Given the rumors, the last thing you would expect Gov. Beasley and the First Lady to be doing would be hosting a workshop on spousal relationships, but that's what they did. The First Couple held a closed-door workshop on "Partnerships" for governors and their wives at the National Governors' Conference in Puerto Rico July 13-16.
Since the meeting was closed to the press, we'll never know if the Beasleys were purported to be a model of family values, or an example of pitfalls to avoid.
For the record, George Wolfe says that his marriage to Ginny, the governor's communications director, is solid, and that rumors to the contrary are "politically motivated."
While maintaining the appearance that he's where the buck stops, Gov. Beasley is finally catching heat for his cozy relationship with superlobbyist Warren Tompkins.
Tompkins, who once chafed at being Lee Atwater's understudy, took Lee's place at the right ear of former governor Carroll Campbell. While Tompkins was on the state payroll as Campbell's chief of staff, Tompkins reportedly is content to run the Beasley administration for tips and gratuities.
When Tompkins isn't busy managing Beasley's kitchen cabinet, he's offering advice to the Thurmond and Dole campaigns. It is clear that if Campbell gets the VP slot with Dole (Campbell is the only running mate who could make Dole look positively charismatic) then Tompkins will be lurking just off stage.
A recent article in the other statewide newspaper pointed out that Tompkins landed the top lobbyist job for Chem-Nuclear a few days after Beasley changed state policy to keep the nuclear dump open. Also, it was reported that Tompkins' take as a lobbyist has increased 240 percent since Beasley took office.
The other paper failed to mention that, contrary to Beasley's assertions that Tompkins wasn't on his payroll, the Beasley campaign paid millions to Tompkins' Virginia firm, National Media Inc. It is worth noting that National Media was started by Atwater.
Assuming Tompkins doesn't get indicted for obstructing justice in the DPS scandal (see last month's Loose Lips), he may yet live up to Atwater's legacy.
The possible addition of Campbell to the Dole ticket would prove to be both a blessing and a curse to all parties concerned.
While a Campbell VP slot would probably be the death knell of the Republican presidential campaign, Campbell's presence on the national ticket would be a boost to every Republican on South Carolina ballots in November.
A Campbell vice presidential bid could be the bump that Strom Thurmond needs to win his position in the history books for longevity.
Democrats claim that a Dole-Campbell ticket is a sign of desperation that will yield four more years for Clinton. On a local level, they worry that a Campbell candidacy will bode ill for Democratic candidates around the state.
Meanwhile, Palmetto State fundamentalists who have taken control of Campbell's own party are wondering whose vote Campbell is expected to deliver. The Christian Coalition majority at the Republican state convention embarrassed the former governor and pool hall owner by giving him lukewarm support (he came in 10th) in his bid to be a national delegate.
A recent press release by an anti-choice group in Columbia slammed Campbell's support for abortion in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother. "(Campbell) is not biblically pro-life," said the group Sidewalk Ministries.
While Campbell is being touted as the "candidate with no baggage," a July 24 interview with the Associated Press reminded us of some carry-on luggage stowed overhead. Campbell brought up stories of drug use by Clinton's White House aides and noted, "In my administration, we had a zero tolerance for drugs."
Campbell is banking on the national media not finding out that his best friend, campaign treasurer Dick Greer, was busted for cocaine while serving as the Campbell appointed director of the state Development Board. At the time, Campbell and Greer shared ownership in a house at the beach, and questions remain as to how Campbell didn't know that his best friend and drinking buddy had a coke habit.
While the anti-semetic tones of Campbell's 1978 campaign for Congress are well known, the national media hasn't picked up on Campbell's speech at a Liberty Lobby convention in Florida while he was in Congress. Campbell denied knowing that the group runs an anti-semitic line, and says he didn't know the reputation of the group that was paying him to speak.
The big skeleton in Campbell's closet may well be the retroactive capital gains tax cut that Greer orchestrated with his dealer Ron Cobb. Major donors to Campbell's campaigns were the major beneficiaries of the multimillion-dollar rebate. Democrats feel that Republican U.S. Attorney Bart Daniel didn't follow the trail of money and white powder to the governor's office.
