Is South Carolina Poised to Follow in Tennessee GOP’s Footsteps?
It appears that the Republican Party of Charleston County, S.C ., is about to wade into the same muddy waters that the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee did when they voted to kick House Speaker Kent Williams out of the Party earlier this year. The Republican Party of Charleston County, S.C. on Monday voted to censure Sen. Lindsey Graham over his support for climate legislation and his willingness to work across party lines on the issue. What precipitated this move was Senator Graham’s partnering with Democrat Senator John Kerry and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman in an attempt to work out a bill on climate change that could have broader-based support, including an appeal to some of the southern delegation.
Call me crazy but it seems to me that U.S. Senators are elected to represent all the people of their state and I can assure you there are many South Carolinians who support some kind of climate change legislation passing in the Senate. That’s because there are real concerns in South Carolina, a coastal state, about rising sea levels that are predicted by most climate scientests. From someone who owns a condo on the beach in South Carolina, it has my attention!
Putting climate change legislation aside, why do Republicans seem to have a knee-jerk reaction when members of their Party try and work with the other side of the aisle in passing legislation? From someone who has worked in three Republican Governors’ administrations, we wouldn’t have passed much of anything without help from the other side. Compromise and coalitions seem to work pretty well most of the time when it comes to legislation.
In Tennessee, my Party has taken a very hard stance against House Speaker Kent Williams and kicked him out of the Party. I was in the gallery the day he was elected and sure, like every other Republican there, I was mad for a while about him voting with the Democrats for himself. But I got over it. Why? Because we are wasting too much time, energy and resources on that issue when, as a Republican Party, we ought to be more concerned about increasing our majority in the state legislature next year. I know Kent Williams is committed to doing that because he set up a PAC to help fund Republicans running for the House next year. That ought to be proof enough to the folks who don’t think he is a “real Republican.” He also proved he could put together coalitions to pass conservative Republican legislation that had been stalled for years in past legislative sessions.
There is a time and a place for partisan politics and having been State GOP chairman in the past, I understand it and enjoy it as well as anybody. But there is also a time to govern. The partisans of Tennessee and South Carolina should remember that before taking censure and ejection votes in the future.