Just saw this, which gave me flashbacks:
Wow, it’s like one of our tweets from the campaign just came roaring out of a time warp… @JamesSmithSC@MPowersNorrellhttps://t.co/NwoAhTntmE
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) December 4, 2018
Man, how many times in the last few months did I say or type — in Tweets, on Facebook, in press releases, in statements to reporters — some variation of “Some of the best jobs in South Carolina are threatened by the tariffs that Henry McMaster refuses to take a stand against?”
More times than I care to remember…
Not gonna say we told you so… not gonna say we told you so…
I’ve almost given up on the ideas that voters and politicians will consider their votes with enlightened self interest AND character.
Everyone in the state knows that tariffs are self-destructive across the entire South Carolina economy. A week after the election I happened to hear conservative radio talk show hosts in both the Upstate and the Pee Dee railing about what a bad idea tariffs are and how they will cripple SC’s economy – export based or otherwise. And yet I would bet they voted for Henry anyway, because voting Republican is just what white, conservative, god-fearing people are supposed to do nowadays.
What we need, locally, statewide and nationally, are politicians who can articulate why there is a better path for everyone – whatever one’s political beliefs – and how we can all benefit from that path forward. We have missed a generation (or more) of strong, self-sacrificing and collaborative (meaning horse trading) leaders who tell the truth.
It’s only going to change when someone is willing to stand up and say enough with the corrosive, petty partisanship in politics. Yes, the swamp will always be a part of the political machinery – the grease that lubricates the gnashing gears – but at its heart it needs a message of action (in thought and deed) to achieve a better future for our society.
I don’t think James Smith was ever able to step up onto that podium during the election; and yet suspect that he has the ability to possibly be that kind of trans formative leader – if he is willing to risk it. We need an ethical orator, not a moralizer, to deliver a gospel of civic responsibility that is heartfelt and can resonate across society. That’s a very rare bird indeed. Compelling storytellers aren’t typically known for stability in their moral compasses. As we see time and time again…
James’ message — OUR message — was good government. Good, pragmatic, intelligent government that serves all of our people well, for a change.
Maybe that doesn’t stir people’s blood, but it’s certain what we need.
It’s what Vincent offered, too — which is what invites negative comparisons from the naysayers who stand on the sideline and criticize.
But with James, you also had a compelling personal narrative that SHOULD have had a gut appeal to people across the spectrum. And it DID have that appeal whenever we managed to get it across to people…
Mandy has a good personal story as well, as the first of her family to go to college, who worked in the textile mill to pay for her education. But James’ story was amazing to any fair-minded person who heard it. I don’t know ANYBODY who has gone to the lengths he went to to serve his country in combat. Neither have people in the Guard, which is why, in the middle of the campaign, he was inducted into the Palmetto Military Academy’s Hall of Fame. (I was there for that, and heard the stories of all the people being inducted that day. I honor all the others for their distinguished service, but their stories were pretty dull next to his.)
So the question remains… is that great core of white conservatives even reachable? Are those folks in any way open to persuasion? Could we have done it with more resources, or if we’d made better decisions with the resources we had? Or is it just hopeless if you don’t have an R after your name?
Oh, by the way…
Doug keeps wanting me to heap ashes on our heads and talk about all the things we did WRONG in the campaign, being the worthless idiots that we are…
Well, I just mentioned on instance in which I screwed up. I did a terrible job promoting James’ induction in to the PMA Hall of Fame. I let myself get blindsided by it.
Apparently, I missed the critical moment in one of the interminable scheduling meetings that seemed to be going on at all hours in the conference room at HQ. At least, that’s what I was told when I later complained that no one had given me a heads-up. I couldn’t argue with that, because yeah, I missed parts or all of a number of such meetings.
So it’s on me.
Anyway, this thing had been on the calendar for a week or two or more, but all it said was something like “PMA Graduation/Hall of Fame Induction”
First, I didn’t know what PMA was — which is, the Officer Candidate School James went to to get his commission back after resigning it to enlist in the infantry. Beyond that, I thought he was just attending this thing to honor the graduates and the people being inducted into the PMA’s Hall of Fame. Nothing told me HE, James Smith — or JES as he was usually designated on the calendar — was himself being honored.
The event was on a Saturday morning. When did I get clued in? Late Friday after I had gotten home.
