SC

The Thomas Ravenel Nadir

REALITY TV CANDIDATE CRASHES BACK TO … REALITY By FITSNEWS  ||  Lowcountry businessman Thomas Ravenel has had plenty of highs and lows in his life … and his political career.  In 2004, he narrowly missed out on a runoff election that would have likely catapulted him (not Jim DeMint) to…

REALITY TV CANDIDATE CRASHES BACK TO … REALITY

By FITSNEWS  ||  Lowcountry businessman Thomas Ravenel has had plenty of highs and lows in his life … and his political career.  In 2004, he narrowly missed out on a runoff election that would have likely catapulted him (not Jim DeMint) to a seat in the United States Senate.

Two years later he stormed back and captured the State Treasurer’s office – defeating a well-liked veteran Democrat in a year that was not kind to the “Republican” Party.  In fact Ravenel was one of only a handful of “Republicans” nationwide to oust an incumbent Democrat in 2006.

Within a year of his election, though, Ravenel was busted on cocaine charges – an arrest many Palmetto political observers attributed to his refusal to go along with the machinations of powerful legislative leaders on the S.C. Budget and Control Board (SCBCB), where he represented the swing vote.

After his arrest Ravenel lost his job … and spent ten months in a federal prison.  However prior to going away he vowed that his political career was not over – specifically referring to his upcoming time in prison as a “break” during which he would refocus himself on his ultimate goal of being elected to the U.S. Senate.

THE COMEBACK >>>

Fast forward to 2013, when Ravenel became the star of Bravo TV’s Southern Charm reality television show – an ongoing production which focuses on the lives of Charleston, S.C.’s wealthy elite.

Popular with Bravo’s national audience, Southern Charm was less favorably received in the Palmetto State – with Ravenel’s frequent displays of emotional immaturity and inebriated coquettishness projecting the image of a man looking to nix, not mount, a political comeback.

Social conservatives were also aghast at the show’s focus on Ravenel’s relationship with 22-year-old girlfriend Kathryn Calhoun Dennis – the mother of his infant daughter, Kensington.

LINDSEY GRAHAM
LINDSEY GRAHAM

Despite his troubling past – and sideshow present – Ravenel chose this summer to launch his political comeback, submitting more than 17,000 petition signatures to the S.C. Election Commission in order to appear on the November ballot against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Why’d he do that?  Because despite the negatives arrayed against him, Ravenel’s ideological moorings – i.e. his unwavering support for free markets and individual liberties – resonated with many South Carolina voters still struggling to make their way through the American “recovery.”

Ravenel also proved himself to be a capable counterpoint to Graham on the issue of foreign policy.

For these and other reasons, Ravenel was able to qualify for the ballot – and early internal surveys had him polling as high as 15 percent.

The wealthy businessman also vowed to match the special interest-fed incumbent “dollar for dollar” in the race – prompting panic in the camp of Graham, who remains wildly unpopular with broad swaths of the “Republican” electorate in the Palmetto State.

THE FADEOUT >>>

But as July faded into August, and August into September, and September into October … Ravenel has faded.

The initial enthusiasm for his candidacy among fiscal conservatives and libertarian-leaning GOP voters has evaporated.  Also, Ravenel’s initial television offering (produced by his Southern Charm co-star Whitney Sudler Smith and supported by an underwhelming, low-six figure media buy) failed to move the needle in his direction.

Ravenel has also failed to exploit Graham’s most glaring vulnerabilities – including his support for full funding of Obamacare, amnesty for illegal immigrants and Barack Obama’s two liberal Supreme Court justices.

The result?  According to a Winthrop University poll released this week, Ravenel is currently receiving the support of only eight percent of likely voters – roughly half his initial level of support.

“The numbers were there for (Ravenel),” one veteran Palmetto pollster told FITS.  “Lindsey Graham is the most hated, most vulnerable GOP incumbent in the country.  He only got half the votes in an exceedingly low turnout Republican primary election in June – when he had the airwaves to himself, the GOP establishment firmly in his corner and no credible opponents.”

Graham’s consultants tell FITS they fully expected Ravenel to emerge as a “credible threat.”  Especially after he sold his mansion in downtown Charleston, S.C. for a cool $3.3 million back in April.

“Half a million dollars of that could have probably gotten him to 20 percent by October 1,” a Republican operative affiliated with a pro-Graham political committee told FITS. “That was his magic number.  A number he could – and should – have easily been able to hit with a modest investment.”

THE FAULT >>>

So what happened?

Beyond Ravenel’s failure to make good on his “dollar for dollar” promise, some observers say the real problem was the candidate himself.

Specifically, they say Ravenel never found the right balance in addressing his past.

“He didn’t have to be like Mark Sanford and apologize every five seconds for what he did,” one Lowcountry, S.C. operative told FITS. “But he never took any ownership for his own culpability – which is a missed opportunity in a state that rewards redeemed sinners.”

“I think people saw through the guy,” another operative told FITS bluntly. “When you’re on national TV basically saying, ‘Sure I’m a felon, but it’s a stupid law,’ that kind of sums T-Rav up in a nutshell.  People who think they’re entitled to win typically don’t invest the time or money they need into it.”

