• David M. Rubin

REPUBLICAN FOLLIES CLOSE OUT THE YEAR

It's a full-time job keeping up with the political stunts, absurd statements and insults to the intelligence of voters that come from our Republican "leaders." Some deserve their brief moment in the sun. So in the holiday spirit I offer a small assortment of recent howlers from local Republicans, just to remind us of the high stakes in 2022.

State House Republican LIN BENNETT, who represents District 114 in Charleston, is trying to stop the city of Charleston from lending the statue of John C. Calhoun to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for an exhibition that will showcase monuments relating to the Lost Cause.

Bennett and the self-styled Southern heritage groups with which she is working said the Calhoun monument should not leave South Carolina and that it "does not belong in California." The acute embarrassment Calhoun causes her runs pretty deep.

Bennett and her backers seem unaware that museums borrow works of art all the time from public and private parties---and then return them! I doubt Los Angeles wants to keep our retired Calhoun statue or hold it for ransom. They just want to let others see it. What is Bennett ashamed of? That Southern Californians will find out who Calhoun was, warts and all?

To make this even nuttier, Bennett is threatening to introduce legislation to withhold tax money from the City of Charleston (and her own constituents) if Mayor John Tecklenburg permits Calhoun to travel west. I wonder how Bennett's constituents rate that as a strategy?

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On the heels of the swift departure of Bob Caslen as President of the University of South Carolina following a botched search procedure, the Board of Trustees still can't get it right. The candidate it was courting to replace Caslen---Purdue Engineering Dean Mung Chiang---pulled out right after the Board announced he was their choice and would be visiting the campus to nail down the details. Now the Board enters 2022 with the prospect that former President Harris Pastides will continue as interim president---perhaps forever.

Remember that Governor HENRY MCMASTER, a member of the dysfunctional Board that governs this under-performing University, intervened to force Caslen's hiring. If not for his meddling, the University wouldn't be in this position.

If McMaster cared about the future of USC, he would work with the Legislature to reform how trustees are selected, bring in an entirely new board with significant experience in higher education, make sure future governors would not serve as trustees, and resign now from the Board to set an example.

Sadly, the health of the Gamecock football team is more important to him than the academic quality of the institution.

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Senator TIM SCOTT used a December 15 appearance on Fox News (where else?) to attack Build Back Better legislation. He was railing against the evils of inflation on Fox, and he made it clear that if the BBB legislation passes, inflation will be worse.

Scott said that to bring inflation under control, "we have to stop spending money in Washington." Yet at the same time, in his newsletter, Scott patted himself on the back for adding $25 billion to the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation will provide the U.S. military with an eye-popping $777.7 billion in 2022.

Other than spending on Social Security and Medicare, the annual military appropriation is by far the largest among all programs in the budget. If Scott is serious about taming inflation by cutting spending in DC, he should start with the bloated and wasteful military budget. Instead, he voted to increase spending by $25 billion. He's some inflation fighter.

Scott is not interested in inflation anyway. He knows, or should know, that the only agency in DC that can directly attack inflation is The Federal Reserve through its control of interest rates. Invoking the specter of inflation is just a useful cudgel with which to attack Democrats about the BBB bill. More useful would be if Scott told us what parts of that bill he wants to cut and why, and what parts he supports and why. But that would actually take political courage. So scratch that.

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Speaking of timid TIM, the Washington Post reported last week that Amazon is locating delivery stations and fulfillment centers in designated Opportunity Zones around the country. This would permit Amazon to reduce capital gains taxes by investing in these designated areas.

It ought to come as no surprise to Scott that Amazon and other companies would use his Opportunity Zone legislation to avoid capital gains taxes.

We wrote about this mess in two posts earlier this month. This is just more evidence that Scott's signature legislative achievement in 2017 is ripe for manipulation. There are no requirements that Amazon report on the number of jobs it's created in the OZs; how much it's invested; or how much it reaped in tax savings.

Amazon might have made the same investments in the same communities without the OZ legislation. They have to put all their warehouses somewhere. But if the company can shield capital gains by building a warehouse in an OZ, why not? It's only the bottom line that counts for Amazon.

Scott could fix the many problems with OZs if, for once, he worked with President Biden and other Democrats to amend the legislation. But that's not within his definition of "bi-partisan ."

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Representative NANCY MACE continues to work both sides of every street in her desire to fool voters into thinking she is a moderate, old-style, trustworthy Republican, except when she isn't.

On the one hand she has urged her constituents to get vaccinated. Good. On the other, she announced last week that she's "introducing legislation to prohibit the use of Federal funds to be used to administer COViD-19 vaccinations to Border Patrol and ICE officers."

She fears that mandatory vaccination would somehow impair "the efficiency and effectiveness" of the border patrol agents.

This is so nonsensical it's hard to know where to attack it. Apparently, in Mace-World, if agents are vaccinated against their will, but thereby remain healthy and on the job, that somehow hurts their efficiency and effectiveness. But if they are not vaccinated, become ill, and cannot show up for work, that will improve their efficiency and effectiveness because Washington didn't force them to get the jab.

Or something like that, I guess.

Press Release Nancy is great at creating the illusion of activity. But since her admission that Joe Biden actually won the Presidency, it's been all down hill for her as she fights for her legislative life against Trumpian primary challengers. So why not sacrifice the health of border patrol agents to your cause?

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