Sunday, Nov. 7, 2004
need to do some serious regrouping
SC Statehouse Report
7, 2004 - - Theres a reason for adages like, Dont
put all of your eggs in one basket. Why? Because the
advice they offer often turns out true.
In the recent election, South Carolina Democrats seem to
have put all of their hopes for the partys future in
the U.S. Senate candidacy of State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum.
Now that she didnt win, the party is in a state of disarray
that may last for years.
Sure, Democrats picked up one seat in each chamber of the
General Assembly in the elections. But theyre so far
from retaking power in the House that the gain is immaterial.
In the Senate, things arent much better.
Historian Walter Edgar this week told The Post and Courier
that the party wasnt dead, but added, I think
its safe to say the Democratic Party is now relegated
to permanent minority status.
While state Party Chairman Joe Erwin says the party isnt
rolling over, Tuesdays election results reflect a remarkable
turnaround for state Democrats, who ruled the states
political roost for most of the 20th century. To get back
into South Carolinas political game, Democrats need
to start getting the basics of politics right again. They
have to have a serious internal regrouping that takes into
account several factors:
Stand for something. Its not good enough to run
candidates whose main message is, Vote for me; Im
not Republican. The party cant be Republican-light.
It needs to get back to real values of fiscal security, social
justice and boosting the public good. It needs to translate
its national roots from the days of Franklin Roosevelt and
John F. Kennedy in a way that means something to South Carolinians.
In other words, state Democrats need to capitalize on the
kinds of things that made John Edwards popular here earlier
in the year during the presidential primary process.
WORLD: Neck and neck to the end
Brack's right and wrong
Who's up and down
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Stop missing opportunities. In the recent state elections,
Democrats missed a huge opportunity to define GOP Gov. Mark
Sanford. While the governor is very popular with people across
the state, most dont realize he has accomplished little
in the last two years. If the Democratic Party had been thinking
past this election - - and not put all of its eggs in the
Inez basket - - it would have developed a unified message
for its Statehouse candidates to hammer again and again to
start eroding the Sanford image. Now with Democrats in disarray,
they dont have the credibility or political capital
to do much about Sanford. Bottom line: it looks like Sanford
will be in the governors mansion for the next six years.
Stick to a focused message. By having a focused message
and sticking to it, the party can build the foundation for
future successes. If it doesnt have focus, its members
will be flapping in the breeze.
Work together. Party leaders should start strategies
to promote party unity. If theres something they can
learn from Republicans, its that they should use the
power of their like interests to promote their values. By
acting as a bloc vote, theyll earn more power and respect
over time. Democrats are known for not penalizing members
who do their own thing. To continue such a practice
will allow the party to keep eroding.
Rebuild the machine. On local levels across the state,
Democrats remain contenders. But the state party uses old
precinct systems to try to keep the party alive. It needs
to throw away 19th century organizational models and rebuild
using new frameworks that incorporate, rely and value input
from local leaders.
Some who read this column might criticize it for promoting
Democrats. Thats not what it is intended to do. Instead,
its a clarion call for Democrats to start pulling together
and working in a unified manner because the states whole
political system will work better if there is a real two-party
If one party monopolizes power, corruption ensues. If two
parties work together to fashion real compromises on major
issues, better governance ensues.
South Carolina Democrats need to get out of the ditch, stop
crying about the recent elections and move forward. It will
make our state healthier.
11/7: Neck and neck to the end
The latest from cartoonist Bill McLemore:
Make voting changes now
To the editor:
Never mind not doing anything about this antiquainted way
of voting at present (See
10/31 commentary.) Let's make some changes now.
For example, I almost missed voting on Tuesday because there
were so many people voting and it was taking as much as 4
hours to get through the lines. I went home thinking I could
come back a little before 7 p.m. and I almost did not make
it in time to vote. It still took me 1 hour and 45 minutes
to go through the line at 5 minutes to seven. And I know that
some people did not vote because of the wait on those long
Here is what I propose: You people need to send me a voting
ticket of some kind at least two weeks before the National
or any election. I can than go over the ballot, complete the
thing and send it to whoever is keeping tally of this votes.
That way I don't even have to leave my house.
Voting on the weekend is ridiculous. We have other more important
things to do than that. So, changes to this mess need to be
done and let's do it now before the next big fiasco comes
about. Make sure you get those so-called lawmakers to get
things moving about this.
-- Nathan Zavala, West Columbia, S.C.
11/2: GOP provides role models
To the editor:
I read your "Brack Report" piece
on the "Southern Strategy 2.0." I have no objection
to your expressing your opinion but I do think someone needs
to set you straight on a couple of things. First is the importance
of role models in education. One of the single biggest and
most important issues in our country today is teen-aged pregnancy.
Virtually all communities are united in wanting to do everything
possible to combat and reduce it. It is impossible to do this
when a teacher is single and pregnant. And I think you have
read about the problems which the Catholic Church is having
with predatory homosexual (and hetrosexual [sic] too)
priests who prey on children. Most parents want no part of
homosexuals in positions involving young children while having
no objection at all to them in other posts. There is no need
whatsoever to apologize for these positions.
The Republican Party seems pretty serious about role modeling.
President Bush has not one but two African Americans in key
cabinet-level positions. The President himself admits to an
early drinking problem which he has clearly beaten. These
are the kinds of role models which are important to me and
I think to many others.
The truth of the matter is that the originator of the politics
of division in this country is the democrat party [sic].
Its infamous incitement to class warfare permeates its every
position on taxation and it never met an organized minority
it didn't like and didn't try to pander-to. I remind you that
it dominated the South for years until the electorate saw
what it really was.
-- Chris Hammond, Charleston, S.C.
Strategy 2.0 seemed to be right on track
To the editor:
Thank you, thank you for the report on Jim DeMint and what
his campaign has been about! He is an absolute embarrassment,
and if he is elected to the Senate, SC should be ashamed of
-- Christine Greenleaf, Charleston, 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:
Turnout. Hats off to the hundreds of thousands of
South Carolinians who went to the polls last week and participated
in the process of strengthening democracy.
DeMint. Congratulations to new U.S. Sen.-elect Jim
Morris. Prosecution witnesses testified during the
week that former Comptroller General Earle Morris knew more
about Carolina Investors' dire financial situation than he's
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