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Establishment S.C. political consulting machine is the problem!

January 26, 2008


by Jeffrey Sewell

Who is to blame for the current state of the SCGOP?

The long established S.C. political consulting machine is the problem: no new ideas, bad data, cookie-cutter operations, and bad candidates. The same-old, same-old produces the same unacceptable results, which frankly does not benefit the folks of South Carolina or further the Republican agenda of change for the better.

The time is now for new consulting firms to step up and step out. With young minds like Boling, Donahue, Folks, Piper, Ragley and others, there is certainly not a lack of young talent in this state. It is time for them to make their mark. They understand how to recruit on principle, not on dollars in the candidate’s pocket. With the talent pool in SC for both young consultants and conservative candidates, there is no reason to rely on the traditional establishment any longer. It just makes sense that if you have a good conservative candidate, you can raise the cash necessary to win.

The Huckabee campaign is the perfect example of performing at the top on a shoestring budget, bravo Chip, Drake & Adam. ‘Doing more with less’ is as much a business approach and state of mind as it is a way to govern a State.

On the issues, Conservatives must recognize that we must first cut the waste in our state government.

It is entirely possible to improve services while cutting both waste and taxes. Don’t get me wrong, this will not have the Democrats dancing in the street; it will be quite the opposite. This is the only common sense approach to improving the political landscape of South Carolina in a way that will encourage new business development, create new jobs and improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

Jeffrey Sewell is a principal of and a the principal consultant of Sewell Consultancy, he and his wife Vee reside in West Columbia, South Carolina [BIO]

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    January 27, 2008 1:00 AM

    Well said…very well said.

  2. Asheville Guy permalink
    January 27, 2008 1:01 AM

    It is all about being true to our principles.

    Keep up the good work, SCHotline.

    Wallace in Asheville

  3. January 27, 2008 2:21 AM

    Excuse me but aren’t you a consultant? Not only the consultants but the candidates the Republican Party puts forth have hurt your party. The GOP represents the white, male establishment. We are a diverse state and a diverse nation and the Republican Party clings to the past and that will ultimately lead to your defeat, and it’s about damn time.

    Roxanne Walker

  4. January 27, 2008 2:44 AM


    The misnomer is that South Carolina is a Red State and the fact of the matter is that we have never enjoyed a true fiscally conservative majority in South Carolina period. The tax and spend liberals still reign in this State and do not expect the quality of life for any South Carolinian to improve until we change the leadership and politicians that refuse to cut wasteful spending and incalculable tax burden placed on its citizens and businesses.

    You may call yourself whatever you like, a Republican, Democrat or Independent it does not make you a conservative or more importantly a fiscal conservative. Are you happy with our roads, social services, business climate or unemployment rate, probably not.

    What do the RINO’s and Democrats offer but more of the same, unfortunately the answer is nothing.

    ~Jeffrey Sewell

  5. shaggy permalink
    January 27, 2008 3:21 AM

    The establishment has worked because the people have allowed it to work. The establishment consultants found a fomula that works because voters have been lulled into a false sense of security. People like boling, adams, folks, ragley, piper, donahue, and earl capps who helped pop off jim hodges with his website in 2002 think outside of the box.

    Out of the old guard shealy is still the only guy who still fits with the new guard because he directly or indirectly trained all of these guys.

    Campaigns should never be about money…they should be about ideas and doing what is best for the constituents of a district.

    I truly look forward to seeing what unfolds in the 2008 elections.

  6. Chester permalink
    January 27, 2008 3:55 AM

    Republicans across the state, we had better wake up this year and pull together because the liberal Hillarys and the Obamas are out to do us in. Look at the turnout for Obama. I know we had to contend with bad weather. However, whoever we choose as a nominee, we had better get behind him or we could lose all we have worked for in South Carolina and in the nation in November if we do not. This is going to be a rough and tumble election and we had better be ready. Our children and grandchildren may feel the effects of what happens in November. After super Tuesday, we need unity.

  7. reality check permalink
    January 27, 2008 3:06 PM

    Harpootlian will eat the whole slate of old and new consultants. You might try getting law degrees before you play in the big leagues. Look at what Harpootlian has done to the old slate-eaten them.

    Then, you get to the matter of the consultant becoming a liability to the candidate because of criminal records. Enough said.

  8. January 28, 2008 10:33 AM

    Roxanne has a point.

    As politicos who have influence upon the policy and campaign processes, we should be challenging our party to reach out and become more inclusive.

    For the GOP to have any kind of true and lasting majority, it cannot simply represent a majority share of the largest bloc of voters, it must represent a majority of the state’s population.

