It would be great to see some coverage of 2nd District

“Well this has, without a doubt, been the friendliest debate I’ve ever experienced,” said moderator Avery Wilks just before closing arguments in the 2nd Congressional District debate Monday night. “We didn’t use a single rebuttal to address a personal insult, so I appreciate that from both candidates.”

Avery got that right. Of course, it was to be expected. Most of the country thinks of Joe Wilson as the “You lie!” guy, but that was very much out of character for him (at least, before he learned to pull in money from it). Sure, he’s a steady fountain of the kind of mindless partisanship that was already destroying our country before the unbelievable happened in 2016: “Republicans good; Democrats bad,” on and on.

Judd Larkins has none of those negative characteristics — neither the insults nor the partisanship. He’s a guy who wants to make a positive difference in the lives of the people of the 2nd District, and he doesn’t care about the party affiliation of the people he’d have to work with to get it done.

Which is why I have that sign for him in my yard, with all my neighbors’ Republican signs running down the opposite side of the street.

Of course, I missed a lot of the first half of the debate, but the parts I saw reflect Avery’s characterization. You can judge for yourself by watching it. Click on the picture at the top of the post, and it will take you to the video on YouTube.

Judd was polite and deferential — as he always is — and Joe was polite and mild-mannered, although at times a bit condescending to the young man so hopelessly running against him. As for his partisan stuff — there’s no visible malice in him when he says those things. He sees those as things people naturally say. Blaming Biden or Obama for all the world’s troubles is, to him, like saying “hello” to the people he meets. He lives in a community where it is expected, thanks to line-drawers in the Republican Legislature.

But those statements offer a stark contrast between the campaigns. We were cash-hungry in our campaign in 2018, what with me doing the work of five or six people (according to our campaign manager — I wouldn’t know what the norm is). But while I talked to the press and wrote the releases and the brochures and (during one awful, brief period) the fund-raising emails and about 90 percent of the social media (and would have written the speeches if James hadn’t preferred loose talking points, bless him), I was at least on hand to pump out a few tweets during debates.

Judd didn’t have anything like that. I watched for it during the debate. Joe Wilson, of course, did. And the nonsense was on full display:

I answered a couple of them. To that one, I said, “Which is exactly what he would have said had, God help us, Trump won, in which case the U.S. would have skedaddled out of Afghanistan much earlier, and much more recklessly…” I didn’t bother with the offensive nonsense about immigration. It would have required being as superficial as Joe’s campaign to stay within the 280 limit.

And I couldn’t hold back again when they put out this prize-winner: ““It’s shameless what the democrats have done with defunding the police. It’s putting the American people at risk”

My response: “What, precisely, have congressional Democrats done that could credibly be described as ‘defunding the police?’ And which Democrats in actual elected, national leadership positions would even WANT to? Nothing, and none. But does that matter to Joe? Of course not…”

I should have said, “does that matter to Joe’s campaign,” since he was personally busy on stage at the time, but I was irritated. Which is why social media are a poor way to engage in political argument.

Anyway, I’m not commenting much on this dispiriting election, but I’m writing again about this one foregone conclusion of a “contest” because you’re not reading about it elsewhere.

Avery, to his great credit, was there as moderator, but neither his newspaper (the Post & Courier) nor his former newspaper (The State) covered the event. Of course, I didn’t write about it until two days later, so maybe something is still coming. But it seems doubtful, since neither has taken an interest so far. Search for Judd’s name under Google’s “news” category, and you’ll see what I mean.

And I certainly understand. It was hard for an editor to devote resources to noncompetitive “contests” even back when “major metropolitan” newspapers were vital and fully staffed. Now, I’d be shocked to see it. (Yeah, there’s some coverage of the hopeless election for governor, but editors are much less likely to see that as optional.)

If you do that search, though you’ll see that again the Lexington County Chronicle stepped up and covered it, so good for them. I can’t say much for that ones-and-zeroes headline, but at least they made the effort.

I sent a couple of congratulatory messages after the debate. One was to Avery, about the good job he and the high school students did. (And let me also congratulate Lexington One for putting on the event, and providing the video.) The next day, I congratulated Judd as well. He said two things in response:

  • Thanks! Some of the Dems wanted more blood, but I think we won over the folks we needed to. Just gotta get it in (front) of more folks.
  • Lack of coverage last night really hurt. We executed our plan perfectly. Just gotta get more eyes to see it.

