• Former President George Bush was refreshingly candid in last week's interviews with NBC and other media outlets; he was doing a series of drop-ins to promote his new book, "Decision Points." Even those who thought Bush didn't do a great job in the Oval Office will have to admit that he's exhibited good character by refusing to criticize his successor, Barack Obama. Unlike Jimmy Carter, who seems to make a habit of spouting his opinions and denigrating presidents, Bush has displayed an admirable restraint.
When Republicans handed Bill Clinton's hat to him in the 1994 election, gaining control of Congress in a GOP landslide, the former Arkansas governor moved deftly to the middle of the political spectrum. It was a spectacular turnaround following his and his wife's failed health care initiatives, and it not only saved his presidency, it made him a model for other elected officials who learned to listen to what voters said and adapt their own policies to the mood of the country.
Voters here in South Carolina have had to put up with a contentious relationship between the General Assembly and the executive branch for the last eight years, an oddity considering that both are controlled by the Republican Party. But Gov. Mark Sanford and legislators have often crossed swords, with legislators blaming the governor for showboating (remember the pigs he brought to the state house to symbolize pork spending?) and the governor decrying "business as usual" by legislators.
• The political correctness police force is active in San Francisco, where an ordinance has been passed decreeing that McDonald's Happy Meals can't contain a toy unless the meal meets certain nutritional standards laid down by that city's authorities. We aren't sure what the city plans to ban next, but such actions are political correctness run amok.
Unlike 1994, when a Republican landslide was somewhat of a surprise, Tuesday's GOP tsunami had been widely predicted by pollsters, nearly all of whom had detected a wave of discontent among voters weary of partisanship and a stagnant economy. Kershaw County voters reacted as did their counterparts across the country, helping to toss out longtime 5th District Congressman John Spratt. Camden's Vincent Sheheen was one of the few Democrats to fare well here, along with county officials Harriett Pierce and Robin Watkins.
Most Kershaw County residents will breathe a sigh of relief this morning because they'll no longer be subjected to the constant bombardment of negative political ads which have dominated the airwaves for the past couple months. The so-called political operatives who run campaigns insist negative ads are used because they're effective. We challenge that; such commercials might have worked a few years ago, before they were used by nearly every candidate, but we'd wager that for most voters, they have lost their power.
• Politics is a cruel game. With Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, locked in a tight battle for re-election, there's already a lot of squirming going on in Washington about which senator will become the majority leader if the Democrats retain control and Reid is defeated. It's bad form, of course, for those interested in the position to be too overt, so Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois, both of whom are said to be desirous of being majority leader, are quietly spreading around campaign funds to many different candidates and states, all ...
We suppose writing editorials about voting can be a recitation of clichés – "the most basic right of Americans," "the cornerstone of democracy," those kinds of things. But however hackneyed they might sound, they're true. Never was the power of the vote more evident than two years ago when Barack Obama energized the American electorate as it had not been energized in years. Obama rushed to a landslide win by exciting people about the prospects of changing America in a positive way. Now, if we are to believe polls showing a sizeable Republican win next Tuesday, Americans are saying ...
There's never a good time to raise taxes, and that might seem truer today than ever before. The economy is still struggling to recover and unemployment remains high. In the midst of such conditions, Kershaw County voters are facing a penny sales tax question which will be on the ballot next week. We hope it will be approved, though we say that with some reluctance because of economic conditions and the havoc they have wrought on families.
• With Southern Democratic members of Congress facing a backlash from voters who are fed up with what's happening in Washington, many of them are trying to distance themselves from the policies of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Perhaps Rep. Roy Herron, a Democrat from the Sixth District of Tennessee, has come up with the best verbiage for that. Herron calls himself a "truck-driving, shotgun-shooting, Bible-reading, gospel-preaching, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy." Now that's what we'd call plain southern talk.
The last major economic report before the November elections is not good news for the Obama administration and Democratic candidates campaigning for seats in Congress.
• Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky is locked in a close race with Democrat Jack Conway. Paul, a free-market advocate, wants to do away with the Internal Revenue Service and simplify the tax code. He wants to replace the income tax with a national sales tax, an idea that's not bad but will have a hard time getting traction. But he is exactly right in saying the federal tax code is impossibly complex and onerous.
Military voting has not always been a satisfying or successful experience.
It's no wonder that President Obama could watch his party suffer one of the biggest flameouts in political history next month. There's massive dissatisfaction with politics in Washington, and it starts at the top -- in the White House. On the campaign trail, Obama promised a new way of doing things, an openness and transparency that would allow Americans of all persuasions to look deeply into the government process. Yet he's adopted the same closed-door stance that has led so many Americans to mistrust their elected officials in the nation's capital.
We wrote recently of a change in the way KershawHealth is managing its emergency department, sending seriously threatened patients to one area for immediate, vital care while directing others who are less ill to be treated in a non-emergency system. It's cost-effective, but also provides quality care for both types of patients.
One of the problems with the expense of health care is the fact that many people tend to use a hospital's emergency room as their primary care facility, going there with normal ailments such as flu and severe colds. Emergency room care is expensive -- too costly to be used in that way. KershawHealth is no different than other hospitals in that regard, and the decision to "split" the emergency department there is a sound one.
Today, the Chronicle-Independent begins a series of articles summarizing the candidates and issues that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, one week from Tuesday. Perhaps the most contentious race isn't between candidates but between "yes" and "no" on two referenda offered by the Kershaw County School District.
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