Amy Lazenby

By Amy Lazenby || S.C. Governor Nikki Haley, State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, and SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly held a “get out the vote for Mitt” rally this week at Westview Elementary School in Spartanburg, S.C.  The speakers at this modestly attended rally, organized by Larry Bateman (vice chairman of the Spartanburg County Republican Party and leader of the Anderson Mill Elementary Precinct Club), repeatedly stressed patriotism, prayer and freedom in speeches and song.

The result was an event riddled with hypocrisy, half-truths and a disturbing mixture of church and state that has become a hallmark of the socially conservative but arguably fiscally liberal South Carolina.

Because there is no doubt that Mitt Romney will carry the Palmetto State in the general election, this event was essentially a call to locals to join with (and donate to) their “Palmetto Patriots” as they further their efforts to contact voters in swing states and urge them to elect Romney in November.

Chairman Connelly, along with Delinda Ridings (the party’s field director), called for 1,000 South Carolina Republicans to contact voters in swing states such as North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia in an effort to help make Barack Obama a one-term president.

The first statewide politico to speak, Connelly held nothing back in his brief speech – saying that he didn’t know how a thinking person could possibly vote for Obama and that America was headed toward European-style socialism. He also stressed the importance of getting GOP candidate Tom Rice elected to South Carolina’s new seventh congressional district over his Democratic challenger, Gloria Tinubu.

Apparently interested only in the election of the GOP faithful, Connelly failed to mention the current federal investigation into Rice’s involvement in the “Coastal Kickback” scandal in Horry County.

The political speeches were intermingled with original songs from Dr. Nicki Taylor, who exhorted the crowd in one composition to “take America back” and spoofed Welfare and Obamacare with another song that included the refrain: “Just send us our monthly welfare check, and we will be your slave.” Taylor said that this particular anthem was aimed at the 47 percent of Americans that Mitt Romney recently criticized for lack of personal responsibility.

Nikki Haley appearing in Spartanburg, S.C.

The modest crowd, composed mostly of senior citizens (who no doubt benefit from both Medicare and other government subsidies), responded with loud “Amens,” apparently not understanding the hypocrisy of their positions.

Governor Haley then took to the stage and provided her own brand of hypocrisy and half-truths.

Repeating the line that she gave in her Republican National Convention speech, Haley stressed that South Carolina’s biggest problem was not unemployment but interference from the Obama administration. Haley insisted that “every time I get on TV and call myself a union buster, another CEO calls me about coming to South Carolina.”

But the numbers don’t support the governor’s narrative. The latest data puts SC’s unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, higher than the national average of 8.1 percent, and that doesn’t even include the long-term unemployed who have quit looking for work.

Telling the crowd that businesses are coming to South Carolina NOT because the state throws money at them, but because of our pro-business climate, Haley touted the newly built Boeing manufacturing center in North Charleston as an example of her administration’s job creation for the state.

That claim is patently false.  Boeing – which announced its decision to come to South Carolina over a year before Haley was elected – received more than $900 million in taxpayer-funded incentives to build its new facility in the Palmetto State, and it gets billions of dollars each year in federal contracts.

Additionally, Haley failed to mention Boeing’s successful effort to increase its borrowing capacity by pushing through a three-year reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States.  Haley actively supported and encouraged this reauthorization – which obviously runs counter to her anti-Obama talking points.

Haley also decried the interference of the Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which sued Boeing on the premise that it relocated to South Carolina in an effort to punish the International Association of Machinists (IAM).  That suit resulted in a labor agreement with the IAM that will keep production of its popular new 737 MAX jet at a unionized plant in Washington state while our state gets to keep production of the 787 Dreamliner at its non-union plant (one large order of which has already been cancelled due to delivery delays).

How’s that union busting working out for you and the unemployed people of our state there, Governor Haley?

Next up was State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, an extremely popular figure among fiscal conservatives.  Loftis criticized President Obama for not working hard enough to solve the nation’s problems and spending too much time away from office on taxpayer funded trips.  That must have sounded like familiar criticism to SC’s constantly campaigning and habitually absent governor.  Loftis stressed the importance of setting the tone for hard work at the top and reminded the crowd that we often elect people in SC who call themselves conservatives but aren’t. Again, those words must have stung the governor, against whom that exact criticism has been levied time and time again.

Using some pretty loaded language to which his audience was particularly receptive, Loftis insisted that the common man has become the slave of a ruling class of politicians.  Exhorting the crowd to get out and campaign for Romney and reminding them of their obligations as Christians who grew up in the church, Loftis asked “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president that is a servant instead of a master?”

That’s an interesting metaphor indeed given backgrounds of both Obama and Romney, but the crowd didn’t appear concerned with that as they “Amened” again while Loftis told them to campaign for Romney because he was a “good man” and “a person you’d want to be your neighbor,” but gave no specific policy reasons to support the GOP presidential candidate.

During breaks between the evening’s speakers, Bateman exhorted the modest crowd to pray every night at 9:00 p.m. for the election of Mitt Romney, insisting that Republicans needed to work and look to God to help “take our country back,” a familiar refrain from social conservatives in the GOP these days.

In his closing remarks, Bateman asked those in attendance to appeal to heaven “for the economy, for the children, and for the nation” in their efforts to get Romney elected.  The rally ended with a rendition of “God Bless America” by Chambers, who made the curious comment that the song was illegal (it’s not, nor will it ever be, given the first Amendment), and an “Amen” along with one last plea for donations to Palmetto Patriots by Bateman.

All in all, a political rally held to help elect the Republican candidate for President felt more like a revival meeting attended by state GOP leaders who led an easily swayed crowd with unchecked half- truths – conning them into believing that they could pray Mitt Romney into the White House in November.

Godspeed, GOP – you’re gonna need it.

Amy Lazenby is a commentator for FITSNews. Follow/ contact her on Twitter @Mrs_Laz.