Last week brought news that South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer had once again demonstrated a talent for immaturity almost unmatched in the history of the Palmetto State.
On Dec. 26 of last year, Bauer was pulled over by a SC Highway Patrol officer after being clocked at 77 mph in a 65 mph stretch of I-385 in Laurens County. While searching for his registration, Bauer asked the trooper if he was being videotaped and said he might have a gun in the car. Bauer told the trooper he was "just running late as usual." The trooper let him drive off with a warning.
Last month, on Feb. 28, two state troopers were pursuing a vehicle that registered speeds as high as 101 mph. During the chase, they heard someone identify himself as "SC-2" on their police radios. The voice was Bauer telling the Chester County dispatcher that he was driving through and to basically keep the heat off. When the troopers finally caught up to the state-issued Crown Victoria, they recognized Bauer and allowed him to continue hurtling his way through the deep dark Carolina night.
Rumors began circulating around the Statehouse about Bauer's special treatment by the troopers and when asked directly two weeks ago by a reporter from The State if he had recently been stopped for traffic violations, Bauer said, "Nope" and continued on his way.
Following a Freedom of Information Act request from The State and The Post & Courier, videotape and transcripts of Bauer's transgressions entered the public domain.
Well, the proverbial poop hit the fan and Bauer sputtered out an insincere apology to the good people of South Carolina, which rang the same note of hollowness as the one he made in the Spring of 2003 after having been pulled over by a City of Columbia policeman for speeding and running numerous red lights in the middle of downtown at lunchtime.
Bauer is facing a Republican primary challenge on June 13 from two individuals. The first is Mike Campbell, youngest son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, who just last week loaned his own campaign $500,000 in personal funds.
Campbell commented, "I think the pattern of behavior that exists speaks for itself ... I think the state has put up with this long enough."
The second challenge comes from former State Board of Education member Dr. Henry Jordan, who created some controversy for himself in May of 1997 when, during a finance and legislative committee meeting, he suggested that SC's public schools could voluntarily post the Ten Commandments.
When told that other religious groups might have a problem with his great idea, Jordan responded with, "Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims."
Anyway, Jordan said that he was running not because Andre was an immature boy, but to represent the "Christian Right and the more conservative wing of the party."
Wow, this primary race is going to be chock-full of entertainment!
Meanwhile, last Tuesday, Bauer and his sister walked 12 miles from the Statehouse to S.C. GOP headquarters in Lexington so he could file his election papers.
He told the P&C, "[The hike] is symbolic of the fact that I'm going to allocate more time to get where I'm going to be ... I'm going to do a little more walking. It's a self-imposed penalty."
It's also a load of hoo-ha, because after filing his papers, Bauer left the building and returned to Columbia via the backseat of an automobile.
The Eye would like to point out some facts courtesy of the S.C. Highway Department and the S.C. Department of Public Safety.
1. On average, three people die every day on South Carolina's highways and byways.
2. South Carolina's roads are the fifth deadliest in the nation.
3. Throughout The South, South Carolina's roads are the second deadliest behind only Mississippi.
That seems to put a whole different twist on "SC-2," doesn't it?
Give it up, Andre. You're toast.