— Mandy Powers Norrell (@MPowersNorrell) September 9, 2021
For a couple of months, I’ve had in mind a certain blog post, but haven’t written it because of the time it would take — time I don’t have. The basic idea was this: As you know, I’m sick and tired of the usual stupid news stories with ideologues yelling about whether people should, for instance, wear masks in public.
My idea was to contrast that with the real world. When I go out in public — to the grocery, to Lowe’s, to Walmart, and especially to medical facilities (which I visit a lot, usually to take my parents to appointments), people, generally speaking, wear masks. Everyone does at the medical facilities, because otherwise they don’t get in. Elsewhere, sure, fewer people were wearing them, but it was never perfect. Even at the worst moments of 2020, there were always some twits who didn’t wear them — in places where folks in charge lacked the nerve to enforce the rules. This summer, the numbers of maskless were greater — even serious people were starting to think they didn’t have to — but it wasn’t some ideological war. Reality was complicated, and most people were trying to be sensible.
But I missed my time for writing that. In recent days, things have changed. For instance, on a personal level, last night my wife told her high school classmates she would not be attending the 50th reunion in Memphis. Everyone else in the class was sending in similar messages. She attending a Catholic girls’ school that had only 37 seniors graduating in 1971. Of those, 22 had planned to attend. Now none are going, so once again the event is postponed.
This morning, she followed that up with a note of regret that she would not be attending a wedding she had planned to go to while in Memphis.
As she did these things, I nodded, because it seemed consistent with what I’ve seen around us in recent days — hospital beds filling back up, people re-evaluating gatherings and resuming precautions when they go out, all because of such factors as the Delta variant and the insanely large number of people who have refused to get vaccinated. Here and there, you even see a report of someone who had refused but has wised up.
Normal, rational human behavior — people adjusting to shifting circumstances. All that is in the real world in which we live.
But then I look at the world being described most prominently in media we consume — from mainstream to social. And I see the idiotic ideological arguments, the same taking of absurd positions that would be laughable if they weren’t so harmful to public health.
You know what I’m talking about. Locally, our alleged “governor” continuing to refuse to take any responsibility for public health. (At least he’s consistent, right? This is what the majority out there voted for, to its great shame, in 2018.) Our attorney general reaching out to try to prevent other elected officials from taking any such responsibility as well. Other such behavior across the country, from local to federal levels.
Occasionally, I comment, usually on social media, when things get really far from reality:
Rights? Rights to do WHAT? To use their children as instruments for spreading a deadly disease throughout the community? From where do such “rights” spring? Where does one find them enumerated? Where are they written? https://t.co/kJ6MeBZZiI
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) August 4, 2021
But mostly, I just look around and wish I could see more reporting on what’s really going on, and less about what stupid things “leaders” who refuse to lead are prattling about.
Sometimes I do see it. For instance, there was this, put out by The State in the past 24 hours:
Lexington Medical Center is experiencing a critical shortage of intensive care unit beds as it approaches a record-high number of COVID-19 patients, hospital officials said.
More than 90% of the West Columbia hospital’s 557 beds were occupied Tuesday morning, including 146, or about 26%, of which were filled with coronavirus patients, Lexington Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson said.
“We are approaching our highest number of COVID patients hospitalized at one time ever,” said Wilson, who added that the situation at Lexington Medical Center was “very serious” and encouraged South Carolinians to get vaccinated.
The vast majority of the hospital’s COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, she said.
Only 16% of coronavirus inpatients at Lexington Medical are vaccinated, and just three of the 43 COVID-19 patients in the hospital’s ICU are fully dosed….
That’s about the hospital that you can see from the street I live on, if you walk down that street a bit to get a better angle on it. What’s going on there, and in the hospitals across South Carolina — and the nation, and the world — is infinitely more important to me than the pronouncements of people who have made it startlingly clear, over and over, that they will in no way do or say anything that reflects what’s happening in the world.
Oh, and by the way, Jennifer Wilson — quoted in that news item I cited above — is married to that same attorney general mentioned above. The difference between them is that she lives and works in the real world, while her husband lives in one in which continued employment depends on showing people you are devoted to Trumpism.
