Let’s all be Fascist Anarchists. Or whatever. Doesn’t really matter, as long as everybody’s in.

Ferris wouldn't care if we were fascist anarchists. It still wouldn't change the fact that he doesn't own a car.

Corey Hutchins sends out a link to his ‘splainer on Ken Ard. In a nod to the cultural references of us old people, the headline begins, “An Ard Rain’s Gonna Fall…

Corey and the Free Times are of course feeling validated by how this story came out. Or if they aren’t, they at least have reason to, as The New York Times notes:

A grand jury had been investigating Mr. Ard since July. He has already paid more than $72,000 in fines and other costs after an ethics commission found he improperly spent funds after winning election. His violation of campaign laws was first reported by The Free Times in Columbia.

But I had to take exception to a sidenote that Corey included in the email in which he shared the link. He wrote, “This story details the rise and fall of South Carolina’s first-term GOP lieutenant governor, Ken Ard, who resigned today amid a campaign finance scandal. It might serve as a caution for the idea of a one-party state…”

I responded:

Oh, I think a one-party state would be wonderful. Everyone just go ahead and say they’re Republicans, or Democrats, or Federalists, or Fascist Anarchists. It doesn’t matter what we call it (the names usually end up being meaningless as soon as parties grow large enough to win elections, anyway), as long as everybody’s in.

Then the voters will have to choose candidates based on their individual characters and qualifications, rather than according to which letter they have after their names.

One-party means NO party. Because you have to have two for the idiocy of partisanship.

54 thoughts on “Let’s all be Fascist Anarchists. Or whatever. Doesn’t really matter, as long as everybody’s in.

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    No, one party in South Carolina means the only choices we get are the purity-pledge ideologues the GOP puts on the ballot.

    One party is not at all the same as NO party. No party would mean just that, not GOP-approved candidates…

  2. Brad

    No, it wouldn’t. A candidate wouldn’t have to be approved by anyone to run. Anyone can run, and declare himself a member of any party he chooses. And any voter can vote for him.

    Of course, there are those dastards in the Legislature who want to change that, but so far everyone in South Carolina is free to be whatever he likes, and to vote for whomever he likes. (The only limitation being — and this restriction should be done away with — that you can’t vote in both parties’ primaries simultaneously. But that wouldn’t matter if there were only one party.)

    And I’m pretty sure that if there WERE only one party in SC, and GOP lawmakers tried to shut people out of voting in their primaries, their efforts would be struck down in federal courts, as a form of disenfranchisement that the court couldn’t fail to recognize.

  3. David Carlton

    Er, one party is what South Carolina had from Reconstruction until the 1960s, and the resulting politics were abysmal. Brad, you rightly keep complaining about the continuing backwardness of South Carolina; has it never occurred to you that it might have had something to do with its longtime failure to actually offer its citizens competitive, responsive politics? It’s not as if nobody’s said this before [ever hear of a guy named V. O. Key?], but one-party politics doesn’t yield your small-r-republican utopia of disinterested public servants [Read, “rule by the guys at the Capital Club”]. In South Carolina, on the gubernatorial level it yielded anarchy and politicians trying to get elected by out-demagoging each other, while underneath the Black-Belt satraps used their control of the General Assembly to rule the state with no accountability to the Great Unwashed–blacks because they couldn’t vote at all, white millhands in Spartanburg because they couldn’t vote Edgar Brown or Sol Blatt out of office. In fact, the collapse of that old system *improved* SC politics, at least for a time; state government became at least *somewhat* more responsive to the actual needs of South Carolinians. If it has backslidden since then, it’s precisely because a one-party system is inherently *less* responsive to the people. Electing the “best men” ain’t enough; they have to share a policy vision that addresses the needs and aspirations of the electorate, and need to be held accountable. It’s difficult to hold a collection of “best men” accountable, because one can’t pinpoint responsibility. Only parties in our system can both focus accountability and give people something clear to vote for or against. But in the end your beef isn’t with parties–it’s with democracy itself.

  4. `Kathryn Fenner

    Uh, David–I agree, including rule by the guys at the Capital Club, but that is a different place from the Capital City Club. The Capital Club is a gay club next to Heathcliff’s on Gervais.

  5. Brad

    But you have to admit, Kathryn, rule by the Capital Club is an intriguing idea.

    I’m sorry y’all can’t see it. I guess you’re just looking at the wrong things. It’s painfully obvious, and a lot simpler than David makes it out to be.

