No surprise: It’s Tim Scott to replace DeMint

I don’t really have anything to say at this time about this fully expected development:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Monday that she will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to the Senate.

Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is leaving the chamber in January to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“It is with great pleasure that I am announcing our next U.S. senator to be Congressman Tim Scott,” Haley said. “I am strongly convinced that the entire state understands that this is the right U.S. senator for our state and our country.”

Sen.-designate Scott, 47, will become the only African-American currently serving in the Senate and the first black Republican to serve in the upper chamber since the 1970s. He will also be the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.

… but maybe you do.

51 thoughts on “No surprise: It’s Tim Scott to replace DeMint

  1. Greg

    I think he was the best choice of the five, I just hate he has to be saddled with being the “black senator”.
    I really wish she’d have picked Henry as a “placeholder”. That would have allowed for a free for all in two years. Tim Scott will now likely hold that seat as long as he wants it. And that may be all right, but I’d rather it been “our choice”, and not Nikki’s.

  2. bud

    For better or worse we’ll have Senator Tim Scott for as long as he wants to be senator. Too bad there is virtually zero competition for higher political office in South Carolina.

  3. Brad Post author

    Yes, Henry would have been a better choice. But given who was doing the choosing, he was always less likely. It had to be one of the Tea Party freshmen, all of whom are such close matches for Nikki in terms of gravitas, experience and philosophy.

    And there’s no way she could resist picking the one of the four whose selection would be deemed, by the superficial standards of Identity Politics, “historic.” Such a “distinction” looms too large in her own legend for her to pass up the chance.

  4. bud

    Maybe. But perhaps this doesn’t call for quite so much cynacism. It is, afterall, a pretty good match philosophically.

  5. Brad Post author

    Just now, I was trying to remember all four Tea Party freshmen, and had trouble remembering Jeff Duncan. I guess he’s less memorable because, unlike Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney, he didn’t topple a far better qualified incumbent to get there…

  6. Steve Gordy

    Jeff Duncan didn’t “topple a far better qualified incumbent to get there,” but after hearing both candidates speak at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce in 2010, Jane Dyer was a far better qualified candidate.

  7. Brad Post author

    Here’s the official SC Democratic Party reaction, from 1st Vice Chair Jaime Harrison:

    “We would like to congratulate Senator Tim Scott on his historic appointment to the US Senate. We look forward to seeing Senator Scott’s decisions on legislation that will affect the people of South Carolina on a daily basis. We need to make sure our leaders help middle class families, educate our young people and continue to make sure that healthcare is affordable and available. Finally, in the wake of the shooting in Connecticut we hope that Senator Scott will follow the President’s lead in realizing the necessity in developing ways to make sure the mentally ill are able to receive the correct healthcare and firearms don’t end up in the hands of dangerous individuals.

    “Senator Scott has a big decision to make. Will he choose to be a statesman, fighting for the best interests of all South Carolinians or will he follow the model of Jim DeMint, allowing political ideology to trump constituent needs? Senator Scott, the South Carolina Democratic Party and the people of this great state will be watching and awaiting your decision.”

    Interesting that the official comment didn’t come from Dick Harpootlian…

  8. Brad Post author

    Here’s Jim Clyburn’s statement:

    “I congratulate Tim Scott on his appointment. I have worked with him for several years, and while we don’t see eye-to-eye on most political issues and more often than not cancel out each other’s votes, I believe he is the personification of South Carolina’s motto, ‘While I breathe, I hope.’

    “The historic nature of this appointment is not lost on me, and I am confident Tim Scott will represent South Carolina and the country honorably.”

  9. Brad Post author

    But my very favorite official statement on the announcement came from Joe Wilson:

    “Wilson Statement on the Appointment of Tim Scott to the United States Senate

    “(Columbia, SC)–Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) released the following statement after South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced Tim Scott will replace Senator Jim DeMint in the United States Senate:”

    No, that was it. Really. There was nothing after the colon

  10. Doug Ross

    “No, that was it. Really. There was nothing after the colon…”

    I can picture Joe doing a lot of hand waving and a big thumbs up. His arm motions when he speaks are very distracting.