It is interesting to note that Gov. Beasley has turned to Daniel to pull his bacon from the fire in the DPS scandal.
Completely overlooked in repeated media assertions of Campbell s squeaky clean past is the racist horse Campbell originally rode into office. Campbell set the stage for a successful run for the state legislature in 1970 by leading anti-bussing demonstrations in Greenville. The constituency he was pandering to chanted racial epithets while overturning a school bus that had been carrying black children.
Campbell has never come clean on his educational background, either. His curriculum vitae claims a masters degree in political science from American University. But Campbell completed only two semesters of college prior to taking a course at AU. The registrar at AU said that while they list Campbell with a masters, there is no record of Campbell completing the requisite course work.
Campbell bashers are wondering, "If Campbell is the cleanest candidate they can come up with, what skeletons lurk in the rest of those vp-wannabes closets?"
As the third party movement gathers momentum in South Carolina (there are six parties on the ballot this year) we are reminded that this is nothing new. In 1948, Gov. Strom Thurmond won this state's vote for president of the United States on a third party ticket. Thurmond was the candidate of the white supremacist States' Rights Democratic Party, or Dixiecrats, and got three times the number of votes in this state as Harry Truman.
Truman went on to be president, and Thurmond was later elected to a lifetime term as U.S. Senator.
In 1950, before the advent of television, then-Gov. Thurmond participated in a debate with Olin Johnson. It was the last debate the senator participated in.
Thurmond's pat response to clamors from the Elliott Close campaign for a debate is that, "People know my stands on issues. Why should I give publicity to my opponents?"
A recent and rare live interview with the senator on Columbia's WIS TV, however, leaves one guessing as to the senator's positions. When asked about term limits, the seven-term (42 years) senator responded, "It doesn't hurt to bring in new blood." The senator, conversely, argues that he needs to be reelected because "it takes 25 years to get stature," in the Senate.
The senator says that he "will vote for a reasonable wage increase if it is not all done at one time, and it's spread over a period of time." But the senator's voting record reflects that he has voted against every incremental minimum wage increase since 1961.
While Thurmond said, "I would not favor a repeal of an assault weapons ban," he voted in 1990 and 1993 against the ban.
The senator told WIS that he would like to see the proposal for a flat tax "debated more, but I would be inclined to support a flat tax." While most analysts believe that a flat tax will increase the tax burden on people with incomes of less than $200,000, the senator said, "I think it might save a lot of paperwork, and save a lot of money and time to do that. But I'd like to see it debated and go into it a little more thoroughly."
Unfortunately for voters, the senator's plans for debate and "going into it a little more thoroughly" do not include an actual debate with his opponent, Elliott Close.
If you have been wondering how the Governor's Commission on Racial Relations has been coming along in its efforts, the July 16 meeting of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights provides some insight.
The CCR, at a meeting in Columbia to examine the recent burning of churches, had the chance to ask members of the state Commission some hard questions. Several citizen participants told the CCR that they had contacted the governor's office about the commission and got no response.
CCR Chair Mary Berry sympathized with citizens' inability to get information, noting that the CCR had requested information from the governor's office on May 29 and had yet to receive any response.
Urban League Director J.T. McLawhorn testified before the CCR and didn't cop to being a member of the Governor's Commission until CCR Commissioner Berry called him back to the stand to make the point.
The most revealing testimony came from the Governor's Commission Chairman, Tony Grant. Grant showed up two hours after the meeting was scheduled to adjourn. Under a grueling examination by the CCR, Grant admitted that he didn't know how many people the governor assigned to assist the state Commission, or their names. Grant didn't know the Commission's budget and couldn't name any existing committees.
In a tense exchange between Grant and Berry (both black), Berry evidenced her incredulity that there wasn't a committee on affirmative action.
Grant refused to answer a question about his feelings on whether the Confederate flag shouldcome down, and tersely responded that he was "from the grassroots...from the projects."
