The candidates are coming!
January 29, 2004
The candidates are coming! The candidates are coming! Or is it "They'rrrrree herrrrreeee."
Is Greenville really as hyped up about tonight’s Democratic debate as some seem to think we are? Maybe the average citizen is – maybe he isn’t. However, looking through the paper this morning, except for a few paragraphs I would think that everyone in Greenville is a Democrat and that we are waiting with baited breath to hear the pearls of wisdom from the Peace Center stage.
Dan Hoover quoted Kerry spokeswoman as saying about the Clyburn endorsement, "This is a significant sign of support throughout South Carolina for John Kerry and his plan to change America." Sure, it might be a significant sign of support amongst Democratic South Carolinians, but that is the point. South Carolina is anything but a Democratic power base and Greenville even less so.
Hoover does make the point when he writes;
"There’s a certain incongruity to national Democrats debating amid convention-like hoopla in the Republican heartland of a GOP-dominated state that their presidential nominees avoid.
Actually, it appears that many are hyped about the event, not for its political value but its exposure of downtown Greenville. Let’s face it, it is a feather in Greenville’s cap that the city was chosen over several other states and cities. I do hope that the coverage is positive and the city is shown in its best light. I hope they won’t be disappointed. National network television reporters are notorious for seeing only what they want to see.
In Greenville, the driving force in the 4th Congressional District, Democrats mount only token, if any, opposition to Republican incumbents."
I also have to hand it to Joe Erwin for landing the event. Frankly, this is where I believe much of the excitement stems. There is no doubt that there are Democrats and some RINOs who want to see a resurgence of the SCDP. With determination and effectiveness, Joe Erwin has infused some life in the Party. This debate goes a long way in getting exposure, not just for our city, but South Carolina’s "other political party." Perhaps it could go down in history as a turning point for that party’s resuscitation.
Paul Hyde, on today’s The Greenville News editorial page, welcomes the Democrats to an "uneasy state." He believes there is room for the Democrats to make inroads into the independent-minded South Carolina voter. He maintains we are worried. He points to "rising health-care costs, skyrocketing college tuition, thousands of teacher layoffs and big property tax increases" as reasons for this angst.
Where I think Paul might be wrong is that South Carolinians will take seriously the positions of the candidates on how to counter these problems. The reason why there are Democrats and Republicans is not so much how people view specific issues as their philosophy toward government. Traditionally, we have not been a state that looks for the government solution – unless you are a Democrat in South Carolina.
But as Beth Padgett writes in the lead editorial "But for one night this town will belong to the Democrats." That is probably what has caused the excitement. Finally, if it is only for one night, the Democrats rule Greenville. It is what they have wanted all along.
All this takes place as the Republicans of the 4th District meet in Spartanburg to choose delegates for the Republican National Convention in New York. Their candidate has been determined. Their excitement will have to wait. So, for tonight, they will let the Democrats bask in the light.