Thursday, July 27, 2006

FITS Exclusive - The T-Rav Interview

(Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of exclusive FITS' interviews ... stay tuned for additional one-on-ones throughout Decision 2006)

FITS’ girl Heather S. had the rare opportunity earlier this week to conduct a telephone interview with Thomas Ravenel, a.k.a. T-Rav, the GOP nominee for State Treasurer and the undisputed hottest man in S.C. Politics (sorry, Sanford).

Armed with a laundry list of hardball questions from Sic Willie and others, we were worried initially that Heather might have a little trouble popping off the more challenging questions.

Turns out she actually popped THE question, right off the bat.

So much for subtlety.

Anyway, in its entire, unedited glory, here is Heather S.’ inaugural FITS' Exclusive Interview with one of the GOP’s rising stars here in South Carolina:

Heather S. – So … my first question. Will you marry me?

Thomas – What’s that?

Heather S. – You heard me, Thomas. I’ve read all the articles about you, I’ve seen your TV commercials and I’m down with it. I mean it. And I don’t care if they do think I’m a trophy wife, I really don’t. I can cook, clean, do the laundry, you name it. So will you marry me?

Thomas – What? (Laughs) How old are you?

Heather S. – Twenty-one.

Thomas – Ahm (Pauses) … I really don’t know what to say to that.

Heather S. – Just say yes.

Thomas – This is a joke, right? Who is this?

Heather S. – Fine, Thomas. Play hard to get. But I’m telling you, you’re missing out.

Thomas – Do I have the wrong number?

Heather S. – Whatever, Thomas. Your loss. You had your chance. Anyway, how’s the campaign going?

Thomas – It’s going great. We had a tremendous response from people all over the state during the primary and the runoff. That’s a testament to the fact that South Carolinians really do want change in this position, and they support the vision for change that we outlined in our campaign. I think the taxpayers are looking for somebody who’s going to bring a business perspective to the Treasurer’s Office, somebody who’ll cut the pork and make sure we’re getting the maximum return on our investments as a state.

Heather S. – We’re not getting that right now?

Thomas – No. We are below mediocre. We are among the worst-performing states in the nation because our assets are undermanaged and poorly diversified. We are getting substandard returns because we’re not properly assessing risk and engaging the market’s potential.

Heather S. – Can you say that in English, Thomas? I’m a little bit blonde.

Thomas – Sure, we aren’t managing the taxpayers’ money very well right now and that’s something I’m going to fix as Treasurer.

Heather S. – By putting more money into the stock market?

Thomas – That would be one part of it, but what I’m talking about is a broader diversification - one that would include other investments like commercial-backed mortgages, global funds and real estate investments, to name a few. Historically, even during economic downturns you get a much higher rate of return out of well-diversified investments than you do out of bonds. South Carolina was the last state in the nation to get into the equity market, and we happened to get in right when the technology bubble was bursting. Some people feel that is an excuse to stay out, but I like to look at the numbers because my experience in business has been that numbers don’t lie. Well-diversified investments simply outperform more narrow, static investments.

Heather S. – So what’s wrong with what we’re doing now again?

Thomas – Well for starters it isn’t working. South Carolina’s pension fund - which includes everybody - teachers, police officers, government workers, everybody - we rank 97 out of 100 among the nation's large pension funds. We are seventy percent below the national average. If we could just get up to mediocre, that would mean literally billions of additional dollars. If we were just average, I mean, not even good let alone great at getting a return on our investment, we could solve our unfunded liability problem. We have to diversify and manage for success, we can’t continue to take the same old, short-term approach to the problem and keep making reactionary decisions, we have to make smart decisions that are in the long-term best interests of the people of South Carolina with the money they have entrusted us to manage.

Heather S. – So our retirement system basically sucks. Is that what your saying?

Thomas – We have billions of dollars right now in unfunded liability in our retirement system. It’s an actuarial disaster. Part of the solution I support is reforming that system in a way that keeps the promises we’ve made to retirees but doesn’t make any additional promises our wallets won't be able to keep. But, another part of the solution is actually moving more of the money we do have in the system into better, more diversified investments where we see a higher rate of return. That’s what business does, why shouldn’t government?

Heather S. – But wouldn’t that actually be weakening the power of the Treasurer’s office?

Thomas – It would reduce the amount of money over which the Treasurer has direct investment control, but it would strengthen the earning potential and help ensure the long-term solvency of our retirement fund. I’m perfectly willing to make that tradeoff.

Heather S. – This isn’t the only area where you want to diminish the Treasurer’s role. Don’t you support making this an office that would be appointed by the governor instead of elected independently by the voters every four years?

Thomas – I think doing that would actually strengthen the office, not diminish it, because it would make it a part of a coordinated Executive Branch that’s working together and not one that is working at odds with itself. What if President Bush, for example, walked into a Cabinet meeting one day and found Ted Kennedy as his Secretary of Treasury, or say John Kerry as his Vice-President, or Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State? That is what we have in South Carolina right now, and it isn’t doing the taxpayer any good. It’s no way to run a state in the 21st Century.

Heather S. – But people like to vote. I like to vote. Why are you going to disenfranchise me?

Thomas – This would make the offices you do vote for count for something, and if anything went wrong you would know exactly who to call. That’s accountability, someplace where the buck actually stops. The way we spread all of these elected offices around right now, we make it next to impossible for them to do the people’s business efficiently.

Heather S. – Well aren’t you just a restructuring freak. Don’t you also favor doing away with the Budget and Control Board?

Thomas – We are the only state in the country that has a Budget and Control Board and it basically means where we need accountability the most, we don’t have it. Instead of someone who can stand up and say ‘the buck stops here,’ we’ve got this five-headed monster that answers to nobody, is accountable to nobody and just happens to be in charge of most of the administrative functions of government. Who is Frank (Budget and Control Board Executive Director) Fusco's boss? He doesn't even know that. That’s not real accountability in my book.

Heather S. – But isn’t it kind of cool that we’re the only state that has one? I mean, isn’t it like we can say to all of the other states, ‘Hey, we’ve got one and the rest of you don’t?’

Thomas – I don’t think it’s ever good to waste the people’s money, and the Budget and Control Board as it is configured right now results in a lot of waste, inefficiency and duplication in government.

Heather S. – You sound a lot like Mark Sanford when you say that. Come to think of it, wouldn’t you just be another rubber stamp on the Budget and Control Board for the governor’s limited government agenda?

Thomas – Absolutely not, although I do believe in limited government. I’ll tell you who I would be a rubber stamp for, though, and that would be the average taxpayer who’s basically sick and tired of getting jerked around by government. I agree with Mark Sanford on a lot of things, and when he’s right, I’ll vote with him. I agree with our State Comptroller General, Richard Eckstrom, on a lot of things, and when he’s right, I’ll vote with him. I also agree with Hugh Leatherman and Dan Cooper on a lot of things, and when they’re right, I’ll vote with them. I care about protecting the taxpayers, and I’ll do that whether I’m voting alone or voting unanimously with the other board members. It has to be – I mean – for me it will be about the issues in front of me and how they affect the taxpayer and the bottom line, not the politics or the personalities behind the issue.

Heather S. – Of course it really doesn’t matter all that much how you’ll vote, does it, because you’ll only be there two years, right? I mean this is a stepping stone, isn’t it? Everybody knows you’re going to run against Lindsey Graham for the U.S. Senate in 2008, aren’t you?

Thomas – You know, what I find to be really interesting about all of this, you know, talk, is that one of the only people – maybe the only person in politics - that isn’t talking about what Thomas Ravenel might do in the future is Thomas Ravenel. I read the papers and I’m serious when I say that. Practically the only person who is focused on the issues on the table with respect to this job - not all the political talk and speculation - is me. Look, if I don’t do a good job as Treasurer, if I don’t do what I say I’m going to do or if I turn around and do things I said I wouldn’t do - what happens? Nothing. Because I would have nothing to run on in the future. I wouldn’t be able to run for dogcatcher, let alone U.S. Senate, or the Governor’s Office or anything else that might be on the horizon.

