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Politickin in South Carolina Over Labor Day Weekend

Over the long Labor Day weekend visiting family in South Carolina, I was enjoying jetskiing on Lake Murray, eating picnic food, and drinking beer. Not all at once although tempting.

On Monday morning, there was to be a parade in a little town called Chapin which proved to be a real eye opener about politics overall and in the South especially.

Chapin is located about a 25 minute drive outside of the state capitol of South Carolina which is Columbia. Chapin is very near Lake Murray and is growing quickly within a state that has been making a rough go of it outside of it main city centers and beach front communities.

Like many small town parades, Chapin’s has become the regional powerhouse of parades in the state. While helping my eldest daughter chase down Now-and-Laters, bubblegum, and tootsie rolls, I was stunned to see just how many political candidates had chosen this parade to make an appearance.

I’m not talking about your local dog catcher, regional governor, or state congressman either although Governor Mark Sanford was there as was Senator Lindsey Graham.

Within the first 30 minutes of the parade I had counted no less than five presidential candidates campaigners in the parade. Since the county where Chapin resides is heavy duty Republican, there were three GOP candidates and two Dems represented. The candidates represented were:

Rudy Giuliani, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Joe Biden.

One of them was actually there in the flesh. Sam Brownback, GOP Senator from Kansas, was there and I shook his hand more to be able to just say I had done so and to see if he had a good grip or a fish-like handshake (it was firm but not crushing).

The most surprising and honest statement I had seen posted from any of the candidates was a sign carried by a hunter in full hunting gear (including shotgun) saying “I’m A-Ok with the NRA” with the sign holder declaring ‘guns made this nation free’. Wow. Credit the Brownback campaign for honesty.

Like many voters, I have begun to wonder just how to make sense out of so many candidates running for so long out in front of a general election in 2008. These grass roots efforts get joked about but it clearly is the one chance any average citizen has to really poke and prod a candidate’s thinking. To see the horse in the flesh as it were.

We also bemoan the amounts of money needed to run campaigns (myself included) but it is clear that campaigns run on cash like Homer Simpson runs on donuts. Here is just Senator Brownback’s itinerary for the Labor Day weekend From his web site:


Saturday, September 1

Voter Forum with Sen. Brownback
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Kelly’s Barbeque
10475 Highway 78 Summerville, SC

Voter Forum with Sen. Brownback
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Montgomery Residence
210 Ambassador Drive North Augusta, SC

Sen. Brownback Tailgates at USC v. Louisiana-Lafayette football game
5:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Parking Lot Space 633, Near Locker Room Entrance
Williams-Brice Stadium, University of South Carolina Columbia, SC

Sen. Brownback Attends USC v. Louisiana-Lafayette football game
7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Scholarship Donors Box on West Side of Stadium
Williams-Brice Stadium, University of South Carolina Columbia, SC

Sunday, September 2

Voter Forum with Sen. Brownback
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Hudson’s Barbeque
4953 Sunset Blvd/Highway 378 Lexington, SC

Monday, September 3

Sen. Brownback Joins Chapin, SC, Labor Day Parade
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Parade Start: 267 Columbia Ave
Parade Finish: Chapin High School Chapin SC


Media Availability & Voter Forum with Sen. Brownback
10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Laurie Grooms Allstate Insurance
220 Columbia Ave Chapin, SC

Voter Forum with Sen. Brownback
1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
George’s Family Steakhouse
713 Bypass 25 NE Greenwood, SC

Sen. Brownback Attends Simpsonville Labor Day Festival
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Media Availability at 4:15 p.m. at Entertainment Stage
Simpsonville City Park
405 E Curtis Street Simpsonville, SC

Voter Forum with Sen. Brownback
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Regal Manor Clubhouse
Star Light Dr & Regent Pkwy Fort Mill, SC

Last time I checked, buses hoover down fuel. Then there is hotel expenses, some meals, etc and then you need to multiply that for your campaign manager, staffers, maybe some key volunteers…oy.

Couple this reality with states now jumping ahead of each other’s planned primary and you have a nasty mess to try and unravel as a candidate and the only easy way to try and de-tangle it is with cash to hire more staffers, more consultants, more gas for buses, hotel rooms, airfare, postage and printing for mailers, internet whizzes to build viral components…have we become the machine?

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4 September 2007 Politics No Comment

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