Tuesday night’s Gubernatorial debate was not the heated explosion some may have hoped for. However, this debate effectively represented each of the candidates for who they are….or who they think they are.
The following is a summary of what I gathered from each candidate: Bauer is confident, knows what he wants, and he wants to cut government waste and stop generational dependency; Gresham Barrett loves God, wants jobs, and has 8 ways to bring them;
McMaster touts his proven leadership abilities, has no clear and decisive plan for anything, but believes he is the only candidate that can effectively execute the laws from the legislature to the homes of the people; finally, Nikki Haley hates government, anyone that disagrees with her ideas, will intimidate those that disagree with her, and is basically Mark Sanford on steroids.
Before I begin a thorough analysis, let me say this. Bauer, Barrett, and McMaster deserve a pat on the back for staying after the debate, answering many questions, and greeting those in attendance including young children that recognized them from TV and school. I will have to say, I am quite disappointed in Mrs. Haley for not taking the time to greet the people in attendance, especially the kids. She obviously thinks her current “Front Runner” status exempts her from meeting the people in Florence, especially kids.
Now for the analysis. First we will start with Gresham Barrett. Barrett was impressive and VERY unimpressive on certain issues. He was one of the few that actually mentioned a plan for bringing jobs. He mentioned his 8 step plan and actually knew what each step was.
He identified himself as a job ambassador and constantly referred to former Governor Campbell as someone to idolize himself after. While bringing jobs sounds nice, let’s look at one way he wants to do it. He said that tourism is crucial to making our state grow, especially marketing areas like Myrtle Beach. He mentioned bringing 2,000 jobs by building an oil rig off the shores of the Myrtle Beach area. For this….I say really? Common sense says this is a bad idea right now.
After the disaster in the Gulf, should we truly continue putting faith in offshore drilling, miles and miles from the coast? What if another company messes up and floods our coasts? This will screw up tourism for years. The Myrtle Beach economy would have quite a lot of trouble recovering. This has disaster all over it. These candidates, especially Congressman Barrett, cannot be for beach tourism and for offshore drilling. Gresham continued to indirectly refer to no child left behind, and the bush tax cuts that put our country into an incredible deficit (along with the war).
This only reminded me of one thing, his bailout vote. He seems more and more like the non-conservative President Bush was. I cannot see Gresham as anything more than a Social Conservative. I give him that because he talks the Christian talk. Overall, he’s a nice guy but he didn’t win the debate. Even though I disagree with a great deal of what he says, I give him 2nd place for being decisive. As a candidate, he’s pretty good. But some of his stuff is just hard to stomach.
Attorney General McMaster is another story all together. While he is a friendly guy, amusing to listen to, and fun to watch, there is no way this guy is going to be governor. I’m sorry to bust the bubble of so many, but he isn’t going to do it. This election year is very, very important for our state. People are listening more than ever. When you listen to Henry, who I often refer to as General Lee, he does stay on message.
The bad thing is, his message has nothing to do with actual policies. He touts his experience as an executor, putting sex predators behind bars, and making everything safer. He makes it sound like he is the only one that knows how to do the job because of his tenure bankrupting the state Republican Party and doing a pretty fantastic job as Attorney General. Being Governor and being Attorney General are two different ballgames though. Henry was given the chance to show himself as a true conservative candidate.
All he could say was “I want a strategic plan” for economic development. In other words, there is no plan. His connection to Reagan and his past performances as an executor will make everything fix itself…apparently. I was disappointed most in Henry because he really had a chance tonight…but he failed…not just a fail but a miserable fail. He was fourth place tonight.
While I was very disappointed in Nikki Haley’s sudden rush off, after the debate, I found myself agreeing with her on certain points. For once, we do need to audit every government agency. We need to find out where and why our agencies are losing money.
I agree with her on this. She wants to put more energy into small business. I completely agree with her that an environment for small business is necessary. She spoke against the corruption and lack of conservatism in the state house and will fight it. She will also bring more accountability and transparency to the table. Hold up…wait a minute…let’s go back to the corruption first.
She wants to fight corruption in the state house. She said she will exert her influence on legislators that will not support her reform efforts. In other words, she will intimidate legislators into backing her agenda. If they do not, she specifically said, she will expose them in the media through lists. This doesn’t sound too nice. She is going to be a dictator?
