More evidence in defense of John Rainey

As long as I’m mentioning Cindi and Warren today, I’ll go ahead and call your attention to something else I saw in The State this morning. It was a column by Kathleen Parker, in which she stuck up for John Rainey in light of our governor’s emotional attack on him.

Remember her oh-so-classy way of defending herself against the ethical questions Rainey had raised? She called him “a racist, sexist bigot who has tried everything in his power to hurt me and my family.”

I briefly touched on a couple of things that just leapt to mind about John Rainey that seemed at odds with that assessment. Since Kathleen is still paid to write columns, she dug a good bit deeper and came up with some other examples of things that make Rainey sound like anything but what Nikki Haley says he is:

Inarguably, the governor’s charges, made publicly and aimed at a citizen, albeit a powerful one, are far more damaging than whatever Rainey said during a private meeting. Judge as you may but consider the following facts before accepting Haley’s indictment of Rainey.


For no personal gain, Rainey frequently has raised money and organized groups in common cause across party lines. He and his wife, Anne, marched in 2000 with 46,000 others to protest the Confederate flag, which then flew atop the state Capitol dome. He personally hosted several private meetings with NAACP and legislative leaders to find a compromise for the flag’s removal.

He served as executive producer and raised funds to finance Bud Ferillo’s documentary “Corridor of Shame,” about the dismal condition of public schools along the Interstate 95 corridor through South Carolina. Candidate Barack Obama visited one of those schools and cited the corridor in campaign speeches.

In 1999, Rainey chaired the fundraising committee for the African-American History Monument on Statehouse grounds. In 2002, while chairman of Brookgreen Gardens, he raised funds to erect a World War I doughboy statue in Columbia’s Memorial Park and sponsored a bust of a 54th Massachusetts Infantry African American soldier. He received the sixth annual I. DeQuincey Newman Humanitarian Award in 2004, named for the United Methodist minister and first African American elected to the state Senate following Reconstruction.

Latest to the roster is a sculpture that Rainey has commissioned, honoring two Camden natives, financier Bernard Baruch and baseball great Larry Doby. Baruch was a philanthropist, statesman and consultant to presidents (Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt). Doby was the first African American to play in the American League and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

The sculpture, which will be unveiled in April, is a monument not only to two local heroes but also to the sort of reconciliation Rainey represents. His record speaks louder than words.

25 thoughts on “More evidence in defense of John Rainey

  1. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Yes, she made him sound like a Good Republican.

    From all I’ve seen and heard of the two of them, I vote John Rainey for good guy.

  2. bud

    It just seems like there is so much about this governor that just doesn’t add up, yet somehow that smoking gun just never is found. Seem like Rainey is a decent guy but who knows what is said in private.

  3. kc

    In questioning Haley at the meeting, Rainey indicated that all cards needed to be on the table and that he didn’t want to find out at some point that her family had ties to terrorists. Haley, who is of Sikh Indian descent, clearly took offense.

    Huh. I can’t say that I blame her.

    As for the “nice note” she sent him, well, even if she took offense, maybe she just felt like she had to suck it up because she was running for office and didn’t need him as an enemy. But now that he clearly is her enemy, there’s no point in her making nice with him.

    I can’t believe I’m sticking up for Nikki Haley, because I think she’s a horrible governor, and there’s no doubt in my mind why Wilbur Smith and Lexington paid her big bucks.

  4. Juan Caruso

    Rainey is exactly what Haley called him if he ever said what KC quoted.

    Moreover, where is the dud’s bio? The last “activist” sore loser to whom the public was introduced is on par with Rainey as far as being a sore loser.

    Kathleen Parker is a prolix columnist married to a lawyer, Whoop dee do!

  5. Kathy

    I was sincerely happy to see that Kathleen Parker wrote the column about Mr. Rainey. I hope Ms. Parker’s columns appear in many newspapers throughout the United States so that just a tiny bit of light will be shed on what is happening here in SC. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Rainey’s comment that putting party above all else makes him ill. I wholeheartedly agree.

