It is hard to believe that we are year five of the Thanksgiving Awards at VUI. We are thankful for the readers and contributors who have kept this one of the longest lasting political blogs in South Carolina. That said, let's get on to the 5th Annual VUI Thanksgiving Political Awards. These things are coveted folks, and politicians around the state are waiting with held breathes. LOL.
First, there is the Cornbread Dressing Award for Career Achievement. This year, VUI gives it to outgoing Congressman John Spratt. Those with more crass motives and hearts might disagree, but Spratt served his constituents well during his tenure and frankly, was like Grady Patterson, in a being a sick old man that the Democrats should have let retire in dignity.
We move on to the Cranberry Sauce Award for local government achievement. This year VUI stays local and gives the honor to Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper. As Sheriff, Skipper has led some major advancements in law enforcement investigations and his office is running efficiently for the taxpayers. Skipper seems to be the best Sheriff in South Carolina and that gets him the nod for this award.
That moves us to the Holiday Ham Award. That award is granted to the politician or political figure who, well frankly, has the ego that goes beyond the call. This year is goes to blogger Will Folks. Though we at VUI like Will, and actually believe his stories about Nikki Haley, the fact remains that there seems no bigger ego than Mr. Folks in politics. Jake Knotts comes close, but no cigar, Jakie. Will's self proclaimed conquest of the Governor-elect just takes the political cake, so to speak. Whatever you think of Folks, it took a pair to lay it all out about him and Haley.
Now we move to the nominees for the Golden Drumstick Award. That award is for the best political achievement in South Carolina. We will outline the nominees.
1) Governor-elect Nikki Haley. Can anyone believe what this woman did? She came out of nowhere to win the GOP nomination and to win the Governor's office. She did so with otherwise credible folks talking about her, shall we say, indiscretions. Haley is Teflon, and has a way of making people ignore her flimsy resume and her personal problems. That takes incredible political skill.
2) Congressman-elect Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney defeated John Spratt. That was no small order. Spratt was like Strom Thurmond in his district. Mulvaney had the skill and the class to campaign around the health issues and age of Spratt while taking advantage of the close ties with Speaker Nancy Pelosi Spratt had to have to maintain his leadership position in the House. While it was a Republican year, Mulvaney played every move right in sending Spratt into retirement.
3) Congressman-elect Tim Scott. Wow. What can you say about this guy. Scott is the first Black Republican elected to the House from the South since Reconstruction. Scott got the GOP nomination beating two old strong GOP families, Thurmond and Campbell. Then, once elected to Congress, Scott is quickly rising, even before officially taking office, in the GOP leadership ranks. This guy is a game changer for Republican politics and bears watching over the next few years.
4)Lt. Governor-elect Ken Ard. Sure, Ard has family troubles and his consultant was arrested after Election Day. But, Ard is something to watch. He went from Florence County Council to Lt. Governor, defeating Tea Party favorite Bill Connor in the GOP primary and then defeating a well funded low country effort by Democrat Ashley Cooper. Ard has a lot of political horse sense and that will serve him and the state well in the next four years.
5) Congressman-elect Trey Gowdy. The Solicitor turned Congressman whipped longtime incumbent Bob Inglis with a message that was humble and basically let Inglis implode. That was smart politics.
The winner of the Golden Drumstick is........Congressman-elect Tim Scott. Years from now, Scott will be a national political force, just wait and see.
That brings us the nominees for Political Turkey of the Year. You figure out the meaning. The nominees are:
1) Congressman Henry Brown. Let's look at this year for Brown. He was once the powerful Ways and Means Chairman of the SC House. He gave that up to be a Congressman. He gave up being a Congressman to run for Supervisor of Berkeley County, and got soundly defeated. Wow. It is unprecedented in SC history for a sitting Congressman to get whipped for a county office.
2) State Rep. Dan Cooper. We at VUI like Dan Cooper, the powerful House chairman. But, this year, Cooper's laziness darned near got him. Some kid gave him a run for his money in the GOP primary and then some third party candidate got far too many votes in November against him. Cooper is in trouble in 2012 if he does not shape up and actually learn how to run a real campaign for his post again.
3) Vic Rawl. This guy takes the political cake. Rawl was a former legislator and Democrat insider who thought he was going to be the man that took on Republican Senator Jim DeMint. Rawl and Democratic leaders were so confident of that fact they sat on their behinds in the primary. The result? Alvin Greene whipped Rawl and opened up South Carolina to one of its strangest political races in history.
4) Congressman Gresham Barrett. Again, we at VUI like Gresham Barrett. But, come on, you raise more money than any candidate for Governor by far and you get whipped by a candidate who did not even show up to her own committee meetings in the SC House? Further the Barrett camp seemed afraid to call such things against Haley. It was like they were in a trance by her campaign. Pathetic.
5) Congressman Bob Inglis. Speaking of pathetic, perhaps the saddest and most pathetic campaign of 2010 was the Congressional primary campaign of Bob Inglis. Whatever his accomplishments, in the Spring of 2010, Bob Inglis came across as the crazy old neighbor who ruined all the neighborhood cookouts with his rantings about crazy ideas. Far too many voters saw Inglis as the crazy neighbor who would set his head on fire to prove a point instead of a veteran Congressman who would serve their interests.
The Political Turkey of the Year Award goes to.....Congressman Henry Brown. You lost a race for Berkeley County Supervisor after years in Congress? That's history made and that is worthy of the VUI Political Turkey of the Year Award.
That brings us to our last, and most controversial award. This award has gotten VUI in "hot water" over the past years. It is the Holiday Fruitcake Award. This year, we had many to choose from, but as we like to stick to just South Carolina politics, the winner was clear. Alvin Greene is our Fruitcake Award winner. Never before have we seen someone so strange. From touting "action figures" in his own likeness to saying recently that he "was born to be President," Mr. Greene personifies the word fruitcake. Greene's web campaign ad sealed the deal. Wow. Here is the video. It shows how deserving Greene is of the coveted Fruitcake Award.
Thanks for reading and have a great Thanksgiving Week. Stay tuned for our Thanksgiving Top 9 and then we get back to daily posts about politics come December 1. We will be looking at Congress, the State House and bills filed and everything else.