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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines

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Tenenbaum Chickened Out
Jimmy Moore
August 23, 2005

Inez Tenenbaum

Tenenbaum is down and out!

I guess I was right when I wrote this column back on March 23, 2005. 

State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum announced today that she would not be running for a third term as the so-called "most powerful Democrat in the state of South Carolina." 

The Democrats have long bragged how Tenenbaum has been the best statewide vote-getter for their fledgling party.  But I guess that straw man has been burned to the ground with her sudden departure from a post she was supposed to easily win according to the hype from her own party.

This column from The State newspaper quotes one of Tenenbaum's educrat foot soldiers explaining that her idol always tried to present "positive leadership, but she was constantly undercut by the governor."

Oh really?!  So I guess it is Sanford's fault Tenenbaum has led South Carolina to become last or next to last in education for the past eight years, although Sanford has only been governor since 2002.  Do they really think South Carolinians are that stupid?!

After last year's belittling and disgraceful performance as the Democratic nominee against then-Congressman Jim DeMint, Tenenbaum proved she was more of a liability than a commodity.  Tenenbaum lost a lot of credibility with the so-called GRITs (Good Republicans for Inez Tenenbaum) she always bragged about in her speeches.  Talk about an oxymoron!  I don't know ANY Republicans, good or otherwise, who supported Tenenbaum then or now. 

With the double-digit walloping by DeMint in the November general election, I knew Tenenbaum was going to be vulnerable if she decided to run again for State Superintendent of Education in 2006.  Of course, people are STILL talking about her running against Sanford in the gubernatorial election and that very well may happen.  But not if Democratic candidate Tommy Moore has anything to say about it.

Tenenbaum's friends say she has been so down after getting her clobbered by DeMint last year and hasn't shown the interest in politics like she once did.  I am sure Tenenbaum really thought she would be a stronger candidate than she was for the Democrats last year and is flabbergasted that people don't see what she has done for education in South Carolina.

Actually, I contend that the people of South Carolina HAVE seen what Tenenbaum has done with education and they realize that it is a disgrace to be in last place.  With a likely formidable Republican challenger in Karen Floyd from Spartanburg, Tenenbaum decided it was time to pack up and run for cover before her failed education record would be exposed for all the world to see in next year's election.

Of course, the current state of education in South Carolina will still be a very hot topic in both the education secretary's race as well as the race for governor.  It is quite possible that Tenenbaum has seriously convinced herself that a run for governor against Sanford is worth giving up everything she has politically.  As I stated in my article in March, if she decides to "spend the rest of her waning political capital in a run against Sanford," then the result will be "her political career is over." 

Is a run for governor in Tenenbaum's future?  Perhaps.  But I think the handwriting on the wall has been there for a long time that the great and mighty Inez Tenenbaum was certainly set for defeat in 2006.  In the end, it looks like Tenenbaum chickened out! 




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