    Any example you provide from history is burdened by circumstances then that don’t exist now — such as the exclusion of blacks from politics. It’s like when you say that, I don’t know, family cohesion was better in the 50s, and people say, “You want to return to Jim Crow!” When that’s not what you’re saying at all, and the two things have nothing to do with each other.

    If you want to talk about history, OK. The two-party system was just emerging in South Carolina when I arrived, and what I have watched happen since then is the steady degradation in the quality of candidates, of political rhetoric and of policy in this state.

    We don’t talk anymore about creating a technical college system (as when Fritz was governor), or the EIA, or (to name two things that were current when I first arrived), protecting SC beaches from erosion caused by development or tax reform that would set local governments free from the state. All we talk about is ideological garbage, and people get elected on that crud, which is all about who’s a Republican and is going to protect you from the horrible Democrats.

    You might say that the ills I describe are because we HAVE one-party rule, but we don’t. While the Democrats exist, the Republicans are able to use fighting them as an excuse not to address actual governance. So let’s just everybody be a Republican. Or whatever.

    I want to remove the excuses. Without this phony dividing line, we could get some things done.

    For instance — if he and everyone else had been running as a Republican, there is no doubt that Vincent Sheheen would have beaten Nikki Haley. Republicans who are completely unknown by the electorate got close to 60 percent of the vote. If voters hadn’t known anything about Nikki, SHE would have gotten 60 percent of the vote. But she got 51 percent. Why? Because swing voters knew Vincent was the better candidate. But he lost because there are just barely too many people in this state who will use the excuse of his having a D after his name to vote against him.

    I say end such electoral idiocy as that. Make it impossible for lazy voters to use that excuse. Make them work for it. Make them look at the candidates, and then make a decision.

  6. `Kathryn Fenner

    Or the lazy voters vote for the name they like best, like when the LaRouchie candidates won with names like Faircloth or Fairchild, instead of ethnic names.

  7. Andrew

    The stupid thing about the Ard situation is the particular crime that was committed – which as the AG said, was a unique prosecution.

    It’s a crime of our times, of the stupid forever campaigns we have.

    For the Lt. Gov. primary, you essentially had two unknowns, with at best small time experiences and policy goals, falling all over themselves for a do nothing office.

    So Ard and associates kick up this scheme to make it look like he is more popular than he was with this fund raising thing. How inside baseball is it that you have to go to these lengths, just so you can brag about your quarterly campaign finance press release? It’s absurd, but it’s what wins the day in primaries, especially for these down ticket offices that no one cares about.

  8. Nick Nielsen

    I see your point, Brad, and it would work but for one thing: there will always be those who are ‘right’ and wish to exclude or silence any who disagree with them. For a perfect example, see tea party Republicans and their attitudes toward “RINOS”.

  9. bud

    Until you change the attitude of the voters none of this window dressing reshuffling of the way things are structured will matter.

  10. bud

    We don’t talk anymore about creating a technical college system (as when Fritz was governor) …

    You can pick and choose policy proposals in a sort of anecdotal way to prove anything. When Fritz was governor we had 2 state fairs, segregated water fountains and statewide blue laws that covered most every item we buy. Plus the Confederate Flag was first raised above the statehouse in 1962. Not sure the one party system gave us particularly great results back in the day.

  11. Brad

    A perfect example of what I was talking about above. You say, “Golly, I miss the early days of Hollywood; they really knew how to make them then!” and someone will say, “Oh, so you miss the days when black folks were subjugated and racial stereotypes were common on the screen.” Complete non sequiturs.

    But that’s par for the course; one grows used to it. What’s startling is that I think that Bud just said it’s a GOOD thing to have a strong and vibrant Republican Party in South Carolina. Bud. OUR Bud. I don’t see any other way to read that.

  12. bud

    A strong, vibrant and SANE Republican Party along with a competitive Democratic one would be a good thing. Sadly, as shown by “You Lie’s” comments about the good jobs report shows that not to be the case.

  13. Doug Ross

    No, what I believe Bud is saying is that you can’t just cherry pick the items that fit your theory. You have to look at things as a whole.

    Were the tech schools a good idea? Absolutely. Does that mean in any way that government was “better” then? Doubtful. If it was better, we would have seen a continuous path to improvement.

    It’s just like the Department of Education under Inez and Rex would put out press releases every year picking out one or two metrics that made it appear that the education system was getting better. But when you look at it as a whole, there’s really little improvement.

  14. Steven Davis II

    ““Oh, so you miss the days when black folks were subjugated and racial stereotypes were common on the screen.” Complete non sequiturs.”

    Now I notice that they’re still playing stereotypical rolls or they cast them as the President of the United States.