I freaked out. It was too late to try to get coverage from anybody. (Have you ever tried, late on a Friday, to interest news media in a scheduled event on Saturday morning that doesn’t involve something blowing up?) So I just arranged to go along with James and his family, cover it myself, and push out as much about it as I could via press releases and social media.
Here’s the release. And here’s the narrative about James that was read at the ceremony. Pretty impressive stuff.
A couple of outlets ran the release on their websites, and not much else.
I did my best to make up for it, but I had blown it on that one. Huge missed opportunity…
I’m not looking for self-flagellation… just some recognition of strategic errors that were made. If you and the rest of the campaign remain in the “we tried our hardest, dang it!” mode, then how would you expect a Democrat to win next time?
Do you SERIOUSLY think that James’ induction into that Hall of Fame was newsworthy to the point that it would have increased his vote total? Come on.. that wouldn’t even register with 99% of voters. Now, I’ll go into full cynic mode and wonder whether the timing of the induction was coincidentally during his campaign or timed to fit the campaign schedule?
There were much larger errors made in strategy and execution than not promoting that event. You don’t even have to tell us what they are — I’d just like to know that a conversation among Smtih, Mandy, Scott Hogan, and you took place to review the campaign and identify what could have been done differently. If the answer is no, that’s telling. If the answer is yes, but you couldn’t identify any tangible mistakes, then it just confirms what I observed via the Twitter feeds — an echo chamber of positive feedback and blinders to any alternative views.
Well, we DID try our hardest dang it, and remember — I’m not all that interested in whether the next governor is a Democrat or a Republican.
That’s not true of most of the people on the campaign, but that’s the case with me.
I was for James. I liked Mandy, too — but I was there because of James.
And some of the reasons I like James are things you criticize. You wanted him to come off as having fire in the belly. Well, he DID want to win, very much, and put everything he had into it. Running for this office was a big sacrifice for him, and for his family. If you were to get a look at his tax returns NEXT year, you’d see what a huge hit he took financially by spending the year running for office — other costs are harder to measure, but I was there, and I know the toll it took on him, Kirkland and everyone else close to him. I worked hard, and hardly saw my family, but it was nothing compared to what he did.
He put EVERYTHING into it.
But you talk about his manner (in a different comment). The thing is, James is cool. He’s not going to come across as a guy who just HAS TO be governor. No, he’s a relatively unassuming guy who is willing to serve his state that way, and will work hard to get your vote and work just as hard doing the job if elected. Just as he was willing to give up his commission and all the status he had earned in the Guard in order to fight in Afghanistan. IF you’d talked to him then, he wouldn’t have come across as some sort of bloodthirsty war monger (“Shrink, I wanna KILL…”). You’d have seen a quiet, unassuming guy who was ready to serve, whatever it took.
And if he comes across as a guy who’d rather be spending time with his family it’s because he’d rather be spending time with his family.
And that’s EXACTLY who you of all people — so suspicious of career politicians — ought to WANT to see elected. Which may be part of why you voted for him.
Mandy IS more visibly ambitious. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The urge to succeed is what made her the high achiever who became the first in her family to go to college.
But James’ manner is more laid back. That’s his natural persona. But I assure you, he did not hold back ANYTHING in terms of working hard to win the election…
“, being the worthless idiots that we are…”
Please recall that I voted for Smith and donated to his campaign. What’s that make me?
Sorry if I feel let down by what should have been a clear opportunity to replace the status quo because Smith didn’t run a campaign to win.
My next door neighbor was a door gunner in Vietnam – and is a very typical “R” in SC. He would not even agree to meet James, and he wasn’t interested in James’ military story. SMH …
You can’t have “good government” unless you get rid of the bad members. Smith was hesitant to EVER criticize his colleagues in the House and Senate when that is exactly where the bad government exists. Henry McMaster isn’t responsible for the current state of affairs in SC. It’s Smith and Norrell’s buddies. But the clique is too strong to actually go after them. Better to stick to catch phrases like “good government” and “better schools”.
Did y’all see this from that same day?
And in case you’re not getting the full effect, here’s how that looks on my browser. I have a special plug-in that makes his Tweets come across in a font that suits the way he expresses himself…
I hate to burst the bubble, but there are folks in the Upcountry who are hoping for MORE tariffs, because that could prompt BWM to add an engine assembly plant to the facility it already has there: