Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why Karen Lost

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 Magazine.

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.


Oh well ... the water's running, time to forget about all of this for awhile and relax.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screw that. Screw all that. Karen Floyd lost for one reason and one reason only: Will Folks was not her campaign manager.

Will Folks knows all.

Will Folks would have pulled her through.

Will Folks has so much experience running races. That experience alone would have been enough.

Will Folks has more grassroots knowledge than anyone in the state. He would have put together a machine to annihilate Jim Rex.


7:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wil- you really need to keep your ex off the blog man. Can you not look up the IP and block it?

7:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Punk, How soon you forget your blog's repeat attacks on Floyd? In most races a blog only the indiser people read matters not mon frere but this one was close enough. The four people who think you are credible could have told a few hundered which do not know better.

7:44 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

"Who" do not know better, you mean.

Thanks, Anon #1. Will will be thrilled.

But weren't you the same one saying that he was, you know, working under the table for her the whole time? Or sleeping with her?

Wasn't that you?

Yeah, just stick to the observations for a change. As much as he would like it so, it's not always about Will Folks.


7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "poll watcher" thing is absurd. Even if Republican poll watchers had challenged a sufficient number of ballots, the outcome would have remained the same. Floyd would have had more legal options, but the count would almost certainly not have changed at all.

Katon Dawson did an excellent job getting his candidates elected this year. There is always one race that doesn't turn out well for idiosyncratic reasons. If anyone wants to blame someone for the loss, it's Mike Green, Floyd's campaign manager. He was in over his head from the get-go.

7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a better legal challege for who - katon's lawyer larry richter???

no wonder she conceded

8:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, GOPers sure know how to eat there own...

One word - Spartanburg. She failed to carry her home county big and for a reason.

And, she never vascillated on school choice. Her position was consistent from day one. Just you and the rest of the school choicers decided to ignore that fact in the primary.

8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately we all lost today not just Karen. I could not agree more that one could not dream up a more harder working, more intelligent and more attractive candidate than Karen Floyd.

8:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you have this nailed (even though it was a bit heavy on the superfluous stuff).

But the MAIN thing to remember is that the educational establishment is not only teachers and administrators and affiliated government agencies and parents and university employees and contractors and book sellers… and as you can see, the list goes on and on. And they all GET PAID whether the kids learn anything or not.

So when the media blasted Karen, and used the “wedge issue” of vouchers…the aforementioned groups were terrified. Like crack babies, that thought their source was gonna dry up, and they worked diligently to make sure that did not happen.

Karl Marx said it best…it’s all about the money.

PS…The Jim Rex’s final filing statement may prove VERY interesting. A little bird tells me that there is a spike in out of state money, and in the amount of money that this poor, innocent little teacher man raised.

9:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I think you missed it. The reason Karen Floyd didn't win was because she did not try to ingratiate herself with the very people she hoped to lead, i.e., teachers, principals, school administrators, etc.

In the waning days of the campaign, both my husband and I changed our minds (no, we're NOT in education) about voting for Karen Floyd. It simply came down to the fact that he had the experience and background. Karen Floyd did not. I kept hearing her tout her experience as a former prosector. Excuse me? What does that have to do with education?

With a less formidable opponent, she would have won by a landslide.

9:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

read josh gross blog on this issue - she lost because of the Good Ole Boy assault on her by Rino Bob Staton and gang that did his campaign and none of them came together after the primary to help in the General Election ---

9:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we must blame someone, why not the right leaning third party candidates Ralph Lindblad or Tim Moultrie who drew 26,000 votes? The left leaning third party candidates only drew 1,400 votes.

Please, lets not use Karen's loss as an opportunity to grind axes against our own.

9:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Karen's resume had included 3 years of teaching in a public or private school, she would have won in a walk.

9:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's some decent commentary here. The only examples, though, that Will has pointed out earlier about bias at The State were poor examples.....The State was doing a very reasonable job, from what I could tell.

Still, I think Will might want to ask why Karen Floyd didn't win Spartanburg by more. She actually DID win, but not by much.

In fact, Karen Floyd lost precincts on HER SIDE OF TOWN in Spartanburg -- major GOP precincts. Had she won those by, oh, a predictable 8-point margin, I figure she'd have won the election.

I do not know all the reasons why this poor showing in Spartanburg occurred, but it's a huge part of the story, I think, that Will hasn't yet commented on that I know of.

10:27 PM

Blogger Upstate Voice said...


Joshua Gross won't tell us who pays his salary.

We all know Howard Rich pays his salary.

Still, Josh won't TELL US who pays his salary.

Wonder how much longer Howard Rich will pay his salary.

After the fall of Vanna Floyd, I'm thinking not to much longer.


10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You misspelled vacillate, Wilbur. Your public education is showing.
Anonymous number 2, hundred. Not hundered. Another product of the public school system?

11:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly the GOPs fault. Dawson got grilled for recruiting her, why would he hang her out to dry? If there wasn't a grassroots game, Andre Bauer and Rich Eckstrom don't win. Take a look at the 3rd party candidates and you'll find the main culprits. Oh, and Karen did very poorly in Spartanburg compared to the rest of the GOP ticket.

11:51 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Glad it only took a couple hours for someone to spot glaring error #1. We put another one in there that's a little more subtle. See if anyone can find it ...

1:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You totally left out the absolute NUMBER ONE reason karen Floyd lost the election...

