Between the name dropping, patriotic references and unabashed self-aggrandizing evident at Bill Connor’s press conference last month, one would have thought scientists had somehow managed to clone George Washington, Oliver Wendell Holmes and George Patton, then rolled them into a single omnipotent being.
Connor, a Columbia lawyer, did everything but proclaim himself the right-wing messiah as he announced from the steps of the Statehouse his plans to run for SC lieutenant governor. In just a few minutes, he managed to:
- Mention not only his own military service, but that of his father and grandfather;
- Impart the phrase “traditional values of our Founding Fathers;”
- Drop the name of Ronald Reagan;
- Blurt out such tired sound bites as “government is not the answer; freedom is the answer;”
- Vow to rule “all tax increases out of order every time.”
What he failed to do was lay out any sort of plan that shows he has what it takes to actually serve in elected office.
Any well-dressed, well-funded individual can line up his family and supporters behind him and spout off the tried and true conservative maxims about smaller government and lower taxes, but if it’s nothing more than window dressing and empty platitudes, it won’t move South Carolina forward.
Of course, such posturing does help move Mr. Connor along, provided he can snow enough people with his years-in-the-making political candidacy.
Among his more inane statements was this, taken from the press release announcing his candidacy, purporting to embody his reaction upon his recent return from military service in the Middle East:
“When I returned home, I was shocked to find that my country had started to abandon the principles we went overseas to protect. I’m running for Lt. Gov. to work to bring back those traditional values that our Founding Fathers wrote into our Declaration of Independence.”
First off, to which values does Mr. Connor refer when he said he “was shocked to find that my country had started to abandon those principles we went overseas to protect?”
The stated purpose of US involvement in Afghanistan, where Mr. Connor was stationed, was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda. Upon his return, did Mr. Connor discover al-Qaeda operatives whooping it up at a Motel 6 in Orangeburg while his fellow South Carolinians looked away in disinterest?
Other reasons the US ostensibly went into Afghanistan were to lay the groundwork for such principles of democracy as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.
Did Mr. Connor return to the Palmetto State and witness minority religions being persecuted or women being prohibited from attending school or being forced to dress in burkas? If so, the media must have been asleep at the switch while this shocking transition had taken place.
No, if instead what Mr. Connor meant was that upon his return from the Middle East he was dismayed to discover that our nation had begun to abandon the values our Founding Fathers held dear during the early days of our republic, then it would appear he either has a poor grasp of American history or simply wasn’t paying attention before it was politically expedient for him to do so.
The fact is, it’s unlikely that any of our Founding Fathers would recognize the Leviathan-like state of today’s Federal government.
In the words of economist and author Robert Higgs, “Americans currently are suffocating under the weight of a vast hodgepodge of statutes, regulations, court rulings, official bureaus, police and military organizations, and assorted authoritative busybodies.”
And this is a trend that has been underway not for months or years, as Mr. Connor seems to believe, but for decades.
That Mr. Connor appears to have only just become aware of this disturbing fact doesn’t speak well for his powers of perception, or his ability to handle the reins of South Carolina’s second-highest elected position.