Yes, reporters should continue to cover what the governor and AG say and do. Who knows, they might even run across a “man bites dog” story like this one from Arkansas: Arkansas’ governor says it ‘was an error’ to ban mask mandates. You know, a point at which reality and Republican political speech actually coincide.
Maybe someday our governor will stop trying to outstupid Texas, and instead endeavor to outsmart Arkansas.
But while you wait for that actual astounding news to develop, cover the reality more, please…
I don’t watch TV news, but my wife does. And yesterday, finding this a bit hard to believe, she called me into the room to witness it.
Basically, it says anti-vaxxers are moving to South Carolina because they see Henry McMaster as their kind of guy.
Once, governors — Henry included — labored mightily to be perceived as people who attracted jobs to the state. Now look where we are.
This new South Carolinian WIS interviewed thinks Henry is the bee’s knees (there’s something about Henry that invites to use of archaic slang) because, in reference to people who objected to their children being required to wear masks, he said, “Those parents are exactly right…”
“I think that was a big thumbs up for him,” says a friend of Rebekah Schneider on video.
Ms. Schneider lived in Connecticut for 38 years before moving here to be more accepted for her views. Apparently, based on several things she says, she has a “religious” objection to vaccines. As is the case with so much of the careless reporting we see these days (and not just on TV, but in the skeletonized newspapers), this is not explained. Is she a Christian Scientist? I don’t know.
But I’m looking at the math here. With only 32 percent of South Carolinians being fully vaccinated at this point, far short of what is needed for herd immunity, and too few showing interest in getting vaccinated, we are unlikely ever to become safe from COVID. And that’s without following idiotic policies that make anti-vaxxers want to move here.
Ms. Schneider moved here because her former governor pursues policies to protect public health. WIS says, “According to the Associated Press, he also told reporters he did a lot of his own research before signing the bill into law.”
Henry does “research,” too. He thinks, “How will the Trump loonies feel about this?”
He may have missed the mark this time. As much as Trumpistas are associated with “What, me worry?” approaches to COVID in general, the ones who oppose vaccines are not alone in this.
Have you ever heard of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.?
Must give Henry pause…
… which is my way of saying I’m not sure what I think about it yet. Might have to ponder for awhile.
Of course, I’m very interested in having someone other than Henry McMaster be our governor. I spent more than four months of my life working very long, hard hours trying to bring that about not long ago, but as Mark Twain would say, we got left.
So there’s that.
There’s also the fact that I don’t have anything against Joe, which is something I can’t say about all that many people in politics. So that’s good. And it seems like Joe would have a better shot than most Democrats who might run. And it will have to be a Democrat — you can’t rely on Republicans to come up with anyone more desirable than Henry. They tried hard in 2018, and nearly did it. But I didn’t see anything good to say about the options offered then, and in the Year of our Lord 2021, I look around and think that if they ever managed to dump their incumbent, it would most likely be with someone Trumpier than he is.
I think Henry sees that, too, which is why he runs about saying such stupid things.
On the other hand, I don’t know of much to say for Joe, because he’s so new to public life. In fact, I just watched his announcement video, and when he started talking, I didn’t know it was him. I thought it might be one of those commercials that come up on YouTube before your video. Then I realized it was him, and right after that, I realized I was completely unfamiliar with his voice. I ran into him a couple of times in 2018 (see the pics above and below), but I don’t remember hearing him speak. And as y’all know, I don’t watch TV, and I don’t remember hearing him on NPR.
At my age, 2018 — when I first heard of Joe — feels like about five minutes ago, if that. And when I saw in the Post and Courier that he was planning to run, I got to thinking — what do I know about him before that? Well, not much. So I checked Wikipedia, which has a page about anyone who has served in Congress. Here’s what it said:
Cunningham was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky, and grew up in Kuttawa, Kentucky. He graduated from Lyon County High School in 2000. Cunningham attended the College of Charleston for two years before transferring to Florida Atlantic University in 2002, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in ocean engineering in 2005.
