Andy Brack’s piece on Catherine Templeton

brackAndy Brack of Statehouse Report contacted me yesterday saying he was working on a column about Catherine Templeton and wondering whether I had any comments to share. He suggested in passing he might see a parallel between her and Phil Noble (in terms of their stress on corruption in Columbia).

Within minutes, I replied:

The last thing South Carolina needs right now, with the challenges facing it, is someone with no experience in elective public life. And she is wearing that as a badge of honor. Why? Because Donald Trump, which is the worst of reasons, since the man demonstrates every day how important qualifications actually are.

Phil Noble is doing the same. Why? Because Bernie Sanders. Which is another bad reason, when you’re talking about leadership for South Carolina.

More appalling is the fact that I doubt Ms. Templeton is nearly as clueless as Trump. She seems to be an intelligent woman. She’s not a moron, but is willing to play one on TV to get elected.

Which implies that if elected, she’d be willing to govern like a moron. When she knows better.

A person who stoops to conquer makes for an unseemly spectacle. In her case, she’s stooping so low it’s hard to see how she gets back up.

Of course, I’m talking about the gun stuff, and the “my ancestors didn’t fight for slavery (except they did)” stuff. You’re talking more about the anticorruption angle, which causes you to make the comparison to Noble.

There’s an anticorruption case to be made, with the Pascoe probe continuing and the nuclear mess. But it becomes dishonest, and destructive, when the pitch becomes, “Everyone with experience is corrupt, so elect me.”

Whether you find that particular brand of populism on the left or the right, it’s harmful to public life, and undermines hope for our democracy…

Which caused Andy to do a sort of “Whoa!” and say, “well, I guess you have an opinion!”

Yup. A bunch of ’em.

Here’s Andy’s column. An excerpt:

Just as a burglar might throw drug-laced meat to a vicious guard dog to make it go to sleep, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton  is using every trick she can to lull voters that she’s right for the state’s top job.

She’s not.  She’s a political burglar.  And she’s dangerous.

Templeton doesn’t have the temperament, experience, tact or moral compass to lead South Carolina to better times.  After months of campaigning, she seems to want to lead South Carolina backwards to a time that embraced racism and the plantation….

45 thoughts on “Andy Brack’s piece on Catherine Templeton

  1. Jeff Mobley

    In the piece, Brack goes on to encourage Mia McLeod to run for governor. She’s been known to pull a publicity stunt or two, which is sort of interesting, considering that such stunts constitute one of Brack’s knocks on Templeton.

    Not that I’m particularly enamored of Templeton.

    My gubernatorial primary vote is totally up for grabs at this point. Heck, Yancey McGill might end up winning it by virtue of keeping out of the news. Or, maybe John Warren will win the Jeff Mobley primary. It’s early.

    By the way, candidate filing opened today, and plenty of folks filed immediately. You can keep up with all of the filing here.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Hmmm. I hadn’t read it all the way to the end. Now that I have, I should note that Andy wasn’t singling Mia out; he just mentioned her in a list of women he thought would be better candidates than Ms. Templeton…

      1. Claus2

        How would he talk Mia McLeod into running as a Republican? Unless he thinks she can knock off James Smith. It’s idiotic political news reporting like this that gives journalists a bad name.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          1. That’s not what he’s suggesting.

          2. This is not reporting. It’s commentary. Andy Brack’s opinion and actual reporting by reporters have absolutely nothing to do with each other. (And yet, so much of the ill feeling toward journalists today seems to arise from a failure to understand the distinction between those two things.)

      2. Jeff Mobley

        Quite right. Although he did use the words “should think about running”:

        There are plenty of accomplished, experienced women in South Carolina who should think about running for governor: State Sens. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington; Mia McLeod, D-Richland; state Reps. Mandy Powers Norrell, D-Lancaster, and Phyllis Henderson, R-Greenville; and state Superintendent Molly Spearman. Catherine Templeton doesn’t make the cut.

  2. bud

    If I vote in the GOP primary I’ll vote for the candidate most likely to get beaten. That’s the only logical way to vote if you’re indifferent to who wins the Democratic primary.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Bud is declaring himself here to be part of the problem.

