctly, Wesley authored a recent controversial letter sent by Senator Peeler.
For the record, GENERAL Phil Leventis is not a trial lawyer. He is a beverage distributor and a former fighter pilot. This means that he spent his career putting his life on the line to protect my freedom AND keeping Sumter supplied with cold, crisp Budweiser. All the Peelers provide is milk — an infinitely inferior beverage.
The problem with the Republican party in South Carolina is that nearly all the politicians would have once upon a time been Democrats (of some stripe). It does appear as though many politicians just can’t wait to get back to a one-party state, as if even the slightest hint of equilibrum is the most outrageous of situations.
Opposing parties provide a framework for philosophical differences in politics. Without their structures and planks all politics would revert to backroom cabals plundering for individual gain.
Sometimes I hear all of this thundering about “conservatism” and I wonder whether too many people would simply rather regress into pre-Constitutional anarchy? Or maybe there is a yearning for a (relatively) benign form of authoritarianism/paternalism?
Here’s what they’ve done to politics in South Carolina… they’ve made it into this club that you have to say that you’re a “conservative” to get into. And you have to mean it the way THEY do, which means some sort of government- and community-hating libertarian radical.
I cannot run for office because I will not call myself “conservative” on those terms, even though I’m more conservative — in the normal, English-language sense of the word — than most of them are. They’ve made it into something ugly, demeaning, and anti-intellectual.
And they’ve turned liberal, which is another fine word, into a curseword. (And a lot of people who call themselves “liberal” have helped them.) True conservatism, and true liberalism, are fine things, and each has much to offer to public life. But they’ve made the words so ugly that I hate to hear them spoken.
Call me a progressive. That’s a very misunderstood concept in South Carolina. Unfortunately. We all need to spend more time looking ahead and laying the foundation for future gains, whether conservative or liberal in philosophical leaning.
One has only to look at what passes for political debate in this state and compare it to the present uproar over the effort to recall the governor in Wisconsin, a state with a functioning two-party system, to see just how far SC has to go to make progress.
And they’ve turned liberal, which is another fine word, into a curseword. (And a lot of people who call themselves “liberal” have helped them.)
That kind of knee-jerk attempt at balance gets so old. The folks who insist on being the “true” conservative are the bad guys here, not liberals. I find it offensive that you would include liberals in the same category as the increasingly disgusting conservative camp of “partisanship”. Honestly, the word “bipartisan” is starting to seem counterproductive in 2012. Let’s just fight it out and let whoever wins at the ballot box prevail.
The real danger to this state and country is this constant, nattering, insulting, inaccurate portrayal of modern liberal philosophy as some type of evil to be equated with Nazis, Communists and even terrorists. The Tea Party has taken over the GOP to the point that “conservative” vitriol is approaching Joseph McCarthy levels.
And what is really amazing is how completely wrong the modern “conservative” movement is. Take this whole austerity clamor. We have a perfectly good laboratory model to judge whether austeriy works. It’s called Europe. In places like Great Britain, Italy and Portugal austerity has ruled for the last couple of years. And it’s been a disaster. Unemployment rates in parts of Europe are running in the high teens and even low 20s. The recession in the UK is now longer than the Great Depression of the 30s. Compare that to the US and Japan who are growing with declining unemployment rates and expanding GDP.
So when it comes to what the dirty word in American politics is today it’s spelled C O N S E R V A T I V E.