Arrrggghhh! Sheheen ad appropriates one of Haley’s most clueless tropes

Doug Ross brought this to my attention with the words, “You’re not going to like this… Sheheen using Haley-speak to bash Haley.”

Boy, was he right.

As I said just yesterday in a comment on the importance of civics education:

… I’d like our electorate to be sophisticated enough that no one who says “I want to run government like a business” (which shows a lack of understanding of both government and business) would ever get elected. I’d want every voter to understand the basic, profound ways in which government and business are different and SUPPOSED to be different….

The link was to a previous post that referred to how, even back in the days when we used to endorse her for the House, it drove me nuts to hear Nikki Haley repeat that phrase.

So imagine my dismay to see this ad, in which a Sheheen surrogate says, without a trace of irony or suggestion that he is mocking the opposition:

I think government should run like a business and be accountable.

The addition of “and be accountable” is intriguing, and interesting twist. Because one of the chief differences between a business and government is that government is expected to be accountable in ways that a private business most assuredly is not.

So one is tempted to hear that as, “I think government should be run like a business, but still held accountable, like a government.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t mean it that way.

The speaker cites an incident in which the head of a corporation — Target — stepped down when hackers breached credit-card customers’ information.

Well, that’s not a case of someone in business being HELD accountable by anyone other than himself. In government, it’s different. This election is about whether the present governor will be held accountable by the voters. Government has that mechanism, and business does not. Customers of Target do not get to vote the CEO out of office. See the difference?

The fact that voters don’t always vote wayward politicians out of office is one of the messy facts of democracy that makes business owners — who run their own businesses the way they see fit, and see that as the natural way to run anything (when it most decidedly is not the way to run a government in a republic) — think government should run more like a business.

When it shouldn’t.

10 thoughts on “Arrrggghhh! Sheheen ad appropriates one of Haley’s most clueless tropes

  1. Doug Ross

    “Customers of Target do not get to vote the CEO out of office.”

    But shareholders theoretically do get to vote… and they are driven by results and performance which reflects customer sentiment.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Theoretically indeed. So many shareholder disenfranchisement schemes were put into place in the latter part of the twentieth century, that that is a joke..
      But, if enough customers “vote” against Target, by not shopping there, maybe it goes out of business, or as in the case of JC Penney, a new leader is chosen….or it could become KMart. I notice that in addition to the layaway KMart reinstituted last year, now the one by the airport trumpets furniture and TV rentals, with no credit checks. What’s next, Blue Light Payday Loans?

      1. Doug Ross

        Businesses are more responsive to accountability issues than government. If Haley screwed up badly enough in 2011, voters would have to wait three years to respond.

        Compare that to the issues going on in the NFL now with domestic violence. Within days, there was the sentiment that Commissioner Goodell should resign or be fired was very strong. He may not survive this.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Businesses are responsive if they CHOOSE to be. It’s up to them.

          There is no private business executive who lives in fear of public opinion the way politicians and public officials do. They live and breathe it. In fact most of the stupid, irrational and craven things that politicians do, things that make you prefer the private sector, arise from that acute sensitivity to what the public thinks of what they do…

          1. Doug Ross

            “There is no private business executive who lives in fear of public opinion the way politicians and public officials do. ”

            I strongly disagree. Most large corporations employ teams of people to monitor, control, and respond to public opinion. They have to respond quickly and cannot wait a year or two to allow the dust to settle.

            Wasn’t there an executive at Apple who lost his job because of the public feedback on the map application on the iPhone?

            Do you think Bobby Harrell cares what people think?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              He does now. And the reason he’s being held accountable is because of the standards a public official has to meet, and which he failed to meet.

              When a public official spends money on a private plane — or lavishly redecorates his office, or otherwise spends money on things related to his job — he has to report on it, and those reports are public information.

              That’s why Bobby Harrell is no longer speaker of the House, and is in deep trouble…

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Usually, the only time private business leaders get in trouble over their spending on themselves and their perks is when they step into the public arena, and get caught in the glare of sunlight in which government has its being.

              I’m thinking here, for instance, of auto executives who go begging to Congress for bailouts, and arrive in Washington in their private planes. It never occurred to them that they’d get in trouble for that because that’s how they always travel, and they didn’t get in trouble on any of their other trips. But when you step off the plane into the public sphere, you can be stunned by the sudden glare…

              They never knew what hit ’em, because in THEIR world, that kind of accountability just doesn’t exist.

  2. Harry Harris

    Wasting money on cringe-worthy attack ads is the main reason I haven’t donated a dime to Sheheen’s campaign this time. My wife, who may have voted for maybe 2 Republicans in 45 years, changes the channel when they come on. Political consultants and stealth-funded third party ads are the two things that bother me most about today’s campaigning. Sheheen, who I strongly support, is starting to make me yawn.

    1. Barry

      Sheheen’s campaign is AWFUL. I’d like to vote for him.

      I’ve said that – Doug has said that. It’s TERRIBLE. The folks running his campaign or taking their money and laughing- and running an awful campaign.

      That Sheheen doesn’t see that fact is the scary part of his campaign.

  3. Mr Thomas Perdiue

    If we continue to depend on Nikki Haley, Catherine Templeton, and the SC general assembly we are likely to find ourselves voting only in districts dug into underground bunkers with ham radio reception that only get Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson.


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