Some Tweets, observations from the 2015 SC GOP convention

Jeb Bush

I always feel a bit ill-at-ease at political party gatherings. While there are always plenty of people I enjoy seeing and chatting with, the thing that they all have in common, that party thing, always makes me feel like a stranger in a strange land.

I spared myself the state Democratic convention a couple of weeks back. But when Jeff Mobley asked me via email yesterday whether I’d be attending the Republican one today, I decided that since there would be several actual, viable presidential candidates at this one, I should probably drag my lazy posterior out of bed this morning and go by for awhile.

Of course, the sense of alienation started immediately. Coincidentally, I ran into Jeff just as I arrived. A woman was exhorting him to join the movement to close SC primaries. As she was extolling the joys of barring Democrats from voting, I had to butt in and say, “What about us independents? You going to deny us the right to vote, too?” Her response was predictable: She said that if that was what I was, what was I doing there? “Covering it,” I said.

In which case, of course, I should have just kept my mouth shut. But I can’t suppress my indignation when people try to disenfranchise me, whether it’s this woman, or Don Fowler trying to get people to swear they were Democrats before they could vote in that party’s presidential primary back in 2004.

Anyway, I behaved myself after that, more or less. And I got to hear an extraordinary address from our governor, who lambasted most Republicans in the Legislature — remember, if you’ve forgotten, that this is the Republican convention — for not slavishly following her agenda. She rattled off her short list of REAL Republicans, thereby condemning the rest to the outer reaches. Then, a few minutes later, she asked to be allowed to speak again — and even party Chairman Matt Moore noted that the request was unconventional — and told the gathering that she had forgotten to name Sen. Tom Davis among the Elect. Thereby driving home the point that anyone she did not name should be regarded as persona non grata by all right-thinking Republicans.

I guess she’s kind of young to remember Reagan’s 11th Commandment. Whatever the explanation, it was something. And not a good something, I would imagine, if you’re a mainstream Republican.

In between her “heart-to-heart” spiels, we heard from Lindsey Graham, who demonstrated his usual unflappability at the coolness of his reception. I particularly liked it when only a few people stood to applaud as he took the podium, and with good humor he invited the rest to stand up a stretch a bit — which some did. Then he took off, telling me as he walked out that he was on the way to New Hampshire.

I missed a pre-convention talk that Rick Santorum gave, and apparently it was interesting:

But I did hear Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Rick Perry. No bombshells there. All were respectfully received. My two youngest grandchildren are about to come hang out with me, so I’ll sign off with some of my Tweets from during the convention:

I Tweeted a couple of times during the Bush and Perry addresses, but did so from my phone (instead of iPad), and both of them failed. Oh, well…

Rick Perry

49 thoughts on “Some Tweets, observations from the 2015 SC GOP convention

  1. Sunny

    Always good to see you, Brad! Hope some of us made you feel welcome! And, for what it’s worth, I don’t believe in closing the primaries either. Despite what the closed primary advocates will tell you, I believe having closed primaries would harm, not help, the GOP. In rural counties, there are plenty of conservatives in local government who can only win if they run as Democrats. Making voters choose would keep those voters who like their local guys from voting in the GOP primary. Not good for the GOP’s numbers at all. Besides, the number of Democrats who make mischief in the primaries is always an extremely overstated number. That’s always the closed primary folks’ reason for wanting to close them and it’s a total farce.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    It’s that belligerence that Nikki Haley keeps coming back to, and that seems to really appeal to a certain segment of our citizens, that I find especially off-putting. It’s a “Forget? Hell” bumper sticker.

    1. Doug Ross

      That “certain segment” is the largest slice of the pie. And more in 2014 than in 2010.

      1. Brad Warthen

        No, but it’s an unfortunately large segment of the politically active. Sadly, too many people on the right (and the left) seem to be motivated to involvement by being ticked off about something…

        Which is why so many OTHER people are turned off by politics…

          1. Brad Warthen

            No. Not the same set. There’s a HUGE overlap between the two groups — all those people who will vote for the person with the R no matter what. But there are lots who voted for Nikki who would not vote for Lindsey, and vice versa.

            1. Doug Ross

              I would expect that 90% or more of those who voted for Graham also voted for Haley. Haley got more votes than Graham. She and Tim Scott both have more supporters in the state than Graham.

              I know it doesn’t fit the narrative of “Nikki bad, Lindsey good” but the same people are voting for both candidates. The Senator and Governor we have are the ones the majority of citizens want.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    I think it’s been a long time since many on the left were anywhere near as belligerent as Nikki Haley and the Tea Party. Fed up, ticked off—-fine, but belligerent?

