Seems to Me . . .


Party politics

By Stan Welch

Well, the primaries at the national level have come and largely gone, and it appears that Mitt Romney will be the Republican challenger to President Obama. Ironically, after years of enjoying the benefits of affirmative action afforded to minorities in this country, Obama is now the beneficiary of the Democratic Party’s affirmative inaction. By that, I mean the Party’s failure to even put forth one single candidate for the nomination other than Obama.

Certainly incumbent presidents historically enjoy a certain insulation from challenges within their party, but presidents who lose control of the House of Representatives? A president who more than doubled the national debt in one term seems a likely target of other Democrats, as well as Republicans.

Yes, Obama was in office when bin Laden was killed. But that is only worth so much mileage. He is also the first president to side with a foreign government in suing one of his own United States on behalf of that government. Early indications are that the U.S. Supreme Court favors Arizona in that instance. Such a ruling will be a stinging rebuke for Obama and his refusal to protect the nation’s borders.

The Supreme Court also shows signs that it will reverse lower court rulings that support large sections of the president’s health care program. And that is a Supreme Court Obama has already appointed two liberal judges to.

This is hardly the locomotive steaming downhill into the 2012 elections, set to bowl all opposition over. So where is the Democratic challenger? Could it be that no Democrat has the courage to run against the first black President, for fear of the race card that Republican critics so often see tossed on the table?

Or could it be that the savvy Democrats, like Hillary Clinton and Charles Shumer and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer already see the White House as lost in 2012, and the Democratic stranglehold on the Senate as weakened if not lost, and they choose to avoid the train wreck as much as possible?

On the local level, Riley Harvell is set to challenge incumbent State Senator Billy O’Dell in June. Riley is a fine young man, the son of Anderson County Republican Party Chairman Dan Harvell.

And therein lies the rub, I think. Party rules prohibit the chairman from supporting one candidate over another when there are Republican opponents in the primary. While Dan Harvell claims that he is able to ignore the fact that his son is running for office, the appearance of impropriety is unavoidable and inescapable.

Furthermore, Dan Harvell has built a fair slice of his political reputation by raising question after question about various public officials’ integrity and the appearance of impropriety in their actions. To ask for the leeway now that he has so often refused to grant others is close enough to hypocrisy to make many Republicans uncomfortable.

While Senator O’Dell, a well respected veteran of the political wars, is unlikely to raise the issue, it seems to me that one Harvell or the other needs to do some soul searching.