It’s gonna take me some time to get interested in stuff again

The BBC's all about Brexit today. Meh...

The BBC’s all about Brexit today. Meh…

I’ve got a lot going on right now. I’ve got something to finish for the campaign, which I hope to mostly knock out tomorrow. I’m picking up a few ADCO projects that have lain fallow while I was on the campaign. I’m going to be spending a bunch of time with the grandchildren the next few days — which is great, since I saw them so little during the campaign.

But I don’t think any of those are the real reasons I haven’t posted but about three times since the campaign ended.

I’m just finding it hard to get interested in the news and issues that are out there. After the intensity of the campaign, none of these things really grab me, and I’m not at all motivated to comment on them.

I spent a few minutes looking for topics today, and my reaction to everything I found was, basically, meh

Brexit? That’s the big news today, and I am unmoved. Look, Britain has been pretty much shafted ever since that vote, and what does anyone expect from Theresa May? She inherited a no-win situation. I have no advice for her or anyone else involved in that mess.

Election results other than ours? The most “dramatic” result is that Democrats won the House and Republicans kept the Senate. And you know me: I’ve never been able to care much which party has a majority in Congress. The parties don’t even seem to care. If the Dems re-elect Nancy Pelosi, you’ll know they don’t care at all. I care about South Carolina. And nothing good is happening here, unless you’re looking forward to being entertained by having Dick Harpootlian in the Senate. I’m not, particularly.

The nuclear fiasco? I was kind of bored with that before the campaign. I was interested in seeing S.C. start dealing with the mess with new leadership, starting with a governor who wasn’t sitting on six figures in donations from the big utilities. We might have had some hope for a new direction on energy. Now, fuggedaboudit.

Donald Trump? I’ve spent the last four months and more ignoring his existence — talking about national politics was Henry’s thing, not ours. I generally blew off idiotic press questions that had nothing to do with being governor (“What is the impact of Trump on SC politics?” “What do you think about Brett Kavanaugh?” “Do you favor or oppose abolishing ICE?”), and I liked it. My head was in a good place. I don’t even want to start pretending I care about that stuff now.

For the last few months, my energies went into trying to do something about the problems our state faces. Now, it’s hard to get motivated about merely commenting on things. Even pop culture. Lately during my morning workouts on the elliptical, I’ve been watching “Designated Survivor” on my Roku, and let’s face it — it’s not that good a show. I’ve tried getting back into “Babylon Berlin,” but that takes an emotional investment, or a certain indifference to human suffering…

So… it’s going to take some time before I find topics I’m itching to blog about. Bear with me…

I've been watching this lately. And let's face it; it's not that good a show.

I’ve been watching this lately. And let’s face it; it’s not that good a show.

15 thoughts on “It’s gonna take me some time to get interested in stuff again

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I can’t even work up enthusiasm for engaging in literary allusion. I thought about tossing in something along the lines of

    Bear with me.
    My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
    And I must pause till it come back to me.

    But I just thought to myself, THAT’S a tad melodramatic, don’t you think?…

  2. Clark Surratt

    I still hope you will do a serious and thorough analysis of the Gov. campaign, including strategy, tactics and reasons for results, including both candidates. Is it as simple that for 55 percent of voters, the Trump mentality trumps everything else?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The hard part is the “serious and thorough.” I have an analysis of the campaign, but it contains only two points and would hardly take as many words as your question.

      Maybe I should go ahead and give you that, and then add other stuff as it comes to me…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Clark, I haven’t written that blog post yet, but I basically sum it up near the end of this comment.

          To repeat the relevant paragraphs, they are:

          If we could have sat James down in front of every voter in the state and let them get to know him and answer every question they might have, there’s little question that we would have won.

          In the absence of that, you’re working against the problem that in the absence of being able to sufficiently get your own argument across, most white people in South Carolina are going to vote for the guy with the R after his name. We knew that going in. We tried with all our might to get him known well enough to overcome that. We didn’t succeed.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Beyond that, you end up quibbling about details that you can’t prove one way or the other.

            For instance, in the course of a day last week I ran into a couple of smart outside observers who independently offered the opinion that we were done in by the hurricane that sideswiped SC and flooded the Pee Dee.