Heather S. – But will you finish your term, if elected? That's the question.

Thomas – I’ll finish the job.

Heather S. – But don’t you think it costs you politically by not committing to a full term? Don’t you think Grady will use it against you?

Thomas – Well I promise I won’t serve eight out of the next nine terms, how’s that?

Heather S. – Okay, fair enough. But since we’re on the subject, let’s talk about you and Lindsey Graham. What’s your problem with him? He’s a nice guy, isn’t he?

Thomas – Sure he’s a nice guy, and I don’t have a problem with him at all on a personal level. We have some major policy disagreements, though, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking about those disagreements because it helps advance the debate.

Heather S. – You know, I think you and Lindsey should just ‘hug it out,’ like they do on the TV show Entourage. Have you ever seen that show? It’s fabulous.

Thomas – I’ve heard of it. I don’t get to watch as much TV these days as I used to. Campaigning and everything, down-time is a lot harder to find.

Heather S. – You obviously worked hard. You nearly won the primary vote outright, in fact the second and third place finishers in the GOP race, Greg Ryberg and Rick Quinn, backed out because they knew they couldn’t beat you. But then a funny thing happened, the fourth-place finisher, Jeff Willis, decided to stay in the race and you not only didn’t attack him for it, you actually debated him. Why? I mean, politically wasn’t that kind of stupid?

Thomas – I don’t think so. I have a lot of respect for all three of those guys but especially for Jeff. He got into the race for the right reasons, you remember, his family had been burned by the Carolina Investors scandal, so I felt he had a right to stay in it and a right to have his voice heard.

Heather S. – But why debate him? You didn’t have to do that. You were going to win anyway.

Thomas – Well, politically, it probably was not what most people would have done, but it was the right thing to do. People deserve debates, and I’m looking to forward to a vigorous debate of the issues now that we are in the general election.

Heather S. – Thomas, are you kidding? A debate against Grady? He’s Grandpa Simpson! There’s no way in hell they’re going to let him debate! Trav Robertson they might let debate, but not Grady.

Thomas – Well, maybe I would debate him. We’ll have to wait and see.

Heather S. – You’d debate Trav Robertson? Would the media even let him do that? And if they did, would he even be able to see over the podium?

Thomas – We’ll see. I don’t know if I would debate him or not. I haven’t decided yet. I do know that the voters deserve a fair and full debate of the issues between Mr. Patterson and myself, in some form or another.

Heather S. – Ah, we see that Thomas, we notice you called him Mr. Patterson. That’s nice. You’re showing respect. Did it ever occur to you that showing respect might not be the best campaign strategy? Didn’t the guys who showed respect to Thurmond and Hollings for their “years of service” all get their butts kicked on election day? How are you going to keep that from happening to you? What if he starts messing you around like Reagan did to Dukakis? What if he calls you a whippersnapper?

Thomas – Look, Thurmond and Hollings were getting things done for South Carolina, right up until their last day in office. I don’t think Mr. Patterson is getting it done for South Carolina, whether it’s (seen) in our meager return on investments, our unfunded liabilities, our addiction to new spending or the loss of our Triple-A credit rating. It has nothing to do with age, it has everything to do with performance - or in this case, a lack thereof.

Heather S. – You’re saying our losing the Triple-A credit rating was his fault?

Thomas – He’s statutorily responsible for communicating between the agencies and the state. One day he tells the General Assembly, the Governor, the Comptroller General, everybody – hey, everything is just peachy, then all of a sudden we lose the rating. What happened? And why did he criticize Richard Eckstrom for communicating with the agencies and trying to figure out what was really going on? He’s the Comptroller General, that’s his right.

Heather S. – So the Treasurer is statutorily responsible for the credit rating?

– The Treasurer is statutorily responsible for managing that communication. It’s in the code.

Heather S. – So if you win, then all of a sudden it’s your responsibility?

Thomas – Correct.

Heather S. – But, I mean, wouldn’t that suck? What if you lost it?

Thomas – We already lost it. I'm going to try to help get it back.

