Guest Cartoon: Jamie Walton - Whose fault

DeMint Labor Day event brings Romney to Columbia

While Tim Scott is hosting Rick Perry in Myrtle Beach, word on the grapevine is reporting that Senator Jim DeMint's forum in Columbia has landed its first major candidate.

Romney, who has consistently been showing decent support in polling in SC and elsehwere for the GOP Presidential nomination, will participate in DeMint's event. Other candidates and prospective candidates who have 5% or higher on the realclearpolitics.com 2012 Republican Presidential RCP Average were also invited to attend.

The event, sponsored by American Principles Project and organized with the help of First Tuesday Strategies (a consulting firm linked to both DeMint and Romney), will be held on September 5 forum at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Given the connection, it's not surprising to hear that Romney is coming.

Candidates will be on stage one at a time to field questions from DeMint, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and American Principles Project founder Robert P. George.

Tim Scott bringing Rick Perry to Myrtle Beach, Sept. 5th

While the location has yet to be determined, it is certain that First District Congressman Tim Scott will be bringing GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry to Myrtle Beach on Labor Day - September 5th. This is the third in Scott's ongoing Town Hall series, which brings 2012 GOP Presidential candidates to South Carolina for a discussion with grassroots voters.

The Town Hall will begin at 10 am ET and will last for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Doors will open at 9 am, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. This is the third candidate to participate in Rep. Tim Scott’s "First in the South" Presidential Town Hall Series

You can get more info about these events by visiting www.timstownhalls.com.

These events are a partnership between Scott and regional GOP and conservative groups: Berkeley County GOP, the Beaufort County GOP, the Carolina Patriots, the Charleston County Republican Party, the Charleston Tea Party, the Dorchester County Republican Party, the Georgetown County Republican Party, the Georgetown Patriots, the Goose Creek 9/12, the Horry County Republican Party, the Mount Pleasant 9/12, the Myrtle Beach Tea Party, and the Summerville 9/12.

Monday night with the Orangeburg GOP


Orangeburg Republicans gathered at the Cox Farm near Orangeburg for BBQ and politics at a picnic rally which was the most heavily-attended GOP event in the county in many years - and the Blogland was there.

Current and retired military veterans
lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Headlined by Senator Jim DeMint, who hosted a private reception prior to the rally, was joined by statewide officeholders Alan Wilson, Mick Zais, Mark Hammond and Hugh Weathers. Also making appearances were former SCGOP Chair Katon Dawson, now a major Republican fundraising operative stumping for Presidential candidate Rick Perry, current SCGOP Chair Chad Connelly, Beaufort State Senator Tom Davis and former Lt. Governor candidate Bill Connor, who led the color guard for the occasion.

Emceeing the event was the Jim Ulmer, the county GOP Chair.

In addition to great stump speeches, the backroom chatter about next year's statewide and even local candidacies made for great discussion. We certainly appreciated the hospitality of the Orangeburg Republicans. If you missed this event, you definitely don't want to miss it next year!

Michele Bachmann's dirty little pork barrel secret


GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has spent much of her five years in Congress (just one year more than Obama served in the Senate) marketing herself as the hero of the tea party crowd, touting herself as a strict fiscal conservative.

There's no doubt that the image she has crafted sells, but it's not one which is consistent with her record back home.

Fighting the "Florence Fix"


Growing questions about plans by Florence County Council to hire the current Council Chair Rusty Smith as County Administrator seem to be slowing down plans to fast-track a backroom deal. While it seemed as if the fix was in for a quick insider deal as early as last week, sources indicated plans to hire Smith were put on hold due to growing scrunity by local citizens.

The Florence Morning News joined those asking questions about the pending backroom deal when its editorial staff published an op-ed calling for much-needed transparency into the process for selecting a new administrator:

(I)n this very special situation, county council needs to make its selection process a wide-open affair that’s as transparent as a windshield on the done side of a car wash. They ought to do that anyway, in our opinion, but the slight odor of something awry emanating from the halls of power over this affair makes it an imperative. If people are saying the fix is in, then it’s a public servant’s job to do everything in his power to show them it’s not.

Municipal governments in South Carolina are required to maintain a certain amount of transparency when hiring a top executive. The state’s open records law requires them to make public the applications and other materials associated with “no fewer than three” candidates who are seriously considered.

We think they ought to go further in this case, and have asked county officials do so. We’d like to take a look, and have the public take a look, at all the resumes received for the job. There are supposedly close to 100, but we’d think it would be worth the time to look, just so we’d know how many really qualified candidates there are and to understand what choices council had before they do or do not select Smith.