  11. Brad Post author

    Dang it! After posting that, I saw a link tucked away toward the bottom of the email that said “View entire message,” and it led to this…

    Wilson stated, “Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to appoint Tim Scott to the United States Senate is a historic day for South Carolina and our nation. Tim is an honorable, principled conservative and I have no doubt that he will continue to carry out these beliefs when representing all of the Palmetto State. Over the past two years, Tim Scott has held firm to his convictions and done his best to change the ways of Washington by restoring faith in politics. Throughout our years in public service, I have been fortunate enough to establish a friendship with Tim. I cannot imagine a more deserving and credible candidate to replace Senator Jim DeMint. I look forward to continue working with Tim Scott and the rest of the South Carolina delegation to promote the ideas of limited government and expanded freedom.”

    Why the release was constructed that way, I have no idea…

  12. Brad Post author

    And in case you care, GOPAC is thrilled…

    “Washington, D.C. (December 17, 2012) – GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli shared the following statement today in response to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to appoint Representative Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jim DeMint:

    “Congratulations to Congressman Tim Scott on his being named as our next U.S. Senator from South Carolina.

    “He is a true leader for the conservative cause, especially when it comes to advancing our core principles of fiscal responsibility and limited government.

    “As a former Charleston County Council member and South Carolina State Representative, Congressman Scott is a shining example of what GOPAC aims to achieve. That is, developing a new generation of Republicans at the state and local level to become effective national leaders.

    “We are excited and encouraged by Congressman Scott’s appointment to the Senate and look forward to his continued leadership.”


  13. Brad Post author

    I felt a little bad today at Rotary, because after breaking the news to the people at my table, and hearing one of my friends said that would mean some good national publicity for SC, I said something cynical like, “Of course, it won’t mean a thing, any more than Nikki Haley being the ‘first Indian-American woman’ meant anything, in terms of the quality of governance or representation the people of South Carolina get.”

    I felt worse when in the course of doing Health and Happiness, Boyd Summer — former Richland County Democratic Party chair — recited the standard civic pieties about how wonderful the news was, and everyone dutifully applauded.

    Maybe my attitude was affected by the very first commentary I had seen on this appointment, about mid-morning, on Twitter. It was from Jamie Sanderson, a.k.a. @liberalinsc:

    “Sen. Tim Scott: The Tea Party Lawmaker Who Wanted To Impeach President Obama And Kick Kids Off Food Stamps

  14. Brad Post author

    Being dismissive as I am when it comes to issues of Identity Politics, I always find it a bit awkward when I’m trapped into a situation in which someone expects me to say something about how thrilling the first this or that is.

    That happened to me on election night in 2010. I was in the studio at WIS, and someone asked me to comment on the “historic” election of a woman, an Indian-American woman, as governor.

    I’m pretty sure I held myself back from saying “Well, it would be a lot more exciting if SC had just elected its first Catholic, a Lebanese-American Catholic.” (That would be Vincent Sheheen, for those who don’t keep up with their identity politics.)

    I filibustered. I launched into a heart-warming story about Nikki overcoming some ethnic slurs that (she said, and I believed her) were flung at her during her first House election, and then ended it with something like, “And here we are today, with her elected governor.”

    I basically ran the clock down on that one, without having to enthuse.

  15. Kathryn Fenner

    It is ironic that the GOP is so obviously playing identity politics, as you annoyingly put it, though it is tokenism from where I stand. I thought they eschewed affirmative action?

    Tim Scott may be a very nice man, but there are plenty of more qualified options, particularly Henry.

  16. Brad Post author

    Sorry to be annoying. I just point out the truth. I mean seriously, would someone like to make the intellectual case for why I should be excited about the appointment of Tim Scott?

    I would think that ALL liberals and Democrats in South Carolina would have been permanently cured of believing such things matter after the election of Nikki Haley in 2010. She wholly adopted the language of Identity Politics, making her supposed overcoming of odds part of her shtick — when the truth is that her path to power was ridiculously easy, completely undemanding. She had nothing to overcome.

    And what, in a positive or historic sense, does the appointment of Tim Scott signify? Were he ELECTED to the post, we could pat ourselves on the back for having elected a black man in a statewide election, I suppose. But he wasn’t elected. He was appointed by a woman who sees such demographic considerations as key to her own appeal, such as it is. No surprise there.

    As “see how far we’ve come” symbolism goes, Scott’s primary victory over the son of Strom Thurmond was far more meaningful. But as with all elections, I’m guessing (not having observed it closely) that was less about history and more about the dynamics of the actual conwp_comments between two candidates. In that Tea Party year, the son of an old “bring-home-the-bacon” conservative wasn’t going to fare as well as someone who had endeared himself to the snake flag crowd.