Cunningham became an ocean engineer with a consulting company in Naples, Florida, and was laid off after about five years. He spent some time learning Spanish in South America, enrolled in law school at Northern Kentucky University‘s Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2011, and graduated in 2014. He then worked as a construction attorney for Charleston firm Lyle & Lyle and co-owned the Soul Yoga + Wellness yoga studio with his wife before campaigning for political office.
And then, in 2017, he announced he was running for Congress.
So he graduated law school in 2014. And to think, I had thought James Smith was young. Cindi Scoppe wrote about this in 2018:
The three of us chatted about the race, and the family, and I wrote a few paragraphs about it for the next day’s paper. It was the only time I actually referred to Rep. Smith in print by the nickname his now-communications director Brad Warthen and I used privately throughout Brad’s time as The State’s editorial page editor: “young James.”…
After he was elected to the House in 1994, during my first year on the editorial board, I did call him that for quite a few years. Young James was such a kid in those early days — but we watched him grow as a lawmaker, and liked what we saw. (By the way, as James has many times reminded me, we did not endorse him in that first run. We liked him, but we went with his opponent, who was also his first cousin — Republican Robert Adams.)
And no, I didn’t call him that while I was his press guy. Maybe I should have. Maybe we would have won.
We certainly should have won. James had distinguished himself during his 24 years in the House, where he was the minority leader for awhile. Also, he was a war hero, with an amazing backstory. There’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, but he came awfully close. And among the many people who knew him, Republicans as well as Democrats and independents, he was far better respected than the do-nothing Trump lover, Henry McMaster.
But here’s the awful thing about politics: As widely known as you may be, and as deeply respected, that large number of people is a tiny, infinitesimal percentage of the number of people who vote — most of whom don’t know you or much else. They vote more and more by tribal loyalty, and Henry had the imprimatur of the dominant tribe. So that was that.
So would Joe fare better? I dunno. I’m looking for evidence of that, which will give me hope. Of course, conventional wisdom would hold that yes, because “He won on the same day that your James Smith lost.”
Yeah, but I’m not that impressed that he won the 1st District that day. We won in that district, too. So which was it? Did we help him, or did he — and the upswing across the country that day for moderate Democrats running for Congress — help us? I can see good arguments either way.
But I’m going to be looking for signs that Joe can win. Looking eagerly.
The Post and Courier reports that “he plans to fight for policies such as expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage and passing police reform.” OK, well, we ran on the first one. The other two have become popular since then — among Democrats. Who are, as you know, a minority in our state. Of course, I’m not crazy that he also promised to pursue term limits, and promises, as George Bush did in 1988 (before reversing himself in office) not to raise taxes.
But I can agree with him completely when he says:
“Gov. McMaster has spent the last year checking off his partisan wish list instead of tackling the real problems in our state. South Carolina desperately needed a strong leader over the last year, but all we had was a weak politician with messed-up priorities.”
We said things like that, too, of course. Anyway, I’ll be watching, listening and hoping I see and hear good things going forward…
Obviously. You just have to think it through.
At first, I was a bit taken aback when I saw this:
— Maayan Schechter 🔥 (@MaayanSchechter) April 8, 2021
All I could think at first was, “Huh. I didn’t realize that was in any way the governor’s responsibility.”
In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not. Nor should it be. Unless I’m looking at the map wrong. I mean, I’m about as sure as I can be that South Carolina doesn’t even come close to bordering on Mexico, so… how does it get to be a state issue? Well, it doesn’t. It isn’t.
Of course, this brings up a festering question: What in the world are South Carolina National Guard troops doing down there, anyway? Were they federalized for this purpose? I vaguely remember something like this happening in the course of one of the many insane nightmares of the past four years, but I guess I had blocked it out. It’s rather startling, in an unpleasant way, to be told they’re still there…
But then I got to thinking further about it, and it suddenly hit me that this was very good news!
Think about it: If Henry’s got time to do this, taking a vacation from his duties and all, it means everything that is actually his job has been taken care of. South Carolina is now perfect. COVID is gone. Everyone has healthcare coverage. Our schools are the best in the country. Racism, which seemed to be making a big comeback, is flat gone. Malfunction Junction? Fixed, without running an Interstate through my front yard.
