by Chris Haire
You know how you can tell when the S.C. Democratic Party has decided that they can't win a race? They find an old fart to run.
In the 2002 race to replace U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, it was former College of Charleston prez Alex Sanders. His opponent: then-U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham, a rising star in Washington. In fact, Graham may have been the only major player to emerge from the Monica Lewinsky scandal smelling like a freshly dry-cleaned dress. As expected, Sanders lost.
In the 2010 race to take on Tea Party fave Jim DeMint for South Carolina's junior U.S. Senate seat, the S.C. Democratic Party establishment selected Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl. The long-in-the-tooth Rawl was unexpectedly defeated by the Mystery Man of Manning, S.C., Alvin Greene, in the Democratic Party primary. While some believed there was some huge conspiracy, perhaps even some election-day vote rigging, the truth is Rawl ran a lackluster and virtually invisible campaign. As the Dems had predicted, DeMint won.
And now in the 2012 race to fill Glenn McConnell's former state Senate District 41 seat, we have former Charleston City Councilman Paul Tinkler. In 2007, Tinkler declined to seek re-election to City Council. He left the political arena. But now the white-haired Tinkler, a lawyer for nearly four decades, has decided that now is the time to return. Months from now, Tinkler will lose to now Lt. Gov. McConnell, who will likely announce within weeks that he plans to resign as lieutenant governor and run for his old Senate seat.
Like many of you, I thought that with Dick Harpootlian back at the helm the S.C. Democratic Party had once again grown a pair of balls. But they haven't. In fact, they are continuing their proud tradition of serving up AARP sacrificial lambs when they should be encouraging the party's hungry young bucks to run. Oh well. It would seem that even the Harpootlian of 2012 is too light in the loafers to fill even his own shoes.