Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hey, Who's In Charge Here ??

I was watching all the drama going on with the big GOP fundraiser in New York this week. First, Sarah Palin was going to be the keynote speaker, then she wasn't. Then she was invited to speak, then she was disinvited. Newt Gingrich ended up being the Keynote Speaker. So, my first question was, "Who decided that Caribou Barbie shouldn't be on stage."

Now, this leads me to the bigger picture within the GOP. We have an identity crisis. Nationally, statewide - the problem is there. Who is the leader for the party right now in DC? Gingrich? Rush Limbaugh? Michael Steele? Palin? Here in South Carolina, we have a lame duck Governor, and no apparent successor to him. Is the next face going to be his replacement, or will it be a name behind the scenes?

Thursday night, Karen Floyd will be at our County meeting in Florence, and here is the prepared question I have for her: When I was a kid, they had a public service message they showed in class once. A student on the bus hung a mouse in the bus drivers face, and she passed out. The bus went out of control, and crashed into a river because none of the kids had the foresight to grab the steering wheel. The GOP is the same right now. We seem to be a bus without a driver. Who is at the wheel to drive the bus ?

I know there are few people in the SCGOP that read SC6, so I figure someone will pass this on to Karen, and she'll have plenty of time to prepare for this question. I look forward to her answer. As for the rest of us, what is your answer? Who is running the show here in SC, and in DC? Or, is the machine to big and complex for one person's vision to dominate?



Anonymous said...

Mike--historically, the SC GOP was led by Sen Thurmond, regardless of who was the SCGOP chair,Governor,or other elected officals,Sen.Thurmond was the titular head of the SCGOP. A great deal of his influence lay in his "Southern Strategy" that was employed first by Pres. Nixon in the 1968 election; and then by Pres. Reagan; first in his quest for the nomination in 1976 and later in 1980 election.
As time passed and Sen.Thurmond grew older the mantel of leadership passed to Gov. Campbell (remember when folks wanted Carrol to run against Strom and he refused?). Carrol's stewardship helped to lead this party to it's position that when Gov.Beasley was elected we saw a number of Democrats switch to being Republicans(our own Sen.Leatherman was one).
That leds us to where we are now,which is the same position the Democrats were in in 50 years ago. Our party is now divided between the geographical areas of the state as well between the moderates(aka RINOs) and conservatives. We also have disadvantage of having a number of elected officals who all want the titular title that Sen. Thurmond and Gov.Campbell carried so well.
So who leds our party? I think personally we need leader who has a national presence (like Sen Graham); who also has a national reputation as a strong Republican (like Sen. Demint) and has the potential to command a place on the national stage (like Gov.Sanford). We in SC find ourselves in a position that some states would love to be;an excess of very good Republican leaders who are willing to stand up not just for the Republican party but for the people of SC. I know somewhere Strom,Carrol and Floyd Spence are looking down on us and smiling at how far we have come and what our future holds...teg

west_rhino said...

And it is to Mikey Steele and Karen Floyd to lead follow or get the flip out of the way... maybe fromt eh grassroots level one must grab the reins.

mg said...

We should first look at who aint leading it.

Anonymous said...

The Big Cheese is in charge

Anonymous said...

Moye-the list of those who are not leading is far longer than the list of those who can lead but only half as long as those who think they should. One of the chief problems we have in SC are politicans who think they should captain our state and our party when in reality they are not even qualified to be a deck hand on a raft floating down the Pee Dee.

Matt said...

Anon #1--Great analysis. I pretty much agree.

I think it makes sense that the governor of the state is the leader or "titular head" of the party. This was clearly the case with Carroll Campbell for eight years.

But a model I like (as a GOP political observer) is that of the four years of Jim Hodges for the Democrats. Even with Hollings as the "senior statesman" of that party Hodges was clearly the leader of the South Carolina Democrats. The reason that worked so well was because Hodges and the state Democratic apparatus always seemed to be in sync on their message to the voters and their goals for the government: they were the governor and the party of "better public schools" and the "education lottery".

The SCGOP will not have a real leader until we have a governor nominee (and hopefully a GOP governor) in 2010. What the SCGOP need to do is get in sync with the eventual nominee and create a brand that the party represents post-Sanford and post-Harrell.

IMO, that brand should advocate "good government" issues like transparency, re-emphasize economic development and innovation as a core issue (like Carroll Campbell did), promote local control of schools, reforming spending and enacting 21st century lower tax policies...
and we need a candidate who can stick to their conservative principles the way Sanford does but do so without his "bite" but instead works tirelessly with GOP legislative leaders to enact policy.

Anonymous said...

Please stay tuned.
Many developments in the next few weeks/months that will give us a clear direction!

Rick Beltram

Anonymous said...

WHOA! You got a cheesehead in charge? Go Packers!

Anonymous said...

Wrong Mike, this year Miami returns to the SuperBowl...