And Yankees have stopped coming down and overcrowding all our beaches. This must be. Otherwise, everybody in South Carolina would be rising up and saying, “Henry! What the hell are you doing down there? Get back here and fix this mess!”
Awesome! As y’all know, I was for the other guy in 2018. But how was I to know that Henry would SC perfect, in less than three years? I’m just blown away.
And remember, you read the good news here first…
OK, this kind of rocked me:
While other states went too far in their COVID lockdowns and restrictions, we never closed. South Carolina took a different approach and didn’t designate which jobs were essential and non-essential because to every person and their family, their job is essential. pic.twitter.com/wThopvpebC
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) March 30, 2021
I already said this on Twitter, but now I’ll say it here:
Perhaps it’s rude of me to interrupt Henry when he’s congratulating himself, but 8,053 South Carolinians have died, at the very least. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that had we gone a bit closer to what he calls “too far,” some of them would have lived…
I’m not going to say a lot about this, because it’s just more of the same. And as you know, I gave all I had trying to get South Carolina to elect the other guy a couple of years back.
But it’s indeed pathetic, and appalling, and will likely lead to a few more of my fellow South Carolinians dying. Beyond that, I’ll post this so y’all can elaborate if you’d like.
So we had what the governor of Texas did the other day. I have trouble remembering his name, but I remember the fact that whenever I read or hear it, it’s in connection with him doing or saying something phenomenally stupid. This time, it was him saying, “It is now time to open Texas 100 percent.”
Well, Henry McMaster wasn’t going to stand still for being outstupided by Texas. So we got this:
South Carolinians will no longer be required to wear face masks inside state-owned buildings or inside restaurants when not eating or drinking under Gov. Henry McMaster’s latest COVID-19 order Friday.
The governor’s latest announcement follows the steady decline of new virus cases and mass vaccination efforts. But it also comes after other states, including Texas, have lifted their own mask mandates over criticism from public health leaders.
In the same order, McMaster also asked state agency directors to pull together and submit plans to bring employees back to the office full time….
Oh, by the way — I’m not sure “outstupided” is a word. But it should be. No, wait! Here it is. Good. I think we’re going to be needing it going forward. Too bad we didn’t have it in wide circulation over the last four years.
Oh, by the way, in related news:
My re-election campaign has been endorsed by President Donald J. Trump, and I am incredibly grateful. Now, I’m asking for your endorsement. Please make a donation today! #trumphttps://t.co/rUliuJLh12 pic.twitter.com/l5OOsaHQtR
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) March 6, 2021
Notice how he didn’t say, “former President?”…
I sort of forgot about it, what with a POTUS getting impeached for the second time and all. And other stuff.
Normally, I’d want to watch and see what sort of excuses Henry is offering for his stewardship of our state, but I was busy and to the extent that I was aware of news, other things were shouting louder.
Once, those were Big Wednesdays for me. They took up a lot of my day and night. My colleagues and I would go to lunch at the governor’s house to be briefed on the speech and receive our copies, and then we’d go back to the office and read the copies and argue over it, then one of us would write the editorial, and the writer and I would stay at work through the speech that night to see if we needed to amend the edit before letting the page go. Which we sometimes did.
All this effort was fitting, since the overwhelming majority of what we wrote was about South Carolina and the issues before it.
But now… I’ve done what I could to help South Carolina get committed, rational leadership that actually cares about said issues — all those years on the editorial board, and those few months in 2018 more directly — and just kept running into the same brick walls. It’s hard even to get people to pay the slightest attention. And now I don’t have the soapbox I once did, so… I don’t follow every word said in SC politics the way I used to.
Especially not yesterday.
What about you? Tell me you hung on every word, and offer some cogent thoughts about what was said, and make me feel guilty for having missed it. Beyond that, I’m just curious: Was anyone paying attention?
I keep putting off writing about this because I haven’t had time to sit down and fully vent about it. But I might as well post something to get the conversation started.
This guy that you my fellow citizens elected governor had $48.5 million at his disposal in the governor’s discretionary education part of the money Washington sent South Carolina under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed at the start of the pandemic emergency in March.
