Let's Play Who Wants To Be A U.S. Senator?
April 29, 2004
Ladies and gentleman, welcome again to the exciting game show "Who Wants To Be A U.S. Senator?"
Today's show is sure to light a fire under the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina (because Lord knows this race needs something to get it going...HO HUM!).
We will take a look at each of the contestants one at a time alphabetically.
Our first contestant is former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley. This likeable one-term governor, who has been compared by some as the "Republican's Bill Clinton," says his record on creating jobs and leading the state make him most worthy of being a senator. Beasley has had a relatively easy time during the primary campaign on his way to becoming the overwhelming frontrunner, despite echoes of his humiliating defeat in the 1998 gubernatorial election to archnemesis Democrat Jim Hodges. Not even his bold stands against video poker and the Confederate flag have become an issue in the 2004 election. With the Christian right on his side along with the ability to accept $6000 donations from his supporters rather than the $2000 some of his major competitors are forced to accept because of the new campaign finance law, this race is really Beasley's to lose at this point. Of course, Beasley's campaign consultant Richard Quinn desperately needs a win after several severe losses in 2002 as well. No pressure, Mr. Beasley. But how about showing up to a few debates every now and then in the Upstate if you expect to get elected buddy! Snubbing Upstate voters brings consequences you might not like too well come June 8.
Thank you, Mr. Beasley for playing and good luck to you.
Our second contestant is former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon. Always viewed as a "you either love him or you hate him" kind of candidate, Condon has stepped up in this U.S. Senate race as a champion for the war on terrorism. His background prosecuting criminals has earned him the privilege of backing up what he says in that regard. But Condon has a problem. Just as he did during the 2002 gubernatorial election when he came in a distant third place, his campaign is disorganized. When a list of GOPUSA interview questions was presented to the his campaign office and they were given a deadline, excuses were made ("we're too busy") that prevented them from getting the answers returned in a timely manner. Beyond this, the "new and improved" Condon has seemingly resorted to familiar ways this week as a new political "attack" ad against the DeMint campaign began airing. While the Condon campaign said it's just stating fact, the change in demeanor of the campaign that has resulted will remind people why Condon will probably not be elected to another major political office again. I like Charlie, but the people he has surrounded himself with have made irreparable mistakes. It would be a shock to see Condon facing likely Democratic challenger Inez Tenenbaum in November. Although The State's Lee Bandy would love to see that!
Thank you, Mr. Condon. Godspeed to you.
Our third contestant is U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint (R-SC). He has compiled for himself an impressive Washington record. As the only candidate in the race with actual experience on Capitol Hill, DeMint seems to be the candidate that could make the easiest transition across the hall to the senate floor just as Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) did in 2002. But wait just a minute. Outside of the Upstate, who is Jim DeMint? That's the question everyone wants to know. While serving in the 4th District has been helpful for DeMint since he took over Bob Inglis' seat (and the same seat will go back to Inglis in November!), DeMint's low-key nature makes him easy to overlook. He has tried to run a positive, issues-based campaign and has succeeded in being the best prepared of the six GOP candidates. But will that translate into votes. With so many in the race, DeMint's prowess in Greenville/Spartanburg is severely diluted. He must overwhelmingly capture votes in the Upstate if he has any chance of landing in the runoff. It's a large task for a little man. Is he up to the tall task before him? We shall see.
Thank you, Mr. DeMint for playing.
Our fourth contestant is businesswoman Orly Benny Davis. As the only woman and legal immigrant in the race, Davis has made it clear what her intentions are if she is elected to the U.S. Senate: return God to His rightful place in society and government. While that's a noble effort, Davis has a lot of obstacles to overcome. Like, who are you and where did you come from? Why are you better qualified than the five guys running? Will you provide a translator for when you are making speaking engagements? These are the questions people want to know. While she is a very friendly lady to speak with in person, I don't think she's going to make it in this race. Sorry, Benny!
Thank you, Ms. Davis for being a part of the show.
Our fifth contestant is Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride. This man has got to be the biggest jerk I have ever met in politics. Hearing this tall man in the flesh speak at various events during this campaign, I can't help but feel the arrogance eminating from every fiber of this guy. His smugness is quite evident inasmuch as he is contrary just for the sake of being different. That's all fine and dandy, but you've got to make sense when you disagree. McBride does not. He says this campaign is about jobs and terrorism. While those are two very important issues, the campaign does include a little more than that, Mr. McBride. When he was presented with the GOPUSA interview questions, I got assurances from the candidate and two of his campaign lackeys that they would be answered. However, when the deadline passed for the answers to be submitted, the candidate himself answered me by saying, "It's not a high priority for me" to answer questions that the voters may want to know about. McBride credits his work in the city that is the state's largest tourist attraction as evidence why he needs to be sent to Washington. What I want to know is how in the world did this guy ever get elected to ANY office with an attitude of superiority and pride like he possesses?! You know, if McBride was the last candidate standing, I would seriously consider voting for a candidate from another party! But there's no danger in that!
Thank you, Mr. McBride and good riddance!
The sixth and final contestant is Charleston real estate developer Thomas Ravenel. The Ravenel name in South Carolina politics is as deep as Bush in Texas and Kennedy in Massachusetts. And Thomas does not disappoint. He's arguably the best looking candidate of the six (Ms. Davis, notwithstanding) and displays a natural political style for a newcomer to the process. But on the few occasions I have heard Ravenel speak during debates, he has seemingly stumbled over what to say. Also, although I hear him often explain that he is a "Reagan Republican," a lot of people don't know what that means. Those of us involved in politics know exactly what he means, but do voters? Of all the candidates in the race, Ravenel has the least to lose. If he gets in the runoff, then he will probably beat whoever he runs against. But if he does not win this race, Ravenel has elevated his name statewide for a possible future run in 2006 or 2008. Regardless of what happens, he is a rising star in Republican politics in South Carolina.
Thank you, Mr. Ravenel and best wishes to you in the future.
Well, there you have it, folks. Your 2004 Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate.
Tune in to 1330/950AM WORD on Monday, May 3, 2004 from 3-5pm for a debate between the aboveforementioned candidates. If you live in the Spartanburg area, be sure to come by the Westgate Mall to see the debate LIVE with Ralph Bristol, Russ Cassell and Lisa Rollins moderating the event. I will be there because I still want to see who wants to be a U.S. Senator.
Until June 8, this is your host saying keep your mind open and vote wisely for who YOU want to be a U.S. Senator! So long!!!