    I could write a great deal more related to this topic, but I’ll refrain for now. Hoping “the pendulum” reverses course very soon. Anxiously anticipating that. I’ve heard that karma can be a “bear.”

  6. bud

    kc, that’s the first time I’ve seen that account. If true that does make a difference.

  7. Morgan

    Is is only racist to discriminate against African Americans? Its perfectly possible to like African Americans and be anti Arab or Sikh.

  8. Brad

    Bud, no, it doesn’t. Only if you look at it through Nikki Haley goggles — through the perspective of a woman who defines herself as Indian-American when it’s convenient (otherwise as caucasian) and who says she was offended — do you hear that anecdote and say, “Golly, that was offensive.”

    If that’s what he said, then it’s one of those things that people say. It’s a way of saying, “I know nothing about you, and I need to know that there’s nothing about you that’s going to blow up in my face if I support you.” And it makes sense to state that in terms of “I need to make sure you’re not…” and describe a worst-case scenario.

    If you’re a mob boss deciding whether to trust some stranger that someone else is vouching for, your worst-case scenario is to say, “I want to make sure he’s not a cop wearing a wire.”

    If you were a politico being asked to back somebody 100 years ago, you’d say, “I need to be sure that you don’t come from a long line of horse thieves or something.”

    Nowadays, you’d be more likely to say “terrorist.” It’s the sort of thing that would be said, and everyone in the room laughs because it’s so outrageous and extreme. But the point is taken, and what should be understood is that the person who says it will not be pleased to learn that the candidate, for instance, is in the habit of taking money from various interests in the community in exchange for considerations that are vague. Which is the way it turned out. Rainey didn’t think Nikki was a terrorist, and anyone who heard him and thought that’s what he meant would have been an idiot. They would have understood, “I don’t like unpleasant surprises, so if there’s anything I need to know, tell me.”

    There are other hyperbolic things that could be said to get that same point across. He could have said, “I want to make sure you’re not a child molester” or something like that. But that would have been more offensive on its face, just because the topic is so gross. Besides, he was speaking to a woman. “Terrorist” is just about right in terms of being so over-the-top that no rational person would have thought he literally meant that, but would communicate that he didn’t want any unpleasant surprises.

    If anyone had pointed out at the time, “Ummm… Nikki’s people are sorta kinda from the part of the world where, you know, that’s actually a problem…,” Rainey would have been embarrassed. But it seems extremely unlikely that anyone did.

  9. Brad

    Thanks, Corey. As it happens, I ran into Corey and John during one of the interviews for that piece — at the Gervais St. Starbucks…

    Going back to my last comment…

    I suppose I understand Rainey so well in that context because I’ve been in that sort of “godfather” position so many times before. Strangers would come to me seeking my support for a cause, or, more to the point, for themselves, and I would have to start from scratch with them, knowing nothing at all about them. So I would ask questions designed to get them to come across with the info, including stuff they might not want to talk about.

    It usually wasn’t that hard to get candidates to talk about themselves, although some of them might not come forward with the thing that might be their biggest drawback (which was foolish on their part, passing up the opportunity to tell their side of it to me).

    Too often, I had to depend on their opponents to tell me that stuff, which meant I had to go back to them.

    This might sound counterintuitive, but the hardest thing was often to get a candidate to tell me the things I needed to know about his opponent. So many thought that was unfair, or unsavory. And I’d have to tell them, “Look, I don’t know you or that person. I don’t live in your neighborhood or move in your circles, and I don’t hear the scuttlebutt. I am highly likely to be unaware of something you assume is common knowledge.” In essence, I was saying, “I need to know whether your opponent is a terrorist or something before I embarrass myself by endorsing him.”