In all these years that the worst kinds of Republicans in South Carolina have tried to find ways to shift public funds away from public education and use it to pay parents to abandon those schools, I’ve never seen anyone even suggest attempting to do anything as bald, as naked, as outrageous as this.
As the Post and Courier put it, in this one swoop, McMaster has accomplished “unilaterally what advocates have tried to push through the Legislature for 16 years.” “Advocates,” of course, being a polite way to refer to enemies of public education.
As bad as we thought Mark Sanford was, he never did anything like this. Then again, he never had the opportunity. Of course, I have to admit that Sanford being Sanford, he would have spent all his energy trying to prevent the federal money from coming to South Carolina to start with. There are different kinds of crazy.
This isn’t crazy, though. It’s just hostile — to the very idea of public schools, to the bottom-line concept that all of South Carolina’s children should have an opportunity to get ahead in the world — or at least to start catching up. And of course it’s an utter rejection of the idea that the state has an obligation to help them get that opportunity.
He can’t order South Carolinians to wear masks to save lives. That would be too bold. But he can do this.
Last night, Mandy tweeted this:
Favorite @henrymcmaster quote from this press conference so far: “Be smart. There’s a lot of stupid floating around out there…”
— SC Rep Mandy Powers Norrell (@MPowersNorrell) June 10, 2020
I had to respond, “Does that mean his ‘faith in the common sense and wisdom of the people’ has been shaken?” (Y’all remember that, right? It’s the underlying idea in everything Henry has done — and especially in what he has not done.)
Perhaps it has — but only shaken, not abandoned. He’s clinging to the notion that people will spontaneously coordinate collectively to do what needs to be done to turn back the resurgence of COVID — the resurgence which daily asserts itself, with today’s total of new cases again being the highest ever — with nothing from him but occasional verbal encouragement.
Editor’s note: I pulled the trigger pretty quickly on this post yesterday, before realizing that Henry’s was a “sorta kinda” stay-at-home order, and maybe I was giving him credit for doing more than he was doing. So I added the “sort of” in the headline…
As recently as Friday, Henry McMaster was saying we didn’t need a “stay at home” order from him, even though every other Southern state had one, on account of the fact that we are “unique.”
Hope that made all y’all feel special.
Anyway, I’m grateful that today we are somewhat less, shall we say, singular, as he has finally done the thing we’ve been waiting for him to do, and which it seems to me he had to know he was going to have to do eventually.
The order takes effect Tuesday.
Let’s hope he’s done it in time to prevent SC infections, and deaths, from increasing exponentially…
I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of heat stroke.
I’m talking about this one, over at USC:
Jennifer Clyburn Reed tells #Gamecocks4Integrity rally that she worries about what her three degrees from USC will be worth if the school loses its accreditation over political interference… pic.twitter.com/lZufVuyU2p
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) July 17, 2019
Jennifer was ONE of the speakers, along with Steve Benjamin, Bakari Sellers, and students and faculty members I didn’t know. I’m not sure who all ended up speaking, but this was the official roster in advance:
- Todd Shaw – Associate Professor of Political Science
- Zechariah Willoughby – Student
- Christian Anderson – Associate Professor of Education
- Steve Benjamin – Former UofSC Student Body President & Mayor of Columbia
- Jennifer Clyburn Reed – Alumna & Center Director, College of Education
- Elizabeth Regan – Department Chair, Integrated Information Technology
- Bakari Sellers – Law School Alumnus & Former SC State Representative
- Lyric Swinton – Student
And all through it, I kept wondering what I’ve been wondering from the start about all this: What’s Henry McMaster’s motivation? Why stir this pot?
The thing is, what he’s done is get a lot of folks who didn’t care one way or the other about this Caslen guy to get all mad because of the ham-handed way he’s gone about it.
What will happen on Friday? What’s happening behind the scenes between now and Friday? Is all this worth it? And if so, to whom?
When I saw this this morning…
The Carolina Panthers say that a complex that includes a medical facility, a hotel, entertainment venues and more are planned for the team’s York County site.
I got to thinking about Coleridge:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery….
