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The Thurmondator
August 27, 1996

Richard Brian McCarty

Back in March I found myself searching the Greenwood County Courthouse in Greenwood, SC, for a podium. This was no ordinary search. I had five minutes to find a podium for Senator Strom Thurmond.

I was in the Greenwood County courthouse to observe a Republican party function, when a friend of mine who works for Thurmond had me search the place for a podium. After all, a 93 year old man with a hectic schedule needs one to read his speech from, and even to lean against, some would argue.

Even after calls to the county sheriff we did not find a podium, and a dapper Senator Thurmond made his way up to the front with note cards in hand. His head handler from Washington looked pale. Others who were doubters were anxious.

Then, the Thurmondator took his place. Thurmond, once a trial lawyer, spoke with clarity without the use of the notecards and without the podium. The crowd was led to cheers by him. The old man moved them. The Washington handler had the color back in his cheeks.

But, the doubters there should not have been shocked that the old man still had it. And, if there is anything that stands between Senator Thurmond and another term, it is not his opponent, but his friends that constantly want to protect him, and think he has little to run on.

Two friends whose behavior strikes me as odd are the South Carolina Republican party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Recently, both have chosen to talk about what they could dig up on Thurmond's opponent and his family. They recently chose to put their spin on the closings of several plants in Springs Industries, a company which Mr. Close's family began.

Springs Industries is South Carolina's biggest employer. It is a Fortune 500 textile company whose stock is traded on the New York stock exchange. It has thousands of employees in the state, and is regarded as a popular business with community leaders, and is active in the communities were its plants are located. It is as much a part of South Carolina life as Senator Thurmond.

El Close, Thurmond's opponent, is the grandson of the company's founder. And, as such, holds a considerable amount of stock in Springs. However, he has had little to do with the management of the company, and has run his own real estate business, among other ventures, since leaving Springs in his young adult years. As much as he would like to, Close can make no claim to any success Springs has had.

Recently, in a suprising move, Springs announced it would close three plants, and lay off hundreds of workers. Springs claims it is doing this to survive the changes coming in the future and to save the other jobs in South Carolina.

One of the plants, Olympia-Gramby, in Columbia, SC, is unionized. And, union leaders have made a point of bashing Democratic nominee Close for the closings of the plant. Those activities baited the South Carolina GOP and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to comment on the Springs plant closings.

By even mentioning the plant closings in press releases, the GOP is making a mistake. First, though most businessmen and women run from poltics, there are several in the managment of Springs who support Thurmond. By playing with those press releases, the GOP runs the risk of alienating folks who are on their side.

Further, the press releases about plant closings and the talk about Close's family show that the GOP does not have enough confidence in Strom to not get into some mudslinging. That can be partially blamed on the presence of politicos who sit around and find ways to "ruin" people. But, coventional wisdom shows that the underdog attacks, not the favorite. Further, it shows that when favorites attack, or even acknowledge the other campaign, it pulls them down. So, unless the GOP thinks Thurmond is an underdog, I can not imagine, save for the polticos, why they are doing such things.

After all, they have the Thurmondator--as The State newspaper dubbed him--as their candidate for Senate. The man is a living legend, a walking piece of history. Indeed, to many South Carolinians, Strom Thurmond is above politics. He is the man who called when their mother died. He wrote to their child to explain a bill, and then followed it up with a phone call. He is the man who embodies the ideas of duty, honor, and country. His name is on the high school their children attend, or lake they recreate on. He is a war hero, a former candidate for President, and a friend to so many. His fitness amazes people. He still holds himself with dignity and purpose. His convictions and stands are still clear.

And, that is why I am concerned by the good intentions of the GOP. In a race like this, the GOP should stay out of commenting on business decisions made by a company an opponent holds stock in. If they go negative on Close, then a living legend will turn into just another politician. And, then, he can lose.

It has happened so many times in politics. Most recently, it happened with George Bush. He was a hero after desert storm, but the GOP attacked his opponents and now President Clinton instead of showcasing Bush. It also happened to Winston Churchill, just weeks after he led Britian to victory over the Germans. He was above politics until his party spent time attacking the oppostion. Then, Churchill became just another poltician and found himself defeated.

Strom Thrumond deserves better. He has earned living legend status and the Republican party should let him keep it by letting the media and the people comment on the events in Springs Industries and El Close's ties to it. That may hurt some egos of polticos who think their spin is essential, but so be it. They are not the Thurmondator. They were not even around when the legend began.

Richard Brian McCarty holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three. He has also worked on several political campaigns of conservatives.