    Not to mention the worst cases of stereotyping are done by black directors. The ones who usually cast them as 40 ounce beer swilling, gun toting street gang members are directed by black directors and then there’s the Klumps…

  15. Mark Stewart

    A parlimentary system would be better than a “no party” system – but a fairly equally balanced two-party system is definately best of all for the advancement of a society.

  16. Brad

    No, Doug, you have it completely backwards. What Inez and Jim did, over and over, was try to publicize the full range of results that we were getting in the schools.

    It was the anti-public schools folks, such as SCRG, who were always “picking out one of two metrics.” Specifically, they look at SAT scores and graduation rates, as those are the two that make us look the worst, and they are the only two measures that come close to supporting their “worst in the nation” claim about SC schools.

  17. `Kathryn Fenner

    Those are not non sequiturs at all. The good old days were not so “good” if there were plenty of bad things that you are overlooking–seems entirely relevant, and follows as a rebuttal of your thesis.

  18. Brad

    Uh-huh, yes they are.

    Otherwise, we buy into the modernist lie that the present is better than all previous eras, and that humanity is just getting wiser and more morally admirable every day. Which is b.s. Even if it were true in the aggregate, or as a general tendency (which I doubt), surely no one would assert that today is by definition better in EVERY respect. But that sort of argument — “Oh, THAT couldn’t have been better then because of THIS other thing” — prevents us from seeing our past realistically. And that prevents us from understanding the present.

  19. bud

    Brad, the issue that you raised is that our legislative body did a much better job during Fritz Hollings time as governor, because we were a 1 party state, than it is doing today. Seems like passing Jim Crow and Blue laws is highly relevant to that discussion. And it is certainly relevant to bring up the Confederate Flag issue since it was specifically raised in 1962, not in some bygone era.

    In spite of the partisan nattering that goes on today vs 1962, we have still managed to largely get rid of the Blue Laws, move the Confederate Flag, eliminate smoking in most public places, pass tough, and effective DUI laws and a host of other things that would have been less likely with a single, extremely conservative party in control. As Kathryn says you can’t pick and choose which legislation has passed to make a point that a different era was better somehow. That doesn’t make any sense.

  20. Doug Ross

    So the schools today are performing much better today than they were two decades ago? Because that would be the impression you would get from reading the press releases. Never any bad news. Only highlight good news.

    As a parent who had kids in public school from 1993 to 2009, my impression is that the schools were worse at the end as compared to the beginning. And we have plenty of friends with kids who had similar experiences.

    But show me the numbers. Show me the dropout rate when Inez took office as compared to the last year of Jim Rex. Let’s see how great a change they made.

  21. Brad

    Actually, Doug, if I recall correctly, there was a steady improvement in most measures (including the greatest improvements in SAT scores in the country) during Inez’ time in office, and it leveled off after that. Not to give Inez all the credit or Rex the blame. That’s the trend as I recall it, though.

    You could go look at the National Center for Education Statistics, if you want to look up numbers. I assume they have some breakdowns by state.

  22. `Kathryn Fenner

    No, we are not necessarily buying into the “modernist lie” when we say the “good old days” were not all that good. That does not imply that today is better–it could be the same.

    I would say, most definitely, that today is the best time so far if one is gay, female, non-white….but maybe if one is a white male of the management class, not so much, eh?

  23. Doug Ross

    SAT scores don’t matter. And the steady increase was 1 or 2 points in one area. In eight years of all positive news we should have seen more than tiny incremental changes.

    Graduation rate is the only true measure of a public school system. That is the objective.

  24. Steven Davis II

    SAT and ACT tests have been dumbed down over the past 20 years and scores are rising marginally. But then students are not learning what they need to in school these days, students are prepped to take the standardized tests schools are rated by. We have students entering college who are barely prepared for high school. I don’t recall this back when I was headed to college. But today every kid is expected to attend college and there’s only one way to ensure they get in… lower standards.

  25. `Kathryn Fenner

    What, Doug–as long as they give ’em a diploma, it’s all right by you? Who cares if they actually learned anything?

  26. Steven Davis II

    After years of teaching, some teachers will pass a kid just to let them be someone else’s problem next year.

  27. Phillip

    Re the past being better or not or whatever, and Kathryn’s comment about being gay/female/non-white today vs. 50 years ago or more, this of course brings to mind this typically brilliant riff by the great Louis CK, particularly relevant is the bit starting at the :45 mark. I may have once linked to this before so apologies if I’m being redundant but he always makes me laugh.

  28. Silence

    The true measure of a school system’s efficacy would be the preparedness of the young graduates for life, the workforce, or higher education.

