Goodbye Thomas

Three years ago, the South Carolina political world had just absorbed the reality of the upset of David Beasley's high-powered political comeback in the GOP runoff for the U.S. Senate. The key to that upset was Thomas Ravenel, whose late-starting Senate campaign surged to a strong third-place finish, and then shifted that momentum into DeMint's hands by his endorsement.

Two years later, Thomas' bid for Treasurer upset two veteran politicos in the GOP primary, and took out Grady Patterson, the longest-lasting constitutional officer and an American hero considered by many to be unbeatable.

Now, Thomas Ravenel's three-year rocket ride from a little-known real estate developer ended with a whimper, not a bang with his resignation.

In a state which has been rocked by a number of recent criminal scandals among it's political insiders, including Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Sharpe and former Governor Hodges' Chief of Staff Kevin Geddings, not to mention a string of indictments and convictions in Orangeburg County, Ravenel's resignation was yet another sad moment.

As a friend and reader of the Blogland, we're sorry this day had to come for Thomas, but we're also sorry for the people of this state, which must endure the embarassment of another criminal investigation amongst its highest-ranking public officials. We'll not comment to the continuing criminal case, except to say that we will trust the justice system to consider the facts at hand and reach a fair and reasonable verdict.

The humiliation of a fall from political stardom, along with the loss of millions spent on his campaigns was tough enough, but it will likely pale in comparison to the challenge of facing his addiction. As one who has seen friends struggle with addictions, visited friends in prison, and even lost friends to drug violence, we know the pain that he has gone through, and the pain, loneliness and struggle that lies ahead.

Now that his public life has come to an end, Thomas Ravenel has our best wishes and our prayers for his personal recovery.

21 Response to "Goodbye Thomas"

  1. west_rhino 24/7/07 15:00
    Were he a Kennedy, it would be excused, even heralded (behind closed doors).
  2. Tugboat 24/7/07 16:59
    the original post was compassionate, thoughtful and profound. regardless of your political pursuation, the hearts of all decent people will be with T and his family, hoping and praying for his recovery
  3. Lanneau 24/7/07 17:14
    Any truth to the rumor that Henry Brown will be our next Treasurer and Andre will run for Congress...?
    Tx Lanneau
  4. rhino_droppings 24/7/07 18:04
    west_rhino is full of rhino droppings.

    Grady was right! Character counts!

    Many "Republicans" wish they could take that vote back. Maybe it's not too late to get Grady back. Get the Governor to call him.

    Maybe if the Republican Party will apologize to him and S.C., maybe, just maybe he will come back one more time. For the good of S.C.
  5. wisconsin moye 24/7/07 18:48
    Thomas is a friend and I wish him well. I to know a lot of difficulties in life and he has a long row to hoe.
  6. Earl Capps 24/7/07 20:02
    Droppings - the Governor cannot call him back to duty. The General Assembly will select the new Treasurer, and from what I understand, Grady is not on the list of candidates.

    Nor should he be. He is far past the point where he can take executive responsibility for that office. Watching the video footage of his rambling and wild remarks to The State's editorial board should have made this abundantly clear.

    As a WWII veteran with over four decades in civil public service, he has earned the right to retire with the respect and appreciation of the people of the state. No further duty should be asked, or expected, of someone who has given so much of himself.

    Republicans owe Mr. Patterson no apology for voting to replace him with Ravenel. At no point has anything appeared which has indicated any wrongdoing in office by Mr. Ravenel, or failure to do his job.

    Mr. Patterson should stay away and enjoy his retirement. The only apologies owed to Mr. Patterson are by those Democrats who pushed him to remain in office to suit their strategic political goals.
  7. wisconsin moye 24/7/07 21:32
    Well said.
  8. Anonymous 25/7/07 08:42
    Forget Goodbye Thomas, what about Goodbye Earl?
  9. political_observer 25/7/07 09:55
    Earl for Governor!
  10. Earl Capps 25/7/07 09:59
    someone sick enough to propose that deserves to be taken out back and shot.

    if elected, my very first act would be to demand a recount. certainly people can't be THAT stupid. but should it happen, a state stupid enough to elect me would deserve whatever happened to them.

    i am not fit to serve, or do i intend to give up my life and a good job in the private sector, to serve.

    PolOb - if you suggest something like that again, i'll hunt you down, wherever you hide ...
  11. west_rhino 25/7/07 14:04
    drippings how cute!

    Grady though has been beaten twice and won't be reappointed.
  12. Anonymous 25/7/07 14:48
    Thank you for mentioning that Thomas is a human being and most of all we should pray that he will get past this with the help of his family and friends.
    In my view, this in no way means that he did a poor job as Treasurer. He was the right choice-it's just unfortunate that it has ended this way for him and SC.
  13. rhino_droppings 25/7/07 16:22
    Earl, Sighhh, we know the governor can't call Grady back. He wouldn't come back now anyway.

    You don't know Grady. He is still up to the job, and S.C. would have been far better off reelecting him - for more than one reason.

    Real "insiders" saw this coming but never did anything but cross their fingers and hope for the best.

