However, as the exchange of words has continued, I’ve grown increasingly concerned. But Sunday, after services were over, my priest, knowing I’m a political gadfly and hobbyist of sorts, asked me what that was all about.
All I could do is shrug and say “I wish I knew.”
When the spat reaches to that level of the public, any thinking person has to wonder just what in the heck is going on here.
This is about as bizarre as whatever motivated Patterson, who is well into his eighties and facing considerable questions about his ability to serve as Treasurer, to seek re-election in the first place.
Is Ravenel running against Grady Patterson, or John Rainey? Doesn’t he understand that time and effort spent on debating his fellow Republicans is less to raise funds and get his message out?
This continuing war of words may very well make people wonder if his party really is united behind him, and give Rainey’s criticisms a far wider audience than they normally would have received. This is not what one wants to do when facing a well-known incumbent who traditionally gets a noticeable amount of cross-over support from GOP voters for his re-election campaigns.
Grady Patterson is a real South Carolina hero. His record of service to his country, in World War II, and to his state as Treasurer, is beyond reproach. Patterson’s legacy of service, like many of his generation, leaves a strong legacy and challenge to those who follow. However, in his later years, he has earned the right to retire. His last point was proven in 1998, when he took back his job. His re-election may well result in the sacrifice of what little time he has left to rest on his laurels and enjoy a well-deserved retirement.
Of course, this presumes that he shows up for work, and that he's not on deep freeze in some morgue so as to assure his loyal supporters ... uh, staff members ... continued job security.
To win, Thomas Ravenel has to show he has the character and leadership abilities to match those of Patterson’s. He can ill afford to come across as petty, immature, and confrontational, especially against an incumbent whose campaigns have stressed Patterson’s record of commitment to public service, and his personal character.
Many in Patterson’s generation learned to aim their weapons towards the enemy and use them with powerful effect. This seems to be a lesson Ravenel has yet to learn.