Observers of Governor Sanford's 2008 State of the State address felt the speech received a somewhat cold response ... and then when the Governor went outside, it was snowing.
For some legislators, the weather outside seemed to respond to the Governor's remarks better than words could, for indeed, it was a cold day ... in Columbia.
Throughout his speech, Governor Sanford presented a number of recommendations we liked and may endorse here at the Blogland, such as restructuring, tougher DUI laws, Workers' Compensation reforms, spending restraints and budget reforms.
Bringing in multi-media tools to enhance his presentation was definitely smart stuff, including You Tube, a fave of us new media types.
But the disappointing part of the night was his attempt to link opposition to restructuring to racism, through discussing the roots of the present state government structure in the racist, post-Reconstruction legacy of Ben Tillman's State Constitution of 1895.
We're ashamed as anyone else could be that this state ever attempted to institutionalize racism, as Tillman did through establishing the present system of government. While we don't support the continuance of the Tillman structure in state government, we disagree with the governor that this has anything to do with Tillman or racism.
In no way do we consider those who question the need for streamlining state government racists. They are, as we are, good citizens. Many of them may disagree about what may be the proper balance of power, but they disagree respectfully.
The least the Governor could have done was respect them in return.
We're sorry he didn't do that. Because he couldn't, we once again face the possibility that what was a pretty solid and constructive agenda may once more be undone under petty name calling and divisive rhetoric.
Sometimes, leadership requires more than big ideas and lofty agendas. Sometimes, the small things matter just as much as the big things. While Governor Sanford came to this office with the best ability to see the real problems since Governor Campbell, he has chosen to squander these opportunities by employing low-blow rhetorical approaches and petty political tactics unbecoming of such bold vision.
But attempting to compare his opponents to these losers had to be one of his biggest tactical blunders yet.
We hope that tonight represents a turning point, the low point before a long-overdue turnabout, but we aren't holding our breath. Instead, we saw tonight as business as usual - and a cold day in Columbia for Governor Sanford and his agenda.
Our friends over at THE SHOT, who we hung out with in the Capitol lobby during the speech, had some good quotes from legislators. Go take a look.
The Democrats were good enough to remind us they too had something to say, in their official response to the Governor's address, and it's worth a look-see as well. Since it's late, we intend to do a comparison and contrast examination of their response, versus the Governor's address, tomorrow.