You’re looking at the new advertising campaign for the Alabama State Ports Authority … which as far as we can tell is a not-so-subtle dig at the Port of Charleston and the Port of Savannah.

Boy those hip cats at Sterling Cooper never disappoint, do they?

Of course it’s not Alabama but Virginia that represents our state’s real competition for business. And while the S.C. State Ports Authority (SPA) spent the last decade preserving an antiquated ban on public-private partnerships (and blocking the construction of a new port in Jasper County), Virginia went out and leveraged private investment to build gleaming new port infrastructure.

No wonder they’re waxing as we wane …

Speaking of which, what will S.C. Gov.-elect Nikki Haley do with the SPA board members who have landed us in such a non-competitive spot? Will she replace them with non-Stalinists or will she let our state continue down its current business unfriendly path?

Once again, South Carolina … don’t hold your breath.

Haley claims to be a free market fiscal conservative … but so did S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, and he decided that dispensing political favors was more important than creating a free market port systems – even after he was specifically warned of the consequences of his inaction.

Lawmakers have done grave damage to the SPA with their recent “reforms,” but hoping for Haley to do the heavy lifting that’s required to fix things seems unfounded.

Needless to say, though, we’ll be watching her appointments to the SPA very closely to see if they are real free market backers or more status quo numb skulls …