We couldn't agree more. The current administrator will be on the job until November. While it's important to have someone on the job in enough time to ease the transition, that's no excuse to fast-track an insider deal without transparency and fairness for both taxpayers and applicants alike.

We'll be sure to keep you posted.

Florence County: Back-room politics update

On Thursday, Florence County Council is expected to meet behind closed doors to do what politicians often do behind closed doors - do things they don't want you to see them doing. Like giving one of their own a free ride to become the next County Administrator, which we first reported earlier this month.

This is nothing new in Florence, where using the powers of your office to look out for your buddies is an accepted practice among officeholders - as well as fact that the voters to choose to elect and re-elect them. So maybe they're really ok with this taking place?

One former member of County Council questioned this pending insider deal and accused Smith of using his position on Council to benefit himself. In a letter to local news media, he asked Florence County residents to:
(A)sk your council member (and Rusty Smith):

1. How did Smith get the road to his home changed to a county-maintained road from a privately maintained road?

2. How did Smith get the county to keep his property taxes below that of comparable properties nearby?

3. How did Smith buy property in a county industrial park considerably below market value? Wasn’t the classification of the property in the park set for manufacturing, not retail? Also, how much park work benefitting Smith was performed while Smith was a councilman?

Mark your calendar: Sept. 5 - Charleston GOP Labor Day picnic

Charleston County Republicans are having a Labor Day picnic that you don't want to miss. Last year's event was a great one.

The event starts at 10:00 AM, and it's located at 1155 Eaglewood Trail on James Island, which is off Ft. Johnson Road near James Island High School.

In addition to the usual cast of GOP politicos and candidates who attend, they'll also feature conservative political comedian Eric Golub.

Mark your calendar: Aug. 29, Orangeburg - Joe Wilson & Jim DeMint picnic and reception

On Monday, August 29, 2011, Senator Jim DeMint and Second District Congressman Joe Wilson will be visiting with Orangeburg Republicans for a evening fundraiser and GOP rally:

Cox Farm
Deer Crossing Road, which is off U.S. 178 just west of Orangeburg

4:30 - 5:15 pm Private Reception with US Senator Jim DeMint and Congressman Joe Wilson

5:00 - 7:00 pm Picnic and Tea Party



Tickets for the picnic are $25 and sponsorships with admission to the private reception are as follows:

Lindsey Graham Town Hall tour hits North Charleston


In spite of a stormy night in North Charleston, a full house crowd gathered at North Charleston City Hall for a Town Hall meeting with Senator Lindsey Graham.

The crowd was clearly partisan, with many Republican Party and Tea Party activists from across the Lowcountry in attendance. When Senator Graham asked for show of hands for any Democrats, none were raised, then he charged into a 90 minute question and answer open-mike session with the audience.

The first focus on Graham’s discussion focused on fiscal issues. He warned that the Super Committee’s failure to meet its charge of identifying items to cut would result in across-the-board cuts which would threaten national security. He cautioned that his top priority is to protect defense funding: “you start with the Defense Department. That’s our primary goal“.

Mark your calendar: Aug. 25, North Charleston - Tim Scott town hall featuring Michele Bachmann


In the second of an ongoing series of Meet-The-Candidate town hall forums for Presidential candidates, First District Congressman Tim Scott will bring GOP Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann to North Charleston. The event will be held on August 25 at 7 pm at Trident Technical College in North Charleston.
I am excited to introduce my colleague Michele Bachmann to the voters of South Carolina, and I know she will find a deep base of support in our state. The town hall series is an opportunity for voters to ask candidates the questions that are important to them, and in the process, to determine which candidate is best qualified to be our Republican nominee and our next President.

Trident Technical College is located at 7000 Rivers Avenue (U.S. Route 52-78) in North Charleston.

The Tribes of Palmetto State GOP Politics


While I've tended to play free-agent, I've worked with all three of them over the years and (usually) enjoyed doing so.

For years, if you wanted to run for office in this GOP-dominated state, you had to visit one of the three chiefs — Richard Quinn, Rod Shealy or Warren Tompkins — whose Midlands-based political tribes regularly warred against each other, running competing Republican candidates. But just as the 2010 election saw a host of new faces — four new congressmen plus a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and treasurer — it also saw the rise of the next crop of GOP political consultants who are challenging the dominance of the onetime “Big 3.”

The tribal nature of S.C. Republican politics still exists, and it probably always will.

But the tribes are evolving.

