Beware the Ides of March: Wheeler Tillman and that good ol’ mudslinging

It’s getting deep early in South Carolina politics as those who believe anything goes in the name of electing their candidates pull out all the stops to win. One such hare-brained effort backfired as those who hoped to oust Horry County Senator Luke Rankin actually helped secure his re-election when his challenger was so disgusted by their negative attacks that he withdrew from the race rather than be associated with mudslinging.

We’ve seen dirty campaign tricks backfire, but we’ve never seen them end a race before it even got started.

Yesterday, we touched on another race which seems headed down that same disgusting “anything goes” path, where a press release featuring loaded language in the race for House Seat 117 went a’flying, aimed squarely at the GOP primary opponents of Tim Scott:

Not to miss out on a good time (but really, our idea of a good time usually involves alcohol, women, and old Miami Vice or Reno 911 re-runs), and knowing one of the candidates in the race (Wheeler Tillman), we decided our first fact-checking target of the season would be their media release. We weren’t really surprised when they started acting proclaiming their innocence in a manner we haven’t seen since the O.J Simpson trial, calling their comments about Wheeler an “honest mistake”.

When all was said and done, they kept insisting it was a mistake, and we kept thinking we’d just been served a heapin’ helping of total bullshit. So much so that we were reminded from this part from Julius Caesar:


The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honorable men.

Yep, all honorable men. No doubt about it.

In my day job as a corporate communication and PR hack, I’ve NEVER made so many mistakes in a single press release. There’s no way that someone in my profession can screw up so bad without someone getting fired. While it's hard to understand how someone can blow it that bad, it's even harder to understand how someone could survive this without getting their proverbial tit in a wringer - unless it was sanctioned.


In any event, Wheeler sent us a response, and we felt that since we allowed them to post a response comment, that we should allow him to do the same, so here it is:

Some group in Columbia, SC has endorsed Tim Scott and are criticizing me for being a former Democrat. By implication, that Columbia group is also criticizing former Democrats Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, Arthur Ravenel, John Graham Altman, and a host of others.

My first political contribution was a $25.00 donation to the Charleston County Republican Party in 1968 while serving in the Air Force in Vietnam. Since then, I have donated thousands of dollars to county and state parties.

In the 1970s, I served in the state House with Mendel Rivers, Jr, Bob Kohn and the late John Bradley. Without question these were my political allies on conservative values in the SC House and they became my very best friends. I voted so often with Republicans Bob Kohn and John Bradley that they regularly asked me to switch parties. It was 1990 when I finally took their advice.

When I left the House in 1980, I supported Republican Danny Winstead against his Democrat challenger Ira Beach. I gave Danny my voting data, lists and notes on the House District voters. That year, I also contributed to Glenn McConnell in his first campaign for the State Senate. Later, while in a law practice with Glenn, our office handled thousands of his Republican political calls, and I was glad to help with them.

When Mendel Rivers, Jr., also a former Democrat, ran in the 1994 Republican Primary for Congress, I was one of his surrogate speakers and contributed $1,000 to his campaign. Brenda, who is now my wife, also contributed $1,000 to his campaign.

In addition to all of this, I have been the Republican Executive Committeeman for my precinct for the past 16 years. If they don’t think this qualifies me as a good and loyal Republican, well-qualified to run under my party’s banner, I know many other Republicans who would strongly disagree with them. In the last day, I have heard from dozens of Republicans who have repudiated their comments and believe I am a good conservative Republican, loyal to my party and our shared conservative principles.

Perhaps they should have taken the time to meet with me, as they have with other candidates, before casting judgment.

We don’t know about you, but in our book, that statement says all that we need to hear about Wheeler Tillman’s qualifications.

If this is how the filing period is going, we’re not sure if we want to see how far downhill things are going to go between now and June 10.

Beware the ides of March.

14 Response to "Beware the Ides of March: Wheeler Tillman and that good ol’ mudslinging"

  1. Anonymous 26/3/08 07:17
    Earl, perhaps this bunch needs one of those drug tests you say you keep in your car.

    Does that test detect the presence of Extremist-flavored Kool Aid?
  2. west_rhino 26/3/08 08:32
    The most reprehensible thing I find in this mess is that Tim Scott doesn't need a 527 or equivalent meddling in this race, particularly one displaying the adroitness of a Barney Fife with a loaded revolver.

    In a year that we've been assailed with claims to the mantle of Reagan by so many "I are a heffalump and rePublikan too", I have to say, "There you go again", as they _try_ to implement a "MAGICKAL Reagan formulae, portion or alogrithm". Instead their campaigns and those acting on their behalf fall into the Clinton politics of personal destruction.

    If you're here to bury Caesar, then bury Caesar, but as Cassius, attack dogs seeking to curry favour in a elected are "honorable men". Endorse your candidate and edify him, don't piss on the feet of clay of his opponent, lest that prove to be the mud of a loyal campaigner for the same cause, unveiling his well broken in combat boots.

