The criticism I've heard so far today regarding last night's State of the State address is the lack of specificity and Gov. Nikki Haley's breakneck speed as she rattled off the easy wins she expects in the next year. Considering this was the most significant platform Haley will have until January 2012, the speech was grossly short on the progress she expects and the sacrifices that need to be made.
Rightly, Haley was already touting accomplishments, including $700,000 in savings over the next four years by moving the Department for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services to a government building. It's a strong start and we'd like to see a long list of these savings over the next year.
Aside from that, the State of the State could be summed up as the last campaign speech. Haley talked a lot about the people she has recruited for various cabinet offices and she made a final checklist of the low-hanging fruit for the legislature to harvest this year. Considering we're just one week in, I'd rate that as sufficient. But it wasn't exceptional.
Haley warned she didn't hold a monopoly on good ideas. Kudos. But South Carolinians needed more than good ideas last night. Ideas are for the campaign trail. We're not voters anymore, we're taxpayers. And we demand details. The governor wasn't pressed for time. This wasn't the Golden Globes — there wasn't an orchestra chasing Haley away from the podium. But what we got were sound bites. Cut arts spending, public school buses, and healthcare. These aren't the tough decisions in this economy; they are well-worn Tea Party talking points.
Again, if this was Haley's last chance to pat herself on the back for a campaign win, mission accomplished. But it has me concerned about whether we'll get anything from the governor beyond her "ideas."