Two thoughts about ‘Carolina Conservatives United’

I had two thoughts about this release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    September 4, 2013


CONTACT: Bruce Carroll

Chairman, Carolina Conservatives United


Phone: (704) 804-4854


(YORK, SC) — Carolina Conservatives United has announced its opposition to the use of United States military force and assets against the Syrian government and urges the entire South Carolina Congressional Delegation vote against this measure.


Chairman Bruce Carroll today issued the following statement:


We share the humanitarian concern for the Syrian people who have been killed and injured by conventional weapons and chemical weapons and the millions of refugees that are suffering due to that nation’s two-year civil war. 


However, we strongly believe the situation in Syria will not improve, and could well deteriorate, due to American military involvement.  Additionally, we do not believe President Obama has adequately made the case that any national security interests are at stake, a minimum requirement for military actions abroad.


Therefore we would like to, in the strongest terms, urge our Members of Congress, especially Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, to vote against military action against the Syrian regime.  We urge our fellow citizens in South Carolina to call their Congressmen and Senators immediately so that our elected officials are completely aware of the views of the people on this important matter.





September 4, 2013

Page 2




Carolina Conservatives United will be sending a letter today to each Member of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation requesting a “NO” vote on Syria use of force.  Our organization will also track the vote for authorization of force in Syria as a “key vote” for purposes of our ongoing Congressional scorecard that aligns to our organization’s fundamental principles.




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Carolina Conservatives United is a grassroots, non-profit political association based in South Carolina. 

CCU supports and promotes the long-standing American values of limited Constitutional government, low taxes, freedom of the individual, entrepreneurism, free enterprise, and strong national security and sovereignty. CCU’s mission is to support political candidates who support conservative values and oppose those who do not. 

For more information, visit




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The first was the same reaction I have when I see anything referring to “Carolina,” as though North and South Carolina were one state or something — or as if they had any more to do with each other than SC and Georgia, which they don’t.

That reaction is, “This must be out of Charlotte.” Because only people from that ambivalent city, lacking a clear identity with either state — sort of the Danzig Corridor of the Deep South — use the term “Carolina” in an inclusive way like that.

And sure enough, there’s a 704 area code on it.

The second reaction is, Yeah, boy, I bet old Lindsey is just sittin’ up nights wondering what the folks at want him to do…

22 thoughts on “Two thoughts about ‘Carolina Conservatives United’

  1. Barry

    There is no grassroots group that cares anything about Syria unless it’s made up of people from Syria. (and the few folks I’ve seen on tv that are from Syria are in favor of the United States doing something militarily speaking)

    Any other group is a political group with other motives.

  2. Bart

    This so-called grassroots organization is just another front to unseat Lindsey Graham. Not much information about who, what, when, or where as far as who Bruce Carroll really is. Kinda reminds me of the Chad Mitchell Tris song about the John Birch Society.

    “We only hail the hero from whoe we got our name,
    We’re not sure what he did be he’s our hero just the same.”

    Gonna send my dollar as soon as I can. How about you? Kathryn? Barry? bud? Doug? At least CCU (not Coastal Carolina University) has something in common with Democrats, removing Graham from office.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I favor keeping Lindsey in office as the lesser of evils. His most likely successful opponent is surely worse than he is. For one, Lindsey is smart and thoughtful.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Two, two, he’s smart and thoughtful and not too far out there….three, three….among his good qualities are…..

        1. Brad Warthen

          He has an understanding of the world and our place in it, an understanding that used to be fairly common across the political spectrum, but which is too rare now, as the former consensus is steadily eroded from both left and right.

          1. Doug Ross

            Maybe the common opinion was the wrong opinion and the rest of the world realized that and adapted versus being stubborn.

        2. Phillip

          Sorry, Kathryn, I have to disagree with you on this one. Graham is only “smart” by comparison to the clowns that surround him in SC politics (Lee Not-Too-Bright, etc.) When he wades into larger discussions of history and geopolitics, he reveals a pretty shallow and provincial understanding of world history and culture. He’s not dumb by any means, but his USC/USCLawSchool/military background has not really given him a wider view of different cultures and societies…he sees everything through the blinders of a militaristic/nationalistic/imperialist strictly American viewpoint. Of course you’re right, any other senator elected here would probably be worse. And he’s a hoot to watch when he gets all whiny on the Sunday news shows.