    And that, in the end, is what is important here, as Nikki Haley herself pointed out. She says it’s “the message” and not “the messenger.” And indeed, Scott goes into office promising to be a Jim DeMint impersonator. Which is the last thing this state needed.

    The last thing SC needed in 2010 was to elect the candidate most like Mark Sanford, but that’s exactly what we did. And her gender and ethnicity in no way ameliorate that fact.

    Ditto with this appointment.

  17. Brad Post author

    The one meaningful way in which Tim Scott is in the vanguard of something historically significant is that he is a right-wing black man. Whites on the right have long celebrated the likes of Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, and now they’ve started actually electing some black right-wingers.

    That’s a good thing in that it means we’re beginning to divorce skin color from ideology. We should not be able to assume that a man (or woman) will subscribe to the views of Jim Clyburn just because he (or she) has dark skin.

    That’s liberating. Of course, I don’t want to see ideologues of ANY skin color (or either end of the political spectrum) in elective office, but at least he’s a stereotype-buster. That’s something.

  18. Steven Davis II

    What’s with the Henry love? If the guy wants to run for Senator let him run in 2014. Personally I can’t stand the guy and think the unqualified Jenny Sanford would be a better choice then McMaster.

  19. Doug Ross

    The solution to everything is putting more old white guys like Henry McMaster into positions of influence. That always has worked out well.

    McMaster’s performance as a rule bending landlord and his membership in a whites only country club should have been reason enough to exclude him from consideration.

  20. Kathryn Fenner

    Just because there exists one which is not does not negate the whole idea that people in historically disadvantaged categories are more likely to see the world differently from people in privileged categories.

    But then your privilege has blinded you to this.

    It doesn’t blind everyone. Several of my favorite white male commenters are not thusly blinded.

  21. Brad Post author

    Actually, Kathryn, I see. And then I see beyond that causes people to think in terms of these categories.

    My “problem” isn’t blindness. It’s the opposite. I see too much.

    There was a time when I was much younger that you would not have regarded be as “blind” because I would have said the same things you’re saying. But as I grew older and more experienced in life, I still saw the things I saw then, but I saw other things.

    And one of the things I saw is that most of the categories that the world attaches importance to — black, white, male, female, left, right, Democrat, Republican — are basically incidental and insignificant compared to the INDIVIDUAL characteristics of a candidate, or an argument.

    This is with regard to political candidates. Another way in which I depart from ideological correctness is that I think that in a very, very few areas of human endeavor, generalizations about gender can be useful, for the simple fact that gender is probably the most profound of the differences that we tend to generalize about. I think, for instance, that women tend to make better physicians than men. And I see no reason to put women in combat infantry billets, barring a total mobilization in an existential conflict that goes far beyond anything this nation has ever seen. (You can see how Israel might do it, but we’ve never been in a situation like Israel’s.)

    But in politics — gender isn’t any more of a reliable factor in shaping the quality of a person’s ideas than is race. Look at what the individual says and does; that’s what’s important. Attaching importance to granfalloons is a form of self-deception.

  22. Brad Post author

    And of course, there are exceptions to every rule. For instance, the presence of more women than ever in the Congress means we have a slightly greater chance of passing some form of gun control in the future than we have in recent decades.

    But I would never use such an aggregate effect as an excuse to endorse an individual woman. I wouldn’t endorse women qua women with the hope of producing such an aggregate result any more than I would lift a finger to elect more Democrats or more Republicans. In each conwp_comments, it is essential to pick the better candidate without regard to demographic considerations. Anything else would be unconscionable. If you end up with more women doing that (taking it case by case), great. But that won’t always happen.

  23. Brad Post author

    You have to remember, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about these things. A ridiculous amount of time. And freeing myself of prejudices that would keep me from evaluating a candidate on the basis of his or her actual merits was a VERY important value for me in this process.

    When I had spent less time undergoing this process, I was less “blind” in your words. Now I have little patience with those who would judge other people on the basis of (what I regard as) facile generalizations.

  24. Silence

    I think the whole slumlord reputation that the McMasters have earned, whether valid or not, tells me a lot about how they might treat people. I get the vibe that he doesn’t care about the community, or the people, as long as he gets his. That and the whole belonging to an “exclusive” country club. That irks me too, for someone who wants to be an elected/appointed public servant.