    Of course, with some people you couldn’t get them to shut up about what was wrong with their opponent. And sometimes their willingness to talk like that WAS unseemly, and told me more about them than about their opponents.

    But the really frustrating ones were the people who were too nice to clue me in on what I really, truly needed to know about their opponents.

  10. bud

    Brad, you and I agree that the governor has many unanswered questions about her dealings with Wilbur Smith, Lexington Hospital and Will Folks. She certainly is not the open book, transparent sort that she campaigned as. Yet I do find the Rainey comment a bit of an affront here. Why use such a provocative comment, a demand really, to try and get at information. Wouldn’t anyone be offended by that tone? Nonetheless she needs to have a thicker skin if she’s going to be a viable political force going forward. Comments such as Raineys are sure to come up again.

  11. Juan Caruso

    Rainey is an attorney by trade (thank you, Corey).

    He is, therefore, no conservative by any stretch of the word (how much was he paid to support Mark Sanford’s run?).

    Likewise, Romney is no conservative.
    Predictably, Kathleen Parker, a lawyer’s wife, supports lawyers against above other political candidates, and she has supported both of the above.

    I am unaware Ms Parker’s ever having supported a non-lawyer candidate. Her columns are too wordy and vapid to command any of my critical thought. Columns like hers will punctuate failed newspapers.

  12. Brad

    Juan, you misunderstand who John Stringer Rainey is. He’s not someone candidates pay money to. He’s someone they go to when they’re looking to GET money.

  13. bud

    Juan, what do you do for a living so we can all insult that occupation? After about the third lawyer attack the rest of your point is no longer considered for serious consideration….

  14. Mark Stewart


    It may be that the kind of person John Rainey is appeals more to Kathleen Parker than the kind of person Nikki Haley is.

    Parker has a unique cadence to her writing, though I would hardly call her columns vapid.

  15. Steven Davis II

    I can’t comment, I’m John Rainey ignorant… and I don’t care enough to find out who he is.

  16. bud

    SD II, Corey provided a link. Give that ole index finger a workout and learn something useful. Rainey is a fairly important fellow. And just for the record I didn’t know who Rainey was (although I had heard the name) until about a week ago. Now I at least know a little bit about him. He’s one important dude with a rather low profile.

  17. Scout


    If he is an attorney by trade, why does that make him, therefore, not a conservative? Are you saying you can’t be conservative and an attorney? Just curious.

  18. Juan Caruso

    Bud, I am a chef. Insult my profession.

    If you had paid attention earlier, you would know i have no animus against all lawyers. Several are in my family (including one who was a best-selling author). I also hold a federal judge very dear.

    I deplore the grievously disproportionate and obviously conflicted number of lawyers in elected (and appointed) offices, the even greater number who are lobbyists for foreign interests and unending, wasteful spending programs.

    The public may realize the danger when and if the press ever decides to cast the deserved gaze on lawyer-politicians of both parties and their obvious conflicts. until that time i will bide no apologists like Ms Parker, nor adorers like Ms Coulter. We have too many lawyers in elected office already.

    Every new regulation they pass specifically creates jobs for more lawyers in government. Who is fooling whom?

  19. Brad

    Early in my journalism career, I had to cover everything that went on in five rural counties in Tennessee. That meant keeping up with a large number of county and municipal elected bodies.

    I got to know which local government types knew what was going on and how the government worked, and which ones were clueless. One day, I realized something — the members of those bodies who seemed to have something on the ball and who didn’t waste other people’s time when they opened their mouths were quite often attorneys.

    Since then, I’ve often noted the same phenomenon.

    You don’t have to be a lawyer to be an effective elected official. Not at all. But it usually doesn’t hurt, and sometimes it helps.

    Only occasionally have I seen elected lawyers act in ways that seemed more in their profession’s interest than in the public’s. I’ve seen trial lawyers who defend DUI cases fight clear, unarguable standards for DUI (the kind you can’t argue a client out of in court).

