We were treated to “steak-and-steak” in The State today. That’s what former Associate Editor Nina Brook called an editorial page that had a lede editorial on one subject, and a column on the same (or related subject). As opposed to, say, steak and potatoes. (Nina meant it disparagingly. Me, I like a lot of protein.)
And while I thought the editorial endorsement of Vincent Sheheen was fine, and made its case well (no open-minded person could come away from it thinking we shouldn’t make a change), I was more pleased with Cindi Scoppe’s column.
That’s because it made a point that I made here several months ago — that Sheheen is a remarkably successful and influential leader in our State House.
This year alone, he has been the driving force behind a shift of power from the constitutionally perverse Budget and Control Board to a Department of Administration under the governor (his baby from the get-go), a huge expansion of 4k education, without any new taxes; and a ban on texting while driving.
As Cindi concluded:
There are more legislators than I can count — and then-Rep. Nikki Haley was among them — who don’t get a single significant bill passed in their entire legislative career. To pass three in a single year, all of which will help our state … well, that’s practically unheard of, even for the Legislature’s most powerful Republican leaders.
Indeed. This campaign is about flash over substance, and there’s little doubt, to a careful observer, about which side has the substance.
Here’s the difference between you and Cindi and the rest of the world – what you two consider remarkable and significant doesn’t even register with the general public. The three bills mentioned have little to no impact on the majority of South Carolinians. Reshuffling the Budget and Control won’t mean a thing, 4K school has shown little evidence of impacting the educational outcomes of most students, and banning texting while driving is a feel-good bill that in unenforceable and will have negligible impact on driver safety.
It’s sad when we are supposed to applaud those three trivial bills as something more than day-to-day bureaucracy.
Take down the flag. Reform the tax code. Implement term limits. Any one of those three would be far more impressive. I would have even settled for him making a strong statement condemning Bobby Harrell.
You’re kidding, right? The only one of the things you mention that is a policy initiative in the same league as 4k, or doing away with the B&CB, is tax reform. And as Cindi points out, Vincent has done far more on that front than Nikki has…
4K is trivial. The nice thing about it for Sheheen is that by the time any reasonable data can be collected on its effectiveness, it will be ancient history.
Please tell us what actual visible benefits will come from the B&C B decision. Where will we see the improvement? Will it make South Carolina better?
I challenge The State to poll readers to ask them how much impact they feel any of those three decisions will have on the day to day life of South Carolinians. The overwhelming response will be “Not Much” or “Not At All”.
If Sheheen wants to be a bureaucrat, he’s already got the job. If he wants to be a leader, he has to demonstrate leadership capabilities. He apparently is more comfortable in the back rooms of the State House than he is out front.
What purpose on this Earth would it serve to poll readers? Cindi and Warren have an excellent grasp on what is important.
And Doug, a “bureaucrat” is a public employee who has an apolitical job in a government agency. A state senator is something wildly different.
Finally, ” demonstrate leadership capabilities?” Did you not read a word that Cindi or I wrote? We explained how Sheheen has not only demonstrated more leadership than we’ve seen in the past decade in the State House, but he’s been successful doing so.
If you want to argue that he can continue to be highly effective in the Senate, so we don’t need him to be governor, that’s an argument that would at least fit the available facts. But if you try to claim that he has NOT been an effective leader in the Senate, then all the available evidence is against you.
We have different definitions of leadership. And different measuring sticks for assessing performance. You measure performance on bills passed. I measure performance on the results of those bills. You value compromise as a leadership quality. I don’t.
Let’s see him lead on taking the flag down. That will be the true test. A tough challenge with an actual visible result.
I voted for Sheheen last time- but this campaign- as I have said over and over- has been AWFUL. (Awful really isn’t a strong enough word for it).
I watched the debate last week. I’ll sum up Vincent’s entire debate: “My plan is on my website, take a look”
“Evil Nikki Haley is responsible for Ebola, the plague, cheap clothes, bad ties, and turkey burgers”
I love turkey burgers. I think they have more and better flavor than beef burgers. Of course, I like those, too…
I do too- but your average South Carolina resident – not so much
and that’s the point.
But you want to get just regular ground turkey. The low-fat version lacks flavor…
How many voters who either would not have voted or would have voted for Haley will vote for Sheheen based on this endorsement? The over/under is set at 10.
When you think about it, the endorsement is much like Sheheen’s campaign. Dull, anti-Haley, and wonky.
And Doug, as you’re disparaging Vincent, let me try again to draw the relevant comparison by quoting this passage from Cindi’s column:
Again, you are using a different measuring stick than I use. Bills don’t matter. Results matter. I think Haley has done better than anyone expected her to do. She is in a position of limited authority so it requires someone with energy and passion. She’s got both of those qualities. Haley is a CEO, Sheheen is a middle manager. Sheheen would be Jim Hodges without the lottery. Yawn….
I’ll give you an example of how we different – you were a strong champion of Inez Tenenbaum when she served at Education Superintendent… and that praise was based often on implementing PACT tests.. not about the actual improvement of education in South Carolina. The PACT tests didn’t make a hill of beans in the quality of education in this state.. but you valued the process over the results.
You and Cindi want to praise Sheheen for his working through the process of passing legislation. I want to see the tangible results before I assign value to the effort.