  29. Brad

    That’s one of Louis CK’s funniest bits ever, along with the one about air travel. Something that endeared me to Dan Mann, the director of CAE, is that when he first came to Columbia he spoke to my Rotary Club, and opened with a video clip of Louis doing that bit… “You’re sitting in a CHAIR in the SKY…”

    That actually was my first exposure to Louis CK.

    On the whole, though, I can’t recommend him. His crudity works well punctuating the two bits above, but then you listen to his other routines and too often, that’s all there is. It bugs me, for instance, the way he talks about women. Even when I agree with the kernel of truth in the routine, as in the main point of this bit, I feel guilty for doing so.

    And the nasty little asides about his wife and kids… yeah, it’s supposed to be a joke, and they get it, right? But I’m reminded of the wife and child of the nasty comic in that Billy Crystal movie — after awhile, that stuff hurts.

    It’s like — I’ll watch one of his bits on the laptop, and laugh, but I wouldn’t want anyone to SEE me laughing. So, a guilty pleasure, I guess. And then, sometimes, that tone grates to where it’s not even a pleasure.

  30. `Kathryn Fenner

    Funny–I’m usually very sensitive to all manner of dissing, and I just enjoyed the routine. He could have chosen slightly less graphic images and cleaner language, but he makes his point well.

  31. Doug Ross


    No, I don’t believe diplomas should be handed out. The goal should be for students to remain in school and pass the classes required to graduate.

    The public school system fails in this regard by passing along students from grade to grade when they do not have the necessary skills to succeed as they go further on. This is what drove me nuts with the PACT test. If a kid scored below basic in reading, there is no way he should ever be promoted to the next grade. I can’t ever remember hearing of any kids being held back in all the years my kids were in elementary school. The system fails those kids.

  32. `Kathryn Fenner

    Agreed, Doug, but what do you do with a 16-year-old who is stuck in the 6th grade, say? Some kids just can’t seem to cut it. Do you put a much older kid in with young ones, or sideline him into some sort of special ed?

  33. Steven Davis II

    @Doug – All good, but violations of “social promotion” that teachers must abide by today. If the one kid in the class doesn’t learn, it’s the teacher’s fault… according to the kid’s parent(s) and the school board.

  34. Doug Ross


    I don’t think we can achieve 100% graduation rates so some kids WILL fail. But we do little now to address the one issue (literacy) that ends up causing frustrated students to drop out once they’ve been pushed to high school (unless they can run a 4.4 40 yard dash – then they can “graduate” and become the problem of the college that gives them a scholarship).

  35. Silence

    @’Kathryn – Well, about 13% of all students are currently served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B and that number/percentage is rising all the time…

  36. `Kathryn Fenner

    I think there are kids who don’t qualify for an IEP, but who start out behind and fall further and further behind, not because of a diagnosable disability, but lower IQ (80s or low 90s) combined with poor home life, say.

    I haven’t played in that area for about seven years, so I may be out-of-date on that.

  37. SusanG

    In my area ( in a Richland One school) they are extremely aggressive when it comes to literacy, at least at the elementary school level. If a child in our school doesn’t score at certain levels, they are required to stay and get extra help after school hours until they get up to speed.
    Can’t speak beyond that, but my experience has been a huge emphasis on literacy (at the expense of math and science, in my opinion, but that’s not the debate at hand).

  38. bud

    The problem with what Doug is pointing out is that the real solution would require more government spending to hire aggressive, talented teachers to bring kids up to par at a young age when problems first appear. Instead we cut out reading and math recovery teachers which dooms many 7 and 8 year olds. Social promotion is not the answer but neither is holding kids back. That only creates a defeated attitude for an 8 year old in the second grade. Studies show the social promotion, though flawed, is still better than holding kids back. The better solution is early and appropriate intervention.

  39. Doug Ross


    If the after school help doesn’t improve the scores are the students still promoted?

  40. Steven Davis II

    “Studies show the social promotion, though flawed, is still better than holding kids back.”

    Same thing is said about not keeping score at T-Ball games and giving every kid a trophy. We’re beginning to see the results of kids who were never told “no” by their parents (who tried so hard to be their kid’s best friend). The 30-50 year old parents are the root source of many of today’s kids problems. Spanking or any sort of discipline = bad parent; tell the kid no or hurt his feelings = bad parent; not there to pick them up when they fall down = bad parent; the list goes on and on and kids don’t have to do anything for themselves because mommy and daddy are there to fix it for them.

