The Buzz thinks S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell has found a new love in time for Valentine’s Day.
The Charleston Republican charmer seems to have hitched his wagon to the Palmetto Policy Forum, retired U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint’s new S.C. conservative think tank.
In touting the new think tank, Harrell gushed to fellow Republicans in the state House that the GOP caucus once again soon will have someone to bring it policy ideas and research on what conservatives around the country are doing.
The speaker’s longing for the group founded by DeMint, the president-elect of the Heritage Foundation, did not go unnoticed by one-time ideological flame Ashley Landess, head of the S.C. Policy Council, a libertarian think tank.
The Policy Council used to send S.C. Republican lawmakers love letters on school choice, cutting taxes and capping spending.
But that union soured when the council’s desires were not adequately fulfilled. Now, Landess sends notes through the media to Harrell and lawmakers about accusations that they abuse their power.
If the speaker hopes DeMint’s group “is going to rubber stamp (House GOP) policies,” Landess said, “I hope they’re wrong about that."
The council countess said she was surprised Harrell’s new policy companion gave South Carolina credit for leading on reforms.
“I don’t know how aware Senator DeMint is that we are having to fight our politicians so hard here,” Landess said. “He’s been in Washington.”
(Maybe long-distance relationships do work out best.)
Good watching for the guv
Who said it’s too early for a little gamesmanship in the expected 2014 rematch for governor?
The Buzz suspects a few Duke hoopsters trying to make free throws received the same stare down that University of North Carolina alum Rob Godfrey gave state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, on Tuesday.
As Sheheen spoke to a TV reporter outside Gov. Nikki Haley’s office, Godfrey – the guv’s main mouthpiece – stood next to the camera and glared intensely at the Democrat expected to try to topple his boss. Again.
The Buzz is not sure who blinked first.
Godfrey and his assistant, Jeff Taillon, watched Sheheen give one-on-one interviews after the Democrat and other party leaders accused the state’s GOP chief executive of waging war on the state’s rural poor over staffing cuts at some state employment offices.
The Buzz figures the guv’s staff will be doing a lot more viewing of her adversary-to-be in the months ahead. (Maybe they could ask for an all-Sheheen cable channel?)
Getting the message – too well
State Rep. Phil Owens, R-Pickens, asked The Buzz not to tell anyone just how good he is at texting while driving.
(Phil, there’s a good story in Sports you want to read right now. Is he gone? Good.)
So get this: Owens was good enough on a texting-while-driving simulator in the State House lobby last week that he let go of the wheel for a two-handed text.
Owens outmaneuvered Cocky, a special guest at the State House, and state Rep. Don Bowen, R-Anderson, who is so bad at texting while driving – he drove on the sidewalk – that he is sponsoring a bill to ban the practice.
Despite being a Gamecock himself, Bowen also heckled Cocky for stopping in the middle of the road and hiding his beak behind distressed feathers.
“Cocky, they’re going to carry you off to jail,” Bowen said. “Don’t cry. Won’t do any good.”
Cocky was not the only one who flunked. The Buzz failed, too, and then had to explain to the officer that the crash was not our fault.
Colbert springs into fundraising mode for Big Sis
The Buzz thinks news from Palmetto Land must take awhile to hit New York.
TV satirist Stephen Colbert finally acknowledged publicly last week that his big sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, is running for Congress in Charleston with a four-minute bit on his Comedy Central show.
The faux pundit offered her opponents his successful childhood method to winning arguments with “Lulu” – repeat what she says in a dumb voice until she calls for mom – and threatened to reveal big sister’s secrets – from her middle-school diary – if she refused to come on his show.
The next day, the one-time presidential candidate and hopeful U.S. Senate fill-in sent out invitations to a Feb. 22 fundraiser in the Big Apple for Colbert-Busch, acknowledging: “It is rare for me to take an active role in anyone’s political ambitions other than my own.”
For $1,000, donors can attend a reception on the Upper West Side. For $2,600, they get to arrive at the reception early for photos with the Colberts and a book signing. But, for $5,200, donors also can eat dinner at Boulud Sub (two stars from The New York Times) with the TV star.
The day after feting sis in NYC, Colbert comes home to Charleston for a bowling fundraiser at The Alley off King Street. Again, $5,200 gets donors dinner with the Mr. Big Shot.
The Buzz hopes that includes the tip.
The latest in prison wear
Prison is a drag.
But it shouldn’t cramp your style.
That’s why the Department of Corrections is trading out the brown baggy uniforms in its women’s’ prisons for a more lady-like teal garb.
The uniform pants come up higher on the waist and are more “form-fitting,” said Duane Schnipke, who oversees the inmates at Lee Correctional Institution, which make the prison uniforms.
“Nationally in corrections, you see it helps the female offenders with self-esteem issues,” said Bob Ward, director of operations for the state Department of Corrections. “It’s a good thing. This is something we should do.”
The first batch of the uniforms shipped last week.
(The Buzz, hoping never to wear one, henceforth vows not to text while driving.)
Quote of the week
“If you can sit across the table from (dad Ted Turner) and (stepmother) Jane Fonda for 10 years and you can, one, survive intact, and two, have them going, ‘Wait a minute, I think he has a point there,’ I think going to Washington shouldn’t be that difficult.”
Teddy Turner , discussing his candidacy for the GOP nomination for the 1st District congressional seat
Staff writers Andrew Shain and Adam Beam contributed