It's been three months now, and the blush is still on the rose. The Boykin Rose that Gov. David Beasley tried to pluck from his cabinet in early July refuses to wither.
Beasley finally fired Rose, the former head of the Department of Public Safety, this month. But the fact that Beasley waded into such a high-profile scandal apparently without the facts to make his case indicates he was reacting to circumstances already beyond his control. That he waited three months to fire Rose is a sure sign that Beasley had to cobble together the best case he could come up with under the circumstances.
What the conflict cooks down to is that Rose didn't go along with business as usual. The governor wanted some DPS grants to go to his buddies, nothing really illegal and no big deal. When Rose wouldn't check off on the political patronage, an act totally out of character for someone appointed by the governor, the whole deal went sour.
Beasley's boys, accused of forging Rose's name on grant proposals, didn't figure it would go this far.
South Carolina is lucky that Rose is more concerned with his own integrity and self-importance than he is with political realities. It helps in such a pursuit to be independently wealthy.
It hurts to put our bets on an arrogant blue-blood, but our guess is that Boykin is going to come out smelling like a rose.
If you watched the Republican Convention on television, you may have been fooled into thinking that the GOP had taken on the rainbow hues of the great American melting pot.
This impression was due, not to any affirmative action program but to the wonders of modern programming. You could almost hear the director saying, "Give me a happy Negro on Camera Two. Fade in a Latino "
The GOP needed the special effects to give viewers the impression that the party resembles the America they pretend to represent. In fact, the average Republican delegate was rich, old, white and male. One in five were millionaires. None of the GOP delegates from South Carolina were black.
The Democratic Convention, on the other hand, fielded a team of delegates that more closely reflected the general population in America. Over half were women, nearly 25 percent were black, 15 percent were under 30. Only one of the 51 state's Democratic delegates was a certifiable millionaire. A third of the delegation was made up of educators and students.
Which delegation would you want to baby-sit your child?
Rep. Mickey Whatley (R-Charleston) has given a new twist to the old saying that home is where your heart is.
Whatley wants the voters of House District 113 to believe that while he lives in District 111, his heart can really be found at the house he rents in their district.
Whatley, the former North Charleston Chief of Police, has not lived in the district he represents since being elected in 1994. Whatley sleeps in the majority black district represented by Rep. Floyd Breeland (D-Charleston). Whatley lets a retired police friend live in the house full-time so it has that lived-in look.
While state law requires representatives to reside in the district they serve, Whatley argues, "I'm the man who makes the decision where my residence is. I live where I say I live."
Whatley's phone rings at his house in District 111, but his driver's license and voter registration card place him in "residence" in District 113. The Charleston County Election Commission refused to rule on a protest filed by Whatley's Democratic opponent, Dean Powell, saying that questions of residency are up to the candidate's party to resolve.
Whatley will have a chance to convince a circuit court judge of his argument, which is: "I think there's a difference between residence and where you live."
When the Black Caucus got in bed with the Republicans two years ago to draw up new legislative districts, we hope they had the sense to get paid before they got screwed.
The caucus worked with the Republicans to create more black majority districts, at the cost of creating more ultra-white Republican districts. As a result, the Republicans took over the House and left the black Democrats with less power than they had on the old Democratic plantation.
During hearings in federal court over the constitutionality of using race to determine district lines, Rep. Preacher Harrelson, a white Democrat from Colleton County, told the federal judge that Rep. Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston) admitted to him, "We don't give them niggers nothing. We don't need them anymore."
While Limehouse denied making the statement and declined to discuss the sentiment behind the comment, it clearly sums up how much space was saved in the GOP's Big Tent for minorities.
Sen. Darrell Jackson, a black Democrat who can be counted on to put party before race, testified, "I felt the House sacrificed influence for numbers."
As the political party operatives put on a show about going for the youth vote, we wonder how many of them were watching the recent 1996 MTV Music Awards.
In a bipartisan slam, host Dennis Miller told the young audience (most of whom probably zoned out during the parties' convention attempts to win their hearts and minds with bad music), "I thought this day would never arrive, I've been sitting on 30 or 40 Macarena jokes that are as stale as the condom in Strom Thurmond's wallet."
When Congress came to the fork in the road on the way to cutting the welfare budget, they took a right turn. The bumps in the road were the estimated million poor kids who will not qualify for assistance. The kids, who can't vote, lost out to the rich old folks, who tend to vote Republican.
Congress decided to let affluent retirees continue receiving a full Social Security check, while kicking 20 percent of the poor children with behavioral and emotional problems off the government dole.
The budget ax will sever an estimated 3,200 disturbed youths in South Carolina from receiving aid. The new law requires behavioral problems to be "medical detectable" before a child from a low income family can qualify for assistance.
Cutting the benefits to a million children nationally will save less than half a billion dollars a year. That's not even enough to build jails to house the little buggers when they grow up.
As the Law Abiding Citizens' Defense Act went into effect Aug. 24, sheriffs' offices around the state issued thousands of applications. In the first week, Richland County gave out over 1,000 applications.
Lest you think that our potential pistol-packing populace is driven by testosterone, about 40 percent of the Richland County forms were given to women. Only a few women have taken the eight-hour course at Shooters' Choice in Columbia. The manager of the indoor shooting range says that no one has failed the proficiency test yet. To pass, you have to hit the target 35 out of 50 times at a variety of distances up to 45 feet.
It's too early to tell who the losers are going to be as more and more South Carolinians start packing heat. The clear winners so far are the training facilities. Trainers in Myrtle Beach, York and Columbia each reported over 600 people ready to plop down $60 a head for the mandatory training session.
This month's Sleazeball had every chance to defend his decision to sweep the old Coastal Council further under the rug. He refused to return repeated phone calls, and deserves the humility associated with this honor.
This month's Sleazeball of the Month award goes to the indentured servant who sold out to coastal developers who had grown weary of fair but firm regulations.
Be the first caller to identify this sleazebag and win a free trial subscription to POINT.
Last month's Sleazeball, the man who turned his back on this country's most vulnerable citizens, was William Jefferson Clinton.