An Old Foe Is Returning in 2014, and He Could Defeat Nikki Haley

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Moderate Democrat Vincent Sheheen, has announced that he’s going to give his pursuit of the South Carolina Governorship another go in 2014. He lost to Governor Nikki Haley by 4 points in 2010. I know he’s running again because my Halifax Media-owned local right-wing newspaper revealed his intention in a minimal coverage story on page C-3. Had the situation been reversed and Sheheen was the sitting Governor, there would have been giant front-page headlines “HALEY TO CHALLENGE GOVERNOR.” A picture of Haley covering half the page would have been an imperative.

But this is South Carolina and Haley is a power player fully under the thumb of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Club for Growth and other nationally powerful interest groups. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party love her. Such affection in itself is enough to eliminate her from consideration by any sensible voter. She’s a God awful Governor just as she was a God awful accountant for her families’ business, exotically named “Exotica International”, routinely paying EI’s taxes late; very late, as much as 19 months late on at least 3 occasions. You try that sometime. The company closed its doors almost exactly 5 years ago.

Her absurd penny-pinching led to such weak security (all about money) at the Department of Revenue that a hacker accessed tax returns and personal data of millions of residents. Haley believes in bringing giant anti-union companies into the state, then watching them get incentives that their taxes (if and when such taxes are ever paid) could never possibly cover. Boeing, the oft-fined (when you have an afternoon to spare, enter “Boeing fines” in your search engine) corporate huckster and huge backlog specialists, has bled the state for a billion in taxpayer incentives and is in the process of sucking another $120 million in a “bonding” plan to pay for expanding its North Charleston facility.

Just as a key vote is taken in the state Senate, Boeing announced that it plans to invest $1 billion and create 2,000 (at less than union wages) new jobs over the next eight years at its plant. They’ll start hiring as soon as they get that 787 scandal behind them. The so-called “Dreamliner” is still parked because of battery problems. And shame on the media. The 787 had a hell of a lot more problems (generally unreported) than just overheating lithium ion batteries. I’m not sure that the singular battery factor would result in the first grounding of an entire fleet since 1979 as Forbes reports.

Oh yes and Bloomberg calculates the delivery book value for the 787 at $190 billion. Boeing is the world’s largest manufacturer of combined commercial and military aircraft and also a giant defense contractor. Their orders are always in the billions. And they’ need a miserably poor state’s taxpayer money???

So keep shoveling money to a poorly run company of few ethics and keep underfunding the 25% of children 0-18, who live in households with incomes below the poverty level according to the most recent statistics available. “Remember how lazy them 4-year-olds is. All that drinking; driven’ them fancy cars! They don’t deserve a GD dime.” Sounds like a plan that only a right-winger could love.

While Nikki Haley governs with her corporate blinders fully in place, the state continues to trail in national unemployment statistics with the rate of 8.6% being almost a full point higher than the 7.7% national number. As I’ve chronicled many times on this site, South Carolina is morphing into a third-world state, trailing just about every state in the union in meaningful economic and quality of life statistics and Haley hasn’t moved the needle one Angstrom.

With full-on and harmful attacks on the mentally ill front and center of the gun debate and with the recent suicide of the son of famed pastor and author, Rick Warren, the issue of those suffering from mental health illnesses has become the topic du jour across the land. Haley has presided over two of the three years that the budget for the Mental Health Department has fallen by 39.3%. That’s a dollar total of $187.3 million down to $113.7 million affecting thousands of South Carolinians in desperate need of mental health intervention. That abhorrent insensitivity ranks #1 in the nation.

These figures come from a brilliantly revealing and deeply personal article on the subject by Mac McClelland in the latest edition of Mother Jones magazine. It should be must reading for every progressive in the country. Right-wingers won’t get even one word of what has been written; in fact the local Republicans were highly supportive of the budget cuts.

Just as in Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”, there are millions of Dr. Manette’s out there, caught in their own solitary hell; trying to cobble their way to a practical level of sanity. God, how we don’t need the Haley’s of our world setting policy for the mentally ill. Policy based on dollars and cents, extremist politics and ambition. This is the same woman who brought in Bobby Jindal’s health care hatchet man, Tony Keck, to become Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. His orders; destroy Obamacare. He’s off to a good start. When Haley refused to create a state-run health insurance exchange, Keck was quoted as saying, “It doesn’t make sense for a state to get involved.” Just the opposite is true of course, but this is South Carolina.

Sheheen has a chance to unseat Haley. If all of Haley’s shortcomings are brought into the open in one cohesive package, nobody of conscience and any degree of intelligence could vote for her. Some pundits claim she might not run because she wants to save herself as a possible Vice-Presidential nominee on the 2016 Republican ticket. Her chances of being the next Olympics women’s shot put champion are better than a spot on the ticket. In any event, she would want to keep a high profile and the governor’s office would do just that. And she could resign mid-term if she felt like it and go to work for Fox hosting a show called “Haley’s House.”

If the South Carolina’s Governor’s race were a sandlot baseball game, Sheheen would be picked first and Haley told to go home. But it’s not a sandlot game, it’s a game of huge money and low information nutbags. Haney already has in excess of $2 million to play with. Sheheen starts out with $500. He does have $92,310 in his state Senate campaign account, but every transfer over to a Governor’s campaign fund would require the donor’s permission.

So baring a big surprise on either side, it’s a 42-year-old (as of April 29) lawyer/State Senator from Camden, a community of 7,000 in South Carolina horse country vs. the current governor who has proven to fall short as both an accountant and governor.

Back up the Brink’s truck, ALEC.

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