    I’ve never met him, and I could be totally wrong. Maybe he’s a super nice, caring and compassionate man.

  25. Silence

    I hate that Gov. Nikki made a big deal about Rep. Scott’s hue. I tend to think about things like the quality of a person’s character, their ideas and work ethic.

  26. Kathryn Fenner

    But, Brad, what is one viewpoint you take that cannot be accounted for by some identity you have, whether Catholic or white executive class male?

  27. Doug Ross


    Am I misreading you (again) or are you suggesting that a person’s experience as a black man or woman or as a woman in general is not as important as whether they can adapt to your vision of an ideal candidate?

    I just don’t think a white guy can ever understand what it is like to be a black man or a female. And it’s that lack of perspective that would prevent (or at least slow) the process of government truly reflecting the needs of the people.

    I certainly won’t ever claim to speak as an expert on what women think. Not unless my wife let’s me.

  28. Steven Davis II

    “Actually, Kathryn, I see. And then I see beyond that causes people to think in terms of these categories.”

    That’s because you’re superior to the rest of us.

  29. Greg

    It had to be somebody, and as I said, he may have been the best of the 5. I’m still a little surprised, because (with very little concrete info) I believe Nikki owed Henry, and letting him be Senator for two years would have more than settled that debt.
    Does the state now have to pay for a special election to fill Scott’s seat?

  30. Brad Post author

    Kathryn, every element of a person’s experience has an impact on his thinking, but I don’t believe these “identity” factors play nearly the role that you do. Well, I’ll amend that — I think they ARE important for some people, but tend to look askance at that, and have greater respect for those who THINK and therefore defy easy categorization.

    For instance, those identity groups into which you place me — “Catholic or white executive class male” — can be found to have relationships to some of my views. But the relationship is complicated, and much modified by my own thought processes.

    For instance, most of the views I hold that you would identify with being “Catholic” are views I held before I was Catholic. Opposition to abortion and capital punishment, for instance. Back when I was technically a Southern Baptist (because I happened to be baptized in such a church), but in reality generically Prowp_commentsant (from those years attending ecumenical military chapels), my views on those things were roughly what they are. It’s more like those were factors in my deciding to become Catholic, rather than it being the other way around.

    Having spent most of my adult life as a manager — not “an executive class male,” but a manager, eventually at an executive level — probably has more obvious influences on the way my cognitive processes work.

    But that’s a matter of EXPERIENCE, I would submit, rather than IDENTITY. I’m used to looking at society systemically or holistically, rather than in terms of constituent parts or details. Since I’m used to being in charge of my working environment (as I was, usually with great autonomy, from 1980 to 2009), my concerns tend to be of someone who feels a responsibility for the world around him and how given policy decisions affect the community as a whole.

    I also probably have greater sympathy for people in positions of responsibility than a person who had never been in management would have. I see the challenges. This leads to some of my disagreements with Doug and others having to do with my tendency to give experienced incumbents more of a break than they would.

    But I can’t say I ever have such feelings of kinship or empathy with another man because he’s a man, or another white guy because he’s a white guy. Such feelings would be anathema to me.

  31. Brad Post author

    I find it INTERESTING, in a take-note-of kind of way, that the U.S. Supreme Court is not made up entirely of Catholics and Jews.

    But when I say that “we” have taken over the court, I’m joking; I’m having fun with the idea of Identity Politics. Obviously, I don’t think every Catholic (or Jew) on the court thinks the way I do; that is a demonstrably false supposition.

    What our 100 percent Catholic-Jewish court indicates is the extent to which religion is no longer a wp_comments for holding such positions in our Prowp_commentsant-majority society. In other words, we’ve set such Identity Politics considerations aside, which is basically a good thing.

  32. Brad Post author

    That phenomenon of the Court brings to mind something I’ve often said in the past…

    If you or anyone had the opportunity to choose each and every member of the U.S. Senate, you could end up with a Senate that is 100 percent female or 100 percent male, and in my book, that would be fine, just as long as you made the best decision available to you in each of the 100 cases, based on the choices before you. (OF course, in reality, you’d probably end up with a mix, one that, given women’s somewhat lesser tendency to seek office, would probably be majority male.)

