… she might be able to contribute to a serious discussion about important issues. Maybe.
For instance, she might have been able to say something enlightening about the Jasper port, somewhere in the 1,190 words of this release, if she’d made the slightest effort. I would have found that helpful, because I feel like I’ve been out of the loop on the topic for the last few years. In fact, I’m not sure if the drawing above, which I found on this blog, is current and accurate.
Instead, we got another full broadside of unfocused fulmination, painting a picture of a world that consists of two kinds of people: Catherine Templeton, and the rest of the human race, which is all worthless and corrupt:
CATHERINE TEMPLETON RIPS POLITICS AND CORRUPTION AT PORTS
Outlines Plan for Stopping Public Corruption in South Carolina
(COLUMBIA, S.C.) Proven conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton brought back her buzz saw on Tuesday, this time to rip the corruption and politics surrounding the building of the Jasper Ocean Terminal in the Lowcountry. In addition, Templeton outlined her plan for more broadly ending corruption in state government.
In part of her ongoing series of events addressing different issues in the 2018 campaign, Templeton outlined her plan at a news conference in Hardeeville with Mayor Harry Williams and Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka.
“When I worked for Governor Haley, I earned the reputation as a buzz saw because I cut spending, cut the size of government, and cut regulations… When I went back to the private sector, the Port of Charleston asked me to do there what I had done in government, but there was a big difference. The Port of Charleston didn’t want any change at all.” said Templeton.
Templeton said she exposed corrupt contracts between the Port of Charleston and the Columbia-based consulting firm of Richard Quinn and was fired as a result.
“I released corrupt state contracts to the public showing money flowing from the Port of Charleston to pay the Quinns – the political consultants who have been on Henry McMaster’s payroll for decades,” said Templeton. “As long as the Port of Charleston is a political arm of the corruption in Columbia, the Jasper Port will never get built.”
Though not in attendance, Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort also weighed-in. “The SC Ports Authority took a position against an appropriation for Jasper port permitting when the budget was considered by the House, and as a result no funding for it was included in the budget passed by that chamber,” said David. “However, based on my discussions with Sen. Hugh Leatherman, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, it is my expectation that a $2 million appropriation for Jasper port permitting will be included in the Senate’s version of the budget, and I will submit a budget proviso to that effect for consideration by the Finance Committee when it meets later today. Simply put, money in this year’s budget is oxygen the Jasper port needs to survive.“
During Templeton’s time as the head of two state agencies, Templeton fought big labor and won, stopped the Obama Administration from killing South Carolina jobs, called out corruption at the Port of Charleston, and fired entrenched state bureaucrats on the taxpayers’ payroll. She is equally committed to stamping out Columbia’s culture of corruption.
“Corruption is actually costing you money – daily. The power to run your light switch costs more because of lobbyists, your safety and time are sacrificed on the roads because of self-dealing, and now the very future and economic prosperity of this entire region is being postponed. Why? Because the Port of Charleston paid Henry McMaster’s political consultants almost $3M to make commercials and give him board advice. Now the Port of Charleston want $5M from the Jasper Port’s permitting budget because they are out of money. Which do you think is more important – using the money to pay Henry’s political consultants or permitting a port for the people of this state that will be a national economic driver?” Templeton asked.
As governor, Catherine will:
Pass a Term Limits Law
- Enact term limits for all legislators to end Columbia’s culture of corruption and force those who make the laws to return home and live under the laws they created.
“It’s time state legislators live under the same laws they create for the rest of us,” Templeton said. “What’s good enough for us should be good enough for lawmakers, too. The first step in creating legislative accountability is establishing term limits. When someone seeks public office, they must realize it is about service, not self dealing.”
Accept No Salary
- Return the governor’s paycheck to the people.
“I’m running for governor to serve the people’s interests,” Templeton explained. “That’s why I will not take a salary while I’m serving as governor. I’ll return that money where it rightfully belongs – to the taxpayers who pay it.”
Close the Revolving Door of Corruption
- Crack down on politics as usual by imposing stiffer criminal penalties and significant jail time for those who secretly lobby government.
- Enact a lifetime ban on gubernatorial staff becoming lobbyists.
- Enact a lifetime ban on legislators becoming lobbyists.
- Enact a lifetime ban on all executive branch employees becoming lobbyists.
- Ban lobbying by any taxpayer-funded organizations.
- Ban lawyer-legislators from voting on the judges they argue before.
