News+Opinion » Chris Haire

The Democratic Party is a plant

Veggie Tales



The Democratic Party in South Carolina is a knock-knock joke told in pig Latin. The funky smell inside of Sarah Palin's knee-high leather boots. A porn movie without the money shot. Jake Knotts. It's a Republican plant, whose sole purpose is to bring GOPers to the polls.

That's the only way to explain the victories of Alvin Greene and Ben Frasier.

Some may call them stealth candidates. This is not adequate.

In the world of politics, they are apparitions who exist on another plane of existence and venture into ours only to cause pain and suffering, mischief and mayhem. And that's precisely what they did last week when Greene won the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate race and Frasier the Dem nom in the U.S. 1st Congressional District race.

And somehow they managed to do this by not even campaigning, at least not in the world that you and I are familiar with. In some supernatural realm, perhaps, but not here.

But enough about Greene and Frasier. I don't care that there is speculation out there that Greene may have been paid to run by some shadowy GOP cabal or that serial candidate Frasier may call Maryland home. Those things are inconsequential. Neither caused their much more qualified opponents to lose. A simple mathematical equation did: $186,000=$10,400. At least in the case of Charleston's own Vic Rawl.

See, Rawl reportedly had $186,000 in his war chest, according to noted liberal rag Mother Jones, while Greene may have only paid for the $10,400 filing fee to run for the Senate and little else. But that was enough to win.

But $186,000 is a lot of money, you say. Actually, no, it's not.

It is nowhere near the $3.5 million DeMint has in his coffer or what Barrett, McMaster, Bauer, and even Nikki Haley spent on campaigning.

According to a May 27 post on the S.C. news website Wolfe Reports, Barrett had spent $1,127,641.46 between April 1 and the last election filing, McMaster $1,029,613.03, Bauer $943,315.55, and Haley $245,426.51. Each figure, which does not include the cash each candidate still had on hand, was well above what Rawl had in his entire war chest.

Simply put: $186,000 wasn't enough to help Rawl get his name out there. Ask yourself this: How many campaign signs for Rawl did you see? How many television ads? How many radio ads did you hear? I'm not aware of any. That's not to say those ads and signs were not out there. For all I know, they could have been sprouting up on roadsides and clogging up the airways in the same supernatural realm that Greene and Frasier call home.

Believe you me, Rawl lost because voters had no idea who he was; hell, I don't know if he's still on Charleston County Council or not. I guess I could find out, but I'm too lazy to look it up. Wait, that's not true. I just don't care.

When it comes to name recognition statewide, Rawl, despite being the better-qualified candidate, was equal to Greene. And that meant Rawl was a nobody. (The same applies to Burton, who only spent a few thousand bucks in his 1st Congressional District bid.)

So instead, the vote was decided by any number of factors, Greene's placement on the ballot ahead of Rawl, a toss of the coin, a sixth sense that he was black, a fondness for Alvin and the Chipmunks. Who knows?

But know this: The Democratic Party should not be surprised that some phantom candidate beat out a known entity within their party if that entity doesn't have enough cash to litter the roadways with campaign signs and blanket local TV with campaign ads.

Qualifications don't mean diddly-squat these days, and most likely they never have. People really don't care about those things. They need a name they can recognize. And in order to get that, you need the endorsement of a political celebrity or gobs of money — not a measly $186,000.

So step it up, Dems. Either raise a helluva lot of cash next time or don't raise any at all. After all, $186,000=$10,400.

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