Heather S. – Okay (pauses), now don’t get mad. I have to ask you this. What on earth were you thinking when you said “That’s how I roll. That’s how Thomas Ravenel rolls” to a newspaper reporter? I mean first of all, isn’t it odd to refer to yourself in the third person and second of all, and again please don’t get mad, but are you running for State Treasurer or auditioning for a Snoop Dogg video?

Thomas – (Laughs) I’m not mad. And that’s pretty funny, actually. Well (pauses), I was really - I was just trying to draw a contrast - trying to distinguish between how I handled myself in 2004 by rallying around the winner and how some of the people in the other campaigns handled things this time around, basically doing the opposite. I think I’ll just let that comment stand on its own.

Heather S. – Well, the kids in the blogosphere loved you for it. They ate it up. Some of them even made T-Shirts.

Thomas – This is where everything is happening these days.

Heather S. – The blogosphere? You read political blogs?

Thomas – Sure.

Heather S. – Which ones?

Thomas – Well, I read FITS. That’s why we’re talking right now, isn’t it?

Heather S. – That works for us. In fact, we’re going to have to cut you off right there before you show any love to the competition. But going back to the end of the primary, Ryberg’s campaign manager Terry Sullivan attacked you pretty hard, didn’t he?

Thomas – You know, I guess so. It comes with the territory. I respect the fact that the guy was having a bad day. I don’t hold it against him.

Heather S. – So would you be willing to “hug it out” with Terry Sullivan like you’d be willing to hug it out with Lindsey Graham?

Thomas – Ah (pauses) … No. A handshake, sure. You know, his boss called and apologized the next day, and I even told him, ‘Hey, it's not necessary, I understand' - but that was classy of him. I accepted it and moved on.

Heather S. – So what’s next for your campaign?

Thomas – A lot. We are very busy. At some point I’m going to take a trip up to New York to talk to some different people at the ratings agencies, but for the most part we are just staying focused - getting the message out there and talking to as many different people as we can across the state. I really do believe in this state. We can - I mean, with change - be very competitive. We have the resources, hard-working people - we have everything we need - but we don’t have enough people in positions of influence right now who are looking out for the best interest of the taxpayer. I’m going to be one of those people.

Heather S. – Last question - Will you pretty pretty pretty pretty please marry me?

Thomas – (Silence)

Heather S. – I’m kidding. Thomas, thanks so much, really, for taking the time to chat with us and good luck in November.

Thomas – My pleasure.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good interview, Thomas has Reaganesque qualities about him not only in mannerisms and speech but a rock solid command of the issues.


8:51 AM

Blogger The Body Politic - Joshua Gross said...

Great stuff Heather and Thomas!

T-Rav is clearly showing why he's the right man for the job. He understands the issues and is ready to take the fight to Patterson.

Great work with the interview, FITSers...

9:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather S. is a knockout. She can be my trophy wife any day.....oh and yea Vote for T-Rav!

11:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes yes yes Will. It is a good interview. Thomas did well answering the questions. And the questions were good. Hard but fair.

Just one question - Did you wear a dress and talk in a female voice when you called him?

12:12 PM

Blogger bitingblondewit said...

Heather S., great interview! It gave Mr. Ravenal an opportunity to again outline his platform in a less formal manner. Well done!
I'm a little confused though...I thought Will was the hottest man in the SC political scene?

12:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muy caliente - Ms. Indiana is back!

12:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather S. is totally hot. Now what she is doing associating herself with Sic Willie, this is the mystery. Now Miss BlondeWit, HELLO!!!!!

12:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indiana girl,

"Come to Butt-head"

1:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morons- THERE IS NO HEATHER S.!!! When will you people get that these "FITS girls" exist no place other than Will Folks' schizephrenac head???

1:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey lets get this thang back on track, this is about Thomas not Heather whom I know, nor Indiana nor the morons who write about folks being morons, this post is all about T-Rav.

1:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh they are real, met all three at Will's office weeks ago...


