Category Archives: South Carolina

Trivia Question: Do You Know Me?


I was considered a great beauty in my youth and I married a Yale educated attorney. We had 10 children and over 50 servants (you would call them slaves). Our large estate is now part of a well known university with over 20,000 students. Continue reading

Trivia Questions: Answer – Floride Calhoun


ANSWER: My husband, John C. Calhoun, was Vice President of the United States under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He is one of only two vice presidents to have that distinction. (The other was George Clinton who served under both Jefferson and Madison). Continue reading

Republicans: Who Are The Real RINO’s? by Gregory Hilton

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) do not want to end all funding for Planned Parenthood (PP). They wrote: “The program has successfully reduced the number of unplanned pregnancies, therefore helping to reduce health care costs.” However, they both voted for the GOP budget (HR 1) which cuts off PP. HR 1 contained an amendment of Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) which eliminated the Title X family planning program, which provides contraceptives to low income women. Sens. Jim DeMint (SC) and Rand Paul (KY) both voted against the GOP budget. Continue reading

Social Security and Reflections on the Power Town by Gregory Hilton

"Bad Boy: The Life And Politics Of Lee Atwater" by John Brady, DeCapo Press, 352 pages.


Why is Reform So Difficult?
New York is the nation’s financial capital and Los Angeles has the entertainment industry, but Washington, D.C. is the Power Town. Over the past three decades I have been fortunate to know some of the key players. I admire all of them, and they are intelligent, hard working and have good intentions. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: “The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968” by Kari Frederickson, 336 pages, UNC Press


Reviewed by Gregg Hilton
This is an important and thought provoking book. The author is a professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and her effort resulted in the Harry Truman Book Award from the Truman Presidential Library. She is a liberal but there is no bias in her account of this period.
The Dixiecrats (or southern Democrats) were predominantly conservative, but the movement also included many racists. She accurately quotes them and that was enough to prove her point. Her account begins with Franklin Roosevelt’s election in 1932, but as she readily acknowledges, the Democratic Party’s Solid South really began with the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Continue reading

GOP Chairman Karen Floyd Retires: She Came, She Saw, She Conquered by Gregory Hilton

Karen Floyd announced today she would not seek a second term as Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. While she disappointed her fans, Floyd, 48, is clearly leaving at the top. Continue reading

The Great Myth: The GOP Establishment vs. The Tea Party by Gregory Hilton

Tuesday’s night victory of social conservative Christine O’Donnell over moderate Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate primary is being portrayed as a great setback for the Republican establishment. The enthusiasm behind the O’Donnell crusade can not be denied, but her electability remains questionable. On Wednesday morning, O’Donnell was trailing liberal Democrat Chris Coons in cash on hand by $20,000 to $940,000. That was the beginning of an explosion of Internet support, and O’Donnell now has almost $2 million and is ahead of Coons in cash on hand. Continue reading

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Call For New Contract With America by Gregory Hilton

Two prominent GOP Senators today called for a new Contract With America. They want a document similar to what was advocated by Newt Gingrich and House Republicans in 1994 that helped the party catapult to victory. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was a guest on Fox News Sunday while Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Meet The Press. Both Senators are optimistic about GOP prospects in November, but they believe it is not sufficient to emphasize opposition to the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats. The original Contract With America described an initial legislative agenda for the Republican Party, and it committed the GOP to specific promises if they were allowed to become the majority party for the first time in 40 years. Continue reading