    P.S. No one pushed him to run. You made that up. Remember, character counts.
  14. Anonymous 25/7/07 16:44
    you know what else counts? being in good enough health to drive oneself to work and not seem like a senile blithering idiot in that State editorial board review.

    i know you probably worked in that office and lost your job when grady left, and maybe you did a good job running things.

    but real character is knowing when to say when. Grady forgot that, and if Thomas hadn't retired him, he'd have continued to spend the last days of his life in that office, instead of off with his friends and family.

    for the puppetmasters who really ran his office, character is having the courage to allow Grady to go off into a much-deserved retirement.

    it takes a real character to take the last days of the life of Grady Patterson, such a loyal public servant, and shove into a back room in a state office for another four years.

    if earl made up one short line, liars like you made up his whole last four years in office as if he actually did anything himself, other than fall asleep on the job - literally.

    characters like you, who think politics matters more than life itself, make me sick.
  15. Earl Capps 25/7/07 17:37
    Rhino - I didn't make that up. I've heard this from a number of sources.

    If you think I'm a liar, please don't post here. I wouldn't want you to compromise your high standards of truth and ethics.

    As to the last anon - dude, isn't it a bit late in the day for so much caffeine?
  16. Anonymous 25/7/07 18:59
    The treasuer has been selected. It is a done deal. There will be a vote...but it is all done.

    Grady was just too old. I liked him, but he shoulda quit long ago.

    Such is life...
  17. Cathygsc 25/7/07 22:08
    I find it ironic (and sad) that GOP members blaspheme Grady Patterson, who may or may not have outlasted his viability, yet fail to remember that "their" senator had to be awakened to go to the U.S. Senate floor to make a vote and went straight from the Senate floor to a hospital in Edgefield to await his death. Only in a system driven by party politics instead of talent and moral character, do sad cases like T. Ravenel flourish. If people really did know there was a problem (and we know they did), how could the GOP have presented Ravenel as a viable candidate. Where were the leaders that should have taken young Thomas aside and told him the hard truth about himself?

    Instead, Ravenel was seen as the great "youth and vitality" that could oppose a senior statesmen.

    I guess it's like football ... doesn't matter how dirty you get or how you get dirty, as long as you win.

    Yep, sad.
  18. Brian McCarty 25/7/07 23:14
    The Thomas Ravenel saga is tragic. It is sad to watch someone with so much poentntial throw it away for substance abuse.

    That said, forget the Kennedys or whomever, Ravenel did the right thing stepping down and getting help.

    I do know know the details of the case against him, but I do know, that with his resource, Mr. Reavenl could have cried foul and fought out a long legal battle.

    Instead he stood up and said, "I am in the wrong, and I am leaving office. "

    While I codemn illegal drug use, I applaud Ravenel's taking of responsibility. It means he has hope of being a decent human being and leading a decent private life after his fall from grace.

    I have a cousin who is caught up in illegal drug use. I have watched him become a liar, a deadbeat dad, and deny still he has a problem.

    My point is, this could have went a differnt way. Even with family urging admission of a problem, must do not admit a problem or wrong doing.
  19. Earl Capps 26/7/07 00:07
    Cathy - I have criticized Grady Patterson's seeking an additional term, but I've never questioned the fact that his record of service is one of the most honorable and extensive in South Carolina history. In fact, I've been criticized by some for defending him as much as I have.

    When I last voted for Strom Thurmond in 1996, he was in relatively good health. Having seen him up close and personal twice when he was campaigning in South Carolina for Bob Dole before the Feb. 1996 Presidential primary, I can attest to this. I voted for him because he seemed to be in good health at that time, and it seemed reasonable to think he might be able to serve another term. Had he attempted to seek another term in 2002, in the condition that he was in at that time (as you say, literally months from death), he would not have had my support, nor many others who would have wanted to allow him to rest, as well as those who wanted a Senator able to fulfill the duties of his office.

    The allegations against Ravenel predate his campaign for Treasurer, but as they were part of an ongoing criminal investigation, should not have been public knowledge. So how could the GOP leadership have known?

    All one heard was whispers, but those who run for office when single are often the target of "swinging single" rumors, which usually ended up being nothing but vicious slime-ball efforts.

    Why they went so long, as they did when investigating former Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Sharpe, is beyond me. If they had reasonable evidence on a candidate for a major political office, the feds should have acted while there was ample time for voters to make other choices, and the parties to find other candidates.

    The only politicians who should serve life terms should those who get caught ;)

    Agreements and disagreements aside, I'm glad you finally decided to join the discussion. Hope all is well up in Clarendon County!
  20. Anonymous 26/7/07 10:11
    there is so much love here.
  21. Minnesota Moye 26/7/07 21:47
    All will be well in Clarendon County as soon as the GOP wins a race here. We will. Let the Democrats nominate Hillary or Obama and it will help us who live there and believe that America can and should be a better place. A place where character counts. Where a person is responsible for themselves and not the goverment. Rudy could be the first. Politics is like football as Vince said only winning matters.

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