Monday, September 7, 2009

Should Sanford be impeached?

Bluffton Today

This column will cover aspects of both my favorite and least favorite matters. First, I’d like to discuss some job-related topics (favorite) and end with a recitation of what was decided at the caucus meetings last week in Myrtle Beach relating to our governor (least favorite).

A couple of week’s ago, I told you about Reclamation by Design, a business in Bluffton that is doing interesting projects in the area. In my enthusiasm, I neglected to mention that Jim Johnson, a Bluffton resident, is the CEO of the business and one of their creative spark plugs. This is doubly regrettable in that Jim is a good friend and a fellow for whom I have great admiration and respect. It seems that even Bluffton Today’s runner-up “Best Politician” is not immune to error.

Greg Gilbert is head of the Beaufort office of the SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department. Greg’s office was recently rated number one in direct placement in the state. They are having an open house 21 October in recognition of National Disability Employment Month. They get rehab done efficiently and get folks back in the job market. Their number is 843-522-1010. This is a state program that works.

Sen. Tom Davis, Rep. Shannon Erickson and your representative have put together a job fair at the Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort on the 3rd of October. Under the auspices of the SC Employment Security Commission, this job fair will be a good opportunity for those needing to connect or reconnect with what is currently available. You will be surprised at the new possibilities.

So many of you have asked about the Republican caucus meetings last week, particularly about the future of our current governor. Here is my take:

Regarding the governor, we had a wide-ranging and open discussion. As a group, we are angry, disgusted, and disappointed with the governor and the choices he has left us. Significantly, no one rose to defend Mark Sanford or his actions or his explanations. On the contrary, my colleague Rep. Greg Dellaney gave a speech, perhaps an oration, which seemed to move the group toward active consensus.

Rep. Dellaney explained that if the governor had been a military officer and had gone AWOL for a week, he would likely be in Leavenworth by now. If he had been your employee and disappeared for a week, he would be unemployed. Yet the governor wishes to be excused-- to be made the exception to rules that would surely apply to you and me. The logic of Rep. Dellaney’s words was compelling and persuasive.

The caucus agreed to send a letter to the governor asking him to resign. If he refuses, the next conversation will be about impeachment. As a practical matter, impeachment is a political neutron bomb. It will unleash a level of distracting and toxic politics the likes of which we have rarely seen. The succession, whether by resignation or impeachment, is also freighted with peril.
However, if the governor is about brinksmanship, he will be disappointed. I have heard from you loud and clear on this. As your representative, I promise to do your will. Having said that, I also know that we have so much work to do to get our unemployed back to work, our children decently educated, our environment properly protected, and all the other things that will languish while we are distracted by impeachment and its aftershocks.

Given the above, you and I need to have a calm, rational dialogue. The stakes are high and the impact will be long lasting. Give it some prayerful thought and let me hear you.