A few months ago, I predicted Catherine Templeton would win the Republican primary for governor. I still believe that.
But I want to be clear, I don't want this to happen.
In fact, I'd rather see every single other Republican candidate win instead of her.
Henry McMaster may be a loyal Donald Trump lapdog, but he understands the governor's office is largely ceremonial. More importantly, this is the end of the political road for Henry. Once his time in the governor's mansion is over, he can spend every waking hour at the whites-only country club he loves so much.
And Kevin Bryant? He may make the Bob Jones wing of the SCGOP swoon in their ankle-length denim dresses and get all pro-life in their pants, the current lieutenant governor is just seeking an end game to his time in politics. There is no future for him in Washington, although there might be one on the holy-roller, self-help circuit. At the very least, the conservative politician and pharmacist can continue to fatten his wallet with Medicaid money.
I'm even cool with Yancey McGill, who recently made an opportunistic switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in order to woo GOP voters, who refuse to acknowledge his existence.
While there are issues I have with each one of these guys — both of a policy and personal-belief variety — I don't believe any of these gents would take a match to the Statehouse and burn it to the ground just to earn the lulz-lovin' adoration of the SCGOP's red-meat crowd.
This unruly mob of bless-your-heart deplorables will applaud any move that makes the snowflake liebrals persist in their pant suits and run back to their sanctuary-city safe spaces in tear-filled terror.
But Catherine Templeton — oh boy — that's exactly the base she's trying to court.
And she does it most effectively on social media.
Let's consider one of her most recent videos, this one a direct appeal to the more fanatical subset of South Carolina gun owners, the kind who believe that any weapons ban, up to and beyond a nuclear warhead, is an assault on their God-given Second Amendment rights.
In a March 7 video tweet, Templeton made the bold claim that during her first year as the head of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation she "got rid of one in four entrenched state bureaucrats," and as a result, she "made a lot of people angry."
The folks at S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) were aware of what Templeton had done and reached out to her because they feared for her life. As she recalls it, SLED said, "Catherine, we need you to get a concealed weapons permit. We need you to start carrying. We need you to protect yourself because you made a lot of people mad."
Fortunately, Templeton never had to brandish her gun and fire at the advancing one-in-four horde that wanted to Buffalo Bill her hide, lotion or not.
By the time the clip has come to an end, Templeton has used this anecdote as a springboard to profess her opinion that the Second Amendment gives all Americans the right to carry concealed weapons without a permit. (I had to confirm this last little bit, and wouldn't you believe it, I found it right there in the Second Amendment between "well-regulated" and "militia." It's just in really teeny-tiny letters.)
Although Templeton's opinion on concealed-carry is sound, her story is suspect.
According to statements from SLED obtained by the City Paper, SLED Chief Mark Keel didn't contact Templeton and tell her to get a permit.
Related Despite Templeton's claims that SLED ordered her to carry a gun, they say that's not their practice: Templeton claims SLED told her to start carrying after she "made a lot of people angry"
As for who spoke with Templeton, well, that was just a regular ole agent, and he doesn't recall telling Templeton to get a concealed weapons permit, according to SLED spokesman Thom Berry. Instead, Berry says the agent merely told Templeton that "if she was concerned about her safety," then "she should consider obtaining a concealed weapons permit."
Now, for some of you, this may all seem like splitting hairs. I hear you.
But while we could take her words out of context on a line-by-line basis, that kind of semantic dissection would ignore the overall thrust of her claim: that Templeton is a fearless — and vitally important — swamp drainer who took on the bureaucratic, deep state even though it puts her in the crosshairs of the fearsome foes of conservative, all-American values.
Like Donald Trump, Catherine Templeton is the high-noon hero of her life story, an exciting, ego-driven, wild west drama where she's the Wyatt Earp of the Bureaucratic Corral and, in this case at least, SLED is the ever-loyal Doc Holliday standing by her side.
South Carolina voters, I urge you, don't be her huckleberry. We don't need another narcissist in chief.