Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good Versus Bad in House District 75

Editor's Note: We tried to talk Sic Willie out of it, but he was so ticked off after The State (a.k.a. La Socialista)'s endorsement in this race that we had to demur ...

Very rarely in politics does a contest come along that pits good versus bad as clearly as the House District 75 race between Republican Jim Harrison and Democratic challenger Boyd Summers.

On the surface, both candidates come across as good guys, but what lies beneath?

Last fall, I attended a party at Dianne’s restaurant on Devine Street following the Junior League of Columbia’s Annual Holiday Market fundraiser. Hundreds of prominent young Columbia couples were present, decked out in their tuxedos and formal evening gowns, dancing, drinking and partying well into the early morning hours.

It was at this event that I happened to meet Boyd Summers, the Democratic candidate recruited by former House Minority Leader Gilda Cobb-Hunter to run against Jim Harrison.

I remember my encounter with Mr. Summers very clearly for a variety of different reasons.

First of all, he was positively inebriated – in other words, drunk to the point he could hardly stand up. Second, he had a political potty-mouth the likes of which I hadn’t heard since the last time I ran into DeMint/ Ryberg campaign manager Terry Sullivan.

Mr. Summers actually offered me a job less than two minutes into our conversation, although I'm sure the alcohol had something to do with that.

Astounded to learn that I work for Democrats from time to time, he told me he was running for the State House and could use my help.

“What district?” I asked him.

“Seventy-five,” he told me.

“Who’s the incumbent?” I asked him, honestly not knowing.

“F---ing Jim Harrison.”

At this point, I told Mr. Summers I appreciated the drinks he had bought for me and thanked him again for his interest in my abilities, but told him I couldn’t help him out. I told him that Jim Harrison was a friend of mine, and one of the few legislators I not only respected politically, but personally as well.

Mr. Summers proceeded to launch into a visceral, profanity-laced tirade about how badly he was going to “f---ing kick Harrison’s ass” and tried to convince me that Harrison was opposed to all of the governor’s reforms. In the same breath, however, he indicated that he was going to take Harrison’s conditional support of Sanford’s Put Parents in Charge bill “shove it up his f---ing ass,” this despite the fact that at least one of Mr. Summers’ children has attended Hammond School, one of Columbia’s most prestigious, formerly segregated private academies.

(True to his word, Mr. Summers criticized Rep. Harrison’s endorsement of a modified PPIC bill at a recent State newspaper editorial board meeting, calling it just one example of Harrison’s “radical” views. When pressed to provide another example, Mr. Summers was forced to admit he didn’t have one).

By the time I managed to withdraw from the conversation, I felt like I needed delousing.

I’ve met plenty of trash-talking politicos in my life, and truth be told I’ve probably acted like one myself at one time or another, but I can’t recall having ever seen a candidate for public office as drunk, obscene or insulting as Boyd Summers was on this particular evening.

Never mind that he was directing his vitriol at a man who has served five tours of duty in the U.S. Military, traveling to faraway places like Bosnia, Haiti and Iraq to fight for democracy.

I’m sure that if Mr. Summers is asked about any of this, he will deny ever having met me, let alone being as drunk as he was or saying all the foul things he said about Jim Harrison.

Perhaps he’ll even make up something nasty to say about me, which wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

In all fairness, it could be that the outburst I witnessed was not at all reflective of Mr. Summers’ character. I hope it wasn’t.

What I can say definitively is that in my brief time in politics, I’ve never met someone whom I hold in higher regard than Jim Harrison, which is saying a lot coming from someone like me who helped turn bashing the General Assembly into an art form.

Jim is one of the most courageous legislators I’ve ever seen, someone who follows his conscience and isn’t afraid to buck the Governor’s Office or his fellow Republican leaders when he believes strongly that something is the right thing to do. His leadership of the House Judiciary Committee is a testament to what the legislative process in this state should be, and his record of fighting to protect the most vulnerable South Carolinians among us is second-to-none.

Jim’s also stuck his neck out on a number of occasions lately in opposition to the gravy train of pork barrel spending coming out of Columbia these days, a rarity among legislators of either party.

Aside from his multiple legislative accomplishments and his long history of service to our state and nation, who can forget the class Jim showed in bowing out of the Speaker’s race in 2005, a race he was within a handful of votes of winning?

Anyone who missed Harrison’s floor speech endorsing then-Ways and Means Chairman Bobby Harrell as the next Speaker of the House missed one of the most gracious, selfless, statesmanlike acts in South Carolina’s storied political history.

With Jim, what you see is what you get. Whether it’s presiding over a heated committee vote, volunteering as a Guardian ad Litem for neglected and abused children, or tailgating with family and friends in the parking lot at Carolina football games, he’s as honest and decent a person as you’re ever going to come across in a business that seldom rewards those qualities.