I guess having an opinion other than your Governor will no longer be allowed. Furthermore, checks and balances will be history under Nikki. If you disagree, you better just quit or you will be exposed as a burden to the taxpayers.
Next, she spoke about accountability and transparency. Wow….that is all I have to say. Nikki wants more accountability for the legislators. However, according to a credible but unnamed source of mine, she was absent over 70% of the time for these votes in the house. This includes one of the votes that would increase accountability and transparency. Unbelievable huh? It gets better. For a woman touting transparency, she isn’t very transparent.
There is a VERY well known “secret” that was just let out about her and blogger, Will Folks. Many claim it isn’t true. Many of the same people that were talking about how true it was several years ago are now claiming how false it is. The best way this could be solved is if legislators were transparent, right? That is what Nikki would say, correct?
But when asked for her emails and logs as a legislator, she will not clear the air by releasing them. She is talking the talk but not walking the walk. What is the conclusion based on this and her not filing legal action against the alleged accuser? The conclusion is simple. The affair probably happened, as I heard it did several years ago, and she is probably not being very truthful right now. I look forward to seeing more evidence in the upcoming weeks.
As a candidate, she is nothing more than Mark Sanford on steroids. She has the ideologue politics, she may or may not have the mastress, and she doesn’t practice what she preaches. Yikes, four more years of this? She said we need an accountant as Governor. I agree, that would be helpful at times, but the answer isn’t Accountant Haley. A businessman with experience balancing budgets and saving money would be just as effective. Despite everything on the table, she still did better than Henry. I give her third for this debate. Unfortunately, it looks like she will probably lead the pack for first in the primary. But there are still a few days left!
Andre standing under Calhoun in State Senate
Finally, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer. While I have been kind to Andre on my website before, my purpose has been to be very objective in this article…with only slight subjectivity. Andre hasn’t changed very much. He continues to tout the same message he has always been bringing. He wants to bring us out of the Stone Age. Andre said, “The answer to our school systems isn’t throwing money at it.
The answer is to fix the discipline system.” He continued to talk about saving money, how he has always conserved money and in fact, given 400,000 dollars back to the state. He claims to have been the only member to travel and actually sit down with companies to bring them to the state.
If anyone knows how to be a jobs ambassador, Andre does. He only speaks common sense. Everyone can identify with what Andre said tonight. You don’t ever find yourself questioning what he says.
The problem for many is that he makes too much sense. People can’t understand why a politician would be so incredibly upfront. Tonight, he was so confident he answered one question with a simple, “No.” Andre has served in both houses and is a TRUE Conservative.
However, Andre is not the conservative ideologue Nikki Haley is. Andre knows how to work with the legislator to get thins passed that will help the people immediately. Unfortunately, he had to sit and watch Mark Sanford lock the door on communication for eight years. If anything, he knows how NOT to govern.
He pushed off the questions about his personal life saying, “Everyone already knows it. I have nothing to hide.” I thought this was another show of his grace, calmness, and confidence. Tonight, Andre established himself as the one to beat. He spoke common sense with clear plans. His ideas are so innovative like his plans to make South Carolina greener and energy efficient.
There are other ways to fix the energy problem than drilling offshore and hurting tourism by having an oil spill on the coast of our state. Most importantly, he doesn’t shy away from tough issues or even questions.
After the debate, I overheard him being asked a question. The lady asked, “What about homeschoolers. Will you give us tax credits?” His response showed the condition of his conviction. He replied, “You bet. Homeschoolers save taxpayers money. Anything it takes to save taxpayers money, I’m up for it.” Andre talked the talk and walked the walk tonight.
For this, I gave him two thumbs up and can honestly say, in a tight debate, he set himself apart. I think there is little certainty, he won it tonight.
As for the primary, I think what we will see is very simple. Barring overwhelming evidence of an affair coming out against Nikki Haley in the next few days, she makes the run-off with Andre Bauer. Truthfully, it all depends on how much they are all seen and what type of television ads they put on the screen. The next few days and tonight’s debate in Charleston will continue to give a clearer picture. But I don’t’ think it gets clearer than a run off of Bauer and Haley.