By Paul Gable
On this penultimate day of the primary election season, the forces of Gov. Nikki Haley and Congressional candidate Tom Rice will be joined in a stop Andre Bauer mode.
What a pairing. Haley endorsed Rice last Friday after she unsuccessfully tried to have Bauer stop Sen. Jake Knotts from blocking her proposed administration bill one day before.
Haley said in her endorsement of Rice, “I and other members of the Reform Movement watched for years as Andre Bauer sided with the establishment and undercut the conservative agenda. We don’t need another self-interested career politician in Washington. Michael and I completely support Tom Rice – an accountant and tax attorney – as we continue to focus on jobs and the economy for this growing and important new district and our state.”
Haley blames Bauer for siding with the establishment to undercut conservative agenda, yet she supports the biggest establishment insider in Horry County politics in Tom Rice.
Haley claims to oppose the local one-cent tourism tax, yet she endorses not only one of its biggest supporters but also one of its biggest benefactors.
Rice’s biggest contribution to the economy of the new 7th Congressional District was a major attempt to run off the bikers and the millions of dollars of business they bring to the Grand Strand economy throughout the year.
His AvCraft bailout package was his first “jobs” initiative as county chairman. The one-cent tourism tax has allowed Rice’s buddies to reduce their corporate marketing budgets by 90 percent while shifting the advertising costs to public tax dollars.
Remember, the one-cent tourism tax led to the Coastal Kickback scandal. Wonder if Nikki is getting one of those famous paper bags filled with cash on the bus today?
And who can forget Rice’s strong support for Coastal Uncorked, the weeklong wine tasting event that draws no tourists but serves the interest of the Dunes Club crowd and is funded by over $400,000 of public dollars while events such as the Sun Fun Festival are cancelled?
Such decisions do not help the local economy in general, but maybe Nikki’s and Tom’s focus “on jobs and the economy” is limited to how it helps them advance their personal agendas.
Haley has her own problems. She faces an ethics inquiry beginning Thursday for her actions as a House member. Haley is no reformer, far from it. She rode the coattails of the Tea Party movement into office and promptly forgot it.