“We must stop politics as usual in Columbia by shutting the revolving door where people go from public service to lucrative lobbying,” Templeton vowed. “I’ll do that by imposing stiffer criminal penalties for those who secretly lobby government. I’ll follow that up by enacting lifetime bans on gubernatorial staff, legislators and executive branch employees becoming lobbyists. I’ll also ban lobbying by any taxpayer-funded organization and stop lawyer-legislators from voting on the judges they argue before. These steps will make sure public employees become public servants once more.”
End Pay-to-Play Politics
- Prohibit legislators from taking state contracts for themselves or their families.
- Prohibit all state officials from appointing relatives to public boards, commissions, and posts.
- Ban family members of elected officials from doing business with state government to end corrupt conflicts of interest.
- Ban publicly subsidized utility companies from making political contributions to politicians who authorize their funding.
“If we elect you to protect our money – you can’t have any of it for yourself or your family. I will act swiftly to end the shameful practice of pay-to-play once and for all,” Templeton said. “We’ll do it by prohibiting legislators and their families from taking state contracts; prohibiting all state officials from appointing relatives to public boards, commissions and posts; and banning publicly subsidized utility companies from making political contributions to politicians who authorize their funding.”
Empower the Ethics Commission to Enforce Ethics Laws:
- Require all candidates for public office to give the Ethics Commission real-time access to their campaign accounts.
- Direct accrued interest from campaign accounts to the Ethics Commission to fund the hiring of more staff for increased enforcement of ethics laws.
“The Ethics Commission should be more than the paper tiger it currently is,” Templeton explained. “I’ll make sure it’s empowered to adequately enforce ethics laws. I’ll do that by requiring all candidates for public office to give the Ethics Commission real-time access to their campaign accounts to ensure full compliance with ethics laws; and directing accrued interest from campaign accounts to the Ethics Commission to fund the hiring of more staff for increased enforcement of ethics laws.”
Ensure Greater Transparency
- Require the legislature to comply with Freedom of Information request and remove the legislative exemption. The people’s work should be conducted in the sunlight.
“The people’s work should be conducted in the sunlight. I will establish greater transparency by requiring the legislature to comply with Freedom of Information requests” Templeton said.”
Templeton will continue to discuss her positions on a variety of issues that are important to South Carolinians in the coming weeks.###
The only passage in all of that that communicated anything about what’s going on with the Jasper Port was the digression about something Tom Davis had said. From that, I gathered that the Jasper Port is a much-needed project that has suffered from the grabbiness of the Ports Authority, and that a $2 million appropriation promised by Sen. Leatherman is a good thing. Which is rather remarkable — that Tom Davis would be pleased that Hugh Leatherman wants to spend millions on something is a pretty good-sized miracle.
But I remain confused what that paragraph has to do with the rest of the release, and whether it is meant to suggest that Davis supports her candidacy. So while I appreciate the perspective from Tom, I’m left even more confused.
Ms. Templeton could have explained what is happening on this issue, right now, and set out what she thinks should happen in the future. That would have been helpful. Instead, we just get the usual overheated rhetoric as she slashes up, down, left and right in her bid to represent herself as the only possible cure to unmitigated, universal, but often ill-defined corruption that is eating the vitals of South Carolina.
We just get these quick hot bursts of rhetorical fire here, there and in every direction:
- I almost didn’t read the release because it started out exactly the same as her other releases: “Proven conservative outsider and Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton…” And by the time I get to her name, I’m always tired and ready to move on.
- “When I worked for Governor Haley, I earned the reputation as a buzz saw…” Oh, cut me a freaking break, would you? Yeah, you’re a real terror, and a joy to have around…
- “When I went back to the private sector, the Port of Charleston asked me to do there what I had done in government, but there was a big difference. The Port of Charleston didn’t want any change at all.” Which was it? They wanted you to do what you claimed you had done in government, or they didn’t want you to do that? Also, this is interesting: Are you saying the private sector is less friendly to your hard-eyed efficiency than government?
- “Templeton said she exposed corrupt contracts between the Port of Charleston and the Columbia-based consulting firm of Richard Quinn and was fired as a result…” the Quinns being “the political consultants who have been on Henry McMaster’s payroll for decades…” OK, now we see where you’re going with this, but still waiting to understand the relationship to the Jasper facility.
