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A House Divided June 11, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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Lincoln2

IS IT PARTISANSHIP IF THEY’RE ALL IN THE SAME PARTY?

FITSNews – June 11, 2007 – When Abraham Lincoln strode to the podium to accept the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 1858, he told the assembled delegates that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

By now, we’re used to government shutdowns, partisan brinksmanship and petty rancor in our politics. Especially in South Carolina, where elementary school put-downs like “I know you are but what am I?” often substitute for enlightened debate.

But with the Republican Party controlling the governor’s office, the House of Representatives and the State Senate, why is our government so divided against itself that it can’t even pass a budget?

More importantly, why has a party which claims to support less government, lower taxes and more choice for parents instead spent its five years in power growing government, swapping one tax for another and resisting choice every step of the way?

The easy answer is that former Democrats like Hugh Leatherman still control much of the political machinery in South Carolina – or that Republicans have had to cater to them as well as to current Democrats like Gilda Cobb-Hunter in order to get anything done.

But what, pray tell, has actually gotten done?

Republicans have held onto their “power,” alright, but government has grown by 40% over the past four years in the process – with millions of those dollars going to Democratic districts to buy votes during a contested Speaker’s race. Our top marginal income tax rate remains the highest in the Southeast for the average income earner, our standardized test scores and graduation rates remain the nation’s worst, half of our state’s population remains either uninsured or on Medicaid and our 1895 government structure remains hopelessly fragmented, inefficient and utterly incapable of meeting any of these 21st Century challenges.

On top of all that, a Democrat was just elected to the State Supreme Court, meaning Republicans can’t even claim that they stuck to the social conservative high ground while running our ship of state into the ground in every area that really matters.

Say what you want about former Speaker David Wilkins and former GOP Majority Leader Rick Quinn, but they would have at least never let that happen.

It’s time to tell it like it is sports fans – Republicans have officially coughed up the ball.

The party has no leader. It has no connection whatsoever to its supposed core values. It belongs entirely to an ambitious clique of twenty-five or so Republican Senators and Representatives who would rather preserve a system that maintains their influence than push for real change on behalf of the people of this state.

These “Republican” elected officials – people like Leatherman, Luke Rankin, John Hawkins, John Courson, Jake Knotts, Wes Hayes, Jim Ritchie, Joan Brady, Harry Cato, Bill Cotty, Mike Gambrell, Davey Hiott, Keith Kelly, Lanny Littlejohn, Bill Whitmire, Annette Young and others – form the nucleus of the problem.

But just as guilty in the debacle that currently substitutes for our state’s legislative process are Republican “leaders” who repeatedly allow these legislators to side with the Democrats, branding themselves as “centrists” while our state continues to swirl its way down to the bottom of the toilet.

If you had told us in January 2003 that our state’s Republican Governor, Republican House Speaker and Republican Senate Majority Leader would share the same podium in June 2007 for an end-of-session press conference, we would have assumed they were announcing another year of reduced spending and pro-growth tax cuts, an expansion of successful school choice programs and a further restructuring of state government.

But that’s not what happened. Instead we got a finger-pointing blamefest for everything that’s gone wrong – and everything that will continue to go wrong until Republicans wise up and “throw the bums out” of their own party.

Lincoln was right. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Of course, what he neglected to mention was that some houses don’t deserve to stay standing – especially ones that are rotting from the inside.

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Comments»

1. Sandlapper - June 11, 2007

Sic Willie, if you really want to understand SC or Southern politics, read,(or re-read) Robert Penn Warren’s “All the King’s Men.”Penn has Willie Stark say, regarding politicians, that “it’s whoever gets their snout in the trough when feeding time comes.” And that politics in general is “like three babies in a bed on a cold night with too-small a blanket.” Do you really expect our present -day SC Republican officeholders to be any different? They just can’t help themselves. It’s the nature of the beast.

2. Scott - June 11, 2007

Let me see if I understand this – We have a $1.5 BILLION surplus and these “representatives” want to give us back a mere pittance of what they’ve overcharged us?

Last time I checked, REPUBLICANS were supposed to support tax relief.

We need some tax relief…

3. Laurin - June 11, 2007

Honest Abe was certainly one of the greatest orators in our country’s history, but to give credit where credit’s due, he was borrowing from Jesus Christ with the “house divided” line. The line is in the Book of Matthew where pharisees are accusing Jesus of being possessed by evil.

It should also be noted that South Carolina has one of the longest legislative sessions of the 50 states, which makes the General Assembly’s failure to pass a budget on time even more ridiculous.

I’d be interested to see how much it’s going to cost the taxpayers for the General Assembly to go back into session.

4. G.L. - June 11, 2007

Seems to me that the only Republican leader who has stood above the fray, fighting for conservative causes while working to actually pass these important bills is the President Pro-Tem, Senator Glenn McConnell.

5. GKP - June 11, 2007

Please don’t complain about how little the General Assembly got done this year…it may motivate them to actually do something, and quite frankly the less they do the better. I say we pay them, make them stay home a year, and see if the state ends up worse off … or better.

As for McConnell, it strikes me that after taking 26 years in the Senate, working all the time to rise to a leadership post, “fighting for” conservative issues just doesn’t cut it any more. Kevin Bryant (first termer) can get by arguing that he is “fighting;” McConnell should be getting it done. We should expect more from him and others in leadership. If they can’t get it done now, they never will.

6. Gal Leo - June 11, 2007

G.L.:

Tell me again how holding up DOT reform represents standing “above the fray…while working to actually pass this important legislation…” etc. So important, by the way, that McConnell pulled himself from the conference committee?

If you don’t like what the GOP has done in the past couple of years, it is absolutely absurd to exculpate the leading Republican in the same breath.

7. Scott - June 11, 2007

Laurin,

The “house divided” reference is not only in the Book of Matthew, but also in the books of Mark and Luke.

8. Scott - June 11, 2007

How much does it cost to bring the General Assembly back into session per day? Maybe the Governor should let the people of South Carolina know how much money the legislature is wasting in order to come back into session.

Just think how many teachers we can hire? How many busses could be bought? How much more tax relief could we have?


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