Slate missed a good, timely angle on Darla Moore

Darla Moore announcing another multi-million-dollar gift to USC, shortly after Nikki Haley dumped her from the trustee board.

To us South Carolinians, Darla Moore was a logical choice to break the gender barrier at Augusta National. And then Condoleezza Rice was sort of a case of, well yeah, that makes sense, too.

But this wasn’t just a South Carolina story, and apparently folks elsewhere don’t all know Darla. Slate tried to address that with something headlined, “Mini-Explainer: Who Is Darla Moore, Augusta’s Other New Female Member?

The item was long on “mini” and short on explaining:

We’re guessing you’ve got a rather good handle on exactly who Rice is. (Hint: She’s the former secretary of state.) However, you’re probably not as familiar with Moore, a South Carolina financier who is the vice president of Rainwater, Inc., a private investment firm founded by her husband, Richard Rainwater, an American investor worth about $2.3 billion by Forbes magazine’s latest count.

According to the University of South Carolina, where Moore graduated from and where the business school bears her name, she is also the founder and chair of the Palmetto Institute, which describes itself as a nonprofit think tank aimed at boosting the per capita income of South Carolina residents. She’s also served on the boards of USC and the New York University Medical School and Hospital and was named to Fortune‘s list of the top 50 “most powerful” American businesswomen.

Her husband is now mentally incapacitated, struggling with progressive supranuclear palsy, a disease that Forbes explains is often mistaken for Parkinson’s disease, and strikes just six in every 100,000 people. His family is now funding research into a cure for the disease. CNN Money has that story here.

I would have liked to have seen a mention of the last time Darla was in the news — when Nikki Haley dumped this woman for whom USC’s business school is named in favor of a white-guy campaign contributor no one had heard of.

It would have been a great opportunity to give the world just a little perspective on our “first woman” governor, on the eve of her big moment speaking at the GOP convention. And it would have presented such a relevant contrast between the sort of woman of achievement who gets invited to join a club like this, and the sort who doesn’t.

24 thoughts on “Slate missed a good, timely angle on Darla Moore

  1. Karen McLeod

    As much as I, too, would have liked to have seen that included, it’s actually old news, and it doesn’t explain anything about Ms. Moore; therefore, it doesn’t belong in this explanation of who Darla Moore is. One can only hope that someone on the national scene will write something explaining who/what Gov. Haley is.

  2. Brad

    No, it DOESN’T tell you anything about Darla; you’re right about that. It just would have been a normal thing to include in that sort of piece. It’s fairly routine to cite the last time someone was in the news in such an explainer.

    As I said, it just would have been nice for the nation to have that perspective on Nikki just before her big moment in the spotlight.

  3. Brad

    Also, as I read the blurb, every word explaining what a big deal Darla is suggested the natural thought — to one steeped in SC politics — and THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the woman our governor unceremoniously dumped…

  4. Doug Ross

    They left out the part about Moore being an Ayn Rand enthusiast. She fits the mold of Dagny Taggart, the strong female character who runs a railroad in Atlas Shrugged.

    But then I should have realized that Moore’s admission to Augusta was really about Nikki Haley… in some universes.

  5. Doug Ross

    Seriously – do you think Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford are the only politicians who time news releases to help their campaigns?

    It’s standard practice.

    As for the Moore/Haley connection, it has nothing to do with the story. It wasn’t a defining moment in Moore’e life nor was it “news” to anyone in outside the Columbia bubble. Darla Moore would have been admitted to Augusta regardless of the Haley’s power play.

  6. Brad

    Yeah, you’re missing my point.

    I said, clearly, it’s not important to who Darla is. It just would have been par for the course to include it, and it would have been timely because of the speech Nikki’s about to give.

    Our governor is someone being treated nationally as a rising political star — and that, ultimately, is a lot more important and newsworthy than who belongs to a private club.

  7. Brad

    Yes they did. That’s because they did a more complete profile, and that was a natural thing to include.

    Here’s what they said:

    “Moore was engaged in a battle with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Tea Party Republican. Haley removed Moore, a political independent, from the board of trustees at the University of South Carolina, and installed a campaign contributor, the article noted, adding that Haley’s spokesman explained that the replacement, Tommy Cofield, shares ‘the governor’s vision for higher education.'”

    “A firestorm of complaints followed. ‘The whole state went nuts,’ Moore told Fortune.

    “Just like any savvy Southern belle, she summoned her sweetness to wage her battle and get her way. Convening students and TV news crews on the university campus, Moore announced a $5 million gift to build an aerospace research center named for astronaut Ron McNair, a South Carolinian — from Moore’s hometown, in fact — who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster.” She challenged the state to match her contribution. Haley called the request ‘premature,’ the article notes.”

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    Re: Nikki and a spurious reform package : you don’t suppose it has any connection to her upcoming speech at the GOP Convention? Naw, she wouldn’t be that opportunistic….

  9. Doug Ross

    So in a mini-bio (two paragraphs) of Moore, you think the Haley issue is that important? More important than her husband’s illnes – which was news to me?

  10. Brad

    … such as the universe within which South Carolina exists.

    I’m now sorry I wrote this post, because a better Nikki Haley angle just came up, and if I wrote about that, too, I’d have to deal with Doug thinking it’s just way overboard crazy for a South Carolina political blog to mention the governor of the state twice in one day.

