Eleanor Kitzman out; the Senate played its proper role

We seldom find startling state political news in the paper on a Monday, because things don’t work that way in South Carolina. (Actually, not all that much happens on Sundays in Washington, either, although the Sunday talking-head shows sometimes create an illusion of activity.)

So it was a pleasant surprise to see this on the front page of The State today:

Eleanor Kitzman withdraws her name as DHEC agency head candidate

sfretwell@thestate.comFebruary 22, 2015 Updated 14 hours ago

The search for a new S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control director will be reopened now that Eleanor Kitzman has chosen not to seek the position.

Kitzman withdrew her name Sunday from consideration as DHEC director, just three days after being grilled by Democratic state senators about her lack of experience and conflicting statements they said she had made….

Actually, in a sense, the search won’t be “reopened.” It will begin for the first time, since the DHEC board conducted no search — it simply went with the governor’s pal without seeking other resumes.

It will be interesting to see whether the board does its job this time. And of course, I’m defining “do its job” as something other than saying “how high?” when the governor says “Jump!”

Oh, and I’m also anxious to find out the answer to this lingering question:

It was not clear Sunday night whether Kitzman would keep a temporary $74-per-hour job given to her by the agency’s acting director until the confirmation process was completed…

There were a number of weird things about this situation, and that was one of the weirdest. Or “is” one of the weirdest, if she doesn’t quit that job…

23 thoughts on “Eleanor Kitzman out; the Senate played its proper role

  1. Mike F.

    When you want to bury an embarrassing political retreat, Oscar Sunday is a good day in which to do it.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I had a whole skit half-written in my mind, in which God calls Eleanor into his house and sits her down and explains how this thing has gone too far and there’s no way it’s ending well, and so forth. But I decided it was blasphemous…

  2. Juan Caruso

    Kitzman, who clerked for the Texas Supreme Court before beginning her legal career with the Austin office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, may be out in SC, but she will be back in high places.

    Now what lawyer (the only profession deemed qualified (by Democratich types) for any executive, legislative and judicial post will taje her place at DSS?

    The allegedy Republichan SC Senate would, no doubt, prefer to okay Inez Tenenbaum!

    1. Mark Stewart

      Inez Tenenbaum would make a great leader for DSS and good political cover for Haley; and beats Kitzman’s lose-lose proposition.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Eleanor Kitzman was quite qualified to run Insurance, since she made her fortune founding an insurance company, but her creds as a health and environmentalist appear to be “pal o’ Nikki”….
      I like Inez, but how is she much better? I want a scientist to lead DHEC

      1. Mark Stewart

        Haley’s call trumps your’s, I think – and she doesn’t want anyone impeding her donor flow with junk like “science”.

          1. Lynn Teague

            The idea of “believing” in science always brings to mind Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s classic comment, that the thing about science is that it is true whether you believe in it or not. A lot of folks have trouble grasping that. The notion that the high cost of slowing anthropogenic climate change can be considered a counter-argument to the existence of climate change is a case in point. It doesn’t matter that it would cost a lot. The feedback mechanisms in the physical processes underlying change aren’t concerned with anyone’s pocketbook.

            And that, in turn, brings to mind the old “W” staff member’s condescending comment about members of the “reality based community.” There is still a lot more magical thinking going on out there than we would like to admit.

            1. Barry

              “And like God, it should inspire humility, not hubris. We should be humbly aware of how little we know of how the world works”

              That’s not Neil degrasse Tyson. Humble and Tyson don’t mix.

            2. Doug Ross

              “That’s not Neil degrasse Tyson. Humble and Tyson don’t mix.”

              Nor does God and Tyson.

              Paraphrasing an old joke – the difference between Neil DeGrasse Tyson and God is that God doesn’t think he’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

          2. Juan Caruso

            KF, certainly you must not refer, for example, to “voters of SC who also don’t “believe” in” “science” like this:

            IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer admitted in November 2010, “…one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…”

            1. M.Prince

              More bum fodder from the flat-earth blogosphere, Mr. Caruso. All Mr. Edenofer, a respected German economist specializing in the economic aspects of climate policy, was saying was that climate policy and development policy merge in a sense where emissions rights are involved, because of the historic link between link between economic growth and emissions. No cabal at work here to bring down the industrialized world. Just facts.

            2. Juan Caruso

              M. Prince, everytime a progressive (socialist, etc) paraphrases another’s quotation, whether in apology or clarification, the result seems to become a lengthy explanation rather than what was simply said. I say this because of fair confidence that you are neither a personal acquaintance of the good doctor nor otherwise a reliable mindreader of his thoughts. Good try!

              Dr. Edenhofer is not only an economist versed in proposed climate change policy, he is a summa cum laude graduate, humanitarian and erstwhile Jesuit. I tend to believe in both his ability to accurately express himself on the truth of his claim regarding “the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…”

              For those preferring only the word of distinguished climate scientists, however, here is but a small sample of anthropological climate change deniers:

              Sallie Baliunas, astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
              William M. Gray, professor emeritus and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
              William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Princeton University
              Wibjörn Karlén, professor emeritus of geography and geology at the University of Stockholm.
              Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and professor of geology at Carleton University in Canada.
              Nicola Scafetta, research scientist in the physics department at Duke University
              Tom Segalstad, geologist; associate professor at University of Oslo
              Nir Shaviv, professor of physics focusing on astrophysics and climate science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

      2. Norm Ivey

        A scientist at DHEC? How droll.

        Doing a quick check of the board members, there are several business/contractor types, a couple of medical professionals, and one with a chemistry degree.

          1. Juan Caruso

            Just as they would beat lawyers like Inez Tenenbaum, certainly! How far did Tenenbaum advance SC Education of its doldrums during her pitiful tenure? The choice then and now, unfortunately, has for too long in SC been political.

            1. Doug Ross

              “How far did Tenenbaum advance SC Education of its doldrums during her pitiful tenure”

              Short answer: Not at all. She took credit for implementing PACT testing which turned out to have zero impact on the quality of education in the state (as many of us knew when it was implemented).

  3. Brad Warthen Post author
    I got this release from Conservation Voters of SC:

    Yesterday, Eleanor Kitzman withdrew from consideration for DHEC director. Since her nomination in January, CVSC’s petition urging the Senate to insist on a complete, public selection process garnered over 1,000 signatures.

    Now, we look forward to a full search from the DHEC Board. Let’s help them. What questions should the Board ask in interviewing candidates? What is DHEC doing right? What should DHEC improve?

    We’ll compile the questions and send them to the DHEC Board on Friday, February 27. Help us continue our work in holding government accountable.
    DHEC needs a strong leader to help fulfill its mission of protecting and promoting the health of the public and the environment. We need a competent DHEC to keep tuberculosis outbreaks at bay, protect sources of our drinking water from hazardous waste, and keep our natural areas around for our children and future generations.
    Let’s keep the conversation going about how we can improve this vital agency: Share your suggestions.
  4. Leon

    I’m just glad to see that Senator Darrell Jackson got around to asking tough questions. All he did during the Lillian McBride/Richland County Election Commission mess was run interference so Lillian McBride did NOT have to answer tough questions.

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