    That’s actually what we have with the court with regard to religion. If someone were trying to make sure the court “look like America” in terms of religious identity there would be at the very most one Jew on the court (or maybe a Muslim, as there are about half as many Muslims as Jews in the U.S.), two or three Catholics, and the rest Prowp_commentsant.

    But that wasn’t a guiding consideration, at least not overtly (it would be interesting to study whether there were a correlation between habits of mind associated with being Jewish or Catholic and the characteristics common to senior jurists, but I have no idea what you’d find). And therefore we ended up with a court that looks very little “like America” in that regard.

    There WAS consideration given, to some extent, to gender and ethnicity in picking this court. But religious identity, not so much.

  33. Kathryn Fenner

    Which Catholic on the Supreme Court do you disagree with?

    We think we are thinking logically, when most of the time, we are simply using logic to justify what we feel.

  34. Mark Stewart

    Nikki Haley may have made the right decision to appoint Scott, but it just feels like she did so for all of the wrong reasons. Instead of the conclusion being that he was the best choice, we are left with the impression that this was more about cynicism than anything truly substantive.

    And that isn’t such a great place for us to be.

  35. Brad Post author

    “Which Catholic on the Supreme Court do you disagree with?”

    All of them. None of them. I haven’t the slighwp_comments idea, as I don’t really think of them that way.

    Let’s see… the Catholic I have probably most often disagreed with MAY be Clarence Thomas. And the one I probably most often have thought, “I agree with that” MIGHT be Roberts. On account of him being white, and the guy in charge and all, of course. 😉

    Seriously, though… I guess in an individual court decision, I agree with the Catholics on the side of the decision I think is the right one, and DISagree with the Catholics on the “wrong” side. Which would vary from decision to decision.

    Truth be told, though, MOST of the time (Griswold and Roe being rare exceptions), I tend to agree with the majority of the court (“majority” as defined by the majority on an individual opinion, not in terms of the conventional political notion of the predominance of “liberals” or “conservatives” on the court — a way of thinking of them that I consider to be an insult to the justices). That’s probably a function of a) my basic centrism, and the fact that historic rulings aside, the court usually rules from a centrist position, and b) my sense of history and the Constitution, which tends to put me on the same side on which you would find a majority of careful jurists.

    Actually, in a way, a) and b) are kinda the same thing…

  36. Brad Post author

    The court’s collective cognitive processes are very similar, in some ways, to those of an editorial board. Precedent plays a big role, and to the extent you depart from it, you have some tall ‘splain’ to do, to your colleagues and the public at large…

  37. Brad Post author

    Since you got me to thinking about the personal Identities to which I am so hopelessly enslaved, I went and checked, and I see Tim Scott is not One Of Us.

    He’s affiliated with Seacoast Church, one of those unaffiliated (apparently) evangelical entities that sprouted spontaneously into existence in the last five minutes or so. (OK, technically, 1988.)

    Yet he’s an alumnus of Presbyterian College, which I think of as very Mainline.

    So… basically, he’s an alum of my Dad’s alma mater, whereas I graduated from Memphis State, a.k.a. Tiger High. So, that kinda makes him more of an heir than I to the ruling-class privilege to which I am theoretically heir…

  38. Brad Post author

    Oh, wait, I see he only ATTENDED PC, graduating from Charleston Southern…

    Not sure what that means. It seems to me to give him somewhat less Establishment cred, but I don’t know that much about Charleston Southern…

  39. Brad Post author

    Ssshhh… don’t call attention to it. How are we going to take over the country if you call attention to the way we dominate the court?

    But seriously, I had no idea. So you’re saying Sotomayor predictably votes with Scalia? I didn’t know. I guess I’ve never looked at a decision and thought about which side the mackerel-snappers were on… I’ve REALLY got to catch up on those secret messages from the Vatican…

  40. Brad Post author

    Far as I know. Of course, I haven’t checked the Vatican surveillance reports, to see how often she’s at Mass. (And yes, a smiley face should be understood on that one.)

    Culturally speaking, her name is certainly more Catholic than “Roberts.”

    I had a teacher in Ecuador named Sotomayor. That was the last time I ran across the name, from the mid-60s to when the justice was nominated…

  41. Brad Post author

    My Mrs. Sotomayor, by the way, was norteamericana, but married to an Ecuadorean.

    She was very pretty; I had quite a crush on her.


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