Smoky Mountains Sunrise

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Responses to Sunlit Uplands' Endorsements

We received some excellent comments in response to our post, The Right Leadership for South Carolina's Future, in which we endorsed candidates in four statewide races -- Henry McMaster for Governor, Bill Connor for Lieutenant Governor, Alan Wilson for Attorney General, and Mick Zais for State Superintendent of Education.

To better clarify our thoughts about these candidates, we thought we would share several of these comments and our responses:

On the Governor's Race

Ellen said...

Daniel, I like this post very much. Like you, I believe that a candidate's character and conduct in private life do matter in choosing who to vote for. So I am in a difficult situation in regards to the Governor's race.

Over the past week or two with all that has happened in that race...well for one Henry McMaster has gone from being my fourth place choice to my second place. I cannot now see myself casting a ballot for either Barrett or Bauer based on how they have allowed their campaigns to be conducted.

That brings me to Nikki Haley. She has been my first choice for Governor for a while now. Like I said, I believe character and a candidate's personal life do matter. But at this point I have Haley's repeated statements that the allegations from these men against her are not true, and that she has been 100% faithful throughout her marriage. And I have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise.

I guess I'm wondering, since you blogged on the issue of character and personal lives above--is it these allegations that soured you on Haley, or are you just attracted to McMaster for other reasons? For me, if it was true what a blogger and a lobbyist are alleging about Haley...well, then I probably would't vote for her. But at this point, I think it would be incredibly unfair of me to allow these allegations to change my vote since she vehemently denies them and asserts her faithfulness.

I hope I expressed myself well. I am just trying to figure out who to vote for and thought you might share some additional insight.

Daniel J. Cassidy said...

Dear Ellen,

Thank you for your question. I appreciate your comments and the opportunity to explain the considerations that went into my choices.

I had decided to support Henry McMaster before any allegations arose about Nikki Haley. She was and remains my second choice in the race. If anything, I was tempted to support Mrs. Haley BECAUSE of the opposition to her from the worst elements and staunchest defenders of South Carolina's political status quo. I doubt the truth of the allegations, but I have no doubt that they are motivated by a desire to derail her very successful campaign.

Obviously, my choices were also not influenced by the polls, and there could be runoffs in all four races in which I endorsed a candidate.

I believe that Henry McMaster is best prepared by experience, temperament and ability to lead South Carolina and bring about the Constitutional changes that South Carolina government needs. We need a state government run by a Governor and an appointed cabinet with far more authority and power to implement needed change, and which is accountable to the electorate for results. Currently, we have a state run by a cabal of legislative leaders without any transparency or accountability whatsoever.

Like Governor Sanford, Mrs. Haley stands for all the right reforms; but like Governor Sanford, I fear that she would face implacable resistance from legislative leaders and would be unable to work with the General Assembly to implement those reforms and get anything done.

I believe that Henry McMaster recognizes the systemic problems we face and is better prepared to work with legislators and rally public opinion to bring about needed change.

If a runoff gives us a choice between Nikki Haley and Henry McMaster, South Carolinians will have two superb candidates from which to choose.

On the State Superintendent for Education Race

John Holmgren said...

Elizabeth Moffly vs. Mick Zais
SC Superintendent of Education candidates

I listened with interest Tuesday, May 25th, in Florence to Mick Zais’ recount of his exploits over the years. While impressive, it occurs that they are irrelevant to the task at hand. The position of Superintendent of Education deals exclusively with SC public education of K – 12 children.

Mr. Zais’ history has been in the military, where one leads by command; at the college level, where the student has already demonstrated motivation; and in the private sector, where admission is, by definition, selective. Certainly not in the hoi poloi of K-12!

Further, he offers only his resume. I failed to hear his plan to improve SC education. His pitch is that if you are hiring a football coach you would want to hire a successful one. True. But, given that analogy, why hire a swimming coach to coach football?

By contrast, Elizabeth Moffly’s entire experience in education has been in K-12. She is a first-hand student of the subject, its problems and issues.

Moreover, she offers a very specific, detailed and practical 4-plank initiative to improve our children’s educational experience and slow the terrible high school drop-out rate. It can be seen at her web site, For those interested in improving the schooling of South Carolina youth, it is well worth reading and absorbing.

Ms. Moffly’s passion is intensely focused on the quality of K-12 education. Additionally, she does not view the position as a staging area for a run for Governor or any other political position.

I encourage you to reconsider your endorsement for Zais, and instead vote for Elizabeth Moffly for Superintendent of Education in the Republican primary on June 8th.

John Holmgren

Daniel J. Cassidy said...

Thank you, Mr. Holmgren, I appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts on the candidates for Superintendent of Education.

I believe that the greatest impetus to improving public schools and strengthening accountability to parents for results, would be to give parents in the worst schools the opportunity to walk away from them. When dollars follow the child to schools chosen by parents, schools will be motivated to end the culture of failure. Currently, failure often leads to even more money.

Several months ago I sent an E-mail to Mrs. Moffly asking if she supported tuition tax credits or vouchers. I could not get a straight answer from her. I asked again, "yes or no" whether she supports real school choice. I got another evasive response.

Massive amounts of money and decades of tinkering with the system have left us with schools that are mediocre at best, and from which approximately half of South Carolina students fail to graduate.

Based on Mrs. Moffly's refusal to say whether or not she supports tuition tax credits and vouchers, I assume she wants to do more tinkering with the command and control system. It will not work, and I will not support a candidate who can't or won't answer a basic question about her policy positions.


kkollwitz said...

This comment-and-response post is very useful, thanks!

Unknown said...

I am so sorry you think you never got a straight answer from Elizabeth Moffly on school vouchers and have answered most everything since late February. Regardless, we have alwys tried to make it very clear, we have always said, very succinctly "Yes, Elizabeth Moffly is in favor of school vouchers and tax credits. She is for assuring that parents have a choice and a voice about what is in the best interest of their child's education. No matter if that means public school, private school, charter school, virtual school, home-school, vocational school, dual credit school.....her children have experienced all of them."
Ms. Moffly is for having equitable funding follow the child, no matter their path, through the education system/process.
Ms. Moffly is the only candidate who stood up in early debates and state strongly and clearly, "Yes, I support school vouchers and tax credits for secondary education." and sit down. It wasn't until the others saw that there was no backlash, that they started declaring the same.
Your favorite candidate, Mr. Zais, had no plan, no platform, no opinion, until he started co-opting what was working for his competitors.
Was it you who wrote this to Elizabeth's campaign?- "I take it that you DO NOT support tax credits or other plans that would allow parents to direct a small portion of their tax dollars to the schools of their choice. If I am mistaken in reading that into your response, please let me know."
and trying not to be combative, I replied with this: "Actually I think you did misread that… we support 100% choice, which means choosing from ALL options available now and that are developed." She often backs that up saying that legislation is in place but has never been enacted by the legislature - SC Title 59, Chap 41 - - to pay for vouchers and tax credits and that she will work to change that.
How much clearer can we be? Yes, Elizabeth Moffly supports school vouchers and tax credits.