Oh, and Doug, it is flat-out untrue that I valued the process over the results.
What I said about Inez in that context was that I appreciated that even though she did not favor PACT, and her base hated it, she was a good soldier and did a capable job administering it. Which is what the job is — administration. The state superintendent does not set overall education policy or goals; the Legislature does. Which is why the position should be appointive, not elective.
What Sheheen did this year for education alone is more than an education superintendent could achieve in a lifetime.
I guess I imagined all the glowing press releases that came out of the Department of Education every year claiming success on cherry picked components of the PACT testing — right up until the point where the numbers couldn’t be culled any more and the test was replaced.
She wasn’t just an administrator.
Haley is a CEO!!!??? Really? Show me the company that has hired her in ANY kind of senior administrative capacity. Show me any company she’s WORKED for in any capacity, other than her parents’ clothing store and a hospital that wanted to reward her for supporting its political agenda…
Wanna bet she ends up on a number of corporate boards after 2018? She’ll be at the top of any number of organizations for the rest of her career if she leaves politics.
You just can’t bring yourself to accept that she has qualities that make her a natural leader. Communication, passion, strong opinions despite opposition.
Good Lord, Doug, I’ve written over and over, at some length, about her superior communication skills. They are what got her where she is.
And I’ve also said that such skills are important. It’s not just about substance. A leader has to be able to get his or her points across in a way that is palatable to people, and Nikki is way better at that than Vincent.
Her problem is that on the substance of what she wants to do, where it differs from what Vincent wants to do (and they are very often in sync, but this is about the differences), he is generally right and she is generally wrong. He simply has better ideas than she does, and understands the issues better.
But she’s winning in large part because she DOES have those superior self-presentation skills. I’ve said that over and over. She connects far better with a group of people than he does…
Sheheen is also a guy that is going to lose next week – 2 times and you are out.
Last week at a rally sponsored by Mayor Wukela of Florence, Sheheen commited a major gaffe when he said, and it was recorded, “show whore out the door” when referring to Haley. Then he immediately repeated the same line but this time said, “show her out the door”. Naturally his campaign said he didn’t say it and but it was an edit by his opponents. H did say it, loud and clear.
The Sheheen speaking at the rally was not the Sheheen on the political ads that air on television. He was animated, engaged, and actually acted like a candidate with some passion about the campaign. If the Sheheen at the rally would have been the same Sheheen on the campaign trail and in his ads, he might have had a real chance of defeating Haley.
I agree with Doug on some observations about the two. Haley does come across as more likeable and competent and with an air of leadership about her. Unfortunately, Sheheen does not.
He is great in his role in Columbia and does some good things but translating them into votes on the campaign trail is sufficient numbers to win is not his strong point.
When will you have an edit feature added?
“Naturally his campaign said he didn’t say it and it was an edit by his opponents. He did say it, loud and clear.”
I don’t know, maybe a guy who makes an honest pronumciation mistake but then instead of moving on decides to yuck it up with the crowd for like 20 seconds, smiling, laughing along with them because ha ha he just accidentally called the Governor who is also a wife and mother a “whore” isn’t cut out to be Governor. Oh wait he was going to lose anyway. So he can go back to being with James Smith and Joel Lourie as “rising stars” in the SCDP who never really rise higher than their legislative districts.
I read his reaction as of a piece with his awkwardness in public settings. No one would accuse Vincent of being slick. He is not the Great Communicator.
This thing kind of reminds me of the incident in which many criticized McCain for not adamantly repudiating the woman who said, about Hillary Clinton, “How do we beat the bitch?”
Of course, McCain wasn’t the one who said it. But then, I think Vincent was just as innocent in his way, because as you say, he didn’t MEAN to say it.
The similarity between the two is that they both went through that awkward moment in which there was laughter and they tried to play along with the joke — in Sheheen’s case, a joke on himself for screwing up so…
In both cases it was the response that was the problem. A phone call to the other candidate with an apology would have limited the damage.
A phone call to Haley would have been the right thing to do – and smart. Heck, it might- get this – win him some support.
But bad campaign staffs don’t have much common sense.
How many politicians are willing to call the other and just offer a heartfelt apology? Very few.
Ervin drops out a week before the election and endorses Sheheen. Gee, I guess their plan to siphon off votes from Haley to help Sheheen win didn’t work. An expensive ploy that failed miserably… and for him to quit now is a true sign of his character. He’s a quitter.
Ervin dropping out is not a surprise and frankly, his endorsement of Sheheen is not a surprise either. My question has to do with simple economics. Why would anyone remain in a political race in South Carolina as an independent, spend $3.5 million of his own money to run against the incumbent and at the last minute, drop out and endorse his other opponent? He knew from the beginning he didn’t have as the old saying goes, “a snowball’s chance in hell” of winning or even siphoning off enough votes from Haley to swing the election to Sheheen.
If he now endorses Sheheen, why not do it from the beginning, spend the $3.5 to help Sheheen and go on the campaign trail to help him?
When Ervin’s ads were aired, I watched with interest and hoped for something concrete but all he delivered were the same old homilies about how he would “change” the way things are and how bad Haley is.
Once again, Sheheen’s remark calling Haley a “whore” was not a slip of the tongue, the man may not be a great campaigner but the one thing about Sheheen is that he does not have gaffes like this one when making a speech.