President Obama and Mitt Romney are criss-crossing the country on their campaigns, making all sorts of claims about what they've done and will do. What they're doing is playing fast and loose with the truth, which isn't unusual for politicians. In trying to enhance their records and cast doubt on each other, they're quoting statistics out of context, making misleading statements about their respective records and generally acting like people who aren't exactly under the influence of truth serum.
We've bemoaned on many occasions the incivility and partisan rancor of today's political scene, but we can't lay all the blame at the feet of the candidates and office-holders. If the electorate demanded more bipartisanship and more decency during campaigning, candidates would bend to those desires. But as we're seeing as the presidential race heats up, it's often members of the audience who ratchet up ill feelings.
• Federal officials made the right call last week in choosing not to attempt to re-prosecute former Sen. John Edwards, whose recent trail for campaign finance fraud ended with a hung jury on most counts. The case was terribly complicated, and many legal experts predicted from the outset that a conviction would be difficult. The decision not to re-try Edwards doesn't mean he's innocent; it just means Uncle Sam recognizes he probably couldn't be convicted.
Humorist Will Rogers once said he didn't belong to an organized political party; he was a Democrat. That appears particularly true now that the S. C. Democratic Party's primary for the new seventh Congressional District seat is mired in controversy over whether or not the votes for a candidate who had withdrawn should be counted. Complicating the situation is that the fate of the favored son of the party's hierarchy hangs in the balance as officials – and, later, probably lawyers – try to unravel the mess.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said earlier this week what many Republicans staunchly refuse to acknowledge: that their hero, Ronald Reagan, would be out of step with many in the GOP today, that the hard-line ideologists would find him too flexible, too willing to compromise, too amenable to recognizing members of the opposite party and working with them to create legislation that would benefit the country. Bush included his own father along with Reagan, too.
• Massive lawsuits have been filed against the National Football League by former players who claim the NFL hid evidence linking injuries to permanent brain damage. Because of medical evidence about shortened life spans and brain abnormalities, more and more people who used to scoff at such actions are now asking the question, legitimately, "Do I want my son to play football?"
Tuesday's recall election in Wisconsin, where backers of public unions failed to unseat Gov. Scott Walker after he cut collective bargaining rights, commanded much of the spotlight, but voters in San Jose and San Diego, Cal. also dealt major blows to public unions by voting to cut the pension benefits of public workers in those two cities. Many labor experts see a rising tide of such moves as cities and states are now facing the harsh economic realities of the rich deals they bestowed upon unions for so many years.
By the time you read this, the tale will have been told on the Wisconsin recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, who was elected two years ago on a promise of cutting the power of public unions' collective bargaining, which is exactly what he did after taking office. The resultant blowback from liberal groups was powerful, and a recall election was scheduled and held yesterday.
• A recent survey found that men's workplace desks are generally dirtier than women's -- that's in terms of bacteria -- and that shouldn't come as a surprise to many people. However, scientists caution that we are in some instances becoming too wary of germs, that they're a necessary part of life and in many cases are beneficial. It brings us back to that old debate about hand sanitizers and whether or not we're actually doing long-term harm by insisting that everything be germ-free. As for us, we recall the days when kids rolled around in the ...
As Mitt Romney's campaign steps up its pace following his securing of enough votes to ensure the Republican presidential nomination, some prominent Democrats express surprise with how quickly Romney's former GOP foes have converted to his cause. Some on the Obama team expected there to be lingering dissension among Republicans over the hard-fought primary. And ironically, the president's major offensive centers around criticizing Romney's tenure as head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm that earned him millions of dollars.
We're glad to see that Kershaw County Council has passed an ordinance making it more difficult for roadside vendors to do business here; many such "hit and run" enterprises produce no tax revenue, don't provide customer service and make life for small business in the county more difficult. Council last week approved such legislation.
• We congratulate Kershaw County's 2012 graduates – both those who have already stepped across the stage and those who will receive their diplomas Saturday. As indicated in today's Chronicle-Independent graduation section, we have many young people with bright futures ahead of them. We wish them the very best on their journey.