Of course, as I indicated above, I couldn’t agree more on the second thing. On the first, I hope he continues to ignore the people who want “more blood.” People like that, across the spectrum — the “fight fire with fire” people — are tearing our country apart. Stepping outside of his comfort zone to provide more gladiatorial spectacle won’t win the election for him. I want to see him get through this, and go on to the rest of his life — in or out of politics — knowing he did what he could the right way.

20 thoughts on “It would be great to see some coverage of 2nd District

  1. Barry

    A young man was arrested this week for shooting a pistol near the county fair in Sumter. He was immediately released on a $11,000 surety bond (meaning he paid pennies on the dollar to get out of jail).

    No response from any of the Republican committee heads in the legislature- who dominate the government in the state- over this “soft on crime approach” when I reached out to a number of them this morning.

    Yep – it’s clearly the Democrats fault in Washington DC.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Barry, that doesn’t make sense. Some churches endorsing candidates doesn’t mean you can’t find a church that doesn’t. That should be as easy as falling off a log. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a church, of any sort, that DID endorse candidates, or even considered it. You’d have to go out of your way to encounter it. You’d have to seek out something like this “KingdomLife Church” in that story you link to. If you go to an actual church that is a fully affiliated part of an actual religious theological tradition — Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. — you’re less likely to encounter this thing of which you disapprove.

      I say all this because you’re worrying me. You say you’re not going to vote any more. And you’re not going to go to a church. So what are you going to do? Sit at home looking at stuff on the Web that you agree with? If you do that, you may end up so far down the Rabbit Hole you can’t see daylight…

      1. Barry

        I don’t care.

        I’ve reached my limit with Conservative garbage and nut jobs. Maybe I’ve watched too many snippets of Fox News – but I’ve done it and it’s changed me and my personality.

        The Conservatives that point their fingers at everyone but themselves are trash and I’ll give it back to them much stronger than they dish it out.

        I have no use for them in my life.

      2. Doug Ross

        He’s already there… Anyone who has been reading his posts for the past five years saw it. And you approved them.. mostly because they were anti Trump.

        My advice is that you turn off all comments.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I have actually considered that. Or perhaps I should say, I am considering that… as a first step toward… I haven’t sorted it out yet.

          It’s hard enough these days to find time to post, much less to reinvent the blog…

            1. Doug Ross

              Your editorial policy on comments drove off most of the thoughtful people.. I comment infrequently just to respond to barry/bud/etc. and other anonymous trolls who ruined this blog.

              Allowing anonymous, venomous, cowardly commenters who could take pot shots at people willing to sign their name to their opinions killed this blog…. as did your decision to edit any comments that you didn’t like.

              It’s your blog. You killed the conversation with your policies. Turn off the comments and just make it into a vanity/nostalgia/Joe Biden fanboy blog.

            2. Barry

              Considering that a federal judge has now stepped in to order a buffer zone near ballot boxes in Arizona because some right wingers are standing and sitting near drop boxes with guns, not voting at all and staying away is quickly becoming a good decision.

              1. Ken

                Sorry, no, that’s not a good decision. It’s cowardice.

                I will be voting for … something. With no choice in most of the races and no information available about the candidates in the bottom-of-the-ballot races (school trustees, water district commissioners, etc.), I will be voting for … something. Most likely, as in the past, I will be making heavy use of the write-in option — for all those unopposed Rs.

                But I won’t be abandoning the field — not even in this nearly one-party state.

  2. Barry

    BTW- Some of the churches that are openly endorsing candidates are churches with 10,000, 12,000, 15,000 in attendance every Sunday.

    These are not the 10 member congregations down the street meeting in the double wide trailer.

    My family is not alone in giving up on church. Most of it now is just an unofficial political convention anyway. After 50 years of attendance, and with 3 kids about to be adults, it’s time for something else.

    America’s Church membership is at its lowest numbers in years, poll finds

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, I know what you mean — you’re talking about the “churches” with names like “KingdomLife” and other manifestations of marketing.

      Those are not what I consider to be churches. I wouldn’t attend one whether it endorsed political candidates or not. I’d just as soon go to a football game as do that. In fact, in my mind, the two things have a lot in common, beginning with their mass appeal…


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