      The reason you get people like Catherine Templeton arguing for closed primaries — which is a great offense to democracy — is because paranoid partisans claim their opposite numbers will deliberately vote in their primaries for the weakest candidate.

      I try to dismiss such concerns as overblown. Into the room walks Bud, saying, “Hell, yeah — I’d do that!”

      The reasons why what Bud suggests are legion. But aside from the noble reasons, such as the fact that it’s a gross misuse of your franchise, this is this problem…

      Remember how bud was saying the same thing in 2016, about how he hoped Donald Trump would be the GOP nominee because he’d be the easiest to beat?

      I said at the time that that was a foolish and irresponsible wish to have, because once a person gets a major party nomination, he’s within reach of winning the office. Even if polls show him behind, he can count on that army of lemmings who will pull the lever for the party regardless of the candidate, so he only needs one or two small things to break his way to win.

      As proof of the wisdom of my argument, I point to what actually happened…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, I guess. But it’s not like Cassandra had to go out on a limb to utter this prophecy. It’s pretty obvious.

          If someone wins either the Democratic or Republican nomination, he or she has an excellent chance of getting elected. That is, that’s true nationally, and in competitive districts and states.

          It doesn’t matter how big an idiot the nominee is (Trump being the extreme example of my point) — nomination puts him or her within reach of election.

          That’s because of the abomination of party-lever voting, which should of course be illegal…

      1. Claus2

        Bud isn’t alone, I remember voting in a Republican primary at Hand Middle School and a few people in front of me were the two biggest liberals I work with who wouldn’t vote Republican in a general election if their life depended on it.

        Solution to fix this problem, have Republican or Democrat stamped across your registration card. This way you can’t pick and choose which primaries to vote in, you either vote in your declared primary or you don’t vote at all.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Claus wins the prize for Worst Idea of the Day — party registration.

          The absolute opposite needs to happen. Voters should be allowed to vote in BOTH primaries, not one or the other. Every voter should have a say in BOTH candidates who will appear on the general election ballot — none of us should have to choose only between the two extremes nominated by the “purists” on both extremes.

          Better yet, let’s go to a unified primary — everybody votes, and the top two vote-getters go onto the general election ballot.

          And in the general election, party affiliation would not even be listed. You’d have to choose the actual candidate. And, it goes without saying, the outrageous party-lever would no longer be an option….

          1. Claus2

            What do I win?

            So what’s your idea on voter registration? Racist???

            You’re tied in with all of the high profile career politicians… why not pitch your idea to them?

          2. Mark Stewart

            I think a unified primary in a fairly politically balanced state would be great. Not sure it would be such a great idea in SC, however.

            South Carolina has a corruption problem; public sector and private. It is a cancer that needs to be addressed before anything else.

          3. Jeff Mobley

            I’m of several minds about this issue. Some thoughts:

            1) I think the actual rate of “sabotage voting” in primaries is probably pretty small.
            2) I think allowing everyone to vote in both primaries might actually increase such sabotage voting.
            3) I think parties should be allowed to select their candidates pretty much the way they want.
            4) I think things like registration by party and closed primaries just turn people away from primary voting (and, to be clear: that’s bad).
            5) The unified primary isn’t the worst thing I can imagine, but see thought #3
            6) I have never simply pulled the “straight ticket” lever, but I can’t quite summon Brad’s level of passionate revulsion for the existence of that option on the ballot.

            The result of all these (sometimes conflicting) thoughts is that I can’t get too riled up about the way we run primaries now. Having said that, I don’t like the fact that in a given election year, I might have to choose between, say, voting for someone to fill my district’s county council seat (Democrat primary), and voting to pick the South Carolina Secretary of State (Republican primary), because both races might be uncontested in the general election.

      2. bud

        Problem with your argument Brad is that most of the other Republicans were just about as bad. John Kasich being the lone exception. Would we really be better off with a President Cruz? Besides the REAL, real problem was and remains the electoral college. Worst possible way to select a POTUS.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            By which, of course, you mean he is about as Republican as anyone can get. Good comparison, since you just named three classic Republicans. People who were Republicans long, long before all the yahoos started coming in and declaring THEY were the real Republicans, which remains a ridiculous claim…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Ah, see, you’ve put your finger on it!

                One of the most insane developments in politics of the last few years is that johnny-come-latelies who want to change what it means to be a Republican like to call the REAL Republicans, those who have always been in the GOP (as were, quite likely, their fathers before them), RINOs.

                It’s probably the most ironic term in contemporary politics. It means the opposite of what it seems to mean. The ones who say it are the Republicans in name only…

                1. Claus2

                  Or in South Carolina, you could be a moderate but realize that running as a Democrat would be a waste of time, so you run as a Republican even though you lean more to the left. Kind of like those who switch parties after being elected.

                2. Claus2

                  It’s really not all that difficult of a concept to grasp.

                  I want to run for State Senate, I’m a Moderate in Lexington County. If I run as a Moderate I have no chance of getting even 5% of the vote. If I run as a Democrat I may get 5% of the vote, so what do I do if I really want to that seat? Run as a Republican, once elected I don’t have to vote as a Republican, I can vote as a Moderate… which many will view as a RINO. If voters are upset with me as a RINO, and I get tired of them complaining, there’s no law saying I can’t switch parties and now sit in the seat as a Democrat. Will I get re-elected in 6 years, not likely… but that’s 5-6 years down the road.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I think maybe it’s your terminology that throws me. If you’re a moderate, you can be a moderate Republican, or a moderate Democrat. Being a moderate doesn’t mean you’re not a sincere party member….

        1. Jeff Mobley

          Worst possible way to select a POTUS
          I bet if I tried I could think of a worse way:

          Maybe we could have a bunch of monkeys bang on typewriters until they produce the page-number equivalent of 50 New York City phonebooks.

          Then we’ll have the governor of each state randomly rip a sheet of paper from his/her State’s arbitrarily assigned, monkey-authored “phonebook”.

          Then the 50 sheets of paper can be used to build a fire upon which a goat is roasted.

          Then we’ll flip a coin to decide whether the goat’s entrails will be interpreted by the Bachelor, or by the winner of American Idol. The interpretation will determine the next president.

          See, that’s worse.

          Now, I’m picking on Bud, because I realize that when he says “Worst”, he really doesn’t mean to be taken literally (at least, I don’t think so).

          But I do think we tend to casually overuse “worst” and “best” in arguments.

          One of my favorites is: “Doing nothing would be the worst thing we could do!”.

          Um. Wrong. Someone somewhere out there could always thing of something that would be far worse than doing nothing.

          Now, this is not to say that doing nothing is a good idea. Doing nothing might be a terrible idea. But it’s almost never the worst idea.

          All right, thanks for humoring me. Carry on, everyone.

  3. Lynn Teague

    Opposing corruption is very important. However, it gets complicated when you get close to it. The simple answers sound great. Abolish PACs!!! Sounds great. But first, take a look at H.3514 at if you want to see how complicated even requiring disclosure of contributions and expenditures to PACs gets if you do it right. The next civics lesson is to get a subcommittee hearing for H.3514 in spite of the enormous resistance to ethics reform in some powerful elements of the General Assembly.

    There will always be the obvious stuff (Galapagos??? Really???) but often it is more complicated. Now and then we get someone who campaigns on actually having spent enough years in government service to have a grasp of what needs fixing, and how to do it. That is my breath of fresh air.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Amen to that, Lynn. It’s wonderfully refreshing to hear from a candidate who isn’t ashamed of the fact that he knows what he’s doing…

  4. bud

    The biggest problem we face right now is the dispicable Republican party. It’s not just Trump. Only 11% of Republicans believe Trump had sexual relations with Stormy Daniels. These people are living in La La land. And the false equivalency crowd is enabling this. The truth will set us free. But not until Brad and the others in false equivalency crowd recognize the real problem. The way to find this problem is to for these well meaning folks to look in the mirror. Until then I’ll either vote for my favorite Democrat or most likely to lose Republican.

    1. Claus2

      “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
      – Bill Clinton

      And 96% of the Democrats believed him.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I don’t think they believed Clinton, Claus. They just didn’t care. That’s what they said, over and over. The same people (in many cases) who’d had a stroke over suggestive remarks allegedly spoken by Clarence Thomas had no problem with their guy — the most powerful man in the world — having sex with an intern, the lowliest employee in the government, in the White House.

        They kept calling it “just sex.”

        Some of them are ashamed today. All of them should be….

        1. Claus2

          So the Democrats didn’t care when Clinton was having sex in the Oval office, yet Republicans who don’t care that Trump had sex a decade ago before holding any kind of office is now breaking news. I don’t care, that’s between him and his wife to work out. Same with Clinton, even though he should have hired a porn star instead of screwing around with a federal employee.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, I thought it was pretty damned outrageous when Democrats didn’t care about Clinton and I said so repeatedly. I don’t know where you were.

            And it was HUGE “breaking news,” day in and day out. He got impeached for it. Again, I don’t know where you were…

            That was 20 years ago. Today, someone else is president, and the stupid, trashy crap HE does is news. See, that’s how it works…

            1. Claus2

              You were saying this where? I doubt you had a blog back then… or that anyone even knew what a blog was at that time.

              “He got impeached for it.”

              Clinton was impeached? I believe you’re wrong on that statement.

              Clinton did it while he was in office, Trump supposedly did it a decade before he even thought about running for office. There’s a line crossed somewhere between the two.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I was editorial page editor of the largest newspaper in South Carolina. So, you know, what I wrote was pretty widely available. We were the first newspaper in the country (actually tied — I think the Orlando paper did it the same day) to call for Clinton to resign, and we kept on doing so.

                You have really spent all this time on this blog without knowing those things about me? That’s sort of baseline stuff.

                And yes, William Jefferson Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, making him the second president in our history to be thus disgraced.

                That is an even more surprising thing for you not to know….

                1. Richard

                  As a newspaperman in South Carolina, I know you’re fully aware that 99% of readers read the front page, Obituary page and the Sports section. The rest was just filler.

                  Yes he was “impeached” by the House. That just goes to show you how neutered Congress is. All it took was for the Senate to overturn the House and we’re back to business as usual. A slap on the wrist would have been a worse punishment… at least that would have stung for a few minutes.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    The Senate didn’t “overturn” the House. Clinton was impeached, period. The Senate simply failed to convict, and remove him from office. And he lacked the character needed to do what he should have done — resigned.

                    Impeachment, which has only happened to two presidents in our history, is far from a “slap on the wrist.”

                    In fact, say what you will about him, Nixon at least had the honor to spare the nation that, resigning before he could be impeached..

                  2. Brad Warthen Post author


                    You’d probably be surprised by the high readership of the editorial page.

                    I was surprised when I saw figures from an extensive readership survey of The State a decade or so ago, when it was still the best-read paper in South Carolina. Readership of editorial was much higher than I’d thought, particularly among those a newspaper (as a business) should value the most as customers — loyal, longtime 7-day subscribers.

                    I forget the numbers; all I remember was how pleased I was at how high they were…

    2. Doug Ross

      What percentage of Democrats believed Bill Clinton when he said he didn’t have sex with Monica Lewinsky? And Bill did it while he was President. Not before he was elected. Well, he did it before, during, and likely after — but that doesn’t matter… especially to Hillary.

      1. Claus2

        This is an issue with being moderated, I posted something similar 12 minutes before Doug posted this… we’ll see if Brad approves mine or tells me it’s already been said (even though I was there first). I’ve been here how long and still am subject to having my comments screened… how many others are in the same boat? If he can’t moderate on a timely basis, why bother moderating at all?

          1. Claus2

            “You’re right. I guess I could just not approve any of them.”

            Threats, either follow through or don’t make them…

            How about being fair about it, how long have I been here? I’m still not allowed to voice my opinion without having my comments scrutinized? If you don’t like what I have to say I’m sure it’s just as easy to delete my comment after it posts than it is to approve it before it’s posted. But whatever…

      2. bud

        The sun will rise in the east. Death comes to us all. A number 1 seed will never lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament (ok, maybe not that one) and a Hillary reference will ALWAYS be used to defend Donald Trump.

        1. Doug Ross

          No defense of Trump. Just making sure hypocrites see their hypocrisy. If you are going to call Republicans “dispicable (sic)” then I would hope you had the same feeling about Democrats during the time Clinton did something even worse… Hillary believed Bill. Hillary blamed the victim.

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