Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
the sleaze merchants a message
SC Statehouse Report
17, 2004 -- Election Day in America should be a celebration
of freedom. But because of the increasing nastiness of political
campaigns, many only look forward to it so they don't have
to hear and see all of the sleaze any more.
This year is no different. While many South Carolina campaigns
seem to be forthright battles over issues, the exceptions
stick in people's minds, turn their stomachs and fuel more
apathy about the political process.
So far, the most egregious slimy example we've seen is in
a heated battle in Sumter that pits incumbent Sen. Phil Leventis,
a Democrat, against GOP lawyer Dickie Jones.
An oversized postcard sent by the S.C. Republican Party screams
in large letters that it's a fact Leventis "does not
support America's war against terrorism."
But in reality, nothing could be further than the truth,
Leventis says in a statement denouncing the mailer: "Everything
in the mailer is absolutely dishonest and they know it!"
of the GOP mailer being used against Leventis
Leventis, a retired brigadier general with the S.C. Air National
Guard, flew 21 combat missions in the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq.
His valor won him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
This isn't the only vile example. Others show neither Republicans
nor Democrats are squeaky clean:
- In Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell's race
in Charleston, someone has mailed a nasty flyer to McConnell
that shows a picture of him positioned to look at a picture
of Jesus. A caption questions why McConnell doesn't "confess
his sins" in issues related to the Hunley. No one,
including McConnell's Democratic opponent Justin Kahn, has
taken credit for the flyer and its distribution may be limited,
- In a recent GOP House primary race in Lexington County,
an e-mail campaign falsely claimed that candidate Nikki
Haley was a Buddhist and urged voters to support incumbent
Larry Koon, a Christian. Haley attends a Methodist church
and a Sikh temple with her family, according to The State.
- Religion-baiting also cropped up in neighboring Richland
County when some voters received "push poll" calls
that asked whether they realized Republican Ken Wingate
was "born-again Christian." A push poll is a questionable
political tactic in which telephone "pollsters"
ask loaded questions to shape voters' opinions. Wingate,
who is running for an open Senate seat against Rep. Joel
Lourie, has denied any connection to push polls, The State
reported. Lourie, a Democrat, is Jewish.
- In August, thousands of South Carolinians received a voter
registration mail piece from the S.C. Democratic Party that
was made to look like a draft notice. The piece, which Democrats
said was meant to shock people enough to encourage them
to register to vote, was designed to scare voters that the
draft was coming back, S.C. GOP Chair Katon Dawson said.
WORLD: Flu flasher
Brack's a hack; Brack's got it right
Who's up and down
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Don't look for things to cool down in the race toward election
day. But starting November 3, new campaign and ethics rules
may provide incentives that curb the amount of the sleaziness.
New rules will limit political party and legislative political
action committee contributions to House, Senate and municipal
candidates to $5,000 per election. Parties also will face
tougher disclosure requirements. The new law also seeks to
curb abuses of outside efforts because any group that spends
more than $500 to influence an election will have to disclose
what they did.
The new law won't prohibit parties and groups from sending
and funding sleazy political pieces, but they will have to
disclose what they're doing. And because such pieces would
count against the $5,000 total contribution limits, candidates
might want the money instead of the slimy help.
Dishonest, misleading campaign tactics will never go away
in the system. The best way to send a message against them
is to vote against the slime merchant. Unfortunately, if both
candidates are pandering with unsavory methods, about the
best you can do is vote for the lesser of two evils.
10/17: Flu flasher
The latest from cartoonist Bill McLemore:
10/11: Writer does a hatchet job on
(Editor's note: We publish the following
e-mail -- misspellings and all -- from someone unhappy about
last week's Southern
Strategy column. Two factual corrections: First: I have
only offered for office once. Second: The newspapers that
publish the commentary have all disclosed my past political
forays. -- Andy Brack)
To the editor:
in regard to southern strategy I wondered how long you could
constrain yourself by a hatchet job on the republican party-I
dare you in your next article to identify Andy Brack-long
time worker for Fritz Hollinhgs-unsuccessful candidate for
numerous democrat elected positions -in reality a Democrat
political hack-who needed a job in the private sector since
being continuously reejected at the ballot box-fortunately
there are plenty of left leaning newspapers around for you
to survive-You are a dishonest individual when you write an
article like this without giving the reader your background.If
you did we both know your credibilty would be suspect
-- Bill Roe,
Strategy 2.0 is at work
To the editor:
Congratulations, wonderful comments. Yes, those architects
of Southern Strategy 2.0, have yet to recognize the worth
of the above mentioned recommendations. Until they do do,
SC will continue in its backslide away from the realities
of the now 21st century.
-- Harriet Smartt, Isle of Palms, S.C.
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SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
Kent Williams. Hats off to Williams in his win over
Sen. Maggie Glover, D-Florence, for a Senate seat after a
long and drawn-out new primary election fracas. Glover reportedly
S.C. Chamber. Congrats to the Chamber for sponsoring
a study on the proposed property tax cap. Its study found
the cap would increase taxes on homeowners and small businesses.
Beaches. It's a real shame that SC's beaches are now
in worse shape than after Hurricane Hugo, according to a widely
Retiree pensions. Unless something is done pronto,
the state's 84,000 retirees stand to lose pension benefits,
according to published reports.
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get::
Hot issue -- an early peek at weekly commentary
on something really big. Last year, we continually beat
other news organizations in finding major trends in issues,
from teacher and budget cuts to wetlands proposals.
Agenda -- a weekly forecast of the coming week's
Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes look at what's
really going on in the General Assembly
McLemore's World -- an early view of our respected
cartoonist Bill McLemore.
Tally Sheet -- a weekly review of all of the new
bills introduced in the legislature in everyday language
Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down of major
political/policy events for the week.
Calendar -- a weekly list of major meetings for
the House, Senate and state agencies.
Megaphone -- a quote of the week that you'll find
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