    1. M.Prince


      Relatedly, I recall a column a couple of years ago in which Cindi Ross-Scoppe, arguing along lines similar to what Mr. Warthen wrote above, referred to the problems caused by what she termed the ”far right and the far left in South Carolina.“ I had to stop and run that through my mind: “the far left… in South Carolina.” The far… left in … South Carolina. Just couldn’t get my head wrapped around that. Where IS the far left in South Carolina? Identify it. Or, for that matter, the far left across the South in general. I’m hard pressed to find it – a real one, that is, not the imaginary bugaboos in the minds of the right-wing, for whom anybody to the left of themselves is a raving radical.

      To me, this sort of thing is just another example of the bad habit of some journalists, who draw false equivalencies where none actually exist.

      1. Brad Warthen

        Cindi should have worded that better, unless she was thinking of Brett Bursey or Walid Hakim.

        But my liberal friends delude themselves if they think all the anger is on the other side. From to the culture warriors who call those who disagree with them “haters,” there’s plenty of anger on the left.

        It’s in no way a “false equivalency” to see clearly the way both sides demonize each other…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Oh… And I don’t think anyone has said the anger on one side EQUALS the anger on the other side. I wouldn’t know how to measure to check that. But there’s too much of it on both sides.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            Why is it wrong to be angry that black boys are far more likely to be incarcerated/shot than white ones? Why is it wrong to be angry that CEOS keep making more and more, despite lousy performance, while ordinary workers are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet while productivity rises? I could go on.

            1. M.Prince

              Nothing at all – except to those who affect the pose of neutral dispassion, who pretend to stand above it all so they can chide the rest of us for alleged bias and unreasonableness.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              So you’re agreeing with me that there’s anger on the left. Good.

              Note that I wasn’t passing judgment on the MOTIVES for anger on either side. What I was saying is it’s there, and it’s evident in so much of both sides’ rhetoric, and it turns a lot of non-angry people off to politics. And THAT is what I’m saying is bad…

            3. Doug Ross

              “Why is it wrong to be angry that CEOS keep making more and more, despite lousy performance, ”

              Because those CEO’s aren’t stealing the money, it is awarded to them by their board members who represent the shareholders of the corporation. Nobody holds a gun to anyone’s head to purchase stock. If you don’t like what a company is doing, don’t invest in nor in any mutual fund that holds it. If you work for a state government, encourage your retirement board to divest of those companies. There don’t need to be any laws to cap salaries. Just as there shouldn’t be any rules to set a minimum. I go to fast food restaurants all the time where the people don’t deserve to be making $8 an hour, never mind the ludicrous $15 some push for.

            4. Kathryn Fenner

              I never disagreed that there was anger on the left–just not the level of belligerent vitriol we see on the right today.

    2. bud

      I agree Kathryn. The GOP has become so much more intolerant of the Democratic party (than visa versa) that they even stridently advocate for the repeal of ideas that they once invented just because a Democrat has embraced them. The ACA is the prime example. All Republicans want is power to push their their true agenda which is more and more wealth for fewer and fewer people. It’s plutocracy at it’s worst.

      Unfortunately most of the main stream media buys into this narrative that both parties are equally guilty of shameless partisan behavior. Brad’s a smart guy but sadly he’s bought into this false narrative. His constant harping on the equal partisanship narrative is akin to the proverbial fingernails on the chalkboard.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Nikki Haley doesn’t see the world through a political, let alone “Republican”, lens; she simply views her destiny in the mirror of narcissism.

    Brad, I know you didn’t intend the photo of Graham to be slyly funny, but it’s hilarious. What a way to spend a Saturday! I think the Marlboro delegation had the right idea.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Yeah, she so often seems to be outing and stamping her feet because she didn’t get her way.

      1. Doug Ross

        She was elected by the majority of citizens… more than any legislator by an order of magnitude. She has the right to present her opinion as representing those who elected her in whatever terms she wants.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          I never said she didn’t have the right. I said I dislike it when she does it.

          1. Doug Ross

            And the people have spoken that the majority DO like her way of doing politics.

            1. Brad Warthen

              No, they haven’t. A majority in SC voted Republican, as they always do. Vincent Sheheen failed to persuade them to do otherwise. That’s all we know. Assuming that’s some sort of thumping endorsement of the Haley style is a rather huge stretch…

            2. Doug Ross

              She was the sitting Governor. She went through an easy primary where Republicans could have replaced her if they felt she wasn’t the right person for the job. She got more votes the second time around than the first over the same guy who spent four years trying to tear her down. It’s no stretch at all to say that South Carolinians prefer Nikki Haley over anyone else… they rejected the poster boy for “Can’t We All Get Along?”

            3. Kathryn Fenner

              So what if a majority of voters in SC voted Republican? That doesn’t make it okay.

            4. Brad Warthen Post author

              Basically, what can be said is that she didn’t blow the advantage the Republicans usually have — something she almost did four years earlier.

              And Vincent utterly failed to rise to the challenge of overcoming that advantage, which is hardly surprising. He ran a terrible campaign.

              Without the Republican blowing it, or the Democrat just really hitting all the right buttons, that’s what happens. In 1998, the last time a Democrat won, both sort of happened: The Republican had alienated a good portion of his base, and the Democrat ran on the (unfortunately) popular idea of a lottery.