          1. Phillip

            …I realize I’m talking about two different things, intelligence vs. education/background. Graham is a reasonably intelligent man. His education and background and perspective is not vast and not very broad or deep.

          2. Brad Warthen

            Phillip, I don’t think you could be more wrong. First, I find him to be very smart compared to ME.

            And he’s a guy who sees connections and understands context. NO ONE articulated better than he the huge cultural barriers we faced in helping Iraq stand up after Saddam. I just don’t get where you’re getting this impression of him as narrow and provincial.

            I think that’s a stereotype that a lot of post-Vietnam liberals project onto people who disagree with them on our role in the world…

          3. Phillip

            Perhaps I’m extrapolating from the facts of his biography…raised in SC, all his schooling in SC, then immediately into a long career and connection with the military and military reserve. This is his world and what has formed, I believe, his view of America’s “role in the world” as you put it. It’s not at all a “stereotype that a lot of post-Vietnam liberals project onto people who disagree with them.” Far from it…in some ways I’m trying to cut Graham some slack. For neoconservatives with far deeper and broader education like Paul Wolfowitz or Niall Ferguson (and there are many others I could name) well, let’s just say they have fewer excuses for their, um, interesting perspectives.

          4. Kathryn Fenner

            Yikes! Far be it from me to defend Lindsey Graham, but I was raised and educated in SC and one state contiguous thereto. I guess I’d best see if Walmart has any openings in the greeter slot.
            It is incumbent (ha ha) on him, perhaps, to represent the provincial point of view that is his state’s. He isn’t a national representative like POTUS. He’s a representative of our state.

            And he has that unfortunate whiny Upstate accent. Only Rudy Mancke makes it sound good.

          5. Doug Ross

            But Kathryn, haven’t you spent some time in other parts of the country (and the world) ? You have a wide circle of friends and interests. You have a perspective Lindsey Graham will never have.

            Here’s my thing with Lindsey – he is defined entirely by four words: southern, lawyer, military, and Senator.

            What else does he bring to the table? He’s never been married. He has no children. His outside interests are what?

          6. Phillip

            Yes, Kathryn but you’ve lived in a variety of places in the US for one, and you didn’t move immediately from your education into a life/career centered around the military.

            Also, if he were merely “represent[ing] the provincial point of view that is his state’s” I wouldn’t mind as much, but he presents himself (with the aid of the “mainstream media” to be sure) as a sort of authority on geopolitical affairs, and my point is I’m not sure he’s even close to being the most convincing or authoritative spokesperson for the neoconservative, “exceptionalist” viewpoints that he espouses.

          7. Brad Warthen Post author

            Phillip, now I think you’re expressing a prejudice that it’s all too easy for me to fall into.

            Moving around as a kid, and particularly as I got older, I developed the attitude of what John le Carre called, in his novel The Night Manager, a “close observer.” I was in a place, up close and personal with it, but I was not of the place. And when you’re like that — I’m saturating myself with this place for a year or two (Bennettsville, Columbia, Charleston, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Washington, Guayaquil (Ecuador), New Orleans, Tampa, Honolulu, Memphis, Jackson (TN), Wichita), and moving on — there’s a temptation to look upon those who ARE of the place as limited. And sometimes they are.

            At the same time, I have respect for the DEPTH of life that people rooted in a certain place have. They’re not living superficially; at least they’re not geographically and culturally superficial. They’re real.

            Take accents. On the one hand, I find it really hard to believe that people my age or younger have strong accents that mark them as being from a certain place. I mean, what, did their parents just never let them watch TV? And at my worst, I kind of feel like people who ARE so marked in their speech must lack a certain mental nimbleness. For me, particularly when I was young (and more easily shifted between accents; now I have to work a little at it), being able to shift from one accent to another is to a certain extent a mark of intelligence. But then, we DO tend to think facilities that we possess are marks of intelligence, don’t we?

