By Paul Gable
Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican,” died in Lexington, South Carolina Monday night. The party’s executive committee approved a resolution that GOP Party officers may now support non-Republican candidates in the upcoming November general election.
The resolution only formalized what has been going on in Lexington County and around South Carolina for months. Speaking ill of other Republicans has become the sport of this election season.
A second resolution to try and run incumbent Sen. Jake Knotts out of the party failed, but demonstrates the political infighting currently rampant within the party. Knotts is expected to be opposed in the fall by petition candidate Katrina Shealy, best friend of Gov. Nikki Haley. Knotts is the Republican nominee. Shealy will have the support of the state’s nominal top Republican office holder.
Haley leads the charge in this infighting. Claiming to be a reformer when she ran for governor in 2010, Haley is anything but. She wrapped herself in Tea Party support to win office, but has since shown she is nothing but an opportunist who cannot rise above personal vendettas for the good of the party or the state.
Her two endorsements in recent primary runoffs, Tom Rice and Lee Bright, were not so much about her supporting those two candidates as personally trying to get even with Andre Bauer and John Hawkins.
And you can see her lack of political philosophy from those endorsements as Rice was the candidate of the Republican establishment while Bright is of the Tea Party ilk.
Where former House Speaker Tip O’Neill was famous for his remark ‘all politics are local’, Haley is becoming known for the phrase ‘all politics are personal.’ She has no political philosophy. Haley’s only considerations are self-promotion combined with her friends and enemies lists.
Haley has said she will try to influence local elections in the fall. Does anyone doubt Haley will support petition candidates over Republican nominees (ie. Shealy over Knotts) when she believes she can hurt her political enemies?
All of this has lead to a schism within Republican Party ranks. As one long time party operative in Lexington County said recently, the party used to number its members in the hundreds, but now is less than 100. The party is going down a road of division and dispute with no cohesive agenda to tie it together.
The party is replete with rogue behavior with no respect for rules, procedures and policies and an attitude that personal agendas override rules.
The upcoming bloodletting in the fall election season will be something to watch from afar with Trikki Nikki leading the way in dividing the party, according to her needs and desires.
While party loyalists may strive to continue to follow Reagan’s words, Haley will not hesitate to speak very ill of Republicans she doesn’t like and support candidates, maybe even Democrats, who oppose them. If performance to date is any indicator, Chad Connelly, Matt Moore, Steve Isom and other supposed party officials will continue to act like puppy dogs around Haley seeking her favor.