News+Opinion » D. A. Smith

John McCain the Baptist, Brenda Nix labeled a Democrat

Are You Kiddin' Me? McCain questions his faith on S.C. campaign stop

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I don't know about y'all, but I spent a good portion of the last week being highly entertained by the shenanigans of two Republicans — one national and the other kinda local.

It all started over the weekend of Sept. 15 at a campaign stop in front of 200-plus retirees in Hilton Head when the senator was asked how his Episcopalian faith influenced his campaign decisions. McCain responded, "It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist. Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No."

How things have changed. In May 2007, McCain's campaign staff and literature identified the senator as an Episcopalian. And then in June, the McClatchy Company newspapers published an article detailing that McCain's second wife (so much for "family values") and two of their children had been baptized in the Baptist faith, but the senator had not.

Said the senator at the time, "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs."

Yeah, well maybe now those "needs" need to be a bit more politically expedient given that the wheels are falling off of McCain's "No Surrender" campaign bus and he finds himself campaigning hard in a state where the Southern Baptist Convention has the attention of a goodly number of godly folks.

While it's true that the Arizona senator has attended services at the North Phoenix Baptist Church with his family for 15 years, he has not fulfilled the requirements of a public profession of faith nor been on the business end of the full-body immersion of baptism.

Make no mistake, I am not ridiculing the faith of the multitudes of South Carolina Baptists, only the I'll-say-anything-to-get-elected desperation of the former frontrunner. Despite his considerable record of service to the country — if you overlook some ill-advised associations that nearly cost him his political life — McCain doesn't seem capable of making prudent decisions anymore. It sounds to me like somebody needs to be cast out into the Arizona desert for a period of reflection.

On the local level, I just love it when a garden-variety county functionary gets ensnared in an epic battle over the soul of the GOP. Take last week when resigning Dorchester County Auditor Johnette Connelly (R), asked Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to name Deputy Auditor Brenda Nix to fill the remainder of her term.

Nix, who will not divulge her party affiliation (good for her!), has worked in the office for the past 30 years and is, in Connelly's judgement, more than qualified to ensure a smooth transition of leadership and blip-free operation of the office.

This is an opinion not shared by Dorchester County Republican Party Chair Arthur Bryngelson, who wants the governor to appoint a staunch GOP member to the post. Bryngelson's objection to Nix's nomination stems from her support of the candidacy of state Rep. Patsy Knight (D-St. George) over former Rep. George Bailey (R), who lost the election.

Bryngelson told The Post and Courier, "If she acts like a Democrat, she's a Democrat."

He added, "You want to make sure you have someone with the right mind-set ... Less taxes and smaller government are Republican bulwarks. I would say that your mind-set is always important. It seems to me that Democrats believe in more taxes and more spending as the answer to our political and moral problems."

I'd say Bryngelson's mind-set is delusional as I'm not sure which Republican Party he's talking about because the one I've been watching for years has been spending like a sailor on shore leave.

When I do something stupid, I've got loads of family, friends, and appropriate legal counsel more than willing to bring me back into the fold.

Where's theirs?

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