Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls gathered in Columbia last weekend on the heels of the state Democratic Convention. If the mind-boggling blather originating therefrom is any indication, the 2010 campaign trail may qualify as a Superfund cleanup site.
State Sen. Robert Ford proposed the revitalization of the video poker industry in conjunction with the introduction of land-based casino gaming. Revenue generation would, subsequently, expand a thus far dormant movie industry, "[creating] between 80,000 and 100,000 new jobs." These auspicious figures would be exclusive of "10,000 new teachers," a mandate also funded by the gambling handle. Ford's source for these projections? None other than noted economist Morgan Freeman, whose otherwise admirable career evidently qualifies the actor as, potentially, some form of de facto Lowcountry fiscal czar.
Jim Rex also addressed the economic climate, proposing to "use training and education to prepare a modern work force." Rex, by the way, is currently engaged in the capacity of S.C. superintendent of schools. Rex's body of work, you ask? Statewide, less than half of students entering the secondary phase of the education process receive high school diplomas. Training and education, indeed.
Attorney Vincent Sheheen contends that he would "recruit industry throughout the state and push for residents to have opportunities to be trained in high-demand, high-earning fields." Laudable enough, until you consider that Sheheen has been drawing a paycheck as a member of the state Senate for the entirety of this century. Only now are the recruitment of industry and vocational training worthy of prioritization?
Don't look for any relief in sheer partisan terms; alternative projected candidates have proven equally underachieving. Trailblazing incumbent Mark Sanford, unable to trade in the currency of credibility, is, mercifully, equally impaired in the form of term-limits. Heir apparent Andre Bauer sports a woefully thin resume, although one might consider it an accomplishment that no one has been maimed by the lieutenant governor as he careens with impunity across the interstate highway system.
I don't have the remotest clue as to the identity of South Carolina's next governor. For the sake of the state, let's hope that neither do you.
The writer lives in Little River.