    Basically, here it is: I got a release from a fairly savvy observer of SC politics who mentioned this story about the new ethics reform package Nikki is rolling out. I exchanged email with this person (who is someone who you would expect to be allied with Nikki on a lot of things), who observed rather innocently, “It’s actually kinda weird. This ‘package’ was announced yesterday at 4:00, there’s been no release, and the whole thing seems rushed…”

    He wondered, “…what’s happening in late August that you suddenly have to go on an ethics reform blowout tour? The absence of a release suggests they’re throwing it together right now. Just makes you wonder what’s happening…”

    My response: Think.

    She wants to tout it in her speech in Tampa — to pose as the big reformer. I sort of doubt that she’ll mention that SHE is the poster child for why legislators’ sources of income need to be disclosed…

    This is an item from the Mark Sanford playbook. The timing and the rollout look unusual only if you think the governor’s goal is to get the Legislature to pass it. But if your only goal is to be able to posture as a reformer, and maybe get in some digs about how those awful ol’ boys in the Legislature won’t pass your common-sense reforms, then trotting it out in August, days before your speech, when the Legislature isn’t even in session, is perfect.

  11. bud

    I’m with Doug, if you only have limited space the dustup with the governor is probably pretty minor. Unless of course your intent is to bash the governor. Don’t worry though, this wacky governor will provide plenty more ammunition for bashing.

  12. Rose

    “Just like any savvy Southern belle, she summoned her sweetness to wage her battle and get her way.”

    As opposed to her intelligence and corporate killer instinct. I hate that sentence.

  13. Brad

    So… you’re saying that it’s better to have, and use, a “corporate killer instinct” than it is to use feminine sweetness? How do you figure?

    I’ll never, ever, understand feminism.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    It’s not hard, Brad. You can recognize patronizing stereotypes. Really!

    Savvy Southern belle? Yuck

  15. tired old man

    \\ “It’s actually kinda weird. This ‘package’ was announced yesterday at 4:00, there’s been no release, and the whole thing seems rushed…”

    Let’s talk about this, because it is actually her Achilles heel.

    Can anyone find any place on her publicly announced schedule that would indicade the meetings that would be the prelude or the progression of intensive discussions about the pros/cons of this new effort? Where is the transparency to the transparency?

    The same holds true for the sudden initiative of the gov and transparency-fixed Curtis Loftis at the recent Budget and Control Board meeting — where three executive Constitutional officers voted to create a tax or a fee on state retirees and state employees by requiring them to pay for a premium increase the Legislature had compromised into the budget.

    Did Nikki’s reform passion — and the enthusiasm she shares with Curtis Loftis and Richard Eckstrom for punishing state employees — simply arise, fully formed from the vapors?

    Or is there something more going on, something shielded from initial input by exclusion from schedules placed before the public.

    Nikki needs to understand that — just like her cultural primativism displayed by vetoing the arts budget — that you have to take a stand early on, thus allowing the people to see you develop your positions as you defend them.

    Again, too much with this governor (now shared by the treasurer) is that major policy initiatives simply arise.

  16. Mark Stewart

    I was more interested in the Darla Moore selection as an “A” or “B” question:

    A) The membership selected Darla Moore because she is (besides being worthy of inclusion on her own merits) a friend of Hootie Johnson’s and they wanted to recognize the behind the scenes work he had done within the club to pave the way for female membership despite his public protestations. This seems to be his spin on events.


    B) The membership chose a friend of Hootie Johnson’s as a sharp stick in the eye for all the years he had the Club’s members squirming in the media spotlight while he was playing his Southern obstinant card – at the point of the proverbial bayonnet as he said.

    There were quite a few – at least – women who would be a good member for the club, including as one of the first to break the barrier. It is interesting that someone so close to Hootie Johnson was chosen first. The question for me is is it revealing of something else, too?

    Nikki is just a footnote in Darla Moore’s life; why give undo credit here to the Governor? It would be one thing if Nikki Haley exhibited adroit and fearsome political skills. But she doesn’t. She acts more like she learned most of her moves from Lexington County sandbox politics.

  17. Brad

    Nikki herself might be a footnote, but while I haven’t talked with Darla about it, I’m guessing being excluded from the trustee board is no small thing to her.

    And what’s wrong with a leading member of the board promoting a friend as a member? That is perfectly in keeping with a private club.

    By the way, if any of you would like help in joining the Cap City Club, let me know. Unlike Augusta National, ours is an exclusive club that was founded to be INclusive, if you can get your head around that. We even let the wimmenfolks in.

  18. Mark Stewart

    And so I disagree, too. This membership expansion at Augusta National is of far greater import to the country than Nikki Haley ever will be.

    She may deliver a few good soundbites at the convention, but given her C.V. a national political role seems beyond a stretch for Haley.

  19. Mark Stewart

    I didn’t see a thing wrong with Hootie Johnson helping Darla Moore gain admittance. That would be an awesome legacy for both.

    Darla Moore took the high road, and the politically crafty path since her removal. I am sure that her tenure on the board of USC is not over.

  20. Kathryn Fenner

    Hootie Johnson could have helped Darla Moore gain admittance back when he was the big cheese. I think B is the better choice.

  21. Scout

    See, saying Darla Moore “took the high road” is way better way than saying “she summoned her sweetness to wage her battle and get her way” like “any savvy southern belle.”

  22. Steven Davis II

    “Moore announced a $5 million gift to build an aerospace research center named for astronaut Ron McNair,”

    And has yet to write a check for a single nickle on that announcement. In fact, I haven’t heard a single thing about this since she brought it up.

Comments are closed.