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Sen. John Land’s two-faced effort to save face with the DNC

August 6, 2009


By Michael S. Smith II, SCHotline Contributing Editor

S.C. Sen. John C. Land III (D, Clarendon) recently published a rather entertaining letter in The State newspaper.

In his August 6 letter titled “Sanford’s hobby: Being governor,” the S.C. State Senate minority party leader criticized Gov. Sanford for what Land perceives to be the governor’s proclivity for spending too much time traveling, and too little time working with the General Assembly to both identify and achieve goals which will strengthen South Carolina’s future.

Sen. Land advised the best thing for the state would be a governor who is willing to spend less time either on vacation or looking down his/her nose at the representatives South Carolinians elect to serve in the legislature — and more time promoting a “pro-growth” economic agenda.

Land added: “If we polled the business leaders who have considered South Carolina for an expansion or location but chose to go elsewhere, there is no doubt that they would affirm the fact that Sanford’s cavalier attitude toward his job has hurt our state. I have heard it from business leaders in South Carolina.”

While many may agree his assertions are meritorious, Sen. Land is the wrong person to be making them.

Since June 24, many politicians in South Carolina — some Republicans; most Democrats — have been quietly searching for something that can be used as the Impeach-Mark movement’s coup de grâce against the Sanford administration.

On July 24, Sen. Land decided to forego an opportunity to participate in a meeting that may have handed members of that movement the ammunition they’ve been looking for.

Organized by S.C. Sen. David Thomas, the Republican who chairs the senate’s three-person-member finance subcommittee, the agenda for that July 24 meeting was to determine if the governor misused state funds when he originally had tax-payers from the Palmetto State pick up the tab for his 2008 “trade trip” to Argentina, on which the governor rendezvoused with his paramour (i.e. the same trip the governor arguably conceded tax-payers should not have paid for when he announced he would repay the state for expenses associated with that trip last June).

On July 23, in a piece titled “Investigation into Sanford case struggles to gain steam,” The State reported Sen. Thomas organized the July 24 meeting because he believed SLED’s investigation of whether or not Sanford misused state funds to pay for the Argentina leg of the S.C. Dept. of Commerce’s 2008 trade mission to Brazil was as specious as Mr. Sanford’s “trade trip” to Argentina.

According to that July 23 report in The State, Sen. Land, a member of the three-person-member subcommittee, was not planning to attend the July 24 meeting because he was “on vacation.” This, despite the fact that the third member, Greg Ryberg, also on vacation on July 24, has a longstanding alliance with the Sanford administration.

Something about a pot and a kettle comes to mind here.

Furthermore, Sen. Land advised The State he thought the meeting was premature; he wanted “to wait and see what else the media finds before agreeing to an investigation that could be perceived as a fishing expedition.”

Since when is it the Fourth Estate’s job to manage such investigations? Don’t South Carolinians elect people like Sen. Land, and pay the salaries of people like SLED Director Reggie Lloyd so they will do that work for us?

If Mr. Land is so interested in doing what’s right for our state, perhaps he should spend more time showing up for meetings he is elected to attend.

I’m not a political scientist or a betting man, but I’m willing to bet someone from the DNC reached out to Sen. Land to advise him he should not have dropped the ball for the S.C. Democratic Party by skipping the July 24 meeting — a meeting which Sen. Thomas intended to serve as a first step toward forcing Gov. Sanford out of office.

Sen. Land’s August 6th letter to the editor was obviously a last ditch effort to save face with his party. He’s not interested in serving the interests of all South Carolinians.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Minto W. McGill permalink
    August 7, 2009 4:01 PM

    This may be the dumbest thing I have read on a SC political blog. At best, it is rank speculation by someone who does not have a clue about how things work around Columbia.

    If you think John Land or other Democrats in the State Senate give a rat’s behind what Carol Fowler at the SCDP thinks, much less what that crowd in Washington at the DNC think, then you’ve lost your ever-lovin’ mind.

    Bottom line is this: the last thing the powers-that-be in the Senate(whether they are like McConnell and Leatherman and call themselves Republicans or whether they are like Land and McGill and call themselves Democrats) want is to be rid of a weak, ineffectual governor like Sanford. Governors who actually know how to play the game (i.e, Riley and Campbell) are much more of a threat to legislative supremacy than governors who do not (Sanford).

    Get real.

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