Yes, the endorsement of Ronnie Cromer today in The State discussed him and the other two people challenging him as well, but I take interest in what was said about Kara Gormley Meador in particular because I’ve written about her here.
Kara Gormley Meador promises to shake up the status quo without the anger that often accompanies such pledges. Yet despite the fact that our state has some of the lowest taxes in the nation and our Legislature has a fixation on tax cuts, “tax reform” in her mind must include cutting taxes. Even after years of budget cuts, she’s convinced we need spending caps. And while she makes a point of saying she wants to strengthen the public schools, every time we asked her for specifics, she turned the conversation back to home schooling and private schools, and the need to excuse parents from paying their taxes if they take their kids out of public schools.
Dang, I really can’t argue with any of that. Right down the line, she advocates some really ill-considered ideas. And I was sort of vaguely aware of that when I wrote about her.
But it’s interesting to me to be reminded how differently I would have seen her if I had been talking with her for the purpose of deciding whether to endorse her — and the words in that editorial seem consistent with what I would have concluded, given the same evidence. But since I hadn’t been trying to judge Kara — since I was writing about her within the context of it just being interesting that this local personality had tried to vote in one district, then had to run in another — the picture didn’t gel in my mind. I even encouraged her to run.
Not that I was blind to her faults. Here’s part of what I wrote before:
Those of you who know me can see some significant disconnects with my own positions on issues. For instance, as an ardent believer in representative democracy, I would neither unduly limit the voters’ ability to elect whom they like (term limits) nor use a mathematical formula to supersede the representative’s powers to write a budget (“cap government growth”).
Further, I see inconsistencies in her vision. Today, she indicated that she believed enough waste could be found in state spending to both fully fund the essential functions of state government (which she correctly describes as currently underfunded) and return enough money to taxpayers to stimulate our economy.
In a state as tax-averse as this one, there’s just not enough money there to have your cake and eat it, too, barring a loaves-and-fishes miracle. (OK, enough with the clashing metaphors.)
But she’s smart, she’s energetic, and she seems to have no axes to grind. I think she’d quickly see that you can’t do it all, and make realistic assessments of what can and should be done. Her disgust with the pointless conflicts of modern politics, and the way they militate against a better future for South Carolina’s people.
Ohmygosh, do you see what I just said? “I think she’d quickly see that you can’t do it all, and make realistic assessments of what can and should be done.” And then later, I wrote, “My impression is that Kara has the character to be a positive force in politics, whatever her current notions of specific policy proposals.” Wow. Those are the same excuses I used to make about a certain other attractive young woman with a lot of energy and a nice smile. You know, the one who never really learned much of anything, and takes pride in the unchanging nature of her mind. The one who is now our governor, if you need me to get specific.
Once again, I’m reminded of the value of the endorsement process, properly done (and my regret that newspapers do so few of them now). Its value to the journalist, and to the reader. In that process, you get past vague impressions and force yourself to ask the questions that help you evaluate your initial impressions more systematically. Which The State did today.
I still like Kara personally, but that has little to do with whether she’d be a better senator than Ronnie Cromer.
That’s okay, I hear WIS is backing her.
Maybe she could get some political experience by running for her local school board or a spot on her homeowner association.
When in doubt, endorse the white guy whose been in office for ten years.
Click on his webpage:
Then click on the button that shows you the bills he has sponsored this session. First one (if you can parse the legalese) appears to be related to checking id’s of illegal immigrants. Isn’t that a show stopper for The State editorial board?
Then we get all the usual mix of government tax dollars wasted on resolutions congratulating high school teams, cheerleaders, retirees, arbor day committees, etc.
And a few important issues that need to be addresses like whether Lexington schools needed to make up lost school days, sizes of fish caught (two bills – one specifically for shad – apparently the shad lobby is working hard), adding the state forester position to the forestry commission council, swimming restrictions…
Just a whole lot of wasted time on useless tasks.
Can’t have too many bureaucrats on the payroll.
