Friday, January 13, 2012

The Smell Test

The Smell Test

SC GOP Voters Must Hold Their Noses Again

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

As a native South Carolinian, who hasn’t lived in the state in over fifty years, it has become necessary to tap into the well of information presented by my friends and family who still reside there to get a feel for what SC will do come their GOP primary on January 21st

South Carolina politics (North Carolina’s, too) is a blood sport.  It is rough and tumble all the way.

“The State” newspaper, SC’s leading Newspaper, suggest those seeking to knock Romney off his catbird seat should take a lesson from SC history and – “play dirty.” (SOURCE)

The article by Gina Smith goes on to say: “In South Carolina – with its tradition of whisper campaigns, automated phone calls that no one takes credit for and possibly illegal efforts to sway voters – politics is a blood sport, supported by a cottage-industry of political strategists.”

Ms. Smith is spot-on.

When South Carolina forsook the Democratic Party it embraced the GOP’s conservative wing  -- and never looked back.

I’d like to recommend that you take the time to read Ms. Smith’s article.  It presents a well-rounded explanation of how politics works in my home state.  You may read Ms. Smith’s article here at (The State)

If you have been laboring under the impression that northern political machines have all the tactical wars in modern day politics down to a fine edge, then you really ought to learn how things are down south – especially in my home state of South Carolina.  Even the famed Chicago political machine could learn a few tricks from the Sandlappers.

As the GOP candidates converge on South Carolina the anger is thick enough to cut with a knife.  The gloves are off and the bare-knuckle beatings are about to begin. It’s going to get down and dirty in the next week before the primary.

No longer does Iowa or New Hampshire decide the GOP nomination – South Carolina does.  For the past thirty-two years the candidate winning the SC Primary has gone on to become the Republican Party nominee for President.  For that reason, money has been flowing into the state to support candidates -- and to destroy others.  The state is awash in political cash.

It will not be fun and games for Romney over the next week.  It will be a slog.  Romney is not well liked in South Carolina.  In “up-state” SC Romney is held responsible for closing a plant there and rendering a slew of people jobless.  That wound is still very sensitive and Romney’s opponents continue to pick at the scab to remind folks that it was Romney who sent them packing without employment.  We’ve already heard Romney compared to the fictional character from the movie “Wall Street” Gordon Gekko.

Gingrich comes to the Palmetto State loaded for bear.  Well, maybe that should be “loaded for Romney.”  Gingrich is seething with anger for the negative ads Romney’s supporters ran against Gingrich in Iowa knocking him out of first place and consigning him to the basement of the GOOP candidate field.

Ron Paul is plodding into the Iodine State safe in the knowledge that he will never be President of the United States.  Paul is intent now on racking up enough support that he can demand concessions from whomever the GOP nominee turns out to be.  For Paul, it’s not about winning the nomination – it’s about winning concessions… that’s all.

Perry has been ruining around the state for nearly a week not creating much more than a dust cloud.  Mr. Perry’s stand on illegal immigration shut him out in South Carolina.

Huntsman?  Well, anyone having worked for Obama is lucky to be allowed a drink of water in South Carolina.  Any time huntsman spends in South Carolina is wasted time.  The same goes for any money he might spend on his campaign there.

Santorum?  Nah.  A nice family man but hasn’t a prayer of a chance against the Obama machine.

Any way it goes in South Carolina next week will be fun for those of us who enjoy the sport of politics.  The candidates themselves will not share in that fun, however.  For them, it will be all work.

Expect no surprises from South Carolina, though.  Unless something terribly unforeseen happens, Romany will win the primary and be out of the sandhills like a flash on his way to Florida, which is seen by many southerners as a “Yankee colony.”  He should receive a warmer (no pun intended) welcome there.

J. D. Longstreet 

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