  5. swampbubbles

    Re: “Her response was predictable: She said that if that was what I was, what was I doing there?”

    The next thing you know, ‘the party’ will make you wear special clothing.

    What’s next, a patch?

  6. Phillip

    Man, that Republican Creed is pretty wacky stuff! (They seem awfully fixated on not cowering, standing erect, and being unafraid. Interesting fodder for psychoanalysis there). Actually, the way my life is, I have to say that “calm utopia” sounds pretty darned appealing, impossible as I know it is to achieve.

    1. Brad Warthen

      Yeah, it’s kinda creepy. Some definite fascist overtones there — all that chest-thumping by a voice that worships itself, and what it perceives as its own strength and superiority.

      You kind of want to throw a cold bucket of water on this creed, and calm it down…

      1. Doug Ross

        So then the Democrat creed would be the opposite, right?

        “I choose to be a common man. It is not my right to be uncommon.

        If seek security, not opportunity, I do not want to take the calculated risk to dream or build, nor to fail and to succeed of my own doing. I will strive to barter incentive for dole.

        I prefer the safety of guaranteed security over the challenges of life, the stale calm of utopia.

        I will trade freedom for beneficence, and my dignity for a handout.

        I will cower before all masters, but do not believe in the power of any God.

        It is my heritage to slouch, ashamed and afraid. To think and act for everyone else, enjoy the benefit of others’ creations; to face the whole world boldly and say, “I am a self-hating American.”

    2. Mark Stewart

      It seems this is not the Republican Party Creed (there isn’t one), but rather it is the SC GOP’s creed. So that explains the weird collision of Ron Paul with the Southern Baptists. It’s like those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials…

  7. Mark Stewart

    Is that a Baptist thing to say things like “cower before my God”?

    Whoever thought God would want people to be afraid of God? It’s so nonsensical as a religious ideal – and then somehow it gets transferred into the political sphere where it makes even less sense. I just don’t get it. Clearly.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      There are two strains of fundamentalism: “cower before thy God” and “Jesus is my boyfriend”– hellfire and damnation vs. “close personal relationship.” I think both are prevalent here.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Thanks, I think I showed my Episcopalian outlook. Personally, I don’t relate to either of those Fundamentalist strains; which surprises no one I’m sure.

        But how did this become part of a major political party’s creed? I know, the ones who really, really care push and push until everyone else just goes WTF?! just give it to them and lets move off this nonsense. And then it sticks forever without another thought.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, those of us who see ourselves as part of the catholic and apostolic church tend to express ourselves somewhat differently.

          Or as we say at the Mass I usually participate in, “la Iglesia que es Una, Santa, Católica y Apostólica”…

        2. Kathryn Fenner

          I believe the Religious Right delivers a lot of votes. The regular conservatives are happy to pander to it for them, but the Religious Right is kind of the camel in the “big” tent.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            What you just described was true in the early ’90s. Religious conservatives are still a significant portion of the GOP coalition, but the economic libertarians replaced them as the “IT” faction several years back. And not the Mark Sanford, Club for Growth economic libertarians so much as Nikki’s snake flag set…

        3. Kathryn Fenner

          Well, Mark, one does remember from the BCP, “We are to fear and love the Lord….”
          “And His mercy is on them that fear Him….”

  8. bud

    Because those CEO’s aren’t stealing the money, it is awarded to them by their board members who represent the shareholders of the corporation.

    I had a hard time laughing when I read that whopper. Really Doug, the corporate elite haven’t done anything to be awarded the largesse they rake in. It’s nothing more than an elitist clique that ensures only a select few get into the club. They pal around together and have little incentive to actually do much other than sign their names on a few documents. All the heavy lifting is done by people who actually earn about 1/300 what the CEO makes, regardless of the companies performance.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Loads of studies have shown zero or negative correlation between CEO salary and shareholder wealth. It is economically irrational. For the CEO class, sure, it’s swell, and for those who think they might win that jackpot. It sucks for our country, though.

    2. Doug Ross

      All the “heavy lifting” is done by people who couldn’t come up with a business on their own and depend on smart, driven people who understand business. The “heavy lifters” don’t have other options for a reason. You think the folks at Microsoft, Oracle, Google, etc. hate the ultra rich guys who created the companies that supply them with high salaries, great health benefits, stock plans, matching 401K’s?? Guess what -many of the ones who DID hate their bosses went off and built their own companies and became rich. That’s the way it works.

      The people who complain the most are usually those with the fewest options due to their own limitations. It’s called jealousy.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        99%+ of CEOS did not start any business. They came up through the ranks of big corporations. They are Harry Cranes who won, not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

    3. Doug Ross

      And, bud, why is it up to YOU to decide how much is too much? I’m still waiting to hear when you’ve started that Subway shop you claimed was a license to print money because it’s so easy to do.

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