Mark your calendar: This Wednesday, Pro-Israel rally, Columbia

State Representative Alan Clemmons is leading the Glenn Beck Restoring Courage Satellite-based Rally in support of Israel this Wednesday at the State House in Columbia from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This event will be followed by others around the state later in the day.

This event will include conversations between the South Carolina rally participants and Glenn Beck in Israel from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM with a live broadcast of the Restoring Courage Rally in Israel from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a chair, some sun block and your support for Israel. We want to show the world that South Carolina stands with Israel!

If you have any questions, please email Info@thelandofisrael.com.

Ghosts of 1968 & 1980 to haunt Obama re-election?

It’s easy to see why news of a potential Democratic primary challenge to President Obama should both concern Democrats and delight Republicans. History shows that those who are forced to fight for their party’s base are often doomed to one-term presidencies.

In the last fifty years, the four Presidents who faced strong primary opposition did not return to the White House the following year: Johnson (1968), Ford (1976), Carter (1980), and Bush (1992) while those who didn’t face primary challenges often won big: Johnson (1964), Reagan (1984) and Clinton (1996).

A President who has to campaign for re-election in the primary has to spend time and money trying to sell themselves to their base while neglecting the political center and moving away from the center to placate those voters, giving the challenger’s strategists valuable ammunition to use to sway more moderate swing voters in the fall.

Visiting the Summerville 912ers


The Blogland wants to thank the friendly folks with the Summerville912 group for their hospitality last night.

Senator Tom Davis was the evening speaker, chatting about his agenda in the Senate and sharing views on current legislative issues.

Obama's vacation and "unconscionable ineptitude"

As Wall Street sinks and resolving the budget impasse which set it off remains a vague work-in-progress, President Obama seems hell bent on doing something decisive.

Come hell or high water, the man who criticized President Bush's “unconscionable ineptitude” for not cancelling his vacation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (ironically Lousiana residents say Bush did better with Katrina than Obama did with the oil spill) is ... well, he's going on a ten-day vacation - and nobody can stop him!

It's interesting to note that earlier this month, British Prime Minister David Cameron canceled his vacation to return to handle riots in London. But while America's economy is burning, Obama is going on vacation.

Go Nukes!

Concerns over the supply of affordable electricity for South Carolina came another step closer to being addressed with another regulatory hurdle cleared for the expansion of the Midlands V.C. Summer nuclear power plant.

Inspectors from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave the project a passing grade on a safety inspection, clearing the way for the expansion project to seek licenses from the commission later this year. This comes after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already decided the proposed plants wouldn't have any serious environmental impacts.

Developed jointly by SCANA and Santee-Cooper, two new reactors would come online no later than 2019, helping address electric supply issues that have emerged as a key concern for keeping one of the largest sources of jobs in Charleston - the Alcoa aluminum mill, which is a major Santee-Cooper customer. As half the state's electricity is supplied by four nuclear reactors (nearly 30 other hydro, coal and natural gas plants supply the remainder) this expansion would greatly increase South Carolina's domestic electric supply.

Objections from environmental groups, including a failed attempt to organize a fundraiser featuring Bonnie Raitt, are expected to continue in an effort to stop the plant. Last year, environmental groups played a key role in stopping another attempt to expand the state's electric generation capacity when Santee Cooper voted to suspend plans to build a coal-fired generation plant in Florence County.

Meanwhile, the Blogland is still waiting to hear if some of the nuclear plant's oppoonents will agree to kill themselves to reduce their carbon footprint upon the environment.

Editor's Note: What's New in the Blogland

After a while of putting it off, I finally rearranged and revised the Blogland layout. The biggest change was the long-overdue updating of the sliding headline box.

The other noticable change was two categories regarding the 2010 election cycle were replaced with two new categories: Election 2012 and Guest Op-Eds.

The Guest Op-Eds category will (hopefully) give our contributing writers and cartoonists a bigger audience for their views. Engaging and empowering readers is a big part of what the Blogland is about.

Hope you like the changes. If you've got any feedback or input, feel free to email earl@earlcapps.org.

Guest op-ed: Is Sarah Palin running?

This guest op-ed comes from Blogland reader Charlie Lybrand. Lybrand has been the elected Register of Deeds for Charleston County since 1995. You can submit your guest op-ed, which will be printed verbatim with attribution, by emailing earl@earlcapps.org.

In December of 2010, I wrote a heartfelt endorsement of Governor Sarah Palin to this Blog in hopes that she would offer for the Presidency of our great country. Almost eight months have passed since my original article. I still consider myself a Palin Supporter. But I do have to tell you, my patience is getting a little worn.