I think the editors answered your concern rather ably: “He hasn’t been outspoken and active enough… although we’d rather have a legislator who supports good legislation and opposes bad legislation than an aggressive activist who champions measures that will do our state harm.”
There’s an important difference between someone who hasn’t accomplished much and someone who wants to energetically push one bad idea after another.
It’s the “First, do no harm” standard.
Unfortunately, that’s the sort of choice we’re given in South Carolina far too often. It’s seldom a choice between someone who would do great things and someone who would do awful things. Or between someone who would do great things versus someone who would do nothing. Too often, we get either two people who would do awful things competing with each other, or this kind of choice.
How about “First, do SOMETHING”. What has he done in nine years? Or is he just coming up to speed?
I know the shad vote is locked up.
“Warthen endorsed Haley in two legislative elections and chronicled her rise beginning about seven years ago. In that time, he says, she has morphed from a naïve newcomer, to a politician he thought could become a good force in the legislature, to something approaching megalomania.”
“’I think she’s had her head turned by discovering where demagoguery will get you,’” Warthen told me. “’I don’t think that’s totally who she was before. I think she has developed in this direction. It’s a B.F. Skinner behavioral reinforcement thing; she has been rewarded and rewarded and rewarded. This has worked for her.'”
“Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Pay-to-Play Governor,” The Nation magazine, July 4, 2011.
The State seems to endorse a very high percentage of incumbents and we continue to flounder along at the bottom in most every statistical category. Not sure why this whole endorsement thing is of much value.
Here’s an example of a bill sponsored by Mr. Cromer:
Changing one word in the law regarding how many handicap placards a person may be issued. And to think of the amount of bureaucracy and expense required to make that happen..
The legislature should be able to do all of its required business in about four weeks out of the year… instead they run around the State House playing games.
Doug – According to Fitsnews the Senate spent 5 hours one day last week just on speeches and outgoing comments to those Senators who are retiring. The House members are livid because they think that time would have been better spent on things like trying to get the retirement system problem resolved.
I think handicap placards should be like monthly parking passes. If you want one you have to go stand in line on the 1st of every month with a doctor’s excuse. I’m amazed at how many handicapped students there are around the USC campus… some even play football.
Re what you said about what you read at Will’s site — yeah, I read that in the newspaper.
I can sympathize with Kenny Bingham’s frustration. There’s House time and there’s Senate time, and that day they were on Senate time.
Bud, as for the value of endorsements — I thought I just explained it. The process that the editors went through was helpful to me in clarifying what to think about that choice.
And if you’re tired of our monotonous choices between mediocre and worse, run for office. Or persuade someone you like and admire to do so.
Something I don’t think some of the critics, such as Doug, understand is that neither the newspaper nor I nor anyone writing opinion about these things choose the candidates. We just react to the ones who come forward. And too often the choice is between bad (or at least mediocre) and worse.
If you want better candidates, come up with one. Or a bunch.
@ SDII – go sit in line. I do see way too many people who look able bodied (to my untrained eye) parking in handicapped places using handicapped hang tags. I can see using it if you are with the handicapped person, or if you are dropping them off or picking them up, but if they are at home, adn you are just using their hang tag?
That would be an whupping if I were in charge. “Oh, you want to park in the handicapped spot? We’ll, it’s a good thing b/c you are going to need to after this…”
It’s impractical for my 95 year old grandpa to go renew his hang tag every month.
@ Silence – Your 95 year old grandpa doesn’t need to be driving. Those who do can let him out at the door and park where everyone else does.
A lot of handicapped people look able-bodied, but have heart or lung conditions, say, that make it very hard for them to walk far.
That said, there is a special circle of hell for able-bodied people who use the handicapped tags of others.
He doesn’t drive since he doesn’t have very good muscle control in his legs – hence needing the placard. My 92 year old grandmother drives him if he needs to go anywhere…
Smoking and obesity should generally be disqualifiers for handicap tags.