Miles and Miles Of Desolate Wasteland That Once Used to Be..... Candidacies. We Tell You Who to Blame and How Much.
Alright... it's Friday afternoon, the weekend is coming, we all have our schedules filled with things to do. After this crazy week in politics, we're all sure that even though there are only 4 days until the Primary, everyone could use a day or two without thinking about things - especially the Ballot Fiasco.
Problem is, there are a lot of voters who don't live and die politics like we do, but are still concerned over exactly what happened the past five weeks and why... We've been closely watching this since the beginning, but at the same time, we are not involved in any campaign, nor do we hold any office in the GOP to blind us or cause us to BS you about who should shoulder some blame in this... In short, we're the perfect people to pass judgement on everyone else! Call it that if you feel the need, but we'll live..
In our assessment, we find fault with eight different groups/individuals that should feel some degree of responsibility with Ballotgate 2012. We're listing them here in our view in rank of responsibility, from first to last. In short, we feel it was a monumental error by one organization, which was followed by a lack of followup by a number of groups. In addition, we have three of these seven groups either acted or failed to react to the situation improperly, thus causing further damage or failure to remedy the mess. If you're ready, here we go.....
1. The SC Ethics Commission
While some would like to blame the Legislature for the law itself, the law is what it is, and it's stated pretty clearly that you file electronically, but make a paper copy at the time of filing. We might not have agreed with Chad Connelly's assessment yesterday, but he was right about one thing: the SC Ethics Commission gave completely incorrect directions as to how candidates and parties were to file. They said no paper copy was needed, and that electronically could be done beforehand. Wrong and wrong.. We will get to personal responsibility very shortly, but as far as the Big F**kuparoo, the people have a lot of explaining to do...
2. Jakie Knotts
We'll be damned if almost didn't blame Jakie for a good chunk of this. After all, if you're playing Jenga, how can you NOT blame the guy who pulled the tile that dropped the whole structure? No, it wasn't his intention to take out 240 candidates - just Katrina Shealy. Well, in the lovely world of unintended consequences, Jakie stepped in a huge pile of crap... Shealy and her herd of rabid supporters are going full bore to get her on the ballot anyway, so in the end, Knotts may have made himself the Pariah Carey of the GOP by starting the legal mess. Nice going, Hoghead!
The next couple of groups fell right in line. We know, we know... They were only following orders given by the SC Ethics Commission. That didn't work well for the Nazi's in 1945, and we're not going to accept that as an excuse for full clearance from blame this time either. It's called confirmation, and both parties blew it, which begat.....
4. County Parties
Easy enough... Top level management gets bad info, doesn't check it, and passes it right onto mid-level management. Case closed. Kudos to the couple Chairs who seemed to actually take the time to read the rule before filing day. Too bad there weren't more...
5. The Candidates
Yes, the mantra 'If they can't do paperwork right, how can they legislate properly' is pretty good. In most cases, the candidate is the lower level employee, so again, they just do what the party tells them. However, we can speak from personal experience on this. We've filed both Federal and State economic forms. How? We went on the websites and did it. Granted, it was before electronic filing, but going straight to the source makes life easy..
6. Florence County GOP
Yes, you can thank the last 39 lost candidates to the FCGOP. Though they will still repeat the same reasons they gave to the Supreme Court until they're blue in the face, they purposely pushed through their entire slate of candidates, which the Florence Democrats say they were told wouldn't happen once the initial Supreme Court ruling came out. Then, their last 'clarification' apparently ticked the Court off so bad, anyone with an existing SEI from a current, yet different office was not deemed good enough, which took out 38 Republicans, but only 1 Democrat. Oops! We've been checking to see which candidates in Florence that new rule affected, but the FCGOP hasn't seemed to put out a list yet - or much of anything else this week. Silence is golden...
7. The South Carolina House and Senate
Yes, they could have easily stopped this by changing the existing law, and allowed all of the candidates to get back on the ballot, with time to spare. Instead, they haggled, stalled or sat on their hands a couple weeks ago. If Greg Ryberg was telling the truth, and guys were high-fiving once the bill was killed, then we need names and wipe those a-holes out of Columbia. It will have to wait til 2016, but we have long memories. Still, aside from mistakenly not pointing out specifically whether a paper copy should be needed in the 2010 law, the Legislature didn't cause these people to get kicked off the ballot - they just didn't get them back on. Worthy of blame? Absolutely. Worthy of a lion's share of it? Not to us. They screw up enough, but this wasn't their all their fault..
8. The South Carolina Supreme Court
Gripe all you want about them, but the real truth is, they didn't make the law, misread the law or start this. All they did was interpret the law as is their job. No, Jakie Knotts' diaper changers didn't ask about the paper copy of the SEI, but The Court's job is to intrepret the entirety of a law, and that's what they did. BTW, they did it absolutely right in the first round that knocked out 200. No paper copy, no certification means just that. As far as the 'clarification' point that kicked out the last 39, we have some issue with that, which is why they made it on the list. The FCGOP made it ahead of them, because if they didn't ask again, we probably wouldn't have gotten an answer - again. Most economic interest forms at the local and state levels are the same, and both sides seem to agree on that, otherwise we likely would not even have them on this. It wasn't a conspiracy by Jean Toal, et al to knock out as many Republicans as possible, so pack up the Tin Foil Hat and pack it away for the next kook festival..
Between these eight, you could just about assess 99.999999% of the blame for Ballotgate 2012. The rest you could blame on the media, bloggers, or maybe God - but we'd pass on that. The bad news is that Primary 2012 is much like the fallout picture of Hiroshima above - a barren wasteland of a ballot, with nothing left. The good news is that we ALL are aware of the problem now, and we can fix it, either in the Legislature, or just reading the rule book, rather than taking So and So's word for it. And it will live in infamy... Fifteen years from now, some kid will be running for office, and we'll be asking 'Did you print your SEI??'. They'll ask why, and we'll reminisce about the Great Ballotgate of 2012.. And they'll look at us like newcomers look today when they talk about Operation Lost Trust or ABSCAM...
Editor's Note: In the interest of full disclosure, we incorrectly listed Marci Andino as the head of the SC Ethics Commission. She is the head of the SC Elections Commission. We thank her in advance for not suing us, and to Nancy Cave for pointing out the error.. The listed Director of the Ethics Commission is Herbert Hayden. Never heard of the man, but it's odd it hasn't come up, in light of the Ethics Commission's obvious error in it's directions to the state parties..