    Of course, THEY would say that they take those positions because they honestly believe in what they’re saying. I’m sure they do. The fact that what they believe happens to be good for their bottom lines doesn’t change the fact — I’ve noticed that tends to be the case with people in a lot of different lines of work.

  20. Brad

    I’ll add this: If Juan thinks journalists tend to be too cozy with lawyers, it’s probably related to what I just described. I quickly learned as a reporter that certain sources were more reliable and helpful in explaining clearly and accurately what was going on in a given situation. Those sources were not always lawyers, but they very often were.

    I learned that if you wanted to know what was going on in a small town, there were certain lawyers who could pretty much always fill you in.

    There was this one guy who practiced in Huntingdon, TN, whose office I stopped by every time I was in town, and I usually walked away with more than one good story that my competition didn’t have.

    It was WEIRD how plugged in that guy was.

    One day, on deadline, my editor called to ask me to check out a rumor that someone had embezzled a large amount of money from a bank in Huntingdon. Well, it was hopeless. I didn’t know anyone at that bank, and even if I did, they weren’t likely to want to talk about it. I figured we wouldn’t have a story until formal charges were filed.

    But as a sort of Hail Mary play, I called this lawyer (actually, the best of one of several good sources I had in that town who were lawyers).

    Jackpot. When he answered, he said he didn’t have much time because there’d just been an embezzlement at a local bank, which had hired him to help them handle the situation. But, he said, maybe I could help him. One of the first things they wanted him to do was put out a press release about what had happened. Maybe I could help him figure out what to put in it.

    I said sure: Just tell me everything you know, and I’ll tell you what to put in the release.

    True story. NOBODY else had that story in that cycle, and I had a complete one.

  21. Brad

    Another story about that guy that’s more incredible than that…

    One Saturday night, I was in charge at the paper (this was before I was a full-time editor), and I heard some weird traffic on the police scanner. It was an APB, in connection with something that had just happened, for a particular guy — fully named and described — who was wanted for 1st-degree murder and was armed and dangerous.

    This was weird because when you’re looking for somebody at the outset of an investigation, you’re usually not that sure who he is, and you don’t usually cite a specific charge, especially not Murder One.

    So I got the reporter who covered that area working on it. Then I called this same lawyer.

    He gave me, in shorter order, the completest story on a murder in-cycle that I’ve ever run across.

    He had been in his office getting some work done that Saturday, and the shooting took place behind a business right across the street from his office. He had run over and gotten the full scoop on what had happened.

    (Here’s what had happened. WARNING: GRUESOME DETAILS. A man was standing out on the loading dock of his business with his son and a friend. He looked across a parking lot behind the business and saw a car parked on the next street, and the driver leaning over and looking straight at him. He said something like, “There’s my no-good brother-in-law. What the hell is he doing there?” What he was doing was leaning across the front seat of his car and steadying a high-powered rifle on the open passenger window. In the next instant he pulled the trigger, and suddenly the man who had spoken disappeared. His son and his friend looked around them frantically, and saw the loading-dock doors behind them swinging back and forth. They pushed through the door, and found the man’s body stretched out on the floor, with the top of his head blown off and his entire brain lying on the floor several feet beyond it.)

    Not only that… the shooter was a guy who had just lost a lawsuit against the victim, which as it turns out would be cited as the motive. Guess who had represented one of the principals in that lawsuit. You got it. He gave me the whole story of this extended family dispute, and we had it all the paper the next day.

    That guy was like a magic portal to news…

  22. Kathryn Fenner

    Wow, Juan. I sure got the idea that you have a lot of animus towards lawyers, and I’m sure pretty much everyone else who reads you does.

    I think more lawyers are conservatives than liberals, and i bet I have known a lot more lawyers than you.

  23. Steven Davis II

    @bud – Still don’t care enough to click on the link. As far as the index finger, I prefer to use the one next to it.

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