The Thurmondator
August 27, 1996

Richard Brian McCarty

Back in March I found myself searching the Greenwood County Courthouse in Greenwood, SC, for a podium. This was no ordinary search. I had five minutes to find a podium for Senator Strom Thurmond.

I was in the Greenwood County courthouse to observe a Republican party function, when a friend of mine who works for Thurmond had me search the place for a podium. After all, a 93 year old man with a hectic schedule needs one to read his speech from, and even to lean against, some would argue.

Even after calls to the county sheriff we did not find a podium, and a dapper Senator Thurmond made his way up to the front with note cards in hand. His head handler from Washington looked pale. Others who were doubters were anxious.

Then, the Thurmondator took his place. Thurmond, once a trial lawyer, spoke with clarity without the use of the notecards and without the podium. The crowd was led to cheers by him. The old man moved them. The Washington handler had the color back in his cheeks.

But, the doubters there should not have been shocked that the old man still had it. And, if there is anything that stands between Senator Thurmond and another term, it is not his opponent, but his friends that constantly want to protect him, and think he has little to run on.

Two friends whose behavior strikes me as odd are the South Carolina Republican party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Recently, both have chosen to talk about what they could dig up on Thurmond's opponent and his family. They recently chose to put their spin on the closings of several plants in Springs Industries, a company which Mr. Close's family began.

Springs Industries is South Carolina's biggest employer. It is a Fortune 500 textile company whose stock is traded on the New York stock exchange. It has thousands of employees in the state, and is regarded as a popular business with community leaders, and is active in the communities were its plants are located. It is as much a part of South Carolina life as Senator Thurmond.

El Close, Thurmond's opponent, is the grandson of the company's founder. And, as such, holds a considerable amount of stock in Springs. However, he has had little to do with the management of the company, and has run his own real estate business, among other ventures, since leaving Springs in his young adult years. As much as he would like to, Close can make no claim to any success Springs has had.

Recently, in a suprising move, Springs announced it would close three plants, and lay off hundreds of workers. Springs claims it is doing this to survive the changes coming in the future and to save the other jobs in South Carolina.

One of the plants, Olympia-Gramby, in Columbia, SC, is unionized. And, union leaders have made a point of bashing Democratic nominee Close for the closings of the plant. Those activities baited the South Carolina GOP and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to comment on the Springs plant closings.

By even mentioning the plant closings in press releases, the GOP is making a mistake. First, though most businessmen and women run from poltics, there are several in the managment of Springs who support Thurmond. By playing with those press releases, the GOP runs the risk of alienating folks who are on their side.

Further, the press releases about plant closings and the talk about Close's family show that the GOP does not have enough confidence in Strom to not get into some mudslinging. That can be partially blamed on the presence of politicos who sit around and find ways to "ruin" people. But, coventional wisdom shows that the underdog attacks, not the favorite. Further, it shows that when favorites attack, or even acknowledge the other campaign, it pulls them down. So, unless the GOP thinks Thurmond is an underdog, I can not imagine, save for the polticos, why they are doing such things.

After all, they have the Thurmondator--as The State newspaper dubbed him--as their candidate for Senate. The man is a living legend, a walking piece of history. Indeed, to many South Carolinians, Strom Thurmond is above politics. He is the man who called when their mother died. He wrote to their child to explain a bill, and then followed it up with a phone call. He is the man who embodies the ideas of duty, honor, and country. His name is on the high school their children attend, or lake they recreate on. He is a war hero, a former candidate for President, and a friend to so many. His fitness amazes people. He still holds himself with dignity and purpose. His convictions and stands are still clear.

And, that is why I am concerned by the good intentions of the GOP. In a race like this, the GOP should stay out of commenting on business decisions made by a company an opponent holds stock in. If they go negative on Close, then a living legend will turn into just another politician. And, then, he can lose.

It has happened so many times in politics. Most recently, it happened with George Bush. He was a hero after desert storm, but the GOP attacked his opponents and now President Clinton instead of showcasing Bush. It also happened to Winston Churchill, just weeks after he led Britian to victory over the Germans. He was above politics until his party spent time attacking the oppostion. Then, Churchill became just another poltician and found himself defeated.

Strom Thrumond deserves better. He has earned living legend status and the Republican party should let him keep it by letting the media and the people comment on the events in Springs Industries and El Close's ties to it. That may hurt some egos of polticos who think their spin is essential, but so be it. They are not the Thurmondator. They were not even around when the legend began.

Richard Brian McCarty holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three. He has also worked on several political campaigns of conservatives.

