Vincent Sheheen kicks off 2014 campaign, apparently…

sheheen book

This came in about an hour ago:

Sheheen Kicks Off “Back on Track” Tour
State Senator will discuss ideas for moving South Carolina forward and his new book “The Right Way” in three-week statewide tour
Rock Hill, SC. – Today, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen kicks off the Palmetto State “Back on Track” tour at Sun City in Rock Hill to rollout his new book “The Right Way” and discuss his ideas for how to move South Carolina forward with local residents and leaders around the state.
“This short book is not meant to propose solutions to all of our state’s problems. It’s a revolt against the status quo. This book proposes ideas for us to consider and debate to try to get our state back on the right footing and shed the inanities of the past few years,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen. “More than anything, this book of ideas is an attempt to promote more rational political discussion and policy making. Ultimately, we will still need committed citizens and leadership on many fronts to make it so. I look forward to meeting these leaders in the coming weeks and discussing how we will all move forward together.”
The Back on Track Tour will run from March 11th through March 30th holding lectures at universities, listening sessions with local families and leaders, and press conferences and discussions with media about the vision laid out in his book for creating jobs, improving education, restructuring the government, and creating a more prosperous future for the people and businesses of the Palmetto state. The tour kicks off today at noon in Rock Hill, before making stops in Conway, Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia, Aiken, Charleston, Fairfield, Beaufort, Greenville, and Spartanburg throughout the next three weeks.
Sen. Sheheen’s book is free and available online here, or as a hard copy at each of the event stops on the Back on Track tour.
Below is a selection of key quotes from Sen. Sheheen’s book, “The Right Way: Getting the Palmetto State Back on Track.”
We must do better for South Carolina… the right way
“This book is not about me. It’s about our South Carolina—a South Carolina we know can exist if we join together in a common vision with leaders who actually care about our state. We are better than what our government has looked like in recent history. We have been better before. We deserve better now. It’s up to us to engage and change. We must do it again…the right way.” — p. 110
“Somehow, however, we have let the naysayers gain the upper hand over the last couple of decades in South Carolina. You know who I am talking about—the people who tell us what we can’t do instead of what we can do. These are folks who believe nothing will ever get better and that things just are what they are. I am not one of these people. I do not believe that the South Carolina I know is made up of people like that either. From Camden to Charleston, Aiken to Horry and Due West to Denmark, the people I know and meet in South Carolina believe we can do better than what we have experienced in South Carolina’s recent government. In fact, we must.” — p. 108
“But we also need more than just ideas. We need ACTION—action that turns the status quo of the negativists on their heads. It is almost too late. But together, we still have time. If we don’t quickly get South Carolina moving again, our children and grandchildren will pay the price for decades to come.” — p. 109
Total change needed
“We have suffered embarrassment after embarrassment caused by our leaders’ unethical behavior and boneheaded statements and we have become the butt of late night television jokes all too frequently.  This downward spiral in our government should surprise no one. Why? Because we have elected leaders who proclaim a belief that government is always part of the problem. Once elected, they prove their theory correct by making our state’s government a dysfunctional embarrassment that is incapable of efficiently meeting the demands of core government functions.”  — pp. 1-2
“Future success for South Carolina’s workers—as well as the entire state—requires more education, not less.  Unfortunately, South Carolina’s recent leaders don’t have a good record in making smart investments in education to ensure that our children will have the training they need to get the better-paying jobs of the future. I believe it’s time we turn that abysmal record on its head.  Simply put: How can the students of today expect to hold the jobs of tomorrow if they don’t have enough knowledge? — p. 8
“Accountability in South Carolina’s government has been missing for more than a decade. In the end, a government can be successful and accountable regardless of deficiencies in its structure if it has strong, responsible and effective leaders.  However in South Carolina, a combination of ineffective leaders and confusing structure has led to our government being ranked one of the most dysfunctional and unaccountable in the nation.” — p. 27
“I am not opposed to healing our government incrementally.  I am, however, skeptical that our current leaders will finish the job with that approach. I believe that when a government has reached such a level of dysfunction and disintegration as South Carolina’s, it is time to return the power to the people.” — p. 48
“Through weak leadership in recent times and a governmental system confusing to virtually everyone, South Carolina’s government has arrived at a low point. We have a choice:  To continue with the same poor leadership and same poor system, or break with the past and make dramatic change.  We can’t afford to wait on current crop of political leaders to make the changes our state needs and deserves. We must take things into our own hands and force change. Either through incremental or dramatic change, we must alter the trajectory of South Carolina’s future. My children and yours deserve our best efforts.” — p. 50
Forward, to a path to prosperity
“One of the greatest obstacles to robust economic growth in South Carolina is our state’s broken and dysfunctional tax system. Furthermore, a special-interest-controlled tax code means that general taxpayers will end up with fewer core services that they say they want. Sure, in good times of budget surpluses, politicians will spread the wealth to make all appear rosy. But all they’ll be doing is bandaging a broken system, which will unravel once again when they cut what they recently added during downturns. It’s a seesaw system of government that leaves us all up in the air.” — p. 54
“The goal of tax reform should not be to raise taxes. To achieve true economic success, our state must reform how it taxes goods so that it can reduce the rate for everyone. That’s something we should all be for.” — p. 67
“Like most South Carolinians, I believe in hard work. I believe we should expect everyone who is physically able to have a job. I don’t believe in handouts. But I also expect that our state government will do all it can to ensure that opportunities exist for our citizens to find a job. It’s in all of our interests for the state to provide a hand-up in the form of job training, economic development, good education and support for small businesses.” — p. 85
“What is excluded from most local economic development offices’ services is support to startup companies and entrepreneurs.  This reflects, in part, a lack of expertise in the area but also recognition that the failure rate of these types of companies is high. A handful of groups around the state provide services to startups and entrepreneurs, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The S.C. Department of Commerce has a department that provides access to resources for small businesses, but there is little affirmative effort by the state to assist small business.” — p. 98
“Our state needs a multipronged approach to saving our rural areas and small towns. Failure to meet this challenge will doom many communities to a low standard of living and even non-existence. North Carolina has met this challenge head-on and invested heavily in the strategies and infrastructure for its rural areas. We should do the same.” — p. 102
“Our leaders are pricing the middle class out of a college education. The alternative has become hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt incurred by our future workforce. This is a dumb policy. We should dedicate a decent portion of future budget growth to stabilizing college tuition. And when the state funds higher education in a reasonable manner, colleges and universities should be required to keep tuition increases low.” — p. 106