    In looking at the state, one will see a large swath of red that is the GOP belt of the Upstate, matched by a similarly-large swath of blue starting at Chester County, reaching across to Marion, and down to Jasper County.

    While it may be difficult for the GOP to reach a majority of those voters in the near future, I’ve often argued the need to “invest” politically by reaching out to those voters, forming legislative coalitions with them on issues, and giving them more appointments on state boards and commissions.

    If the GOP could increase it’s core share of the black vote to 20% and convince another 20% to split their tickets, the Democrats would lose at least a third of their remaining legislative seats and they’d never win a statewide race again. Not even by 500 votes.

    But that would involve a little prudent compromise, being willing to take on issues that hold little value with the current GOP political base, and at least being able to tolerate people who don’t look and act like most Republicans.

    While that may sound like selling out, would it be any greater degrees of compromise than we’re already making with the legislative RINOs?

    Could we Republicans do it? Would we do it? Do we want to own this state for the next two generations?

    Time will tell.

  9. Tellinitlikeitis permalink
    January 28, 2008 1:19 PM

    Good article. Does anybody not get that the Governor is actually trying to stay true to Republican principles, but is continuously thwarted by a supposedly GOP legislature and the veteran consultants around town? Look at virtually all the arguments they have – taxes, spending, respecting property rights and the constitution, accountability – and look at who’s on the conservative side and who is not.
    It’s all nice to say you care about Republican principles, but if you actually believe that, you might want to let your legislators know about it, and actually vote that way when there are competitive primaries. Most of the legislators truly haven’t a clue about Republican principles. And yes, the veteran consultants have something to do with that. They don’t care for Sanford, because he actually believes in cutting the budget. Lobbyists don’t like that. They normally get paid to put spending into the budget, not take it out. Sanford wants reform; lobbyists and most legislators don’t. That’s the way it is.

    So reader, which side are you on?

  10. Brandon permalink
    January 28, 2008 4:08 PM

    You nailed it. Just look at all the folks who changed parties just to be in the majority.
    On a completley different note, I didn’t get to vote in the Republican primary, so I voted Saturday for Obama. Has anyone done any analysis to see how many others did the same?

  11. Marty Bishop permalink
    January 28, 2008 6:01 PM

    What if we blamed the leadership of the party?

    Just a thought.

  12. Ron permalink
    January 29, 2008 12:58 AM

    To me, it’s all about ideology. When half of our GOP elected officials are rinos (Republican in name only) espouse our platform ideology long enough to get elected and when in office listen to lobbying more than their own constituents, we have a major problem that frustrates the voters to the point that they stay home. An example of this is that turnout in the recent Democratic Presidential Primary significantly exceeded the GOP turnout the week before. We have a very frustrated Republican voter base. Possible Solution: viable third party

  13. January 29, 2008 3:42 AM


    You are correct in that a higher turnout in the recent Democratic Presidential Primary clearly shows a frustrated Republican Party base.

    Not quite sure we have a viable third party solution unless that potential candidate can inspire voters the way Obama has in his party. There seems to be a lack of passion in the oration of Republican Party Presidential hopefuls.

    Bloomberg is no spellbinder on the stump and so I think you can look back at South Carolina and before that Iowa and clearly see that the candidates with the most money don’t always win.

  14. Rob W. permalink
    February 15, 2008 2:17 PM

    Perhaps I’m missing something here:

    Consultants are people who are hired to win political races. That’s their job. I’m sure they try to elect people who agree with their principles, but at the end of the day, their goal is to get their candidate elected. If consultants are setting policy, that’s a failure of the candidate and the party, not the consultants themselves.

    Likewise, lobbyists are people who are hired to convince lawmakers to pass laws favorable to whoever is paying them. That’s their job. When lobbyists convince lawmakers to do something underhanded for them, it’s the lawmakers (and in small part the party) that’s at fault, not the lobbyists.

    It seems silly to criticize someone for doing their job well.

    I’ve got to partially agree with Marty Bishop- the party shares some blame, although it’s really not the GOP chair’s job to criticize other Republicans. We can really only fault our current politicians and the voters who put them there.

  15. smiley permalink
    November 20, 2008 6:15 PM

    Well, that is an interesting list of consultants you listed. Too bad they are only as good as their past actions. Donahue beats women and Piper was rumored to be a roofie rapist while at USC.

    The only credible people you mentioned were B.J., Jay W. and David.

  16. November 20, 2008 6:32 PM

    Why am I surprised when SC politicos as anons continue to slam each other with alleged behavior even if true… Remember the saying, if you’ve nothing good to say… Apply here, VERY thick skin required…


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