            And yet, I look around and I see these smart people — often, people with capacities I lack — and they have these thick accents. Lindsey sort of does. But listen to people like Alex Sanders, and Jean Toal, and Joe Riley. Very, VERY smart people who sound like they must have spent their entire lives within one square mile of the same place.

            When I try to think of people like that, they tend to be just a few years older than I am — all of the people I mentioned in the previous paragraph are, except Lindsey. I find it more surprising in younger people — I expect them to sound like Stephen Colbert. But some still have these accents.

            It’s a puzzle.

          8. Brad Warthen Post author

            Back on the subject… I don’t find the views of Wolfowitz, et al., “interesting” in an ironic way. They look at the world as a whole, taking in all the elements, and see connections and reach conclusions that make perfect sense to me.

            There’s a cognitive barrier between Phillip and me, and I don’t say that in a condescending way at all. He’s a really smart guy and careful thinker for whom I have tremendous respect. I’m another smart guy. But there’s this wall between us.

            Phillip looks at a guy like me or Lindsey or John McCain or Joe Lieberman or Paul Wolfowitz and thinks, if this guy thinks there is something special about this country that the world needs, if he thinks the United States has an obligation to lead, if he thinks that the world is best off with American leadership… then he must be a person with a deeply limited perspective. He must be a nationalist, the way the Orthodox Serbs are nationalist when they want to kill Bosnian Muslims, or the way the Chinese are nationalists when they call people from other countries “foreign devils” (or however that properly translates). Such a limited person’s point of view is no more justified, by definition, than that of a Russian who gets all weepy about the Rodina, or a German who puts the Fatherland uber alles.

            What Phillip does not acknowledge — and correct me if I’m wrong — is that a person can actually look at the world objectively, fairly assess what the nations of the world offer, and logically and fairly, without prejudice, reach the conclusion that you know what? The world actually is better off if whatever power vacuum that exists is filled by the United States (and to a lesser extent nations with similar values and histories such as Britain, France, various members of NATO, Australia) rather than by the many other players who would like to fill it, either locally, regionally or globally — Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, the Ayatollahs in Iran, Xi Jinping, the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, the Taliban, take your pick.

            But there actually are people who fairly weigh it all up, without jingoistic prejudice, and reach that conclusion. And they’re smart people, not just some yahoos chanting, “Yay for the USA!” like they’re at a football game.

            And when you take that conclusion, and pair it with the belief that when a nation DOES have the power to intervene against tyranny, oppression, crimes against humanity, that nation really doesn’t have the right NOT to do so… well, you get a point of view that Phillip calls “interesting.”

          9. Brad Warthen Post author

            Before someone else jumps in and says, but how can you say the world is “better off” with such intervention by the West without being limited by your definition of “better off?” Once you say this condition is better than that one, you’re revealing your prejudices.

            Yes, there is a an assumption that comes out of a Western perspective — a very broadly held set of values, but values that came out of European cultures, particularly ones where English is spoken.

            There IS a prejudice that liberal values (“liberal” in sense that one uses the term in comparing political cultures around the world, not “liberal” as the opposite of “conservative”) such as freedom of conscience, pluralism, self-determination are things that are worth promoting and protecting.

            So yes, the person with the “interesting” perspective is limited, in that respect.

  3. Juan Caruso

    “And sure enough, there’s a 704 area code on it.” – Brad W.

    The 29710 zip, however, is in York County where Chairman Bruce Carroll resides with the good folks of Clover, SC..

    There is a “North Carolina Conservatives United”. too.

    I will tell you that Mr> $6-Million Man had better be anxious about hiso pponents because he is wasting his $$$ on the cheap, passé robo-call gimick he used in his last, uncontested contest.

    One more time, Brad, if you wish to make an issue of campaign funding from out-of-state sources. at least go on record with the percentage to which Vincent Sheheen has announced his will be limited.

    The thought is bogus as long as laws do not back it up; and why is that? We all know.

