On Monday, Bobby Harrell was talking about taking legislative steps to try to ensure South Carolina’s status as the first-in-the-South presidential primary (for both parties, not just the GOP).
But nine days earlier, SC GOP primary voters opted to undermine the best excuse for the Republican national committee, at least, to give South Carolina precedence. For the first time since 1980, they went out of their way to support a candidate who would NOT be the eventual nominee.
So why should anyone care what South Carolina thinks four years from now?
I, for one, will miss all the attention when it drifts away. I like it when the world is paying attention to us for something other than making jackasses of ourselves. I like the buzz. I like South Carolinians having a chance to affect grand events. And yes, I enjoy doing the national and international media interviews. Most importantly, who’s going to pay for me to take a mid-winter break in Key West when nobody cares any more what SC thinks?
I certainly wish my fellow SC voters had taken a moment to think about these things before they capriciously wasted their votes on Newt Gingrich on Jan. 21. But no, they were intent on throwing it all away.
For a moment there, it did look as though Floridians would accept the SC judgment as an early clue to the new direction, but then they woke up and said to themselves, “Wait a minute… this is Newt Gingrich! And we’re not South Carolina. We don’t go off on wild hairs, firing on Fort Sumter and voting for bombastic egoists…”
And they settled down and did what South Carolina usually settles down and does, but didn’t this time: Picked the safe choice, the obvious choice, the guy whose turn it is. They put Mitt Romney back on his inevitability path, and did so decisively.
And already out there, they’re forgetting South Carolina. I can feel it… The next time they pay attention to us, it will be Jon Stewart making fun of us again. And in the unlikely event that Mitt Romney is elected president, he’ll feel less grateful to South Carolina than Barack Obama does (the incumbent at least had an important primary victory here).
We’re drifting… drifting… into irrelevance…