23 thoughts on “Vincent Sheheen kicks off 2014 campaign, apparently…

  1. Silence

    At first I was wondering, who the *%$@ is going to buy this book, and then I saw that it was being given away for free.
    “Free advice is worth the price.” – Robert Half

  2. Doug Ross

    Actually, Silence, I’m halfway through it and while it has a certain level of “we can do everything if we all just work together” delusion, the tax policy recommendations make sense. The trouble is that they cannot be implemented as long as Bobby Harrell and Hugh Leatherman are in office.

    Until and unless Sheheen is willing to point fingers at people and not generic government agencies, this book is just fiction.

    I did find this one section in the tax chapter interesting:

    “And why exactly is it that newspapers aren’t subject to sales tax but magazines are? Maybe both should be exempt or maybe both should be taxed.”

    Really going out on a limb there, Vincent. Why not tax them both?

  3. Doug Ross

    Also, I can save you time reading the chapter on Transportation. The solution?
    Taxes. Lots of them. Increase the gas tax by at least 6 cents a gallon and maybe up to 18 cents. Apply any surplus revenues from the general fund to transportation (kind of hard to forecast that spending isn’t it? What do you do when a recession hits?) Taxes on alternative fuel users. Increases in user fees for licenses. Leasing out rest areas to private companies (a good idea actually).

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    I knew you would be interested in reading this, Doug, since you complained so much about the lack of details on Vincent’s website last time around…

  5. Doug Ross

    I guess he took my advice, huh? You can’t just win on a “I’m not Haley/Sanford” platform. Even when you are running against an ethically challenged, lightweight Republican.

  6. Mark Stewart

    So now “on track” is straddling the yellow line?

    I know I get over-analytical about visual political messages, but they do matter. Why is this stuff so hard for campaigns and governments to get right?

    Imagery conveys more than words (sorry Brad); yet it is far easier to manipulate the images – especially when they are campaign generated. I just don’t get it…

  7. Doug Ross

    Sheheen would have us believe that if we elect him, he’ll be more effective at eliminating the major flaws in South Carolina’s state government than he has been as a Senator. Sort of like a baseball player who bats .210 in the minors telling us he’ll bat .300 if he’s promoted to the major leagues.

    His book lists a number of major changes to state government, a plethora of new taxes, AND a new state constitution. If those changes are so important, why isn’t he working every day to get started on them BEFORE 2014? For example, he thinks the gas tax should be raised by at least 6 cents and that drivers license fees should be raised to pay for roads. Why not start with those small steps? What prevents him from leading the effort to make that happen NOW? Could it be that he knows that would cost him votes from the crossover Republicans he would need to win a statewide election?

