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  • Writer's pictureDavid M. Rubin

Nancy Mace Already a Kevin McCarthy Clone

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Rep. Nancy Mace’s slogan that headlines her newsletter to constituents claims she is “Working With Anyone Willing to Work with Me.” To have any hope of retaining her seat in the House in 2022, Mace will have to make good on this promise.

She barely edged out incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham in 2020 by 6000 votes, with 226,000 cast. Without Donald Trump heading the ticket, Mace would have lost. Trump, who won the First Congressional District 52% to 46%, dragged the limping Mace across the finish line.

In 2022 Mace won’t have Trump. She will have to rely on herself to hold the seat. So far, in her first two months in office, she seems blissfully unaware of how precarious her position is.

She has already slipped comfortably into the clothes of the Trump- Republican Party of “No”, which is their reflexive response to everything Democrats propose. Worse, she seems to have no ideas of her own to offer that address the many serious problems facing the nation. She is just a living, breathing Trump-Republican talking point.

Predictably, she voted against the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, even though 40% of Republicans back the bill, as do more than 70% of all voters.

Why doesn’t she like it? Mace points to $1 billion for Amtrak and $1 billion for increased foreign aid. This represents just one one-thousandth of the total spending. It’s hardly a reason to vote against the bill.

Worse, Mace has yet to offer any of her own ideas on infrastructure spending. The Trump Republicans had four years to introduce a comprehensive infrastructure bill. They failed. What does Mace want to do? We will watch her behavior closely when the Democrats offer an infrastructure bill. South Carolina desperately needs improved roads and signage, the extension of high-speed broadband all across the state, safe bridges, modernized airports, and some sort of mass transit for its growing urban areas, such as the tri-county region around Charleston.

Nor do we have any idea of Mace’s views on foreign policy, except she doesn’t like $1 billion in foreign aid. Perhaps that is because the Trump Republicans had no foreign policy except Trump’s scattershot and damaging tariffs, his penchant for trashing commitments and treaties, and his visits to the world’s nastiest autocrats (such as Putin, Kim, and bin Salman).

What Mace really doesn’t like about Biden’s American Rescue Plan is that the bulk of the after tax income benefits will, for a change, go to the bottom 40% of Americans by income. That is a lot of South Carolinians who will be lifted out of grinding poverty by this legislation, including African-American farmers. Many are voters Mace will desperately need in 2022.

Contrast this with the Trump-Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which gave most of its benefits to the top 20% of Americans by income, which only exacerbated massive income inequality in the United States. That’s the Republican way, of course. Is it Mace’s way, too? It seems so.

Mace has also voted “No” on an expanded voting rights act meant to insure that everyone who wants to vote can do so, and that those votes will be counted. Given South Carolina’s segregationist history in making it impossible for African Americans to vote after Reconstruction and through the 1960s, how does Mace intend to make sure the South Carolina Legislature doesn’t try to strip away those precious voting rights again? She hasn’t said. She just wants the state to control its elections without federal interference. We heard that story in 1876, and for the next 90 years. Enough already.

Mace claims she wants to be bipartisan in her approach, just as Joe Cunningham genuinely was. So far, however, the only bipartisanship we are seeing in Washington is the various wings of the Democratic Party bargaining to fashion legislation. The Trump-Republicans, including Mace, continue to be the party of “No”, without a single new idea to offer on health care, infrastructure, climate change, foreign policy, voting rights, gun control, police reform, and on and on.

Mace’s disingenuous TV ad campaign against Cunningham in 2020 relentlessly tied him to Nancy Pelosi, claiming that he went to DC to do her bidding (which he often didn’t do). She claimed she would be different.

That was suspect when she said it during the campaign, and she is proving now it was a lie. She has already demonstrated she is in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pocket as a reliable, unthinking, back bench Republican vote.

Maybe we should start to call her “Nancy McCarthy Mace.”

Blogger David M. Rubin is the former Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a former columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and an expert on First Amendment law (speech and press). He lives in Summerville.

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