I recognize Governor Palin’s announcement (in or out) is hers to make and not mine. But that doesn’t keep me from being Antsy. You see, having been through multiple primaries and six successful county wide General Elections, I’m ready to officially get this thing kicked off. Like most Palin supporters, I’m ready to get in this fight.

E-verify mandatory in SC on January 1


As someone in the HR field in the construction industry, immigration issues are nothing new. To try to keep ahead of the curve, as well as help refute the notion that we provided jobs to illegal immigrants, my company embraced the use of E-verify two years back and tasked me with verifying the company's new hires.

We've obviously done a good job of this as we passed a random compliance audit by SC LLR last year.

Not only that, but I've seen the system flag people. In all but one case, they chose not to contest being flagged by the system.

Thus far, the use of this system, which verifies employment eligibility against several federal government databases was voluntary. Employers could continue obtaining documents which 1) established identity and 2) eligibility to work in the United States and completing the I-9 form. Without E-verify, employers were required to accept documents at face value, even if they suspected those documents were fake.

Come January 1, that will change as all South Carolina employers will be required to use E-verify for new hires. According to the SC LLR website:

Mark your calendar: Aug. 29, Orangeburg - Joe Wilson & Jim DeMint picnic and reception

On Monday, August 29, 2011, Senator Jim DeMint and Second District Congressman Joe Wilson will be visiting with Orangeburg Republicans for a evening fundraiser and GOP rally:

Cox Farm
Deer Crossing Road, which is off U.S. 178 just west of Orangeburg

4:30 - 5:15 pm Private Reception with US Senator Jim DeMint and Congressman Joe Wilson

5:00 - 7:00 pm Picnic and Tea Party


Tickets for the picnic are $25 and sponsorships with admission to the private reception are as follows:

Mark your calendar: Aug. 25, North Charleston - Tim Scott town hall featuring Michele Bachmann


In the second of an ongoing series of Meet-The-Candidate town hall forums for Presidential candidates, First District Congressman Tim Scott will bring GOP Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann to North Charleston. The event will be held on August 25 at 7 pm at Trident Technical College in North Charleston.
I am excited to introduce my colleague Michele Bachmann to the voters of South Carolina, and I know she will find a deep base of support in our state. The town hall series is an opportunity for voters to ask candidates the questions that are important to them, and in the process, to determine which candidate is best qualified to be our Republican nominee and our next President.

Trident Technical College is located at 7000 Rivers Avenue (U.S. Route 52-78) in North Charleston.

Bachmann campaign attacks another reporter

It looks like the Presidential campaign of Michele Bachmann is getting known for it's "hands-on" approach to media relations.


Network news senior vice president Jeffrey Schneider said reporter Brian Ross was shoved Tuesday as security tried to block him from the Minnesota congresswoman while he asked whether she had to miss votes because of migraines.

Guest Cartoon: Jamie Walton - Obama's nightmare

Famous brats endorse Huntsman

The campaign for Jon Huntsman has a new strategy to boost their campaign. If you can't get big names to endorse you, just get their less-accomplished kids to do so and hope nobody notices the difference.

The most recent example was Jeb Bush - JUNIOR - also known as the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who attempted to suggest in a release that he played a key role in advancing the candidacy of Florida Senator Marco Rubio:

Two years ago, I jumped on board Marco Rubio's campaign when he was polling at 3 percent, and we made history,” he said. “With Jon, I can't wait to make history again.

This release was sent out so vague that even some Huntsman people thought the endorsement was from the former Governor, not his son.

We're as likely to buy that Bush Jr's role was the pivotal endorsement as we are any claim to greatness of the "brat endorsements" by Mikey and Tumpy Campbell, failed political candidates who campaigns attempted to cash in on the historic record of their father, former S.C. Governor Carroll Campbell.

Michele Bachmann holding clergy-only meeting at SC campaign stop

According to sources, GOP Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann will be holding a clergy-only private event during a campaign stop in Florence on August 18th.

However, we have no word on if reputed Bachmann supporter Cyndi Mosteller, a former Lowcountry Republican, will crash the doors at this event to confront people over their religious views?

We here in the Blogland take a dim view of those who tie politics and religion too closely together, which is a view held by at least some of those in the Bachmann camp. We'll try to keep you posted about this event.

GOP prevails in Wisconsin recall elections

Democrats unhappy with the GOP's stand against labor unions in Wisconsin huffed, they puffed and they brought in millions of dollars and hundreds of outside "volunteers". They targeted recall campaigns for six of the most vulnerable state Senate districts in what was a normally a reliable Democratic state. Polling showed leads in at least four of the six, including two by double-digit margins, while Republicans were barely clinging on in the other two.

