A sometimes irreverent look at S.C. politics
The last few weeks have been full of sad goodbyes for Buzz.
First, state Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter, said he will not seek re-election. Then, Thursday, state Rep. Jim Harrison, R-Richland, said he was retiring. And Friday, state Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, said he, too, was bowing out.
Buzz is sad to see longtime lawmakers – whom we have had so much fun poking fun at over the years – call it quits.
Why are they quitting? Both Leventis and Harrison said to Buzz that a fair number of lawmakers prefer to listen to themselves grandstand, rather than work with the other side of the political aisle and to get legislation passed.
While that was not the sole reason either gave for quitting, it was interesting to hear a Democrat and Republican express the same thought: The growing unwillingness by some to compromise to help South Carolinians.
Buzz wishes the three the best of luck going forward. ... Sniff.
(OK, Buzz now is over that sentimental, good government stuff. Now, Buzz plans to goad Republicans and Democrats into a politics-is-blood-sport slugfest on the state budget and more Gov. Nikki Haley-trashing debate on the Savannah River’s rights.)
Too-colorful port language?
Speaking of which ...
Lawmakers have spent a fair amount of time this session slamming a decision by Republican Haley’s environmental board to issue a water permit that will help clear the way for Georgia to dredge the Savannah River and expand its port of Savannah.
In fact, they have spent so long on the topic that members of the all-male Senate got creative – perhaps, a little bit too much so – with their language.
During debate last week, Senate Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, referred to the permit decision as the “rape of the river.” In fact, McConnell used the phrase repeatedly until state Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, picked up on it, too. Then, state Sen. Michael Rose, R-Dorchester, got into it, requesting the comments be included in the Senate journal – ensuring they forever will be preserved for S.C. posterity.
Federal redistricting levity
On Friday – the final day of a federal redistricting trial – the Honorable Patrick Duffy (no, not that Duffy) and the Honorable Henry Floyd entered the regal Matthew J. Perry Jr. Federal Courthouse toting red solo cups.
(Where is country singer Toby Keith when you need him?)
Federal Judge Floyd, perhaps sensing all of the raised eyebrows, quickly put everyone at ease by announcing he and Duffy just were enjoying some water. Whatever it was – after two days of sitting through hours of testimony about Goodman Regression and homogeneous precinct analysis – Buzz was happy for some levity.
Apparently, so was state Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian, who argued the case on behalf of six black voters. Harpootlian spent nearly an hour brutally cross-examining Tom Brunell, a political science professor Republicans hired to testify. Brunell had written a book about elections, and Harpootlian was using Brunell’s own words against him.
Near the end, Harpootlian walked to his desk to retrieve the book.
“I only have one more question, your honor,” he said, waving the book menacingly in the air.
Harpootlian walked over to Brunell and put the book in front of him.
“Can you sign this for me?” Harpootlian asked. “Make it out to ‘Dick.’”