The Thurmondator
August 27, 1996

Richard Brian McCarty

Back in March I found myself searching the Greenwood County Courthouse in Greenwood, SC, for a podium. This was no ordinary search. I had five minutes to find a podium for Senator Strom Thurmond.

I was in the Greenwood County courthouse to observe a Republican party function, when a friend of mine who works for Thurmond had me search the place for a podium. After all, a 93 year old man with a hectic schedule needs one to read his speech from, and even to lean against, some would argue.

Even after calls to the county sheriff we did not find a podium, and a dapper Senator Thurmond made his way up to the front with note cards in hand. His head handler from Washington looked pale. Others who were doubters were anxious.

Then, the Thurmondator took his place. Thurmond, once a trial lawyer, spoke with clarity without the use of the notecards and without the podium. The crowd was led to cheers by him. The old man moved them. The Washington handler had the color back in his cheeks.

But, the doubters there should not have been shocked that the old man still had it. And, if there is anything that stands between Senator Thurmond and another term, it is not his opponent, but his friends that constantly want to protect him, and think he has little to run on.

Two friends whose behavior strikes me as odd are the South Carolina Republican party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Recently, both have chosen to talk about what they could dig up on Thurmond's opponent and his family. They recently chose to put their spin on the closings of several plants in Springs Industries, a company which Mr. Close's family began.

Springs Industries is South Carolina's biggest employer. It is a Fortune 500 textile company whose stock is traded on the New York stock exchange. It has thousands of employees in the state, and is regarded as a popular business with community leaders, and is active in the communities were its plants are located. It is as much a part of South Carolina life as Senator Thurmond.

El Close, Thurmond's opponent, is the grandson of the company's founder. And, as such, holds a considerable amount of stock in Springs. However, he has had little to do with the management of the company, and has run his own real estate business, among other ventures, since leaving Springs in his young adult years. As much as he would like to, Close can make no claim to any success Springs has had.

Recently, in a suprising move, Springs announced it would close three plants, and lay off hundreds of workers. Springs claims it is doing this to survive the changes coming in the future and to save the other jobs in South Carolina.

One of the plants, Olympia-Gramby, in Columbia, SC, is unionized. And, union leaders have made a point of bashing Democratic nominee Close for the closings of the plant. Those activities baited the South Carolina GOP and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to comment on the Springs plant closings.

By even mentioning the plant closings in press releases, the GOP is making a mistake. First, though most businessmen and women run from poltics, there are several in the managment of Springs who support Thurmond. By playing with those press releases, the GOP runs the risk of alienating folks who are on their side.

Further, the press releases about plant closings and the talk about Close's family show that the GOP does not have enough confidence in Strom to not get into some mudslinging. That can be partially blamed on the presence of politicos who sit around and find ways to "ruin" people. But, coventional wisdom shows that the underdog attacks, not the favorite. Further, it shows that when favorites attack, or even acknowledge the other campaign, it pulls them down. So, unless the GOP thinks Thurmond is an underdog, I can not imagine, save for the polticos, why they are doing such things.

After all, they have the Thurmondator--as The State newspaper dubbed him--as their candidate for Senate. The man is a living legend, a walking piece of history. Indeed, to many South Carolinians, Strom Thurmond is above politics. He is the man who called when their mother died. He wrote to their child to explain a bill, and then followed it up with a phone call. He is the man who embodies the ideas of duty, honor, and country. His name is on the high school their children attend, or lake they recreate on. He is a war hero, a former candidate for President, and a friend to so many. His fitness amazes people. He still holds himself with dignity and purpose. His convictions and stands are still clear.

And, that is why I am concerned by the good intentions of the GOP. In a race like this, the GOP should stay out of commenting on business decisions made by a company an opponent holds stock in. If they go negative on Close, then a living legend will turn into just another politician. And, then, he can lose.

It has happened so many times in politics. Most recently, it happened with George Bush. He was a hero after desert storm, but the GOP attacked his opponents and now President Clinton instead of showcasing Bush. It also happened to Winston Churchill, just weeks after he led Britian to victory over the Germans. He was above politics until his party spent time attacking the oppostion. Then, Churchill became just another poltician and found himself defeated.

Strom Thrumond deserves better. He has earned living legend status and the Republican party should let him keep it by letting the media and the people comment on the events in Springs Industries and El Close's ties to it. That may hurt some egos of polticos who think their spin is essential, but so be it. They are not the Thurmondator. They were not even around when the legend began.

Richard Brian McCarty holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three. He has also worked on several political campaigns of conservatives.