I guess that makes Dick Harpootlian the “person from Porlock,” since he’s the one trying to wake everyone from the dream…
I’ve been meaning to write about this, but when it was timely — on Inauguration Day, and when we had the State of the State — I was too busy to blog, and let it slide.
But now I’m thinking about it again, so…
A number of times lately, I’ve thought, Hey, at least one voter out there was listening to us during the campaign: Henry McMaster.
At least it seems that way. Everywhere we went, James and Mandy touted their plan to raise teacher pay and take other measures to make all our schools places where kids were well educated and teachers loved their jobs and didn’t want to quit. And James had a crowd-pleasing line he used with regard to his opponent that went kind of like this: The only thing Henry McMaster has offered our schools is to arm teachers with guns. I want to arm them with better pay, and with the tools they need to be effective.
The line worked, because Henry offered nothing to counter it. He didn’t talk about schools. Any reasonable person could be forgiven for assuming that he didn’t give a flying flip about schools.
Now, he’s all on fire for education reform. Which is why, after the State of the State, Mandy Powers Norrell tweeted this:
Got this text from my awesome husband during the State of the State address last night: Congratulations to the Smith-Norrell ticket for setting the 2019 executive and legislative agenda! #ManyWaysToMeasureAWin
— Mandy Powers Norrell (@MPowersNorrell) January 24, 2019
It’s great. It’s gratifying. But don’t think I think we deserve the credit (and I don’t think Mandy does, either). I don’t flatter myself that Henry is taking his cues from the Smith campaign. I do think he’s taking them from House Speaker Jay Lucas. And that’s a good thing.
(Oops, I forgot to use The State newspaper’s recent style. On first reference, and sometimes even in headlines, it’s always “powerful House Speaker Jay Lucas.” It’s become such a part of his title, I expect them to start capitalizing the “P” next. Back in the old mainframe days when we were on Atex terminals, we would have said, “they’ve got it on a SAVE/GET key…”)
Lucas has been wanting to get serious on helping our schools for several years now. Even though the Supreme Court has backed off on forcing the Legislature to provide all the state’s students with a better-than-minimally adequate education, Lucas really wants to do something about it.
And he’s willing to let Henry get in front of the parade and take credit for it.
And to his credit, Henry for once is acting like a leader and stepping out to do something, to lead, to be a governor.
His first two years in office, we saw no sign of that. In fact, when Lucas and others in the State House tried to lead, Henry lay down in front of their efforts. He only cared about the upcoming election. It was painfully evident that, on a twist of another of James’ campaign lines, Henry would rather keep the job than do the job.
The way he tried to block leadership on the roads bill was the perfect example. Rather than support the lawmakers in the risk they were taking, he vetoed the bill, and neither tried to offer a viable argument why nor made any effort to get lawmakers to sustain the veto. He knew they would override him. He just wanted zero responsibility for what happened. (Which reminds me of a postwar German phrase: Ohne mich. They could do what they liked, but without him.)
Now that he’s been elected governor for the first time, he seems to have decided he’s going to act like one. For a change.
I worked so hard to get James Smith elected mostly because of my tremendous respect for him, personally. I’d have been for James even if Henry had been a fairly decent governor. But I worked even harder for him because Henry gave no sign of being any kind of governor at all, decent or otherwise. It was an extra spur to my efforts.
And when we lost, we had little reason to hope for anything better going forward.
Which is why it’s so encouraging to see Henry accepting the mantle of leadership that the Speaker has offered him. It’s not as good as having James as governor, not by a long shot, but it’s something.
I applaud this unexpected development. And I’m daring to hope that something good will come out of it. After all, Dum Spiro Spero…
How did we win over Doug Ross back during the campaign (however briefly)? Well, I imagine a number of things went into it, but one think I know played a role was our stance on medical cannabis.
