Tim Kelly may be thanking God
over on the LaurinLine, and it's clear the Socialistas at The State
are barely able to contain their "unbiased" excitement
, but Karen Floyd
's concession today to Jim Rex
in the Superintendent of Education race has got us feeling more than a little bit blue here at FITS.
Sure, we wrote a concise, Why England Slept
-themed title for our blog (and make no mistake - these are certainly observations that somebody needs to put out there for public consumption), but for some reason our hearts just aren't in it today like they should be.
Maybe it's the gloomy skies or the sub-freezing rain outside, but for whatever reason right now we'd much rather be running a bubble-bath, lighting some candles, grabbing a glass of Shiraz, putting the Garden State
soundtrack on our portable CD player and escaping with the latest edition of Us
Seriously, somebody build us a Bridge Over Troubled Waters ...
But lamentably, this is show business, not show friends, and the show must go on. Accordingly, here are (in order of importance) the reasons Karen Floyd lost the State Superintendent's race:1. Vacillation on the School Choice Issue
If you went to a South Carolina public school, take your time with that first word - look closely, we know it's big, but just sound it out ... Ready? Okay, what that big "V" word means is that Karen was never quite sure where she stood on the school choice issue during this campaign, or at least she gave the impression that she wasn't quite sure where she stood. Voters can forgive a lot of things - even things that they vehemently disagree with - but something they usually won't look past is someone who evades direct questions and appears to be hiding something.
If you've never seen Oliver Stone's Nixon
, there's a great scene that runs during the opening credits that shows the future Watergate burglers are sitting around a table smoking cigars and watching a sales training video. "Don't forget to look 'em in the eye," a fictitious manager in the film tells a struggling salesman. "Nothing sells like sincerity."
It's true. Unfortunately, Karen gave up the ability to "look 'em in the eye" when she backpedaled on school choice immediately after securing the GOP nomination. The sad thing here is that no matter what she did in the general election, the media (see reason #4) was going to make the race about school choice anyway. But by ducking and running instead of sticking to her guns Floyd missed a truly unique opportunity - not only to educate the public about the positive side of the school choice issue (which they won't get from the papers), but more importantly to avoid the lethal perception, or in this case the reality, of inconsistency.2. Katon Dawson
Democrat campaign manager Trav Robertson
told reporters that he walked into his party's GOTV (Get Out The Vote) headquarters on Election Day and knew immediately that his candidate, Grady Patterson, and the rest of the Democratic ticket was in serious trouble.
Why? There was hardly any organization in place to mobilize people to go to the polls.
Against such a ridiculously understaffed, underfunded and generally underwhelming Democratic opposition, the Republican Party has absolutely no excuse for losing a single statewide race. Let us repeat that - no excuse whatsoever
Of course, Dawson could have atoned for his lack of adequate grassroots mobilization by having poll watchers stationed at all the controversial precincts to challenge ballots, but he somehow managed to screw that up, too.
In the end, Dawson's voice was among the most aggressive urging Floyd to formally challenge the recount results of the election.
That shouldn't surprise you. It's because his ass is now on the chopping block for failing to fully exploit a complete Democratic collapse.3. Jon Lerner
Jon was hot property following Mark Sanford's improbable journey from a Sullivans' Island basement to the Governor's Mansion. Now we see how much of that trip was driven by the candidate and how little of it was guided by the consultant.
Let's break this down in the simplest terms - Karen Floyd is attractive. She's tall, she's well put-together, she's got a pretty face, a nice speaking voice and unlike a lot of candidates out there (i.e. Drew Theodore
) she doesn't have a problem putting complete sentences together. In fact, she was probably the most intelligent, eloquent Republican candidate on the ballot in 2006.
Karen's strength in this race should have been her television advertisements, particularly given the huge fundraising advantage she enjoyed over Jim Rex.
When Floyd's TV advertisements during the primary were less-than-impressive, we naturally assumed it was a fluke. Then came the general election ads, which to our utter amazement were even worse.
Lerner's TV for Floyd was by far the biggest disappointment of the advertising wars this year, if not this decade.4. The Liberal Media
Okay, before you left-leaners start accusing us of right-wing ranting, notice that the top three reasons for Floyd's loss were all Republican in their orientation ... and just wait till you read #5.
And no, we don't think a liberal bias is the South Carolina press corps' default setting - it just was in this race.
Based on the coverage in La Socialista
, for example, it's not implausible that Mark Lett
, Steve Brook
and Bill Robinson
just got together one day at lunch and decided that since Jim Rex didn't have the money to get his message out, The State
would pick up the slack for him.
Seriously, Rex could have walked into an elementary classroom, pulled out an AK-47 and shot everybody in sight and The State
's headline the next day would have read "Floyd's Voucher Plan Criticized By Educators."
Now usual suspects Brad Warthen and Cindi Scoppe are editorial writers, which means they can say pretty much whatever they want, but Lett, Brook and Robinson are in the newsroom, which means they are supposed to adhere to a journalistic code. They didn't come close ... and not just to being impartial. They didn't come close to giving the appearance that they were even trying
to be impartial.
Seriously guys, does the Devil let you keep the change when you take him his cigarettes?5. The SCRG/ Josh Gross Ad
As much as The State
newspaper completely deserved to have a negative ad run against it for its biased coverage, the actually writing, producing and airing such an ad was one of the dumbest moves we've seen in a long time.
We don't know how much the ad cost to produce (after watching it, hopefully not much), but whatever cash, time and energy was spent on this poorly-written, completely pointless, kneejerk exercise in frustration, it served absolutely zero purpose.
Think about it - What might have happened if those resources had gone to helping Karen Floyd push it across the finish line - or at the very least educating the public about the benefits of school choice? Come to think of it, where would the school choice issue (and Karen's candidacy) be right now if educating the public was actually where SCRG had been pouring its millions from day one here in South Carolina?
This stuff isn't brain surgery: One out of three S.C. schools is failing or below average. One out of every two South Carolina school kids doesn't graduate.
We'll put it in capital letters: IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, YOU'RE LOSING.
Oh well ... the water's running, time to forget about all of this for awhile and relax.