By Paul Gable
Towering political egos are the bane of sensible political discussion and of the ability of a politician to take a reflective look at him or herself.
It doesn’t take long for the average politician to believe that anyone criticizing them is wrong by definition and that any criticism of them is a mean-spirited personal attack.
Too often this attitude is the result of an inner insecurity that is masked by a false confidence and arrogance.
No, this isn’t meant to be a column on the psychology of politicians. The above is merely an expression of my conclusions over many years of observing the political scene, criticizing many statements, decisions and votes and watching the reactions of those politicians involved.
Word has reached me that I bruised a few egos again this week.
Evidently I hurt some feelings when I called Cam Crawford the stealth candidate for dodging candidate forums in the current Horry County Council District 6 Republican special primary campaign.
I have even been told Crawford’s wife, Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford, was making statements about being mad not only at me, but also at political consultant Donald Smith.
Mad at me for writing that Cam should not be a political candidate if he was unwilling to answer questions from the public and engage voters and the other candidates and mad at Smith for not stopping me from writing those statements.
Hate to disappoint you Heather, but I don’t submit my copy for approval to Smith or anyone else, just as you don’t submit for approval from anyone your plans for what foreign travel should be paid for with your campaign funds.
By the way, I understand the new saying around the South Strand is that skipping an event is called doing a “Crawford”.
I also heard I ruffled some feathers with my comments about District 6 candidate Kirk Hanna not appearing the part of a candidate and for opposing funding of Coast RTA for reasons tied to his political consultant Jay Specter’s personal grudge against the bus agency.
For those of you who may have questions about Specter’s past conviction, read here: jay specter 4th circuit court of appeals
The tax increase issue is one where I have been hard on those politicians voting for it, especially Mark Lazarus, Al Allen, Johnny Vaught and Bill Howard.
The county doesn’t need a tax increase, the people don’t want a tax increase and there is no valid reason to vote for a tax increase.
And if you’re going to run for office on a platform of low taxes or no new taxes or taxed enough already, at least have the courage to honor those statements.
If you’re going to be a TEA partier when it suits you and a ROT (raise our taxes) partier at other times you’re going to get called on it.
When I believe politicians are right, I will compliment them. When I believe they are wrong, I will criticize them. And I don’t play favorites along the way.
Through the years, Lazarus has been a great example of what it can be like. We have agreed on some issues and disagreed on others, often strongly disagreed. But, in the end, we are not disagreeable to each other.
I have told a number of politicians and other public officials they can say anything they want to about me and/or my writing any time they want to. I won’t hold it against them because I won’t be easy on them when I believe they are wrong.
That’s what political debate should be about – hard debate and strong criticism when necessary, with no long term hard feelings.
I hope some of you neophytes learn this lesson quickly or you will have a difficult time ahead.