1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I read this post is it is all about Grady being toast. Face it -T-Rav is smart, he is attractive, has money and obviously he knows his beeswax. All Grady's people can (and have) done is attack T-Rav for stupid things like he is single or he may run for something else in the future. Grady has no message, T-Rav does, and he is even better than Sanford on TV.

1:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

at delivering it. Forgot that.

1:56 PM

Anonymous Heather S. said...

Dear Anonymous,
It always amazes me that people like yourself who have sooo much against Will Folks not only take time to read the FITS blog and then actually take the time to post a comment.

It is not very nice to call people names like Morons, but we can make an exception for you and call you a moron based on the following reasons:
1. You have no evidence that there is no Heather S. If you could get it out of your head that Will has a 'fake company with fake clients' and actually do your research, you would know that Heather S. is a real person who is employed by Mr. Folks.
2. You can't spell.It is schizophrenic, not schizephrenac. It is usually a good idea to check your spelling while posting comments, especially negative ones that make wrongful accusations.

Nice try, but come back when you have a little bit more to bring to the table.

Heather S.

2:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grady's people are crapping in their pants. And this is exactly why. Ravenel doesn't have to exploit the age factor, just beat him up for doing a crappy job with the money. The first angle is negative, the second is factual and accomplishes the precise same thing.

Also Miss Indiana, you are very cute.

2:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool new forum FITS!

2:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather S. and T-Rav are both real people. Neither one of them had anything to do with this thing, though. Will Folks made up the whole thing. He's working for T-Rav under the table. His deal with the SC Hotline guys made sure lots of people will read this silly thing. Wonder when "Jeffrey Sewell" will write another Op Ed?

2:58 PM

Anonymous a friend said...

Some things you should know, BlondeWit, your "SexY" boy Sic Willie got his nickname for a reason. He was a complete asshole in the governor's office, pissing off state legislatures, illegally driving sports cars, insulting women and threatening the chamber of commerce that "HE" would keep jobs from coming there if they did not back Sanford hook line and sinker.

He has slept with everything that moves in the State Hose Lobby and TV industry and there is security footage of him out there somewhere of him having a threesome on the governor's desk.

He is arrogant and rude, has no class or respect for any body but himself and no one in South Carolina returns his phone calls. His business is a complete joke because no candidate in they're right mind will be seen with him.

But are we done? Not by a long shot we are just getting warmed up for the best part. Then, Sic Willie goes out and gets engaged and repeatedly beats and cheats on his poor fiancee, he finally then gets caught and pleads guilty to CDV but writes this pathetic excuse for an article saying he is innocent and shows up on TV wearing a construction hat. We are all tired of him and wish he would just go away.

That is right, your "sexy" boy is the laughing stock of this state, Blondie, and we just thought you should know before you fall for his lies. He is bald and fat too so you know and is an alcoholic drug addict pervert with NO friends.

Just be glad you are in Indiana - he cannot hit you from here!!!!!!!!

3:05 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

We were wondering how long it would take for ating Treasurer Trav Robertson to join us on the comment board.

Welcome Trav!

As for Sic Willie working "under the table" for T-Rav, can anybody really imagine a situation where Will Folks and Rod Shealy actually worked together - for anyone?

You couldn't put those two in the same room, let alone the same campaign!

Nice try, Trav.

Until next time, enjoy your service!


3:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will, you are a smart guy but there is no way you know about commercial-backed mortgages and pension fund ratings. You don't even know how to do percents.

Most likely Rod Shealy, who used to work in the Treasurer's office, wrote this and paid Will to put it on the blog and up on the Hotline.

4:02 PM

Blogger SCPolitico said...

FTR: I've worked with Thomas, spent hours on end on the campaign trail with him and as I read the interview it is one-hundred percent T-Rav! Mike Green, Joshua Gross and I make all decisions about what goes up and does not go up on SCHotline period. Good job Heather & Will.

4:12 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

What a day!

We just got hacked into again. In case you were wondering, the anonymous hackster attempted to delete three posts about Katherine Jenerette from the blog and also wished for Miss Blondewit to know that "Will is a fag" as it relates to comments on the current post.