The Thurmondator
August 27, 1996

Richard Brian McCarty

Back in March I found myself searching the Greenwood County Courthouse in Greenwood, SC, for a podium. This was no ordinary search. I had five minutes to find a podium for Senator Strom Thurmond.

I was in the Greenwood County courthouse to observe a Republican party function, when a friend of mine who works for Thurmond had me search the place for a podium. After all, a 93 year old man with a hectic schedule needs one to read his speech from, and even to lean against, some would argue.

Even after calls to the county sheriff we did not find a podium, and a dapper Senator Thurmond made his way up to the front with note cards in hand. His head handler from Washington looked pale. Others who were doubters were anxious.

Then, the Thurmondator took his place. Thurmond, once a trial lawyer, spoke with clarity without the use of the notecards and without the podium. The crowd was led to cheers by him. The old man moved them. The Washington handler had the color back in his cheeks.

But, the doubters there should not have been shocked that the old man still had it. And, if there is anything that stands between Senator Thurmond and another term, it is not his opponent, but his friends that constantly want to protect him, and think he has little to run on.

Two friends whose behavior strikes me as odd are the South Carolina Republican party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Recently, both have chosen to talk about what they could dig up on Thurmond's opponent and his family. They recently chose to put their spin on the closings of several plants in Springs Industries, a company which Mr. Close's family began.

Springs Industries is South Carolina's biggest employer. It is a Fortune 500 textile company whose stock is traded on the New York stock exchange. It has thousands of employees in the state, and is regarded as a popular business with community leaders, and is active in the communities were its plants are located. It is as much a part of South Carolina life as Senator Thurmond.

El Close, Thurmond's opponent, is the grandson of the company's founder. And, as such, holds a considerable amount of stock in Springs. However, he has had little to do with the management of the company, and has run his own real estate business, among other ventures, since leaving Springs in his young adult years. As much as he would like to, Close can make no claim to any success Springs has had.

Recently, in a suprising move, Springs announced it would close three plants, and lay off hundreds of workers. Springs claims it is doing this to survive the changes coming in the future and to save the other jobs in South Carolina.

One of the plants, Olympia-Gramby, in Columbia, SC, is unionized. And, union leaders have made a point of bashing Democratic nominee Close for the closings of the plant. Those activities baited the South Carolina GOP and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to comment on the Springs plant closings.

By even mentioning the plant closings in press releases, the GOP is making a mistake. First, though most businessmen and women run from poltics, there are several in the managment of Springs who support Thurmond. By playing with those press releases, the GOP runs the risk of alienating folks who are on their side.

Further, the press releases about plant closings and the talk about Close's family show that the GOP does not have enough confidence in Strom to not get into some mudslinging. That can be partially blamed on the presence of politicos who sit around and find ways to "ruin" people. But, coventional wisdom shows that the underdog attacks, not the favorite. Further, it shows that when favorites attack, or even acknowledge the other campaign, it pulls them down. So, unless the GOP thinks Thurmond is an underdog, I can not imagine, save for the polticos, why they are doing such things.

After all, they have the Thurmondator--as The State newspaper dubbed him--as their candidate for Senate. The man is a living legend, a walking piece of history. Indeed, to many South Carolinians, Strom Thurmond is above politics. He is the man who called when their mother died. He wrote to their child to explain a bill, and then followed it up with a phone call. He is the man who embodies the ideas of duty, honor, and country. His name is on the high school their children attend, or lake they recreate on. He is a war hero, a former candidate for President, and a friend to so many. His fitness amazes people. He still holds himself with dignity and purpose. His convictions and stands are still clear.

And, that is why I am concerned by the good intentions of the GOP. In a race like this, the GOP should stay out of commenting on business decisions made by a company an opponent holds stock in. If they go negative on Close, then a living legend will turn into just another politician. And, then, he can lose.

It has happened so many times in politics. Most recently, it happened with George Bush. He was a hero after desert storm, but the GOP attacked his opponents and now President Clinton instead of showcasing Bush. It also happened to Winston Churchill, just weeks after he led Britian to victory over the Germans. He was above politics until his party spent time attacking the oppostion. Then, Churchill became just another poltician and found himself defeated.

Strom Thrumond deserves better. He has earned living legend status and the Republican party should let him keep it by letting the media and the people comment on the events in Springs Industries and El Close's ties to it. That may hurt some egos of polticos who think their spin is essential, but so be it. They are not the Thurmondator. They were not even around when the legend began.

Richard Brian McCarty holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three. He has also worked on several political campaigns of conservatives.