There are countless reasons that our system of government in Washington is broken so badly, but there's one concept -- it's in effect in many states, already – that would effect immediate change and would help solve our crisis in government: term limits. Of course it's not a new concept, but limiting people to a particular number of terms, whether in the House of Representatives or the Senate -- would help free many elected officials to make decisions based on what's best for the country rather than on getting re-elected.
We're glad to see that automakers in the United States are getting serious about producing vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), a fuel that is readily available in this country and much cheaper than gasoline. It's estimated that the U.S. has more than a 100-year supply of natural gas presently on hand, and prices have been falling, as opposed to the costs of gasoline. And, of course, running vehicles with a native fuel lessens dependence on the Middle East and its volatile politics. As we pointed out recently, we're enthusiastic about the fuel-efficient diesel-powered ...
• It's satisfying to see a future generation of leaders in training. Junior Leadership Kershaw County recently graduated its 24th class of youth, who completed a year-long program of team-building and leadership development activities. We congratulate the graduates of this year's Junior Leadership academy, which represents Camden, North Central and Lugoff-Elgin high schools and Camden Military Academy, and commend the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, Kershaw County School District and Camden Military Academy for their joint sponsorship of this program.
Lawmakers in Washington have long ignored the fact that the Social Security system in this country is broken. On the brink of insolvency, Social Security needs major revamping, whether it comes in the form of benefit reductions, tax increases or both. Congress has refused to consider benefit cuts decades out in the future, even for young adults who are just now starting to pay into the system. They are turning their backs on such simple fixes as delaying the age by a year or two at which people can start receiving their monthly allotments. Bear in mind, we aren't ...
The Republican presidential field is already getting crowded, and the South Carolina GOP primary is often viewed as a bellwether for White House hopefuls. Because this is a conservative state, candidates in past years have often moved to the right while campaigning here. But a new poll shows Republican voters in South Carolina might be moving away from some of the hard-line social issues they have embraced in the past. As a side note, many political observers believe the party "had better get out of people's bedrooms if it wants to broaden its appeal."
• Last week's seizure by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of Old Armory Steak & Seafood on Rutledge Street marks at least the temporary loss of one of Camden and Kershaw County's premier restaurants. It is an unfortunate blow to the downtown Camden economy. Each business provides potential traffic to another and the loss of any one diminishes such beneficial ripple effects. Locals cheered the Old Armory's opening in 2006 so soon after the closing of the previous tenant, The Paddock. Many people and businesses have celebrated the holidays, proms, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, birthdays and more at the Old ...
With Augusta being only a couple hours away from Kershaw County, the Masters golf tournament holds a great deal of allure for this area. The azaleas at Augusta National are famous for their popping colors and their beauty, but they're no prettier than those which are currently at their peak in Camden, we might add. But there's something magical about the Masters, which is ranked by many players as the one tournament they'd like to win more than any other.
There have been many great additions to the Camden landscape in recent years -- to name a few, the statues of Joseph Kershaw and King Haiglar at the Town Green; the Bernard Baruch and Larry Doby statuary at the Camden Archives; and the new pocket park where the former Maxway building stood. All these have added to the town's appearance and ambience.
• Congratulations to Johnny Deal and Richard Walkirch for receiving, respectively, the United Way of Kershaw County's Jake Watson and Ann Dallas awards. Deal, often known as "Mr. Camden" or "Mr. Facebook" around town, is one of many people's favorite personalities. That doesn't necessarily win you awards. What does is a commitment to community involvement, which Deal has in spades, working with the Camden Jaycees, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, Community Medical Clinic, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, the United Way and more. As for volunteerism, we can't imagine a more worthy recipient for the Dallas ...
We're not too high on elected officials who hew to positions on the fringes. Like many, we believe adherence to strict political philosophies is one of the primary reasons for the polarization in American politics today. There just aren't many lawmakers in Washington today who are willing to sit down and work things out despite their political differences, as there were for decades.
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