    I'm only sorry that we don't have the talent and charisma of Tim or Wheeler to run in the 119 race against a Stavarnakis whose legislative accompishment seems to be renaming a stretch of US 17 for the victims of what still appears to be more stagnation and corruption in Emperor Joe's Charleston.
  3. Anonymous 26/3/08 09:23
    I'd vote for the guy. Not only that, but I'd vote against anyone such a group would endorse.

    He sounds like a good man. Anyone who sends financial support while serving overseas is the most hardcore Republican anyone can find.

    Shame on them for their insulting treatment!
  4. Anonymous 26/3/08 10:36
    Since I couldn't find an email link, I am posting this, but you'd better delete it once you read it!!!

    RINOs and turncoats like you are the problem, and you can count the days until we fix you once and for all. You have no idea who you are messing with or what we can do to you.

    People have no idea about your black daughter and the fact you've been divorced twice. We'll tell them that, for starters, and if you don't get the message then, you will be helpless but to watch your world tumble down around you.

    You think this is funny, but you will soon find out who really runs things around here. It's a new day and a new ball game.

    Payback is coming, and real soon.
  5. Earl Capps 26/3/08 10:41
    anon 1036, guess what? i didn't delete it. if they didn't know this about me by reading my past postings, i suppose they will now.

    what's next? you gonna nuke summerville to get my attention?
  6. Anonymous 26/3/08 10:52
    wow, you seem to be making someone mad out there.
  7. KDR 26/3/08 22:03
    To the lovely person that left this comment "Payback is coming, and real soon." I doubt that Earl happens to be the souce of any real problems locally or anywhere else for that matter. Why don't you keep you worthless threats to yourself and spend your time on something more productive, like taking a long walk off a short pier.

    Thanks for you Earl...you are GREAT!!!
  8. nogales south of the border moye 26/3/08 22:54
    Earl you trying to stir that pot again. Let me know and I will bring the dessert.
  9. Howie Rich 27/3/08 08:26
    If I can find a way to buy a nuke, I will. I love to get my way. That's why I spend so much money trying to buy state governments. Folks on my payroll do such a good job. You need some money?
  10. Anonymous 27/3/08 11:31
    forget stirring the pot. start smoking it. all of you might learn to chill out then.
  11. Anonymous 28/3/08 18:46
    Earl,Back on the Wheeler Tillman wagon eh?The only role Wheeler has in this race is whether he can force a runoff between Scott and Crosby.The question for Scott is can he convince the Berkeley county portion of the district which is like 65% or so of it to go with a Charleston County guy.Wheeler is a nice guy but his time has gone.
  12. Earl Capps 28/3/08 22:33
    1846 - Wheeler came real close to upsetting Dantzler in '02, in spite of being outspent and pummeled with some nasty - and false - attacks in the closing stretch.

    He ran about equally on both sides of the county line, which is a feat that both Tim and Crosby will be hard pressed to repeat. As you point out, that may well be a key factor in the race.

    Crosby's performance in the Senate race showed that he's not as strong as he'd like to think. With the flak they're taking over the sewer rates on Berkeley Council, he's not getting off to a good start.

    Actually, I spoke up for Wheeler, because I knew him and his record in the GOP. To be honest, they owed both him and Crosby the same degree of fairness. Their shots were sloppy and unfair.

    I'm sure you'd stick up for your friends in a similar manner, wouldn't you? Whoever you are and whoever they are.

    My primary concern for the next four weeks will be divided between my Master's thesis, and a major project my company just landed.

    If you've ever gone to graduate school, you'll know there is precious little time for anything else.

    Then after going to college at night for 8 1/2 years, I'm going to vanish for a while. You're welcome to pick up my bar tab when I do.
  13. Anonymous 31/3/08 11:30
    Crosby will be hard pressed to win anything anytime soon. He's got the reputation now that he's just seeking higher office to seek higher office. (Not unlike Shirley Hinson, who would have undoubtedly had opposition in the republican primary had she not resigned) Crosby's association with County Council and their recent BOO BOO with the BCWSA is gonna hurt him. (Its gonna hurt Dennis Fish too, our all knowing CPA who sits on County Council) Tim Scott has better name recognition than Crosby and Tillman put together. Tillman is OK, Crosby is much to be desired, and Scott is going to mop the floor with both of them. It is going to be a fun election season in Berkeley County to say the least!
  14. Earl Capps 31/3/08 11:43
    You're probably right about Shirley drawing primary opposition, after the Senate race results.

    The current poo-poo boo-boo may well hurt Crosby, but time will tell. Overall, he's the one candidate I don't know, so I reserve personal judgement and rely on my readers for what they know of the guy.

    I'm not sure how it will go, but it seems like all three are pretty class acts. I can personally vouch for the character of Wheeler and Tim. I hear Crosby is a nice enough guy, and he conducted himself well in the Senate race.

    I agree with you that it will certainly be an active and vigorous campaign, but unlike a lot of past Berkeley campaigns, I think it will be a race between gentlemen.

    I have no problem with people pushing all-out to win, so long as they act in a manner which respects each other and the community they wish to represent.

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