Thanks so much to our good friends at Blogger for their help in getting the problem fixed quickly.

Needless to say, here we go again changing passwords.


4:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For creativity I can smell that P. Addams must have quite a jealous wedgie in her gaff...

7:49 PM

Anonymous Anon said...

Man, Gervais S. Bridges has been out of our lives for just weeks and Will is back to his "it's not me it's a bunch of hot young girls" routine.

10:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sewell - I'm sure the deal you, Mike and Sic Willie have cut has something to do with why this interview has been headlined for 2 days in a row on SC Hotline. Are y'all paying him or is he paying you?? You really want your company associated with this guy? You really are as dumb as I had heard you were. Why don't you stick to writing op-eds? Oh wait nevermind.

And Sic Willie everybody knows that you are working with Rod in all this. He needs you to free him up so he can concentrate on Andre winning. We know you hate Rod but we also know you love T-Rav--even more than your best buddy Rick Quinn. T-Rav must pay well for you to have sold out like that. The real question is whether your name will show up on any campaign finance information.

9:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather is an airhead who I laughed at, not with. Come on, get serious.

By the way, TR is a quick thinker, sharp and knows the issues.

9:51 AM

Blogger Martin Guerre said...

...the anonymous hackster attempted to delete three posts about Katherine Jenerette from the blog and also wished for Miss Blondewit to know that "Will is a fag"...

Est-ce que mais pourquoi quelqu'un essayerait d'enlever des commentaires au sujet de Catherine Jenerette, se réfère alors à toi en tant qu'homosexuel ?

11:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This interview is laughable, I can't believe Ravanel would be associated with Will Folks.

9:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ravenel is probably associating himself with Folksey because unlike 90% of the comments on this blog, homeboy's writing is outrageously good and every campaign he has ever been associated with has won. Will he appear anywhere come disclosure time? No, probably not. I read his blog daily because it is not only smart and funny but let's face it, homeboy has the balls to let all the cretins out there tear into him on a daily basis and not give a s#%*.

Keep at 'em, Folksey.

1:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viewpolitik, LLC is on the disclosure forms for Richland County Council candidate Bill Malinowski for $500. Viewpolitik LLC is also rumored to be on a disclosure for House Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) but I have not seen this and do not know what the dollar amount/services rendered was.

2:31 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Monsieur Guerre,

Nous ne savons pas. Cette une bonne questionne. Mais si vous voulez ecrire sur FITS, nous parlons en Englais ici, d'accord?

Merci beaucoup,


2:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a hottie! He looks a little like Prince William to me.

1:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather the question is: will you be my trophy wife?? As for Sic Willie the media totally crucified you with your former fiance & that situation. Not to mention Sanford.


11:58 AM

Anonymous abc said...

Yes, Will is very much a hottie and does somewhat resemble Prince William.

6:12 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dearest ABC,

We'll be sure to pass that along to our favorite bad boy, but we're pretty sure the anonymous commenter was referring to Thomas, not Will.

Sic Willie, like most of the rest of us, is going to have to make his way in the world on something other than his looks.


9:15 PM

Blogger SCPolitico said...

Anonymous said... AKA Laurin Manning

Sewell - I'm sure the deal you, Mike and Sic Willie have cut has something to do with why this interview has been headlined for 2 days in a row on SC Hotline. Are y'all paying him or is he paying you?? You really want your company associated with this guy? You really are as dumb as I had heard you were. Why don't you stick to writing op-eds? Oh wait nevermind.

And Sic Willie everybody knows that you are working with Rod in all this. He needs you to free him up so he can concentrate on Andre winning. We know you hate Rod but we also know you love T-Rav--even more than your best buddy Rick Quinn. T-Rav must pay well for you to have sold out like that. The real question is whether your name will show up on any campaign finance information.

7:38 AM


Ever heard of handwriting forensics? Yeah well apparently no two people write alike whether that be with a pen or a keyboard...GOTCHA!

Stupid is as stupid does – Forest Gump

PS…Y’all “never--mind” is actually two words but feel free to double hyphenate any time.

1:39 PM


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