Tombo Hite shows how you run as a Democrat in SC

There’s no one thing that’s particularly remarkable about this web video for legislative candidate Tombo Hite of Abbeville.

But it strikes me as a good example of how different it is to be a Democrat in South Carolina.

Strategist Tyler Jones brought this young attorney to my attention, saying:

Just want to forward you the new web ad for Tombo Hite, our House candidate in District 11 (Abbeville, Anderson). This guy is a rock star and has all the potential of any candidate I’ve seen in years. Keep your eye on him.

This district was held by a Democrat (Paul Agnew) until 2012 when a Democrat and a Democratic petition candidate split the votes and elected a republican, Craig Gagnon.

Yet, although according to that we should assume this is fairly safe territory for a Democrat, I’ve listened to this video twice, and if he mentioned being a Democrat, I missed it. (This is possible, because I was doing other stuff as I listened. But I know for sure he didn’t stress it.)

Then, there’s the fact that the first thing he wants you to know about him, policywise, is that he’s a fiscal conservative. Although he expresses that with a slight difference from Republicans. You have to listen carefully for it.

He says he wants to “get government out of the way and to keep our taxes low.” A Republican would want to lower taxes. Tombo is subtly telling you that our taxes are already low — which they are — and that he’s just going to keep them that way. (And indeed, I find his promise to fight a gas tax increase — an essential step to addressing our infrastructure problems — disturbing.)

After that, he sounds like a fairly typical Dem, SC-style. He wants to raise teacher salaries and revamp DSS.

And fight partisanship. So, good for him there. (Of course, if you’re a Democrat, you have extra motivation to want the General Assembly to be less partisan, so that maybe the majority will listen to you occasionally — not something that happens a lot in the House.)

Anyway, nothing dramatic here. I just thought I’d point those things out, for anyone unfamiliar with South Carolina Democrats and how they differ from the national variety.


25 thoughts on “Tombo Hite shows how you run as a Democrat in SC

  1. Brad Warthen Post author


    The image that YouTube “randomly” chooses to display on the embed above is the one most “liberal” second on the two-minute video — when “Raise Teacher Pay” briefly flashes on the screen.

    Tombo might want to go in and change that on the settings for this clip…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Re the name… when I first saw it in an email, without seeing him, I thought it was some African or faux-African name. Or from some other non-Anglophone culture.

      Interesting thing about the way HE says it: When he introduces himself on the clip, it sounds like he’s saying his name is “Tom Bohite.” I’ve heard it about three times now, and every time, it sounds like he’s separating Tom from bo, and attaching bo to Hite.

      Or maybe it’s my brain doing that, because it wants to insist he’s just “Tom.”

      I suspect this is a case like “John-Boy” Walton. His dad is Tom, so he’s Tom-bo…

      1. scout

        It’s because of the way he is putting the stress that our ears want to attach the Bo to Hite. It would be interesting to hear how he says just “Tombo” without the Hite. He is giving the Bo equal or greater stress than Tom. The most typical english stress pattern is the first syllable is stronger and the second weaker, so with him making the Bo stronger even than Hite, our brains want to make it be a first syllable. I think.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          I think you are both right!

          but Tombo sounds like a great dog name! Maybe not so much for a grown man….

  2. Rose

    What is with this trend of calling politicians or agency heads “rock stars?”
    Rock stars are notoriously arrogant, narcissistic, indulgent, irresponsible, destructive……OH OKAY, I GET IT. Makes sense now…..

  3. Peggy

    A bit OT:

    There’s lots of hybrid cars where I live (even electric cars. Heck, I own a Prius, gets 50+ MPG. How much gas tax are hybird/electric car owners paying? With more people buying these cars, we’re going to have to find somewhere else to get the tax revenue needed.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      You mean, like, raise taxes on people based on how much they make or own? Heresy!

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Prius driver here, btws, who would surely pay more taxes in a sensible, equitable tax regime, where homeowners pay their fair share, and people with higher incomes do, too.

        1. Doug Ross

          Isn’t that what we already have? Higher incomes = higher tax rates. Bigger homes = more property taxes above the exemptions. More disposable income = more sales taxes. Those who are well off are already carrying the lion’s share of the tax burden.

          The theory of “because you can” should not be the driving force behind taxation.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            Above the exemptions…..there’s the rub! Why should homeowners, who are as a group vastly wealthier than renters, pay only 4% assessment ratio, almost halved after the tax “reform”, while rental properties are assessed at 6% with no reduction after tax reform?
            And most people who make more money have disposable income to put into tax reducing investments, while most working poor can barely afford to live? And the standard deduction/low tax bracket is far too low!

  4. Doug Ross

    The “raise teacher pay to the national average” is always funny to me. What happens then? The average goes up so other politicians in other states say “we need to raise OUR teacher pay to the national average”.

    Newflash: The cost of living in South Carolina is a lot lower than in California, New York, etc. That’s part of the reason the average is higher.

    I’m for raising teacher pay for the best teachers and eliminating pay based on years of service. The best teachers, regardless of years of service, should be paid the most. Rate and rank the teachers in each district and pay them accordingly. Reward excellence, not age. Some of the best teachers my kids had were in there first 2-5 years.. while most of the worst were within a couple years of retirement.

    1. bud

      Agree i n principal but defining “best teachers” is the tough part. As they say the devil is in the details.

  5. bud

    I don’t get why raising the gas tax is so unpopular. It’s based on gallons not dollars so the inflation adjusted tax is much smaller than it was when last increased. Just increasing it a bit would still leave it low by historical standards and would go a long way toward fixing the horrendous roads. And it’s completely avoidable. Just don’t drive.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Well, I am all for raising the gas tax, but it does tend to be regressive, since poor working people, especially those in rural areas, cannot generally afford Priuses, and drive old clunky gas guzzlers. Rural residents and many urban residents can’t rely on public transit to get them to work, either.

  6. bud

    Kathryn, good points about the gas tax that I thought of. Perhaps a small increase along with a luxury car tax on vehicles selling for more than $20k.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        How about full sales tax on ALL cars. The full value, not a ridiculously low cap!

    1. scout

      How about a tax based on the mileage you put on your car – you know, how much you actually use the roads and cause them wear and tear. I suppose there would be all kinds of logistical problems there – would it be self report? What if you put the miles on out of state? What if you drive mostly on privately maintained roads? I suppose no system is perfect.

      1. Doug Ross

        Eliminate car property tax, raise gas tax, remove cap on sales tax for autos. This is the easiest way to collect taxes. Having to track car values and collect property taxes on individual cars is an inefficient process. Don’t do anything regarding hybrids or electric cars until they become much more pervasive.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        A tax in mileage you put on your car creates more problems than it solves. If the roads need to be fixed – do it. There’s no reason why the funding has to be tied to cars or gas. Everyone benefits from roads.

        Taxes need to be flattened and simplified. Notice I didn’t necessarily said lowered.

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