  8. Mark Stewart

    Doug, if he put such policy statements in book, I really doubt he was trying to hide it from the cross-over Republicans who might vote for him; or anyone else for that matter.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Vinnie B. and Vincent S. don’t share a lot in common.

        Maybe this state just needs a lot more people to realize, and accept, that they are independents – and will vote that way.

        1. Silence

          Then why did Vinnie Sheheen say, “Up your nose, with a rubber hose!” to me when I met him at a fund-raiser?
          Then, when we were talking policy he said, “I’m so confused!” in a very overdramatic fashion. After that, Jim “Boom-Boom” Clyburn came up to me and said “Hi there” in his deep, bass voice. Lindsey Graham had a note excusing him from the fundraiser, and Mark Sanford was saying “Hullo…. how-ah-yuh….I’m MARSH-all SAN-ford”….
          So are you sure that they are that different?

          1. Mark Stewart

            Wait – Clyburn is really a Republican? But I bet Lindsey does write his own excuses…

            Funny. Funny show, too, all those years ago.

            One the apartments I lived in in NYC was the one previously used in Saturday Night Fever. Travolta had several scenes there and the movie ends with him sitting in the living room window. Later, the place was occupied by Arthur Kent, the Scud Stud. I knew nothing of it’s history when I moved in, and no good juju was transmitted. Actually, it was the only place I lived in that ever felt haunted – in a bad way. Jerry Orbach’s (Law & Order) mother lived across the hall; he came to visit her every week. He was a mensch.

  9. Brad Warthen Post author

    And Doug, I know you don’t believe this, but a governor — even in this weak-governor state — has much, MUCH more leverage to get reforms enacted than a senator in the minority.

    It’s not about constitutional power, but about political power. The governor has the bully pulpit; a senator in the minority does not. That counts for a lot.

    If Vincent could get elected governor on such a platform, he’d still have an uphill climb with the Legislature dominated by the other party. But he’d have a much greater chance of success than he does in his present position.

    1. Doug Ross

      You mean the way Haley has used the bully pulpit to accomplish so much in her tenure?

      Sheheen can propose whatever he’d like. Without the backing of Harrell and Leatherman, none of it will happen.

      If he wants to raise taxes, let’s see him make the case for it in his present position. Let’s see how many of his fellow Democrats will hop on board.

  10. Brad Warthen Post author

    I just got this release from Vincent, on this subject:

    Dear Brad —

    South Carolina is a wonderful state with everything we need to be successful. Unfortunately, over the past ten years, our state has failed too often because of a lack of leadership and a lack of common sense in governing.

    I’m tired of South Carolina being at the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad ones – and we deserve leaders who are more than a punch line on late-night TV. We can move South Carolina forward together and get our state back on track with the right kind of vision and leadership.

    I am writing today to provide you with a copy of my newly printed book, “The Right Way: Getting the Palmetto State Back on Track.” Download the book here, or make a donation here we’ll send you a hard copy.

    This short book is not meant to propose solutions to all of our state’s problems, but instead serve as a platform for ideas and a revolt against the status quo.

    More than anything, this book of ideas is an attempt to promote more rational political discussion and policy making. Ultimately, we will still need committed citizens and leadership on many fronts to make it so.

    I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I encourage you to stay up to date on the discussions and share your ideas by liking my Facebook page today.

    Thank you again.


    1. Silence

      Vincent – by Silence McLean

      Liberal, Camden senator
      Write your book and go away
      Look back on that November Day
      With eyes that share Brad’s vision of universal healthcare
      Liberal from the git-go
      Revolts against the status quo
      Love increasing taxes, though
      Red ink, on the Palmetto State

      Now I understand what you tried to pitch to me
      When you used your law degree
      Then our state elected Haley
      We would not listen, we did not know how
      I doubt we’ll listen now

      Spendy spendy night
      Flaming liberals that brightly blaze
      Waving flags of tiger orange
      Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of basic brown
      Legislators changing tunes
      Mossbacks causing him much strain
      Budget hawks just wince in pain
      Are soothed beneath the lawyer’s typing hand

  11. Doug Ross


    How many Republicans will (can?) read Sheheen’s book. Let’s face it – most voters in either party don’t care. They are lazy and uniformed and that’s why we have the government we have.

  12. Mark Stewart

    That’s what a minimal education policy, hidebound resistence to evolution and a bit of self-loathing will get a state. Not an unwillingness to read a political tract, but an inability to bravely step forward into the uncertain future.


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