Grant acknowledged that he is currently a senior vice president at Nations Bank, with six junior VP's and a staff of 18 reporting to him. Grant did not connect his rise to the top of the banking world with affirmative action.
One observer noted that while some of the commission members are sincere in their desire to address our state's racial problems, Grant unfortunately exemplifies their fears that the commission will avoid meeting the hard issues head-on.
"It is my sense that Mr. Grant and the governor are more intent on creating the perception that they are addressing the problem than actually addressing the problem," said one frustrated citizen.
There is still hope that the commission will at least send the governor the mandate that, for the healing process to begin, the flag must come down.
The next meeting of the commission is Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. in Rock Hill. For details, call 803-734-9818.
Have you ever wondered whether the homophobia Republicans evidence may be rooted somewhere they don't talk about?
A recent study at the University of Georgia tested 35 homophobic and 29 non-homophobic men. All the participants described themselves as exclusively heterosexual. The subjects were shown explicit videotapes of heterosexual, male homosexual and lesbian sex.
Both groups reacted the same to the heterosexual and lesbian videos, but there was a marked difference in their reaction to the male homosexual scenes.
"The homophobic men showed a significant increase in penile circumference to the male homosexual video, but the non-homophobic men did not," the report concluded. In fact, 80 percent of the homophobes showed "significant arousal" while watching the boys fool around. Only 33 percent of the non-homophobes were aroused.
The authors of the study concluded that homophobic men have repressed homosexual urges.
We suggest that gay bashers be required to take this test, especially the boys on Greenville County Council. There may be a whole new constituency that the homophobic congressman Bob Ingles can come to grips with.
When the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled July 15 that pregnant women's use of drugs constituted a violation of the state's child abuse statutes, Attorney General Charlie Condon breathed a sigh of relief.
Condon is being sued by 10 women who were arrested in Charleston after testing positive for cocaine while they were pregnant.
"The South Carolina Supreme Court's decision flies in the face of every other court in this nation and ignores the fact that every leading medical group has concluded that throwing mothers in jail will hurt women, their babies and their families," said Lynn Paltrow, the Center for Reproductive law and Policy attorney who represented Cornelia Whitner.
Whitner was sentenced to eight years in prison for child neglect after she tested positive for cocaine during her pregnancy in Richland County. Whitner gave birth to a healthy child and may now have to abandon her five-year-old to serve jail time.
Child care and women's rights advocates are reeling from the opinion that was written by Justice Jean Toal who, by all accounts a liberal Democrat, was supported in her recent confirmation battle by anti-choice forces.
Since the ruling went not only against judicial precedent but against the opinion of every medial association, observers wonder if this was Toal's way of paying back the anti-choice contingent for its support.
Paltrow pointed out that this ruling would require doctors and social workers to turn in women who smoke or drink during pregnancy. "Women who fail to take vitamins, or decide to go to work despite their doctor's advice that they should stay in bed...could be guilty of the crime of child neglect as a result of (this) ruling."
Since women face a lesser penalty for a third-trimester abortion than they do for the crime of giving birth with drugs in their system, the ruling encourages women to have late-term abortions.
"It's ironic that state officials who claim to be pro-life pursued a legal holding that will encourage women to have abortions," Paltrow said.
Identify the national politician who recently put concerns about his reelection ahead of previously expressed concerns for millions of poor children in this country. This sleazebag is known for scarfing Big Macs while an estimated nine million children in this country one in four in South Carolina live below the poverty level. Be the first caller to identify this vote-hungry politician and win a free trial subscription to POINT.
Last month's sleazeball, state Treasurer Richard Eckstrom, threw a party and didn't tell one of his co-hosts that it was really a fundraiser for himself.
In a Loose Lips item in July, in which we dissed a Columbia radio station for running the Biblebabble of Dr. James Dobson, we said WIS was owned by the "Greenville-based conservative Liberty Corporation." Dobson also is heard on WVOC, which used to be WIS and was once owned by Liberty.
An alert reader, and friend of Hayne Hipp, CEO of Liberty, pointed out our mistake and noted that Hipp actually has a liberal reputation.