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Monday, March 13, 2006

Meet the RINO Caucus


Their party stands for lower taxes, slower government growth, local control and individual rights - but this group of politicians wouldn't recognize those concepts if they flew up their backsides, lit a fire and started singing camp songs.

They're called RINO's (Republicans In Name Only), and in case you haven't noticed ... they're running the show here in South Carolina.

FITS is proud to introduce you to the leading members of the South Carolina RINO Caucus -your guide to the big-spending, party-switching, anti-change defenders of the status quo that keep our state first in everything bad and last in everything good.

President – Hugh Leatherman, Senate Finance Chairman (RINO – Florence) – Does he spend so big because he’s so little? And if so, what is that called? A fiduciary Napoleon Complex? The former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and mid-90’s party switcher is the biggest spender of them all, which given his position as Senate Finance Chairman and Budget and Control Board member costs South Carolina taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year, if not more.

Vice-President – Dan Cooper, House Ways & Means Chairman (RINO – Anderson) – The “Egg-tooth” is number two with a bullet after putting out a budget that grows government by 12-16%, and then picking a fight with members of his own party who dared to question it. Cooper showcased his well-honed gutter instincts last week by placing a spending request by Rep. Doug Smith, one of his budget critics, at the bottom of a budget priority list.

Treasurer – Bill Cotty, State Representative (RINO – Kershaw/Richland) – This Ways & Means committee member’s willingness to spend your tax dollars makes even Democrats blush. A long-time tool of the special interests and education establishment, Cotty is the guy you read in the paper whining about tax relief being for the rich and jeopardizing government funding for poor people – without providing numbers, of course. In Washington D.C., those kinds of class warfare quotes aren’t given by Republicans, they’re given by Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

Secretary – Luke Rankin, State Senator (RINO – Myrtle Beach) – Switched parties in 2003 to “better serve his constituents.” Translation – switched parties in 2003 because his district was trending Republican and he wanted to stave off potential challengers. Newly-emblazoned with the mantle of Reagan, Rankin nonetheless proceeded to single-handedly bring down the governor’s restructuring efforts that same year, ironic considering he had just joined a party that ostensibly promoted efficient, accountable government.

Caucus Chairman (House) – Bobby Harrell, Mayor of Importantville (RINO – Charleston) – Also known as the Speaker of the House, Harrell’s lust for pork is exceeded only by his lust for power. Interestingly enough, the two frequently combine, as they did in the 2005 Speaker’s Race. Harrell got elected, but Democrats got rich in the process. Ken Kennedy got a new library in Greeleyville, Gilda Cobb-Hunter got a nice new addition at Orangeburg-Calhoun Tech, Herb Kirsh got some coin for "emergency" projects up at Winthrop … unfortunately, there’s not enough room on this blog to list all the taxpayer-funded “emergency” allocations Harrell has supported on your dime.

Caucus Chairman (Senate) – Jakie Knotts, State Senator (RINO – Lexington) – One of only two Republicans to oppose Gov. Mark Sanford’s income tax cut in the State Senate, Knotts and RINO Caucus Secretary Luke Rankin are the reasons your state income tax is still 7% and not 5%. Of course, you’ve got to love a guy who locks his dog in the car on hot summer days and gets his buddies off when they're arrested on CDV charges.

Caucus Whip (House) – Annette Young, State Representative (RINO – Summerville) – Goes through your tax dollars almost as fast as her Dewar’s White Label Scotch. Made her position on the budget perfectly clear to Spartanburg Herald-Journal reporter Bob Dalton earlier this month when she famously said “spend it all.” Yeah, that's fiscal conservatism, Annette.

Caucus Whip (Senate) – Andre Bauer, Lt. Governor (RINO – Newberry) – Andre is serving in this role temporarily due to Sen. Verne Smith’s illness. Reprising the change lethargy displayed in his role as Light Gov, he plans to continue lifting nary a finger to promote tax relief, lower spending, government restructuring or frankly any other common-sense reform.

Other RINO Caucus members – (House) – John Graham Altman, Nathan Ballentine, George Bailey, Joan Brady, Catherine Ceips, Nelson Hardwick, Bob Leach, Becky Martin, Skipper Perry, Rex Rice, Bill Sandifer, Ronnie Townsend, Dick Umphlett, Bob Walker.

Other RINO Caucus members – (Senate) – John Courson, Ronnie Cromer, John Hawkins, Bill Mescher, Billy O'Dell.

As the saying goes, with friends like these – who needs anemones?

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