The voters of South Carolina didn't want her to win.

4:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Knee jerk" is never one word nor is "a while." Also, you might want to start writing out "South Carolina" only when it's a noun and abbreviate as "S.C." when used as an ajective.

4:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Absolute Reason…for Karen’s loss…

Midgets and Rhinos…

Midgets like Michael Campbell are also Gnomes…and they have magical powers. When they throw their magic dust…anything can happen. Rhinos like Staton are really overgrown termites, eating the good from inside, and leaving only a façade behind.

The Michael Campbell/Bob Staton branch of “turncoats R us” cost Karen a lot. They participated in the Republican process…they took money and votes from Republicans…and then voted with the Democrats.

The Midget and the Rhino voted with the other side. They cancelled my vote. And I will not forget.

7:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

FITS, I think you are dead on in saying "If you're talking about something else, you're losing." The same goes: if you're talking about someone else, you're wasting time promorting yourself. Hence the distaste many, including myself, have for political ads. However, I would say, your adamant support for Karen Floyd is completely off base. Many people voice their support for her based on their lack of support for Rex, which stems completely (nearly 100%) from a disagreement with the way Tenenbaum ran the office.
1. Tenenbaum did not fail by her actions alone.
2. As we know as Republicans (which I am one), just because one member of the party does a poor job in office, that doesn't speak for the rest of the party. (If it did, we would be happy to no longer be in power in Congress seeing as though Republicans in Congress haven't done the best job representing us lately.)
3. Even a blind person can see the best candidate suited for the position of Superintendent of Education is one that has been emersed in the education system.
4. Unity is key in government. Floyd should have conceded a week ago. She should have paid attention to Barber or even the concession of the candidates in the highly involved Republican primary race for treasurer and taken a chance to form a relationship with Rex and discuss with him her strengths and how to utilize them.
5. Staton should have won.

10:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is adjective, smarty

10:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She lost.

And they recounted.

And what did that yield?

She lost again.

What's left for her?

Another loss.

11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These Rex people are very petty people in deed.

Small minded I suppose. That is why they are teachers...they do not have to be very smart...just one chapter smarter than the kids in front of them.

In fact, I will say what most of us know to be true... most of the dumb asses I knew in school are teachers.


3:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

FITS "we 'put' another one (mistake)" in there see if you can find it. Hilarious! So it wasn't even a mistake at all you did it on purpose...ohhhh...you guys are so smart your mistakes are even on purpose - Do you ever do anything correct by mistake, when you had originally meant to do it wrong? This reverse psychology is fantastic!

Maybe, just maybe Mike Green f-d up the campaign by 'mistake' (on purpose) ;-) so as to get one last shot in at the SC school system.?

3:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She lost because good old boys like me haven't ever voted for a woman and we never will.

3:33 PM

Blogger Upstate Voice said...


Short-timer Josh Gross has banned me from his site.

You think maybe I'm getting too close to the fire.

I'll be getting a lot closer.

Either way, banning me makes Mr. Gross a coward. But I'm not surprised.

Excellent call out on the SCCFG/Gross ad. How could they possibly have screwed up Floyd's race. Could it be ..... "Gross" imcompetence???


7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

all this means is more children trapped in the failing schools of the status quo education establishment indoctrination centers, throwing money at the system.

8:03 PM

Anonymous tammy said...

I don't really care...to be honest...why she lost. She did. And here we are.

I know how you "INsiders" like to credit yourselves with knowing/controlling/understanding the downfall of political candidates in the state, but please. Y'all are all dumbfounded by this one. Oh, no...the little R didn't work... :-)

From my take and what I know of her...I think she made her own bed.

Two weeks before the election, K-Flo asked one of her former co-workers, a good friend of mine, who is a teacher why she was wasting her life teaching because she was such a 'smart girl.'

If Floyd thought people would take her insulting little comments lightly...she was kidding herself. That's just one of the many reasons she beat herself.

It's over now. Let's move on.

12:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I know Karen, and do not believe she made such a comment. It is just not her style. Even if she thought it...she would never say it.

That story is just another example of a small minded teacher protecting her job.

4:43 PM

Anonymous tammy said...

Yeah, YOU KNOW KAREN...and your fucking anonymous.

As usual.

God almighty you need an eye roll button on this blog.


12:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


U are one vulgar chick. Are u a stripper? Biker girl? Crack smoking teacher or administrator?

What's up? Can u not be civil?

You and Karen are the could not be more different...she a winner...and well, u...a foul mouth gal that has no arguments...just hateful remarks.

9:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris said:

"These Rex people are very petty people in deed.

Small minded I suppose. That is why they are teachers...they do not have to be very smart...just one chapter smarter than the kids in front of them.

In fact, I will say what most of us know to be true... most of the dumb asses I knew in school are teachers."

And Chris is calling people small-minded?!

Chris.....what's the deal here?

11:49 PM

Anonymous west_rhino said...

Why Karen lost, though her credentials were equal or better than the incumbent, is that in the post-Nielsen era, a female lawyer is not quailfied unless she's a Dem. Nevermind the fact that Inez's predecessor bore the "anomaly" (in the eyes of the left) of being a Republican (even if RINO) heterosexual woman, never let feelings be overuled by facts. To fit the Dem's mold of a female Republican, see Rebekah Sutherland... oops she's a Libertarian, go figure.

10:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen's so SCARY!

12:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Rex is a punk.

5:22 PM


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