By Paul Gable
You have to give Russell Fry credit, he and his campaign have come up with the most absolutely ridiculous political ad ever created.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is available for viewing on the Fry for Congress Facebook page.
Using a number of cartoon villains, the ad tries to paint a Tom Rice character as one of them, but fails in that message when they tell the Rice character to leave their Villains Anonymous meeting. The villains are obviously looking for a Rice protégé to support.
The use of a Lucifer character as one of the villains in the cartoon has drawn considerable criticism from the Christian conservatives in the district.
Fry has been notable for sending out numerous emails begging for campaign contributions while commissioning this ad, which was obviously filmed on a sound stage with professional actors and was not cheap.
Now, if the Fry campaign hires a professional script writer to come up with some sensible message to voters, maybe his next ads for television will at least make some kind of sense.
In the ad, Rice is portrayed as being against term limits because of his five terms in Congress. Now this is an interesting one. The normal proposed term limit amount for House members is three terms or six years. Fry is currently serving in his seventh year in the SC House, so he obviously does not believe in term limits for his current seat.
Fry says he supports term limits legislation. This is an old ploy used by many politicians. They will profess all day to be for term limits but never introduce or vote for a bill that would actually mandate term limits.
If Fry were serious, he would pledge publicly to the voters that he will serve no more than three terms in Washington, notwithstanding the absence of a law mandating no more than three terms. To date, that pledge has never come out of Fry’s lips and it never will.
Rice is also portrayed as having voted for tax increases. Again, Fry copies Rice. Fry voted for the bill that mandated the largest gas tax increase in South Carolina history. After Gov. McMaster vetoed the gas tax increase, Fry voted to override the veto.
Of course, Rice is criticized for his vote to impeach President Donald Trump. This is the only issue that currently separates Rice and Fry and it took Fry eight months after the vote to impeach, until August 2021, before he criticized Rice’s vote.
That bears repeating. Fry never criticized Rice until eight months after Rice voted to impeach President Trump. It took Fry eight months to find out if he had the inside track to an endorsement by the former president and only then did Fry announce his candidacy.
When the Trump endorsement of Fry was announced, someone Trump didn’t know from the ‘Joker’ up to that point, Fry and his campaign staff acted as if it was some big accomplishment. Actually, it was nothing more than the good ol’ boy swamp (Henry McMaster, Drew McKissick, Chamber cabal and cronies) working together to get one of their younger members in position to replace Rice and keep the 7th Congressional District in ‘swamp control.’
Rice and Fry are the two candidates linked to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and its cabal in the SC 7th Congressional District race. They have both received significant support from the Chamber, its associated political arm the Grand Strand Business Alliance and the cronies involved with them.
Both Rice and Fry are strong supporters of the boondoggle Interstate 73 project even though neither has been able to get any construction money appropriated for the road. They both want local governments to pay for construction of I-73 in Horry County with Fry having co-sponsored a bill in the General Assembly to require locally collected tax dollars to be spent on I-73. Fortunately, that bill never made it out of committee.
As has been said by many voters, Fry is nothing more than Rice 2.0. Fry offers nothing to the voters in the way of original thought on original issues. He merely voices talking points and sound bites of others in conservative circles in an attempt to sound conservative.
Most disappointing to voters was Fry’s first for television ad was negative on Rice rather than positive on why to vote for Fry. Although, those positives are hard to find in his performance as an elected official to date.
And, having Lucifer as one of the characters included while ending the ad with a picture of his family including his young child disturbed many on the Christian right.