National litmus test for SC pols ridiculous

Plaudits to blogger Brad Warthen for his recent piece taking the South Carolina media to task for going along with the game of applying a national “litmus test” to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen.

Warthen was referring to an article in the Charleston Post and Courier that outlined Sheheen’s views on issues that he’ll ultimately have no say over should he be elected governor:

Sheheen said he has answered questions throughout his campaign about his national policy stances, such as abortion rights.

“My answer is the same: I support life. I have always supported life and my voting reflects that,” he said.

Likewise, Sheheen said he has laid out his position on the new federal health care law, including his concerns about the expense and the burden to small businesses. But the new law has components that will remedy long-standing issues in the country that only a “bitter partisan” would find fault with, such as denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.

“I think it’s the next governor’s job to stand up against things that aren’t helpful to South Carolina within the health care law,” he said, adding that he would do just that if elected.

It is unclear where Sheheen stands on the individual mandate that Americans have health insurance and whether he supports the court challenge on the new law by the state Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican. Sheheen’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to questions Tuesday on the matter.

Warthen, calling out both the media and Sheheen’s opponent, hit the nail on the head with his response:

“One thing that astounds me is that MSM types will actually go along with the Haley strategy of distraction by asking questions about inside-the-Beltway GOP litmus tests of a candidate running for governor of South Carolina. Abortion? Immigration? Obamacare? … There is no frickin’ way I would expect a governor of SC to have an overall opinion on Obamacare.”

And it really doesn’t matter if either candidate has a complete and utter understanding of all the many nuances of Obamacare, either. It doesn’t matter if he or she were somehow able to put forth ideas on the topics of abortion and immigration that were palatable to the vast majority of Americans, does it?

Why not? Because it’s not the governor’s job to devise national policy, ferret out solutions to difficult social problems or lay the groundwork for a vastly improved United States of America.

The governor of South Carolina’s job more or less ends at our state’s borders, and his or her focus should be within those borders, not beyond.

The whole idea of picking a candidate’s brain for their views of national issues is particularly inane given that South Carolina’s constitution was devised so that the governor has so little actual power that he or she is lucky if they can actually accomplish anything within the state, never mind anywhere else.

The governor is hard pressed to so much as get an appointee placed on a little-known entity such as the state Board of Liquified Petroleum Gas, never mind independently implement key policies and reforms.

To assess a candidate’s potential based on their views regarding intractable national questions is simply ludicrous.

If candidates are intent on putting forth opinions on national issues and disparaging opponents on the same, perhaps they’d be better suited for a run at a higher office.

Otherwise, let’s stick to state-related issues, and avoid grandstanding and trying to whip hardcore supporters into some sort of mindless frenzy.

And shame on the South Carolina media for going along with this canard.

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