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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Politics at high noon
Jonathan Pait
July 25, 2001

Last week Attorney General Charlie Condon decided to file a lawsuit against Governor Jim Hodges. Immediately, the conjecture swirled as to why he did so. Did this action serve as an important stand on the separation of powers or did political opportunism motivate the Attorney General?

Charlie Condon certainly has been an active AG. If he lived in the old west and he was as fast with a gun as he is with a press release, he would rule the streets of Dodge City. However, this activity and the publicity it garners gets in the way occasionally.

Remember Image Data? Remember the tobacco settlement? Remember the lottery? All of these generated a common response: “Oh, Charlie is just trying to get votes for when he decides to run for governor.”

Take the following paragraphs appearing in the Charleston Post and Courier during the Image Data discussion.

“Condon, considered a front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial election in 2002, has sued Image Data. Image Data countersued him for slander.

“Condon denied that politics have played a role in his fight against Image Data, even though his chief campaign consultant conducted a recent poll that showed 78 percent of South Carolina voters oppose Public Safety selling driver's photos to private companies to prevent credit fraud.

“The consultant, Richard Quinn of Columbia, denied he made the poll for Condon, who was aware of the polling.”

A wise man exhibits skepticism when it comes to the motives of politicians. Of course, with that many politician friends of The Common Voice may take exception. That skepticism forms the foundation for being an educated voter. The voter should not base his vote on the fact that his friend happens to be running for a particular office. The actions of a particular candidate should not be maligned simply because he will be running against a friend in the next election. Even the ideas and motives of a friend must be measured against law and conscience.

“Just the facts, ma’am.” The fact remains that a real danger does exist and Charlie Condon is meeting it. The fairly recent implementation of a line item veto option, a tight budget and a governor who wants his way lead to not only an imbalance in the budget but an imbalance in the powers of the legislative and executive branches of our state government. This situation calls out for clarity.

Do we sense the odor of politics? Certainly. Should that keep the action from going forward? Certainly not. Actually, Condon’s track record for success in these situations is not to be scoffed at. He that would stand in the street at high noon would be wise to be careful of the fastest release in the south.

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