Editorial

Rice for U.S. House

November 2, 2012 

Color us frustrated, exasperated and disappointed.

After having high hopes for Democrat Gloria Bromell Tinubu, who has many of the qualities necessary to succeed in Congress, her recent behavior has revealed enough of her character to sour us on her campaign.

A former editor of this newspaper once wisely pointed out that under stress, people return to their core. Their facades are stripped away and their true personalities emerge. In Tinubu’s case, as this stressful election season and campaign has wound down, what’s been left has not been pretty. Rather than aggressively promote her own well-developed vision for a better future, she has spent her remaining days attempting to tear down her opponent, Republican Tom Rice.

It would be frustrating, though understandable, if her accusations of cronyism and corruption in Horry County Council’s economic development efforts were backed up by any real evidence. But Tinubu has offered nothing of substance to prove her conspiracy theory allegations, and those which have been checked out by credible media have turned out to be insubstantial and unsteady at best.

We have very little patience for a campaign focused more on what’s wrong with the other guy than on promoting solutions. Struggling residents want to know what you will do to make their life better, not watch vague blame games without a concrete basis in reality.

Rice, for his part, has largely steered clear of negative campaigning, focusing instead on his own vision for the future, a decision we heartily appreciate.

The recent events have left us particularly exasperated because Tinubu had indicated a refreshing desire to get past these silly insubstantial discussions when we talked with her earlier this year and focus instead on real issues such as education, infrastructure and restoring the economy.

“Seriously? Are these the conversations we’re having?” she asked when we talked before the primary election. “If we don’t take back the public discourse and put it back where it ought to be, shame on us.”

Ms. Tinubu, you had the chance to direct that public discourse and you squandered it. Shame on you.

On the issues, we agree with many of Tinubu’s local and specific calls to action, including aggressive promotion of education as a path to success, and directing infrastructure dollars not only to big projects such as I-73 but also to smaller projects that benefit our district’s rural communities. The strong support she has shown for unions, while not endearing her to our hearts, we’ve largely ignored, as there’s very little if anything she would be able to do to change the state’s right-to-work status from a post in Washington. What we have appreciated has been her obvious heart for the entire district, which shone a welcome spotlight on areas outside of the developed Grand Strand.

Rice spent most of his time focused on big picture items, such as reducing the national debt and remaking the nation’s business regulations. He advocates a common sense approach to putting Social Security back on the path to solvency and correctly and consistently points out that the bigger problem we face is Medicare. We agree that such items need to be tackled and appreciate his work to highlight them. Nevertheless, we were left throughout the campaign largely wondering how Rice would help our particular district more than any other standard Republican from elsewhere in the nation.

And though we’ve seen in the past Rice’s willingness to promote unpopular ideas he truly believes in – he was a leader of the Take Back May effort that alienated many in the local community – we have witnessed little appetite for independence in this race, only repetitions of what have become standard Republican mantras of less regulation, limited government and lower taxes. Combined with his fairly low-key personality, we fear that he will head to Washington only as a freshman foot soldier for the Republican Party, to meekly follow his betters rather than fiercely stand up for his struggling district. We dearly hope we’re proven wrong.

Nevertheless, while we do not agree entirely with all of Rice’s proposals – we don’t believe, for instance, that dismantling the financial regulations put in place to prevent future economic disasters is a sound idea – we have no doubts about his love for this community or his hard work ethic.

Our single biggest complaint about the current Congress has been its lack of cooperation and insistence on partisan squabbling rather than national problem-solving. The belligerent behavior of Tinubu in recent weeks leads us to believe that she would do more to perpetuate that problem than solve it. Rice, on the other hand, while he does not have the economist background we appreciated in Tinubu, nor the same strong focus on the rural parts of this district, does possess the calmer temperament and willingness to compromise that we would prefer in those we elect to craft solutions to our nation’s complex problems.

For these reasons, we recommend Tom Rice to be the 7th Congressional District’s first congressman.

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