  4. Phillip

    Brad, I do acknowledge that intelligent thoughtful people such as yourself can come to the sincerely-held conclusions that you do, reasoned-through very nicely and with a genuine wish not to have arrived at these views through yahoo-ish jingoistic motivations. That was my point about Graham—he’s not the best at articulating that viewpoint…you might have just done it better, for example.

    We could go back and forth on this forever. Just remember: just about every major power in world history thought that it too was exercising its power on the basis of a greater good. To seek and to have the lion’s share of power on the globe is in itself a corrosive and distorting influence on the perspective of the nation holding such power. There has never been a time in world history when that was not true to some extent.

    I’m all for America exercising leadership, however. But to the extent that leadership is usually (if not always) defined by certain elements in our government as military and unilateral in nature, rather than leadership towards building a multilateral world, then that “leadership” serves as a destabilizing force on the planet rather than a stabilizing one directing at building a peaceful world.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Thanks, Phillip, for all your comments (now and every day), and your first graf above in particular.

      A couple of quick points: I don’t think it’s true that “just about every major power in world history thought that it too was exercising its power on the basis of a greater good.”

      The Romans could have gone on (with some justice, actually) about their civilizing influence, particularly with regard to laws, engineering, and the like. But they, like most empires, were confiscatory. They exerted power to make Rome richer and more powerful. The nations that they conquered existed to pay tribute to Rome.

      The British Empire was sort of transitional. There were no bones made about the fact that the Brits were conquering “lesser” peoples in order to enrich and empower Britain. But they did help lay groundwork for future liberalizing influences, from spreading knowledge of English (which facilitates engaging with the kinds of ideals that shaped this nation) to institutions that fostered those kinds of principles. And don’t forget, as tenaciously and sometimes brutally as Britain hung on to empire through the 18th and much of the 19th centuries, it did let go fairly peaceably in the end. So good-news, bad-news there.

      Napoleon gave lip service to furthering ideals of the Revolution (I think; I need someone who’s read a lot more about him than I have to help me out here), but take him all around, he was a pretty rapacious S.O.B. He did, after all, name himself emperor.

      And here’s where the difference lies between empires and the current state of (relative) hegemony that the United States experiences. You say, “To seek and to have the lion’s share of power on the globe is in itself a corrosive and distorting influence on the perspective of the nation holding such power.” Yes, I suppose a good case can be made for that.

      The thing is, that doesn’t describe the United States. The United States HAS that power, but did not SEEK it. We reacted to history, and then suddenly — after the collapse of the British Empire, and later of the Soviet Union — sort of holding the bag.

      We weren’t that kind of power before 1941 precisely because we had not sought to be. Sure, there was the occasional leader such as Teddy Roosevelt who built up the Navy because he wanted to play at the table with the big imperial powers of Europe. And Woodrow Wilson had his League of Nations. But that was sort of anomalous in the general thrust of the nation’s character and preoccupations. Right up until Pearl Harbor was bombed, isolationism had a pretty tight grip on us. Americans just didn’t see the rest of the world as our business.

      But after 12/7/41, we geared up to win the war — and when it was over, found that the only major power left standing other than us was the Soviet Union. And later, that collapsed.

      So here we were. We had this power. We could abdicate it, as small-nation libertarians on the right and left want us to do, but for reasons I’ve set out before, that would be grossly irresponsible. Because someone — or many someones — who DO want that power, for the kinds of corrupting reasons you cite, will rush into the vacuum.

      Anyway, you get my point. As I keep trying to stress to you, Phillip, there are good reasons to see the United States as different from “every major power in world history” that “thought… it too was exercising its power on the basis of a greater good.” Which is an element of the exceptionalism that you and I often disagree about.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        My other point (and I admit that one wasn’t “quick”): I just want to clarify that I’m not one of these “elements” who defines American leadership as military and unilateral.

        Those are just the instances where you and I disagree the most. Sometimes, the power we need to exert IS military, and in rare instances, we find ourselves in situations where we can’t find partners, as much as we may want them.

        For the record, if we act in Syria, it won’t be unilaterally. France is out ahead of us on this. Yeah, France can do as much as we can, but France showed in Mali and in Libya that it WILL step up. So while not having the Brits at our side is a HUGE concern, we’re not even talking about acting alone.

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