The Backlash: Sarah Palin Angers Her Core Supporters by Stacy Slaybaugh Arena


Editorial Note by Gregory Hilton: I seriously doubt former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) will be a presidential candidate in 2012. She resigned from office, has high negative ratings, and only 24% of Americans say they are comfortable with her. Nevertheless, she has proven to be a major if not decisive factor in several GOP primaries this year.
The article below is by one of my favorite political strategists, Stacy Arena, who was co-founder of the Facebook group “I Support Sarah Palin.” Stacy’s enthusiasm for Palin diminished this year. She resigned from the group and her new page is called “Sarah Palin Stay Out of State Races.”
Stacy says “Having once been a proponent, supporter and defender of Sarah Palin, starting this group is bittersweet for me. As much as I still believe in her message, I question her grasp of the power she holds in today’s political landscape.”
Stacy’s article focuses on South Carolina, but I am far more concerned about “The Palin Factor” resulting in the possible loss of four U.S. Senate seats.
Palin Has Had a Major Impact on the 2010 Campaign
Some of Palin’s endorsements, such as former Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), have been wise. She angered evangelicals and even Branstad said he was surprised but pleased to receive her backing. The real reason was presidential politics.
The first in the nation presidential precinct caucuses are held in Iowa, and Branstad’s opponent was the 2008 chairman of the Huckabee campaign. Huckabee and Palin could be competing for the support of social conservatives two years from now. Palin joined Mitt Romney with similar endorsements in Iowa, South Carolina and Arizona, where she was willing to oppose factions in her conservative base by enthusiastically backing the re-election of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
The campaigns of Senate candidates Rand Paul (R-KY) and Carly Fiorina (R-CA) both said Palin’s endorsement was a decisive factor. Julie Soderlund, Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager told ABC News: “When we earned her endorsement, we saw support for Carly increase literally overnight.” Support for former Rep. Tom Campbell completely collapsed when Fiorina received Palin’s seal of approval.
Nikki Haley, the GOP gubernatorial nominee in South Carolina, also gives Palin tremendous credit, “Gov. Palin is great because she is a national figure that has gone out and taught people the power of their voice. What we saw while creeping up in the polls was that she absolutely gave us a boost when we needed it.”
Palin Has Been Controversial
The former Governor has made endorsements in primaries where every candidate was a right winger, but the “Constitutional conservatives” she backed are controversial and could be defeated in a general election. The GOP Senate candidates in this category are Rand Paul (KY), Joe Miller (AK) and Clint Didier (WA). Sharron Angle (R-NV) was endorsed by the Tea Party Express, and is often referred as “The Sarah Palin of Nevada.”
While she is ahead of the Senate Majority Leader, Angle is still running 15% behind the GOP gubernatorial candidate. Many of these candidates are isolationists and protectionists.
They want America to pull out of the United Nations, and they are enthusiastically backed by libertarians. In thanking Palin for her support, Nikki Haley said “The truth is we had a movement in South Carolina. The movement was not about being Republican. It is about being conservative.”
Haley’s three primary opponents were in strong disagreement. They all proclaimed themselves to be solid conservatives, and unlike Haley, they had track records going back decades to prove it.
We will not know until after the November election if Palin has had a positive or negative impact on the 2010 campaign. She has increased her stature with many tea party members and advocates of “Constitutional conservatism”, but at the same time she has angered many of her most stalwart supporters from the 2008 campaign.

The Backlash: Sarah Palin Angers Her Core Supporters by Stacy Slaybaugh Arena

I no longer support Sarah Palin. My new group is not an attempt to bash the former Governor. I hope it will lead to a serious discussion of “‘The Palin Factor” in state races, and how her endorsements are leading to a decline in GOP prospects this November.
Palin needs to understand that “With great power comes great responsibility.” She has been inserting herself into a wide variety of state races. Her core supporters do not understand her vetting process. They also do not understand why she has been endorsing and promoting candidates which are in clear opposition to the conservative cause.
Many conservatives see Palin’s actions as arrogant and disrespectful to voters of states she is visiting. She cannot know each states unique issues, and most importantly, she doesn’t have to live with the consequences of her actions.
From personal experience, I know Palin’s endorsement of Nikki Haley in the South Carolina gubernatorial primary trumped all discussion of the issues. Because of Palin, Haley received tremendous media attention. Journalists started to call it “The Palin Factor.”
Haley was not the most conservative candidate in the primary, but after the Palin factor, she was certainly portrayed in that manner. Haley won the primary in a landslide. South Carolina is a very red state and 2010 is an excellent Republican year.
The national media attention has moved on, but they could be back again in November if Haley loses. Haley was not the best Republican candidate for a general election, and now an upset is possible. Nikki Haley is an inexperienced moderate who claims to be a conservative.
The Democratic nominee is State Sen. Vincent Sheehan, a former prosecutor who has already been endorsed by the powerful Chamber of Commerce. They refused to back Haley in the primary, and many Republicans feel the same way. A “Republicans for Sheheen” organization has already been formed. The Palin Factor has torn the state GOP apart.
The former Governor has clearly demonstrated her power and appeal, but the result of the Palin factor is that many primary voters stopped doing their own vetting. South Carolina is just one of several states in which Palin’s endorsements are wreaking havoc. Right now Palin appears to be a king maker, but her political judgement may be reassessed after the November election.

