South Carolina

Jim DeMint leaves the Senate to lead the Heritage Foundation

Jim DeMint

There is a lot of hullabaloo today in the conservative movement. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), perhaps the most conservative member of the Senate, has resigned his seat this morning to succeed Ed Fuelner as President of the Heritage Foundation, the leading conservative think tank:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has resigned from the Senate to take over the conservative Heritage Foundation.

DeMint’s decision to leave the Senate after only eight years shocked Washington. DeMint had been seen as a future Senate leader for his party and was already a leader to a growing number of conservatives in the House and Senate.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in the United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future,” DeMint said in a statement explaining his resignation.

“I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight. I’ve decided to join the Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”

Could Mark Sanford make a comeback?

Mark Sanford

With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) under fire from conservatives for his desire to raise taxes as part of a “fiscal cliff” deal, there is speculation that former Gov. Mark Sanford, who made news in 2009 due to an affair, could try to make a political comeback:

For starters he’s done the one thing political observers insisted was absolutely necessary in the event he wanted to attempt a political comeback – legitimize his love affair with Argentinean hottie Maria Belen Chapur.  Sanford proposed to Chapur last week in Buenos Aires … and she accepted.  The result?  What was once viewed by some as a tawdry affair now looks more like thehappy ending to a romance novel.

What else is Sanford doing?  Working the press … like Newsday contributor Lane Filler, who encountered Sanford in a very interesting location at the 2012 Republican National Convention this week.

“I saw him coming down the escalator at the press center of the Republican National Convention in Tampa,” Filler writes of his “surprise encounter” with Sanford.

Hmmmm …

So if Sanford has no political future (and ostensibly knows it) then what exactly was he doing lurking around the press corps at the GOP convention?

South Carolina DOR Hacked, Stupidity Exposed

Post image for South Carolina DOR Hacked, Stupidity Exposed.

I missed much of Friday’s news cycle, as I was traveling to visit my parents in South Carolina. We met them at our favorite local Mexican restaurant for dinner, and within five minutes, dad was telling me about how my Social Security number has probably been compromised and that I need to make a phone call to get free credit monitoring, courtesy of South Carolina.

About a month ago, someone from an international network compromised the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s web site to expose 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit card numbers. Of those credit card numbers, most were encrypted, but 16,000 of them were stored in plain text. All of the Social Security numbers were stored in plain text. The news of this fiasco hit the wire on Friday.

The reactions by South Carolinians that I spoke with this weekend were all pretty much the same: a mixture of anger and frustration. There are some people online calling for Governor Nikki Haley’s head on a platter, but it’s ridiculous to suggest that she would somehow know of vulnerabilities on a web server in a data center somewhere.

Yes, heads should roll; but Haley is the Governor, not the head of I.T.

This story has specific interest to me – first because I have paid South Carolina income taxes since 1998 – so my information is in data that was compromised, but also because I’ve managed web servers and security for equipment that handles this type of information. I understand the steps that are needed to protect this type of information.

Club for Growth on sequestration, Mitt Romney, and Lindsey Graham

Chris Chocola -- Club for Growth

Over the last several years, the Club for Growth has made its presence known in the GOP, supporting insurgent, fiscally conservative primary challengers over establishment-backed incumbents and candidates. Their message has been simple — Congress needs to cut spending, keep taxes low, and reduce regulations that are roadblock to a vibrant and prosperous economy.

Yesterday, Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth, weighed on a few different issues during a meeting with reporters. With the budget deficit over $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year, Chocola said that his organization is welcoming sequestration, which is part of the debt deal reached by Congress last year:

“We don’t care where they get the cuts,” Chocola said at a Thursday breakfast with reporters. “We just think there’s a number they said they would save and they should do it.”

While the chorus urging an alternative to the cuts slated for next year grows louder by the day, Chocola and his conservative organization join a small group of voices advocating that Congress stick to its guns.
“Sequestration is really hard, but [Congress] said they’d do it,” Chocola said. “And they made a promise to the American people that if we raise the debt ceiling we’ll achieve these savings and we just think they need to do that.”

This isn’t surprising given the Club’s principled stances on spending, but it puts the group at odds with Republicans in Congress, including many they’ve endorsed in the past and even this year.

Has the GOP jumped the shark?

All of us saw Saturday night the blowout win that was delivered to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. According to the final results, as reported by Google:

  1. Gingrich — 40.4% (243,153)
  2. Romney — 27.8% (167,279)
  3. Santorum — 17.0% (102,055)
  4. Paul — 13.0% (77,993)

This is definitely a smashing win for Gingrich, a huge setback for Romney, and a new period of turmoil for the GOP presidential nomination race. Never before have three different candidates won Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The race, once believed to be wrapped up by mid-February, might continue into March or April, or even later. And so all the blogs are saying.

But when I look at the results of the South Carolina primary, all I can ask myself is, “Has the Republican Party jumped the shark?”