James won’t be around to get ‘er done, but I’m sure Doug will be encouraged by this release yesterday from Tom Davis, the most libertarian member of the Legislature:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
State Sen. Tom Davis
State Rep. Peter McCoy
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina State Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy released the following statement regarding their intent to file tomorrow, on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, a bill titled the “South Carolina Compassionate Care Act,” in order to legalize in South Carolina the use of cannabis by patients for certain specific medical conditions, subject to a physician’s authorization and supervision, and to legalize in this state, subject to regulation and oversight by DHEC and SLED, the cultivation, processing and dispensing of cannabis for such medical use:
“For the past several months, we have worked with law enforcement, health professionals, grassroots advocates, and other individuals and organizations to draft the most strictly regulated and tightly supervised medical-cannabis program in the country. Poll after poll on this issue confirms what we consistently hear from our constituents – that the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians do want physicians to have the legal ability to authorize the use of cannabis by their patients if those physicians believe it would be of medicinal benefit, but that they do not want to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.
“Our objective in drafting this bill has been to provide for a medical-cannabis program that reflects South Carolinians’ views on the matter – that is, to draw a bright line between medical and recreational use. We believe the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, a copy of which is attached, does that. The summary of the act, also attached, breaks down in detail the safeguards put in place to ensure that a medical-cannabis program does not morph into a recreational one. In developing these safeguards, we have looked at what has worked and what hasn’t in the 33 states that have already legalized cannabis for medical purposes.
“We acknowledge that the medical-cannabis program we propose is much stricter than the others; that is intentional. From the tightly defined list of qualifying medical conditions to the level of detail required in the written certifications by the authorizing physicians, from the prohibition against smoking cannabis to the imposition of felony penalties for the diversion of medical cannabis for recreational use, and from the mandatory use of seed-to-sale tracking systems to the testing of medical cannabis by independent testing laboratories, we believe the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act draws the bright line between medical and recreational use of cannabis that the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians want.
“We will have a press conference at the State House in Columbia at 4 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, January 14, 2018, to review the provisions of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act in detail and to answer questions about that act.”
Tom notes that polls show a supermajority of South Carolinians favor the change. Well, he’d better get a supermajority of votes in the General Assembly, because the guy who won the governor’s race doesn’t hold with it.
If we’d won, he wouldn’t have that problem.
Just saw this, which gave me flashbacks:
— 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…
In a comment on a previous post, Scout was talking about how James Smith did better than Democrats usually do in her Lexington County precinct. She went on to say:
James got significantly more votes than Sheheen did against Haley the first time around in actual vote numbers (not percentages), but the turnout was just bigger all around, so it still wasn’t enough.
Clearly James got more democratic votes than typically happens around here. But again, It just still wasn’t enough…
That got me to thinking about this: Statewide, James not only got a lot more votes than Democrats usually do; he got way more votes than Republicans usually do. Consider:
- In 2006, Mark Sanford won with 601,868 votes.
- In 2010, Nikki Haley won with 690,525 votes.
- In 2014, Nikki won even bigger with 696,645 votes.
- In 2018, James got 784,182 votes — and lost.
It’s sort of a cliche that big turnout favors Democrats. Not this time.
One explanation I’ve heard is that the S.C. population is growing rapidly — and that a lot of the newcomers are people who don’t know squat about either Henry or James, but brought the habit of voting Republican along with them when they came here.
But obviously that’s not the whole answer. A lot of other factors were at work here.
For us on the Smith campaign, that outcome is counterintuitive. The lack of enthusiasm for Henry even among Republicans was palpable throughout this campaign. He barely squeaked by in a runoff in his own party’s primary, and was particularly weak in the Upstate — which is one reason why James did about 20 percentage points better than Vincent Sheheen had done in Greenville.
All over the state, we could see that almost no one wanted a McMaster sign in his front yard. My brother, who lives in a Republican neighborhood in Greenville, kept sending me pictures of Smith/Norrell signs next to signs for Republicans running for other offices. I thought maybe he was just noticing the things he wanted to see, but when I spent the day up there before the second debate and drove around looking, I saw the same thing — Smith signs everywhere, McMaster signs almost nonexistent. (And I’m not the kind of guy who fools himself into seeing only what pleases him. I’m hypercritical — always looking for the things that are WRONG — and attach great importance to bad news. Every McMaster sign I saw during the campaign was like a kick in the gut. But during all those months, I got very few kicks in the gut.)