  41. `Kathryn Fenner

    @SusanG– I suppose you have to be literate before you can meaningfully study science (outside of a Montessori sort of learning), and it sure helps in math. I think reading first, then the others–but we need to make sure we are getting to the others! STEM are important!!

  42. SusanG

    @Doug, I don’t know the answer to that, I just know they work hard and have a lot of emphasis on literacy. I just looked up our PASS scores, though, and for English/Language Arts (which I think includes reading) in 2011, 100% of our 3rd graders met or exceeded the standards. Only 97% of our 5th graders did, but I don’t know what happened to the 2-3 children who didn’t.

  43. SusanG

    @Kathryn – Yeah, being a STEM junkie myself, I’d like to see the science get more attention, but all-in-all they do a good job, and I know when we hit middle school next year the math and science offerings will get serious.

  44. Silence

    I often wonder what they are teaching kids these days. How much of the day is devoted to teaching things like “diversity” or “feeling good about the fact that you still can’t read” or “watching porn on your school issued iPad”?

    Here’s my lesson plan:
    8-9 Math (Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, AP’s)
    9-10 English (Lit & Comp)
    10-11 – Social Studies (Geog & History)
    11-12 – Lunch (brought from home)
    12-1 – Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, AP’s)
    1-2 – Gym (don’t want ’em to be fatties)
    2-3 – Civics & Personal Finance (1/2 year each)
    3-4 – Electives

    Yes, personal finance is important enough that we should be teaching it.

  45. Doug Ross


    Those are excellent results. It will be interesting to see what the graduation rates are for those students in 9 years.

  46. SusanG


    Except for the Personal Finance, that almost looks like my child’s schedule for next year (6th grade): MEGSS Math, AP English, AP Social Studies, AP Science, French, PE and Art.

    Only the core subjects are 70 minutes, and the electives are 50. And lunch is only 30 minutes I think.

    (I’m not saying there aren’t many SC schools and kids who are being let down by our schools — just giving my own anecdotal experience with the local schools, which so far has been largely positive).

  47. `Kathryn Fenner

    @Silence– I don’t think they spend any time at all on teaching “feel good” stuff given the huge PACT test emphasis. A problem with PACT testing is that only the subjects it tests get much emphasis.

    I think you need to also teach a foreign language to every kid who can possibly master one. That should not be an elective.

  48. bud

    My brother is a teacher and from what he tells me the “feel good” stuff is pretty much of an urban legend. Homework has become too much of a burden on young children and at some point does more harm than good. PE was a complete waste when I was in school and remained so when my kids were in school. Probably best to just drop it.

  49. Silence

    @ SusanG – Good deal, maybe I won’t have to move out of the St. Andrews Middle/Columbia High district… but I likely will gladly send my baby to private school, and I won’t expect any vouchers or taxpayer reimbursement for it. Kids should learn personal finance though, it’s probably the most valuable life skill you could have, since it relates to keeping what you have worked hard for.

    @ `Kathryn – Not familiar with exactly what’s on the PACT. Is it redundant to call it a “PACT test”? Is it different than NCLB? I agree that a foreign language is great to learn, but maybe not quite as essential as English or Math…. I’d put it more in the realm of art appreciation or music, part of being cultured and a renaissance person.

  50. Doug Ross


    PACT was replaced by PASS a couple years ago after it became more difficult to show any real progress and cherry pick the numbers any more.

    We’re about 6 years passed the last PACT test in our family but we lived through it for about a decade. A complete waste of time and money. No teaching was done the week of or the weeks after the test. The test results produced a ton of data but little in the way of actual action. I wasn’t even allowed to SEE the class average test scores for my kids’ teachers when they were in middle school. Filed a FOIA request and was denied. The school districts didn’t want any parent to be able to know that there might be a lousy teacher.

  51. Silence

    @ Doug, et al – when I was getting ready to complete my undergraduate degree I was randomly selected from the crop of graduating seniors to take a board of regents test. We lucky selectees were required to take the test in order to graduate, but the results were used purely for some sort of systemwide analysis and had no bearing on our GPA or graduation status. Needless to say, I attended the testing session and “took” the test, dutifully completing every bubble on the Scantron form. In a random pattern.

    Were the results of the PAC or PASS tests used to actually grade students or determine their ability to advance, or were they merely an evaluation of the schools’ or teachers’ efficacy?
    If passing the test was required for advancement, was there any additional benefit for a student getting 100% vs. 80% or 70%?

    I’m guessing I’d have done juuuust well enough to slide by, and I’m also guessing that the whole exercise probably didn’t generate much valid data….

Comments are closed.