TVTropes Wiki, a website devoted to stories, defines “jumping the shark”* as:

the moment when an established show changes in a significant manner in an attempt to stay fresh. Ironically, that moment makes the viewers realize that the show has finally run out of ideas. It has reached its peak, it will never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill.

I have to wonder if this is the fate that is falling upon the Republican Party.

South Carolina: This is who you voted for


This is the lesson to take away from South Carolina. Newt Gingrich is the Republican Obama. GOP voters, you have jumped the shark.

Edit: Looks like this is from the RevolutionPAC. Just as a disclaimer.

Gingrich, Romney in a tight race in South Carolina

With just a couple of days to go until the South Carolina Republican primary, we’re seeing some movement of the anti-Romney vote in the state back to Newt Gingrich as Rick Santorum falls back to earth.

This is reflected in several surveys, but to show you the numbers, here is a look at the last four polls out of South Carolina conducted by Rasmussen, who has done the most frequent polling in the state.


What is exactly is happening to cause this second Gingrich surge? While Romney benefited from a fractured conservative base and many Republican voters accepting the “inevitably” of his nomination, recent strong debate performances and questions about Santorum’s fiscal conservatism and electability are bringing anti-Romney vote back into a one camp.

Gingrich will no doubt be aided by Perry’s withdrawal and endorsement even though his numbers weren’t all that great. The fiasco in Iowa, a state that Santorum seems to have now won — though some ballots have been lost, has showed us that every vote matters in this election. As I noted earlier, Perry’s supporters may just be what pushes Gingrich over the top in South Carolina.

Perry to drop out, endorse Gingrich

CNN is reporting that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will drop out of the race for the Republican nomination today, just a couple of days ahead of the South Carolina primary, and endorse Newt Gingrich:

Rick Perry is telling supporters that he will drop his bid Thursday for the Republican presidential nomination, two sources familiar with his plans told CNN.

The Texas governor will make the announcement before the CNN debate in South Carolina, the sources said.

It was incredibly unlikely, given his poor debate performances and gaffes, that Perry would be able to make a comeback in the race. Perry had hoped for a decent showing in South Carolina, but polls there had showed him at the bottom of the pack.

Many influential conservatives had been calling on Perry to drop out of the race so the anti-Romney vote could coalesce behind Gingrich, who has been surging in South Carolina in recent days (I’ll have more on that later today).

Given Perry’s numbers may not be significant, but it could be just enough to put Gingrich over the top on Saturday.

DeMint will not endorse before South Carolina’s primary

In recent days, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), an outspoken fiscal conservative, has defended Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), noting that Republicans should embrace some libertarian ideas. DeMint also sees the risk many Republican take in their public criticism of Paul, who has an incredibly dedicated group of followers, many of whom are young.

This led to rumors of an endorsement yesterday on Twitter and Facebook before the all important South Carolina primary. But DeMint, keeping with a statement he made a couple of months ago, has said he will not endorse:

One of the most sought-after South Carolina politicians said Monday he would not endorse a candidate ahead of the Palmetto State’s primary.

Sen. Jim DeMint, who has offered praise to all of the candidates in the field, said in a statement, “I do not have a favorite in this race and I will not endorse a candidate.”

DeMint said his stance reflected the view of many voters in South Carolina.

“I’ve gotten to know each of the candidates over the past year and they are all far superior to Obama,” DeMint said. “My view reflects what I’ve heard from Republican voters across South Carolina who remain divided in this race.”

DeMint would have been a big get for any candidate in the GOP field, given his high regard among conservative voters. Many of the contenders have met with the senator in person, looking to gain his backing.

Jon Huntsman drops out of race, will endorse Mitt Romney

Despite the confident tone of his concession speech in New Hampshire and receiving a glowing endorsement from an influential South Carolina newspaper, Jon Huntsman has decided to end his bid for the Republican nomination and endorse Mitt Romney:

Jon Huntsman will drop out of the Republican presidential race  on Monday, a campaign spokesman told ABC News.

A source close to the Huntsman campaign said the former ambassador to China and Utah governor was “proud of the race that he ran” but “did not want to stand in the way” of rival Mitt Romney, the current front-runner for the Republican nomination.

Huntsman plans to endorse Romney at an 11 a.m. press conference Monday in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

After a disappointing third place finish in New Hampshire — a contest on which he had staked his candidacy — Huntsman vowed to fight on. In his concession speech in New Hampshire, he told his supporters:  “I say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentleman! Hello, South Carolina!”
A Huntsman aide tells ABC News that the decision came in the wake of the results of the New Hampshire primary.

“He has been discussing with his family after they woke up after a successful evening in New Hampshire. They felt good about their performance in New Hampshire, but he and his family had a discussion and this is the decision they came to,” the aide said. “At the end of the day he decided he did not want to hurt the best chance of beating Barack Obama and that’s Mitt Romney. By continuing into South Carolina and Florida, that’s what he would have been doing.”

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