- “During Templeton’s time as the head of two state agencies, Templeton fought big labor and won, stopped the Obama Administration from killing South Carolina jobs, called out corruption at the Port of Charleston, and fired entrenched state bureaucrats on the taxpayers’ payroll. She is equally committed to stamping out Columbia’s culture of corruption. Corruption is actually costing you money – daily. The power to run your light switch costs more because of lobbyists, your safety and time are sacrificed on the roads because of self-dealing, and now the very future and economic prosperity of this entire region is being postponed.” Boy, that’s a lot of different topics you just threw at us, none of them really explained, and I’m still waiting to see the relationship between them and the topic at hand.
- “Why? Because the Port of Charleston paid Henry McMaster’s political consultants almost $3M to make commercials and give him board advice.” OK, so I think we’re on board with the idea that the Authority wasted money on the Quinns, even though the relationship to all that other stuff — like, say, that awful, wicked Obama fellow — is still a little fuzzy.
- “Now the Port of Charleston want $5M from the Jasper Port’s permitting budget because they are out of money. Which do you think is more important – using the money to pay Henry’s political consultants or permitting a port for the people of this state that will be a national economic driver?” Now you’ve lost me again. I haven’t seen any indication that this is a choice in front of us at the moment. There’s a fallacy there that probably has a fancy name, but I don’t know what it is.
I think she’s trying to communicate that the Port of Charleston wouldn’t be trying to hurt the more worthy Jasper Port if it hadn’t wasted money in the past. But that could be expressed more clearly if she didn’t have so many other agendas cluttering up her explanation.
What follows that is a bunch of populist buzz phrases about how she’s gonna clean up this town:
- “Pass a Term Limits Law…” No, thanks. Anyway, can a governor do that? Won’t you need help? Who do think is going to want to help you, since you’ve lashed out at everyone you’ve mentioned… except Tom Davis?
- “It’s time state legislators live under the same laws they create for the rest of us.” Which, you know, they do already. The idea that they don’t is some sort of populist fantasy.
- “Accept No Salary.” Yeah, you know what? Don’t do me any favors. I’ll settle for a governor who accepts the modest salary provided — and earns it.
- “We must stop politics as usual in Columbia by shutting the revolving door…” I was thinking she might cram one or two more cliches into that sentence, but I think she was getting tired by this point.
Anyway, toward the end she settled down long enough to say two things that made sense:
- “Empower the Ethics Commission to Enforce Ethics Laws”
- “Ensure Greater Transparency”
Yeah, I’m with you on those. But man, we sure did have to get through a lot of ranting to get to them. And, well… these are good ideas in general, and don’t really have a direct connection to the Jasper Port issue…
That’s kind of a long, convoluted post, isn’t it? Well, that’s the way I felt reading the release, so I guess it’s catching…
Give me clarity, people. Give me clear, calm explanations of the issues and your positions on them. Persuade me that you are a reasonable person who understands what’s going on, and steady enough to chart a wise course. Not everything has to be about how ticked off you are, or how ticked off you want me to think you are.
Reassure me, OK?
An occasional original thought would be really great. But if that’s too much to ask, how about a fresh, interesting way of saying the usual stuff? That would go a long way with me…
I’m not demanding poetry. Some nicely crafted prose would do nicely…
I suggest a “rant duel” between Templeton and you. I stopped reading each rant after the first few sentences.
I’m confident you, Brad, would win the duel. As you suggest, it is hard to respond to a unfocused rant with a focused post. The title of your post was all I needed …
Would it have to rhyme? Like the duel in “8 Mile?” Not sure I could do that…
No, choose your weapons – iambic pentameter or limerick.
Word from my friends still working in gov’t (no elected officials, just working serfs) is that she’s a buzz saw ok; a buzz saw out of control. Does she want to end all lobbying, or just make sure that only her favored private businesses have access? When a political person turns down her salary, given how much it costs to run, I immediately wonder what/how they plan to ensure personal cash frow.
Yeah, that’s what I hear, too — a very destructive force. And the way she’s running, that’s credible.
It seems she doesn’t know how to work well with others in either the public OR private sectors…
So basically she wants to be chief executive of the state but admits that she was fired by the Ports Authority because she lacked political skills. That’s basically it, no?
On the other hand, the SCPA has long been a political spoil of the legislature, much like Santee Cooper (was) and the state of SC has suffered significantly because of it. The Jasper terminal is a bad deal for SC; there is good reason there has been lots of foot-dragging on that. It would be better had someone spent the preceding years leading the development of an actual alternative, competitive plan to benefit people across SC.