Politics & Government

GOP debate decoded

The Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for governor held their first debate last week, an affair with broad agreement and no sharp differences.

Everyone was polite. And if you like politi-speak, you were well fed.

To help you understand politi-speak, Brian Hicks, a columnist for the (Charleston) Post and Courier, "brought in the old Mad magazine decoder machine," which took what the candidates said and told you what they really meant.

A sampling:

- Asked why he showed up when he's not an announced candidate, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said: "Someone needs to step up now and take that leadership role."

What he meant: Only five more weeks left on that offer to have me as governor for the next 16 months. Act now!

- Asked about the state's budgeting practices, state Sen. Larry Grooms said: "We have spent money we had no business spending!"

What he meant: I'm the Tea Party guy!

- Asked if he would create a militia to stop the federal government from overreaching in South Carolina, Attorney General Henry McMaster said: "I wouldn't fight it with bullets, but I'd fight it with everything else we have."

What he meant: You know we got our butts kicked the last time we tried that, right?

- When state Rep. Nikki Haley said: "Our state is like no other state in the country."

What she meant: Our state is like no other state in the country.

- When U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett said: "My daddy said character is not one of the things that matters, it is the only thing that matters."

What he meant: I've never even been to Argentina.

- Asked about reducing the size of government, Bauer said: "We're actually doing it, not just talking about it."

What he meant: Remember, you've elected me twice and nothing bad happened. Well, mostly.

- Grooms said: "I am a constitutionalist!"

What he meant: Remember me come election day, Tea Party!

- When Haley was asked whether she was more like Gov. Carroll Campbell or Gov. Mark Sanford, she said: "I run from labels."

What she meant: Man, it's a bad time to be running as a Sanford protege.

In other news, the Democrats held a forum in a nearby restaurant. Literally dozens of people attended.

- The (Charleston) Post and Courier