GOP's Broken Bat
Chicago White Sox slugger Jim Thome has blasted an American League-leading 26 home runs this season, putting him on pace to shatter his previous career mark of 52 homers, set back in 2002 with the Cleveland Indians.
But Thome hasn't hit a single one of those dingers with the bat he broke in this 2004 photo - midway through his three year stint with the Philadelphia Phillies.
That's because as Roy Hobbs from the movie The Natural will tell you, once a bat's broken you can't hit with it again.
Which brings us to the South Carolina Republican Party, which is heading into the November 2006 Elections so rife with splinters and divisions that it may be impossible to pick up all the pieces, let alone put them back together again to form a "united" front.
There's Governor Mark Sanford versus the General Assembly, the Quinns versus the Shealys, the Tompkins versus the Quinns, SCRG versus the House GOP Caucus, Jenny versus Andre and so many other squabbles of varying significance that the Grand Old Party is starting to look more like an episode of Knots Landing than a slate of viable candidates.
Of course while the notion of unity is anathema to some and overrated to others in the GOP, it's actually beneficial to all.
The upcoming election is an off-Presidential election, which means Mark Sanford is at the top of the ticket. If those Republicans in downballot races (Andre Bauer, Mark Hammond, etc.) don't rally behind the governor in spite of whatever differences they may have with him, they indirectly hurt their own prospects for the fall and "slam the window wide open" for the Democrats, as our good friend Rep. Dan Tripp might say.
Veteran consultant Rod Shealy, who is running two downballot statewide races this fall, knows this dynamic better than anyone, which is the best evidence yet that the write-in campaign for governor currently being contemplated by Lexington State Sen. Jakie Knotts is something that may have to be reconsidered.
Simply put, it's in the best interest of all Republicans to rally around the top of the ticket because the weaker Sanford is perceived to be, the tougher the sledding becomes for Andre, Karen Floyd, Thomas Ravenel and the rest of the GOP nominees.
Governor Mark Sanford's Lexington heart center veto was absolutely the right thing to do. The proposal didn't pass DHEC muster, there aren't anywhere near enough qualified surgeons to staff the facility and existing demand simply doesn't justify this kind of taxpayer-funded creation of supply.
Having said all of that, was this one of those unpleasant political realities it would have behooved the governor to just swallow?
The numbers in Lexington County don't lie, and the governor is going to have to work hard to give this die-hard Republican stronghold a reason to believe again if he wants a mandate for his second term.
Contrary to popular perception, Lexington isn't going to keep the governor from getting reelected, but it can keep him from the kind of margin he wants in his back pocket heading into this critical four-year stretch of his political life.
THAT'S HOW TRAV ROBERTSON ROLLS
And it ain't how T-Rav rolls ...
Mr. Robertson, the diminuitive Acting Treasurer, called into the Andy Thomas Show last week to apologize for personal attacks against GOP Treasurer nominee Thomas Ravenel that were printed in The State newspaper and other media outlets the day after Ravenel secured the nomination.
Robertson, who criticized Ravenel for the currently legal practice of being single, went on to say that he was not speaking for the Treasurer's Office when he made the comments.
That's a typical political answer, but it does bring us to a potentially serious problem for Treasurer Patterson.
Having Robertson speak on any campaign-related issue - whether in support of Grady Patterson or attacking Thomas Ravenel (which seems to be the only thing they've been doing lately) - should be totally off limits.
In fact it not only should be, it is.
Why? Because We the Taxpayers - not the Patterson for Treasurer campaign - are currently footing the bill for Robertson's $70,000 salary. That's right, he's a taxpayer-funded state employee working inside the State Treasurer's Office.
Now we do have a First Amendment in this country, which means Robertson is free to talk trash about Thomas Ravenel all he wants, but he damn sure better not do it on our time, our dime and using our equipment and our resources.
That's not borderline illegal, it is illegal.
Besides, if Mr. Robertson would spend a little more time working to help restore the Triple-A credit rating his boss lost and a little less time playing politics, maybe we wouldn't be in the fiscal mess we're in today.
Until next week ... be heard.