No wonder Democrats and Republicans unanimously re-elected him as Judiciary Chairman last session.

I don’t live in House District 75, and so I won’t have the privilege of voting for Jim.

I wish I could, though. In a political environment ruled by back-slapping, glad-handing opportunism, he is one of the few remaining genuine articles.

Not to mention the polar opposite of his opponent, based on what I've seen anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The State will endorse ANYONE, including sic Willie himself, that stands against the Put Parents in Charge issue.

They are pathetically single-minded, and in their myopic run against meaningful change in our educations system, would sell not only their intellectual honesty…but your children’s future as well.

4:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sic Willie you dumbass. YOU LIVE IN DISTRICT 75.

Agree completely on the post but GOD YOU ARE A MORON.

Have you ever even voted??????

4:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The State’s endorsements are a joke.

They would have you believe Robert Barber is a minister, not a lobbyist.

They would have you believe Richard Eckstom should be prosecuted, even though they can not site any law he has broken.

They allowed Theodore to make unsubstantiated charges against Eckstom at the VERY end of the debate when Eckstom had no chance to defend himself, and they have not followed up in any manner to check the veracity of those slanderous charges.. (That Scoppe person just sat there in an estrogen haze admiring Drew’s “features”…I wonder if she drives an Audi?)

Some say the State has an agenda. That would ascribe intellectual abilities past them. The problem with the State is that there is no intellectual rigor or debate that keeps them honest and sharp. They are an echo chamber in search of an idea. They lack creativity and vision.

It is this intellectual laziness that allows them to make foolish endorsements…like the silly one in House District 75.

Shame on them…shame on them.

4:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you went to Hammond. And I dont care that your opinion on vouchers makes that totallly different in your opinion.

I have known you since you were approximately 10 years old and frankly, liked you, even after I started reading your blog. I actually was enertained by such a carefully conjured form of self indulgence. I am sure this little comment will just go into the file of people who cared enough about your bullshit to personlly insult you. And I am comfartable in that file becuase I dont care who you hit or what you plead guilty too, but as someone who believes you have sme potential buried under that desperate need for attention:

Pull it together man. SC politics is not about you.

4:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Folks went to Hammond? My respect for the school is at an all-time low.

4:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summers is an arrogant jerk. Of course so is Will. Jim Harrison is above both of them.

4:55 PM

Anonymous abc said...

Will, I didn't realize you went to Hammond. Or maybe you did tell me... great English teachers, huh? Hammond is a most excellent school! Boo-Ya to Anon above.

6:05 PM

Anonymous Alex said...

nice post. I agree completely with everything you said about Jim Harrison. A stand up guy.

8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Harrison a huge trial lawyer who authored a watered-down tort reform bill? How do you square that with your political philosophy?

8:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tort reform did not get watered down because of Harrison. It got watered down in spite of Harrison. Whoever wrote that comment has no idea what went on.

They are probably confusing Jim with Harry Cato on the Worker's Comp bill.

8:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know Summers. Can say for fact Harrison is exactly what you say he is. Class exemplified.

9:09 PM

Blogger Earl Capps said...

hey 10 years anon, why don't you just shut your trap and stop acting like a 10 year old?

we've all got a right to speak, even the assholes and jerks of this world.

even jerks like you.

10:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure your recollection of that nights events was so clear Will because you were absolutely wasted. You hit on me for at least thirty minutes at Dianne's and I cant believe you didnt kill yourself in the car ride home. Jerk. Boyd Summers is more of a grownup than you will ever be.

Jim Harrison is a good man and so is Bpyd Summers. But you sir, are NOT.

1:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

will didnt we tell you big girls need love too? show laurin manning some love big boy.

1:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wil are you sure he didn't mistake you for Paul Addams?

8:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know the only thing more pathetic than will folks attempting to stay relevant with this blog is paul adams attempting to stay relevent by commenting on this blog.

Will hits on everyone, Jennifer, you should not feel special.

9:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will- imagine how many people could write just about the same story about you? It's not too few and far between that the drunken, obscene side of sic willie emerges.

12:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Folks isn't running for public office.

10:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not know that Sic Willie was a drinker. The only two times I have met him for drinks he was not consuming alcohol.

10:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ignorance of anyone that thinks that Jim Harrison is for any kind of tort refrom is beyond comprehension. He personally told me before Wilkins slammed it down his throat that we would not see those kind of caps in my lifetime.

10:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go skyhawks and all,

We will wait for more bravado to pontificate on Chapter 2:

Bill Folks leaves PC under "duress".

If you are gonna run from it, get more creative than will, bill.

4:37 PM


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