Elizabeth Colbert Busch Shows Democrats that Being Republican Lite Can’t Win


Who knew? Who knew that Elizabeth (DINOmite) Colbert Busch could emulate the most complicated of Houdini escapes and wrest herself from a padlocked campaign box of sure victory into the rancid air of defeat? But she did by golly. She managed in a scant 2 weeks to turn a 9 point polling advantage into a 9 point May 7th drubbing (54-45) in South Carolina’s 1st District Congressional race against flawed and foolish opponent Mark Sanford.

The reversal started with the debate. In an earlier submission I gave Busch far more credit than she deserved. Trying to defend her pathetic performance in the single debate that Colbert Busch would agree to, I opined that she was merely trolling for Republican votes with such statements as being a “fiscally CONSERVATIVE Independent business woman who pushed back against the Obama government” and “we need choice” in our public schools and I fully support the (Democratic-hating) Chamber of Commerce in various right-wing initiatives and Obamacare is an expensive piece of s**t accompanied by a 20 second lame statement of support for women’s reproductive rights. Then there was the definitive “I am proud to support and live in a Right to Work State” a declaration tantamount to a political Gulliver peeing all over the unions; a female Judas Iscariot, taking union money, kissing up at union functions, then the ultimate betrayal at the debate. There’s more but I only have about a thousand words or so.

My hope was that these debate comments were simply Little White Political Lies (LWPL’s). They weren’t. My worst fears were realized. Tuesday’s election results were simply a matter of a Republican defeating another Republican.

There were countless early signs. While attending a few fundraisers and making a visit to Charleston in the heat of the race, brother Stephen Colbert did not seem fully vested in his sister’s campaign. Republicans even managed to place more Sanford spots on his TV show than Busch commercials. Then there was that tepid Colbert Busch video appearance at the Democratic State Convention. Not even a spare hour to address in person the most faithful of the faithful?

Speaking of faith, Sanford relentlessly exploited it to the max. God this, God that, from a guy who not only used taxpayer money to pay for a five-day tryst with his Argentine temptress, Maria Belen Chapur, but brought her (now his fiancé) back to South Carolina during the campaign to rub ex-wife Jenny’s nose in the affair.

Sanford, for the most part, campaigned on an austerity budget and bringing jobs to South Carolina. I take him at his word. If I’m a tax-averse giant corporation and can get union-hating goobers to work for near third-world wages, limited benefits and part-time hours to boot, while upper management pay explodes upwards, I’m all over it.

Colbert Busch, for the most part, campaigned on an austerity budget and bringing jobs to South Carolina. The only difference between the two was her positions on the Charleston Port dredging issue that did not seem to resonate with voters as Sanford suffered little political damage.

True to their nature, the Republicans effed with the voters logistically and at the very end Atwatered Colbert Busch with a completely misleading story from a quarter-century ago. Addressing the latter sleaze first, a couple of days before the election, the right-wing blogosphere was aflame with the story of a Colbert Busch campaign cover-up of the sentencing and jailing of the candidate. There were virtually no details beyond the headline of “Colbert Busch covers up jail sentence.” In one of my searches there were over 16,000 entries on the subject, virtually all right-wing. The Independent Sentinel breathlessly wrote that “Colbert Busch has worked to hide her arrest record.” A grainy mug shot of young Elizabeth went viral.

Here’s the story in its entirety. A few sites did at least give up the date of the jailing and the fact it related to a divorce. It was back in 1988 and was part of a messy divorce proceeding between Colbert Busch and her first husband. They apparently could agree on very little so an aggravated judge at the time held them BOTH in contempt of court sentencing them to ONE day in jail. Lesson learned they then started working together.

Roger that!

While it’s essentially a non-story, the Colbert Busch campaign exhibited a certain naiveté in not bringing it to the fore immediately. Pouncing on their opportunity, the opposition did it for Busch, with the worst possible timing. There’s no way to know how many voters who might have stayed home were moved to cast a ballot for Sanford.

The second factor in manipulating the vote happened 2 years ago when the Republicans redistricted a number of black voters out of District 1 to District 6. In the Busch/Sanford race there was much confusion over the move.

Many voters actually held cards for the 1st District even though they were no longer eligible to cast ballots there. At one polling place that serves both the 1st and 6th Districts, the Charleston Post and Courier reported that early on a total of 34 votes were cast while 100 would-be voters were turned away. Stretched out over the entirety of the 1st District, that could add up to a lot of votes. Not enough to make up 9 percentage points, but as a test run it had to make the Republicans giddy.

An estimated 32% of registered voters showed up for the Special Election. That’s a fairly high turnout. Considering the anti-Democrat, Democratic candidate, the fact the District has been rejiggered into a strong Republican district, confusion between District 1 and District 6, insults to unions, sucking up to big business and the silly Colbert Busch Clemson wind tunnel project in a climatologically non-wind friendly state that won’t yield any meaningful energy outcomes for years, if ever, the vote and its margin shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The good news is that the election makes no practical difference. Sanford will be an irrelevant backbencher at his old digs with inputs identical to those already cemented in place by the ultra right-wing House. Colbert Busch’s position would have been the same as all other House Democrats zippo, though methinks she’d feel much more comfortable on the other side of the aisle.

So, at its core, this race is just another red state pounding of a hapless Democrat (or whatever she is). And it’s another instance of trying to “reach across the aisle.” I had a late night phone conversation Tuesday with my friend Lee, who is a County Democratic Party Chairman, we both want the same thing; Democrats who aren’t afraid to be Democrats. Go to the ideological gym Democrats. Pump yourselves up with some of that progressive iron. Learn that at our most radical, we care about children, poor people, women’s rights and those who aren’t lily-white clones. Be proud to be a Democrat and once you’re conditioned with the fever of the committed, get Democrats elected or run yourself.

2014 is right around the corner. Also right around the corner is a Thursday Sanford court appearance.

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