Great Moments in Black History: Tim Scott Wins in South Carolina by Gregory Hilton

1870 – Rep. Hiram Rhodes Revels (R-MS) and Sen. Joseph H. Rainey (R-SC) are the first African Americans to serve in the United States Congress.
6/22/10 – Tim Scott (R-SC) begins his journey to become the first African American Republican from the Deep South to be elected to Congress since Reconstruction. South Carolina has tonight sent a powerful message to the nation.
This is an outstanding triumph for Tim Scott (R-SC), and he will instantly become a national leader for the Republican Party and the new South. We now have a different southern strategy. Every national newspaper will note that he defeated the son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond. There were actually very few differences between the candidates, and Scott is an especially effective spokesman on national security and foreign policy issues.
An African American Republican is also in a serious contest in Florida. The GOP might also see two Indian American Governors, the first Hispanic woman Governor in New Mexico, the first female Governor of California, and there are competitive GOP women Senate candidates in CA, NV and CT. All GOP. The change is coming.
This is the endorsement of Tim Scott from the Charleston Courier and Post:
“Many political candidates pledge to hold down government spending. Once elected, few do. But Tim Scott, during a decade and a half of elective service, has earned his reputation as an effective fiscal conservative. And as runaway federal debt threatens our nation’s future, that record makes him the right choice to represent South Carolina’s 1st District in the U.S. House. The district’s Republican voters should move him a giant step closer to that job in Tuesday’s primary runoff.
“During Mr. Scott’s 13 years on Charleston County Council, including several stints as its chairman, there were no tax increases — and county spending actually fell twice. Yet he also helped bolster the county’s “rainy day” funds for the inevitable years — like this one — when economic downturns would trigger revenue shortfalls.
“As part of council’s economic development committee, he helped attract new jobs to the community. That was a critical challenge when he first was elected in 1995, with the next year’s looming closure of the Charleston Navy Base raising serious doubts about the area’s economic future.
“Mr. Scott also demonstrated an ability to forge productive compromises across party lines on a wide range of issues as the county struggled to handle rapid population growth and, more recently, a severe recession.
“He earned a promotion to the S.C. House of Representatives in 2008. Following the prudent pattern he established on County Council, he backed bills to raise the amount of the state’s general reserve fund and increase transparency in government spending — including new requirements for roll-call voting.
“Now he wants to take his strong sense of governmental fiscal responsibility to Congress. He stresses the rising resistance in his own party — and by the American public — to wasteful “earmark” appropriations that lack sufficient scrutiny by federal lawmakers. Because the process has become so corruptive, Mr. Scott says he won’t pursue earmarks if elected to Congress. Instead, he pledges to do whatever’s necessary to obtain the 1st District’s fair share of national funding in “a competitive process” that rightly invests federal dollars wisely.
“He justifiably decries ObamaCare’s imposition of huge new financial obligations on the states, though conceding that even a sweeping GOP takeover of both chambers of Congress this fall wouldn’t deliver enough votes to override a presidential veto of any legislation trying to repeal it. Still, he argues that a Republican House takeover could put conservatives in charge of the purse strings, paving the political path needed to reduce medical costs by fostering insurance competition across state lines and passing tort reform.
“Mr. Scott is also solid on the critical need for “a strong military,” warning that if defense budgets aren’t sufficient, neither is our nation’s security. As he told us, “Our planes are sometimes older than our pilots.”
“Indeed, across the board, Mr. Scott reflects the generally conservative views of his district. More importantly, though, he brings a long record of tackling tough issues in a principled yet pragmatic manner — and of limiting government spending and taxes.
“After his parents divorced when he was still quite young, Mr. Scott was brought up by a single mother who’s rightly his hero. A graduate of Stall High School and Charleston Southern University, he has risen to success in the insurance business, as well as politics. He has served as a board member for a variety of important organizations, including the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the S.C. Aviation Authority.
“Mr. Scott’s personal and political philosophy draws on his positive life experience — and on our founding principles of personal liberty and upward-mobility achievement. As he told us: “America rewards diligence. America rewards optimism. America rewards hard work. It rewards focus.”
“Mr. Scott already has achieved a long and distinguished record of public service as a solid conservative. Republicans should reward him with election as their nominee for the 1st District.”