Thursday, October 30, 2014

Two Smart Candidates ... and Tim

This is what the debate for South Carolina US Senator was not:  it was not slick (despite the matching suits worn by Tim Scott and moderator Charles Bierbauer).  There were not a lot of fancy words or high-minded philosophies.  After all, this was South Carolina.  Instead, the responses by all three candidates were predictable, and if we did not know the candidates, left us with very little information other than how comfortable each was in front of the camera.

It turns out that the women, Independent candidate Jill Bossi and Democratic candidate Joyce Dickerson, shared similar views on most topics.  Both are strongly pro-women, pro-choice, both in favor of strengthening benefits for seniors and veterans.  They also (along with Tim) threw out the ever-popular "secure our borders" and "improve education" because who would not?

If you know Joyce at all, you are probably aware that she is not a formidable public speaker.  She has the tendency to occasionally mix up words.  But her understanding of politics and her democratic beliefs are strong ones.  I can see her in the Senate fighting for the middle class, as well as for those who are struggling to earn a living wage, and for children with inadequate health care and nutrition, and students who are unable to compete because of our government's unwillingness to commit to education.

If the race had been between Jill Bossi (I) and Tim Scott (Tea Party Republican), Bossi would get my vote easily.  But what concerns me about Bossi is her emphasis on her willingness to compromise, to find the middle ground, in an America where there have been too many compromises to an uncompromising right-wing.  Our middle ground is far right of where it was in the 60's and 70's, and our environment, our health care, our education, our infrastructure, have all suffered the results.  Bossi emphasizes her business creds, and I fear that once in Congress she would be all too eager to lean toward the big business dollars and lobbyists that would come her way.  Jill Bossi says she wants to institute a "fair, flat tax," a term that sends chills up and down my spine.

Tim Scott, on the other hand, for all his grooming by the big guns that control him, when left to his own devices, will talk about pretending to work alongside "everyday people," clueless as to the condescension.  Right from his introductory comments, he talks about wanting to be in the US Senate so he can spend time with his family, and help build a future for his nephew.  Clumsy, maybe, but he pretty much lets us know with this Freudian slip that the rest of us "everyday people" don't feature much in his consciousness.  Matter of fact, please go to C-Span and listen to his introductory comments, because I just can't do them justice.  You really do want to hear him say in regards to Washington, that if it weren't for relatives, people wouldn't like him at all.

But let's please get back to the issues.  Actually, not the issues, just the platitudes, because that is what Tim is all about.  Somebody invented something called an "Opportunity Agenda" for Tim, and if you listen to him talk about it, you will walk away wondering just what he's going to do to create all this opportunity.  Because he won't tell you.  The answer to the economy is creating "certainty" and "stability" in the workplace.  Now you know this doesn't mean certainty and stability for the workers.  This is just Tim Scott bullshit for cutting corporate taxes and deregulation.  Which has continued to drag us into the dark ages since Ronald Reagan's handlers first packaged it for the American people.

Of course, Scott called upon the evil Obamacare and was even told to bring up Dodd-Frank, as in "Dodd-Frank and Obamacare" as reasons why our country was failing.  Like Mark Sanford debating the cardboard Nancy Pelosi, this is a matter of throwing out red meat to the snarling and brainless base.  I am hoping that more than a few of us heard him and said, "say what???"  Apart from just the stupid pat phrases, there were the bizarre "facts," like that our corporate tax rate is ten points higher than the rest of the world.  Or that through Nikki Haley's leadership Spartanburg and Greenville are at nearly 100% employment.  And responding to the comment about his missed votes, that he has a "99% voting record" -- whatever that means.

Scott goes on to say that he "voted to reduce interest rates on student loans," which plain old made my head spin around.  So I looked it up.  HR 4628, prettily called the "Interest Rate Reduction Act," also repeals parts of the Affordable Care Act...

  establishing and appropriating funds to the Prevention and Public Health Fund (a Fund to provide for expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs). Rescinds any unobligated balances appropriated to such Fund.  

This bill had something in it for nearly everybody to hate, from those on the right that opposed keeping student loan rates low, to those on the left who opposed this sneak attack on essential parts of the Affordable Care Act.  In fact, the only group that officially supported the bill was the Christian Coalition of America.  Which made it good enough for Tim Scott.  Funny, though, how Scott made it sound like it was the student loan part of the bill he was supporting and not the strangling Obamacare part....

Oh, my, I wish I was a better writer, I could write a comedy and a tragedy on Tim Scott.  What's most important about the Senate debate for me, however, is that I got to hear just how lame he is next to the two smart women running against him.  I also had the chance to hear Jill Bossi, who was well-spoken and has lots of good ideas.  But not enough.

Joyce Dickerson may not have had time to rehearse for the debate because she appears to be spending every moment of her waking day running to different parts of the state to introduce herself to voters.  She is running on a shoestring, and doesn't have the staff to prep her and polish her.  But I prefer my candidate without the polish.  She is knowledgeable and caring, and she is not in it for the money or the power.  She is not likely to sell us out for business interests, and she understands the difference between healthy compromise and caving in.

So I will continue to support Joyce Dickerson, and I hope you will as well.

Joyce Dickerson
for US Senate

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