While it seemed their plan couldn't fail, that's exactly what happened.

Democratic efforts to flip enough Senate districts to overcome the GOP's 19-14 majority fell short. Republicans held onto four of the six targeted races and carried just under 53% of all votes cast in the recall elections.

More cronyism in Florence County

If Florence County isn't one of the most crooked counties in South Carolina, it's certainly one of the most obviously bassackwards ones when it comes to ethics and local goverment.

Last year the Blogland talked about major conflicts of interest with Solicitor Ed Clements, known for a lousy prosecution record that might have something to do with his close ties with local defense attorneys, including one really whiny one who emails the Blogland to tell us "we don't get it".

Mark your calendar: Sunday, Charleston - Tim Scott town hall featuring Jon Huntsman


First District Congressman Tim Scott is building on his growing reputation by working with local GOP and Tea Party organizations to bring Presidential candidates to the Lowcountry in a series of Town Hall style events.

The first Town Hall, featuring former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, will take place this Sunday - August 7th - Charles Towne Landing, beginning at 5 pm. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Other dates will be announced in the coming weeks, with Michele Bachmann scheduled to appear on August 25th.

The First in the South Presidential Town Hall Series will be cosponsored by the Berkeley, Charleston Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry County Republican Parties, the Charleston and Myrtle Beach Tea Party groups, along with the Mount Pleasant and Summerville 9-12 Project groups.

For more information on the Series, be sure to visit www.timstownhalls.com.

Mark your calendar: September 17, 5th District GOP rally in Lancaster

Having teamed up to topple former Congressman John Spratt last year in what was the highest-ranking national-level political ouster in the state since the last Royal Governor fled Charleston in 1776, Fifth District Republicans are leaving nothing to chance, planning a big regional rally to start planning for next year's elections:

September 17, 2011 - 10:00-3:00pm
At the Buford Recreational Center
4073 Hurley Walters Road Lancaster, SC

This event is being hosted by all of the 5th District Republican Parties and the SCGOP.

I won't be there since there's a scheduling conflict with my wedding, but here are some of the people who WILL be attending the event:

Mark your calendar: August 29, Orangeburg - Joe Wilson & Jim DeMint picnic and reception

On Monday, August 29, 2011, Senator Jim DeMint and Second District Congressman Joe Wilson will be visiting with Orangeburg Republicans for a evening fundraiser and GOP rally:

Cox Farm
Deer Crossing Road, which is off U.S. 178 just west of Orangeburg

4:30 - 5:15 pm Private Reception with US Senator Jim DeMint and Congressman Joe Wilson

5:00 - 7:00 pm Picnic and Tea Party

Congratulations - it's a District!



Governor Haley, joined by over 100 Pee Dee residents and GOP activists, signed the recently-passed Congressional redistricting plan into law at a bill-signing event in Myrtle Beach today. 

During the bill-signing event, Haley congratulated the activists for "making their voices heard" and discussed a number of appearances at the State House where those lobbying for the Seventh to go to the Pee Dee region, wearing their "Pee Dee Wants the 7th District" t-shirts, turned the State House into a "sea of red".

This represented the end of the long legislative battle over the final location of the state's new Seventh District. Various plans competed to place the district in one of two locations: the Pee Dee and Grand Strand region or the Lowcountry based in Beaufort, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties.

Guest op-ed: Diane Carr, Partisan elections for York County

York County Republican Party Director of Communications, Diane Carr put out an excellent editorial response to counter the Rock Hill Herald Editorial Board Op-ed title: “Say no to partisan elections” (http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/07/27/3248477/say-no-to-partisan-elections.html#ixzz1TJpSxB1e). While Carr's response has not been published in the Herald, we've agreed to republish it here.

Blogland readers are welcome to submit editorial material for publication. All documents are published verbatim and credit is getting to the author. Send them via email to earl@earlcapps.org.

I write in response to the editorial published on July 27, 2011 titled, “Say no to partisan elections.” It’s interesting how the same old arguments against partisan elections at the school board and municipal levels are regurgitated every time the subject is brought up by those who are opposed to the idea. The Herald editorial did not disappoint.

We read that partisan elections would bring “baggage” with which voters would have to contend such as divided government like Columbia and Washington, “where political bickering and dysfunction often rule the day.” There may be other reasons those politicians don’t see eye-to-eye other than party affiliation. Many issues considered by local, state and federal lawmakers are important, complicated and have far-reaching consequences. Public debates are needed to clarify these issues and to learn constituent’s thoughts on matters that may affect them and their families for generations to come.