            There’s no question that was a blow to us. It put us out of action for a week, and gave Henry more free media — generally (but not entirely) positive free media — than he’d had in his entire time in office up to then.

            So it hurt. And at a bad time, for a bunch of reasons. And we have objective data showing we lost ground during a period that included the stretched out time the hurricane affected us. But did that alone do us in? I doubt it.

            It’s just… well, we couldn’t afford ANY setbacks, and that was certainly a setback. So maybe those guys who said that are onto something. I don’t know. In anything like this, the number of variables is so great it takes more hubris than even I possess to definitely point to the causes.

            But as I say, we couldn’t afford ANY setbacks.

            I think I’ve told you this before, but… Several months before James made the decision to run — a decision that itself came a year before I was hired by the campaign — I ran into James at a reception at Richland Library, and asked him whether he was going to run. He ran through the obstacles. I don’t have any notes from that conversation, but basically he said he would have to:
            — Get every Democrat to turn out for him.
            — Win every independent vote.
            — Pry X number of Republican votes away from the GOP nominee. I think he was specific as to X, and it was a daunting number.

            I wanted to see him run, but I couldn’t argue with his assessment about how extremely hard it would be to accomplish those three things.

            But in spite of that, he went out and tried his hardest. I don’t think I can possibly communicate to you effectively just HOW hard he tried. As I said, I barely made it through that last week on the road with him, and he had been going at it that hard for more than a year.

            One thing none of us can ever do is claim he didn’t try hard enough. He did…

  3. Burl Burlingame

    No, “Designated Survivor” lost its mojo pretty damn quick.

    “Madame Secretary” is on a roll, however.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, but I watch “Madame Secretary” with my wife.

      For my morning workouts, I only watch things I don’t think will interest her.

      “Designated Survivor” didn’t really make it through the first episode with me. That’s because the original, Tom Clancy’s “Executive Orders,” was better written, more thoughtful, and more subtle.

      Which tells you a lot.

      There is so much wrong with “Designated Survivor” that I should do a separate post about it.

      But I’m still watching it. Such is the advanced state of my ennui…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I couldn’t even decide how to word that… “advanced state of my ennui” doesn’t work. Ennui IS a state. State of a state doesn’t work, does it? Should I have written, “so advanced is my state of ennui?” But that seems redundant, saying both “state” and “ennui.” So maybe just “such is my ennui?” But so advanced is my whatever that I just went with the first thing I typed…

          1. Scout

            And it always makes me think of Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies. N is for Neville who died of ennui.

  4. Philip Mathews “Phil” Cheney

    Guess each city and county in the state will have to create its own programs to survive. Of course, those counties on the border with another state could always secede; We live only three miles from the Georgia line!

  5. Richard2

    Tell us what you believe the next Democratic candidate needs to do to have a chance in 2022. I barely heard anything about the James & Mandy co-governor campaign. The whole “never leave your side” themed commercials was kind of weird… it was more like watching a commercial. I never received one piece of junk mail, I saw more signs along side of the road than in people’s yards and even the ones on the side of the road were far and few between except for a day or two before the election. But to be fair, I can say basically the same thing about the McMaster campaign. For the non-political types this was a dream campaign season, the only people knocking on doors were for local offices, no robo-calls, fewer commercials than in previous elections, almost non-existent junk mail, etc…

    1. Doug Ross

      For a Democrat to win the ticket has to include a black candidate for Governor or Lt. Governor. Another white male lawyer is going to lose every time.

      I mentioned before that I donated twice to the Smith campaign (total $75 I think) and never received any communication from the campaign. That seems like a real error in execution.

      Based on the Twitter accounts I followed (Smith campaign, Smith, Mandy, Brad, Scott Hogan (campaign manager), and Noah Barker), I started to get the feeling they all thought things were going much better than reality. The campaign Twitter account only has about 5800 followers. That’s meaningless in SC… There was an echo chamber feel to the social media. One of the above would tweet something, then the rest would retweet it. I quick scan of the tweets from the campaign account shows what looks like an average of about 100 likes and 35 retweets. For an unknown like Smith, that’s not going to make a difference.

      The next candidate has to get more free advertising by getting outside the Democrat bubble and running a bold campaign on issues that affect all South Carolinians — not making Medicaid expansion the focal point.

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