Sheheen is a “very bright, articulate candidate”

David-WoodardDr. David Woodard, a professor of political science at Clemson, told the Greenville County Republican Women, July 22, that Nikki Haley is a libertarian, not a conservative.

“The well springs are different for those movements,” Woodard said. “Libertarians believe in individual autonomy, and conservatives believe in the care of the culture for traditional values. Mark Sanford was also very much influenced by libertarian policies.

“I haven’t heard a lot of rhetoric from Nikki Haley that is truly conservative,” he said. “I have heard a lot that is libertarian.”

Woodard said the allegations about Haley’s personal life need to be addressed. One of her accusers has released 600 to 700 e-mails, while Nikki Haley has refused to respond because, as a state representative, her e-mails are protected under state law. Her computer is embargoed because it was used as a state computer.

“I think she needs to release her e-mails,” Woodard said.

Woodard also said Haley needs to address an unsigned consulting contract in which she made more than $40,000.

Democrat candidate Vincent Sheheen released his tax returns going back 10 years, but Haley has yet to do so.

“These things will inhibit this candidate running for this top office,” he said.

Sheheen was a student of Woodard’s, and Woodard called him a “very bright, articulate candidate.” He comes from one of the most powerful political families in the state, and his uncle Robert Sheheen was speaker of the South Carolina House.

On social issues Sheheen is a conservative. Sheheen is Catholic, and if he takes his church’s view on abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage and euthanasia, “he will be a very formidable candidate,” Woodard said.

Woodard talked about three major trends that have changed politics in the past few years: the emergence of talk radio, 24 hour cable news and web logs.

“We used to have these things called newspapers, but they are rapidly disappearing,” he said. “In their place is television, and television is the most trusted source of news Americans have about politics.”

The 24 hour news cycle forces television commentators to talk about politics constantly. Woodard used the example of Nikki Haley, who was relatively unknown by the national media, but “almost overnight she became a talking point on the national news shows.”

As newspapers have declined dramatically, Woodard said, so has accountability. Web logs can put anything on the web with no accountability, and rumors can get wide circulation.

Woodard predicted that Sen. Jim DeMint will enter the GOP leadership after the November election and “will become an important force nationally.” He noted that first term senators are generally not listened to, but when they win reelection they become what political scientists call “national senators,” which means their influence extends beyond their state to the nation as a whole.

First-term Sen. Jim DeMint is already a national senator, Woodard said, campaigning for conservative candidates in other states.

Woodard noted the four new GOP House candidates in the six districts in South Carolina.

Tim Scott is the GOP candidate in the first district. Woodard hopes that Scott, an African-American, can preach the conservative message in Africa-American communities.

“I teach many African-American students, and they are really searching for answers,” Woodard said. The younger generation does not remember the Civil Rights movement, and many are upset about government intrusion into their lives.

Mick Mulvaney is riding the anti-incumbent mood in the fifth district against John Spratt.

Jeff Duncan, a former student of Woodard, is the GOP candidate in the third district to replace Rep. Gresham Barrett, who ran for governor, and Trey Gowdy, candidate in the fourth district, is a proven commodity in politics, he said.

Woodard said that South Carolina should pick up a seventh seat after the 2010 census.


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