Wall Street Journal Article Takes A Page From Our Book July 16, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics, US Politics.
SCHISMS, SCANDALS AND EXCESSIVE SPENDING RIPPING APART REPUBLICANS’ “SOUTHERN STRONGHOLD”
FITSNews – July 16, 2007 – Former La Socialista reporter Valerie Bauerlien published a remarkable article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, a story that sounds eerily familiar to a lot of the stuff we’ve been writing for the past few months. Built around the inherently easy-to-prove premise that Republicans aren’t acting like Republicans anymore, Bauerlein ties together a number of recent GOP scandals with the general disdain Southern Republicans have shown for the limited government principles on which their party was founded. From the article:
Though there isn’t any sign of (Republicans) losing their dominance in the region, the once-formidable “Solid South” coalitions they forged in the 1980s and 1990s to end a century of Democratic dominion have given way to messy schisms and infighting. Today, they look a lot like the bitterly divided Democrats of three decades ago.
Not surprisingly, the story portrays South Carolina as Ground Zero in the GOP’s recent ideological U-Turn, with our state’s addiction to pork barrel spending, failure to pass school choice and the “Republican” appointment of Democrat Don Beatty to the Supreme Court figuring prominently in Ms. Bauerlein’s narrative.
Talk about a badge of dishonor.
Despite their control of nearly every elected statewide position and huge majorities in both houses of the legislature, South Carolina Republicans have been unable to deliver on significant campaign promises, including a program that would give state residents vouchers to help pay for private schools.
In May, a split among Republican blocs allowed a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans to engineer the selection of a Democrat for a rare opening on the state Supreme Court. The party’s once-tight control of state spending has weakened. The state’s current $6 billion budget now includes a $9 million grant fund for pet projects, such as festivals celebrating pork and catfish in various legislative districts.
Simply put, Bauerlein’s article is one of the broadest, most compelling indictments of Palmetto State Republicans we’ve ever read – a veritable stake in the heart of our state’s status quo GOP leaders, the vast majority of whom have abandoned their party’s core beliefs in the pursuit of more pork and more personal power.
Incidentally, Bauerlein’s article quotes one of those Republicans – House Majority Leader Jimmy Merrill – as saying his Charleston constituents frequently ask him why he can’t get Republicans “to act like Republicans.”
We’re not sure if Mr. Merrill had a mirror available when the question was posed to him, but the fact remains South Carolina’s GOP leadership has completely squandered its opportunity to lead and abdicated all the real power in Columbia to the Democrats – a costly and embarassing dereliction of duty which is now being played out on the national stage.
Just call it a cautionary tale …
After all, when Republicans lost control of the U.S. Congress in 2006 many blamed it on the War in Iraq, but often overlooked were poll numbers showing that 40% of the electorate had come to identify Republicans as the party of big government – a perception driven by the $3 trillion increase in the national debt that occured under their watch.
Things are even worse here in South Carolina, where Republicans have grown state government twice as fast as the national average over the last three years.
Of particular interest should be the fact that Democrats didn’t seem especially eager to jump on Bauerlein’s bandwagon, with former National Party Chairman Don Fowler telling her that the exposed Republican fracture “doesn’t yet necessarily portend broad Democratic comebacks.”
Of course that’s what Fowler is going to say. After all, when your party is effectively running the show, there’s no reason to rock the boat.