It would be foolish to go by yard signs alone in trying to predict an outcome (so you can save your breath telling me that), but the McMaster sign deficit was so HUGE that I kept thinking it was a ruse of some sort. Maybe the McMaster campaign was deliberately holding the signs back, and they’d all go up in the last few days before Election Day to give him and his supporters a psychological boost, and discourage our voters. Or something. The lack of red signs was just weird.
(One day shortly after joined the campaign in July, I drove past the McMaster headquarters on Gadsden Street behind the governor’s mansion. The yard was full of signs, and I thought, so that’s where they all are! I almost did a blog post about it, but decided it would be unseemly given my role in the campaign. Anyway, I figured that sooner or later, I’d start seeing them scattered across the state in great profusion, and then I’d regret having made fun. But it never happened…)
Obviously, it seemed to us, we had the enthusiasm advantage. We weren’t counting our chickens or anything, because we knew the odds were always against a Democrat. But we had some things to feel good about. And the reason I’m talking about the sign thing, as insignificant as it it, is that it was something tangible I can point out to you.
It stood to reason that McMaster would get the votes of people who always voted Republican, but from what we could see, that was about it — and he wouldn’t get all of those (we were seeing and hearing a lot of indicators on that point). So how is it that there was both a big turnout, apparently with lots of people who had never voted for governor in previous years, and Henry still won?
It’s impossible to know for sure, but we can speculate…
The P&C brings us twin stories today about the continuing ill effects of Trump’s tariffs — up to which McMaster will not stand (I’m nothing if not grammatical). Of course, they’re doing what anyone with any understanding of the way the world works would expect: threatening some of the best jobs in the state:
- Volvo cancels plans to ship SC-made cars to China — for now
- Exports of South Carolina-made BMWs drop again in face of China tariffs
I’m not going to repeat myself. I’m just going to refer you to this release, and this one and this one and this one, and then stop there, because you’re probably not even following the links to those.
But yeah, we told you so.
And what did reporters keep asking me about? The next ad buy, or when some yahoo who plans to run for president in 2020 might be coming to South Carolina…
No, I don’t know how Keyser Söze did, but there were few surprises in tonight’s results. Let’s review:
- Henry McMaster. This should have been the least-surprising result of all. McMaster is the incumbent after all, installed by his party’s president, who owed him big-time. Any suspense there was in this race was provided by the fact that practically every principled Republican you ever heard of — from libertarian Tom Davis to business leader Mikee Johnson, from my own well-respected representative Micah Caskey to every other Republican who had run in the primary had backed his completely unknown opponent. Which tells you a great deal about the GOP nominee. He’ll be going up against James Smith, who won his own party’s nomination in a landslide on his first try. Interesting, isn’t it, to contemplate that this matchup is the doing of Donald Trump, Henry’s only well-known Republican fan?
- Alan Wilson. Despite the Pascoe probe — which was also a factor for McMaster — Alan easily blew by his opponent Todd Atwater. Another one that would have been predictable a year ago, but in the last few months it was a little hard to tell.
- Paula Rawl Calhoon won the GOP nod to replace Atwater. She advertised on this blog (as did Micah Caskey), so of course she won. Smart lady. When are all those other candidates out there going to wise up (the poor saps)?
- Sean Carrigan leading. This contest to see which Democrat will go up against Joe Wilson in the fall is the only one I got to vote in today, and I voted for Carrigan. But it’s still fairly close. With 77 percent reporting, he has a lead. (Update: The trend held. Carrigan won.)
- Lee Bright trailing. Here’s hoping the trend continues, and this is indeed the end of Lee Bright’s political career. But he still has a chance, so he’s still a threat. (Update: The trend held. Bright lost.)
- Joe McEachern trailing. Badly. But still undecided. Not sure what was going on in this incumbent’s 77th House district, but with 50 percent counted he’s significantly behind. (Update: The trend held. McEachern lost.)
That’s what I’ve got for now. Thoughts?
Oops. Wait a sec. Perhaps I should explain that this is a joke, before the cries of “fake news” start.
Anyway, I love this scene, and will use any excuse to go watch it again.
“Maybe we should get US some…”
I especially love the warning, storm-cloud look on Pappy’s face as he waits for what he just knows will be a monumentally stupid observation…