Ouch …

This website has consistently advocated on behalf of Ravenel – and the ideas he champions.  We believe his commitment to constitutionally limited government is real – and we admire the intellectual depth he brings to a movement that typically offers little in the way of substantive solutions.  We also have no doubt that if he were ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate, Ravenel would vote in a manner consistent with this commitment.

But at this point it seems painfully obvious the Ravenel for Senate campaign was less about advancing those ideas – and more about advancing the ratings for the candidate’s reality television show.  Which is profoundly disappointing.

It’s also profoundly troubling to us given that this was precisely the narrative we argued against  a little over a month ago when Ravenel’s campaign manager Scott Wheeler reportedly told U.S. News it was Bravo TV that approached him to run the race.

Wheeler – who sources say has been filmed extensively for Southern Charm‘s second season – told FITS afterward he never made those comments.  In fact he claimed the alleged misquotation by U.S. News’ reporter David Cantanese “reminds everyone who side the press is on.”

The only problem?  Cantanese recorded his conversation with the California-based operative – who in fact did make the comments regarding Bravo approaching him to run Ravenel’s campaign.  After being confronted with this information, a Bravo executive who joined Wheeler in denying the report quickly changed her tune.

Sheesh …

THE FUTURE >>>

Ravenel still has a televised debate with Graham (and Democrat Brad Hutto) to make his case to voters.  And as we reported last week rumors abound that he plans to drop “mad cash” on the race within its final few weeks.

We hope that’s true … but at this point we doubt it.

At this point Ravenel’s candidacy – now definitively linked to his reality television exploits – reminds us of the old line from Macbeth, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

That’s too bad for Ravenel, too bad for South Carolina taxpayers and too bad for a deliberative body in Washington, D.C. that desperately needs more of the views he’s advancing.

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70 comments

shifty henry October 2, 2014 at 10:22 am

“I coulda’ been a contender”

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guest October 2, 2014 at 10:44 am

T-Rav just needs one of them “widow” ads like Ervin-be creative though and film it in a Mosque with a Confederate Flag draped over the casket. Have Hanoi Jane narrate it.

Ervin is at 3.9%. T-Rav should hit 5% by January.

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CNSYD October 2, 2014 at 10:23 am

Well here we are at the 1st of October and apparently no check has arrived. How will Sic Willie pay the mortgage now?

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Will Folks aka Sic October 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

Your click traffic alone is enough to cover my mortgage and car payment, CNSYD! Thank you!

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CNSYD October 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

Glad to of service to your wife and children.

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I Know Your Real Name October 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm

You are still fucked up in the head. That will never change. hahahaahahahaha!

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CNSYD October 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I know yours also.

He's a Supra Genius October 2, 2014 at 10:28 am

HaHa! So true.

The guy who’s sole purpose here is to “call you out for your BS” is helping to fund even more of “it”.

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Willie Fistergash October 2, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I’ll bet all the click traffic alone won’t make your trailer payment, Will.

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euwe max October 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm

This will really bake your noodle.. Damned Tango is my sock puppet.

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Tazmaniac October 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

The obvious answer would be a quick ” What is Mark Sanford doing with his pecker, let’s check the SanCam?” article right about now. Guaranteed 200 posts of Liberal Clinton supporters horrifying disgusted by Sanford’s morality.

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Conservatives need choices October 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Plus at least another 100 posts from conservative voters like me, who are likewise disgusted by that cheater-character disordered politician. He deserves our pity and possibly our compassion, but not our vote.

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Smirks October 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

He’ll deserve my compassion when he actually shows some genuine remorse for his actions. He has my pity, though. I pity all sociopaths.

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Buz Martin October 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm

These comment threads give you a lot of them on which to spread that pity.

Tazmaniac October 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Well at least you voted for him based on that characterization and you were disappointed. Liberals couldn’t care less about a man’s character, they just lay in wait for the opposition ones to screw up, with a blind eye to the ones they support. The last time I pointed this out, the replies were something like “At least my candidate didn’t claim to be a good man”. So by logical extension that sounds like they have no basis for outrage if they don’t care.

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Smirks October 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm

They’re both morally bankrupt, but at least Clinton didn’t call on Sanford to resign.

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mamatiger92 October 2, 2014 at 10:23 am

I just can’t anymore with this state.

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Yes, but October 2, 2014 at 10:26 am

The least Ravenel can do, given the fact he has already lost, is at least throw any sense of decorum out the window(which shouldn’t be hard for him to do), and REALLY bloody that faggot warmonger Lindsey’s nose.

I mean, he should really get down and dirty with that pig and embarrass him on stage. It’s not like decorum or anything else matters, T-Rav’s not winning…but if he really wants to strike a blow he should at least put Graham’s head on a verbal pike for everyone to see and don’t even pretend to be nice about it.

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RogueElephant October 2, 2014 at 10:50 am

If T Rav already knows it is a lost cause , he should go for broke and dig Grahamnasty every chance he gets. When totally surrounded, cut off from supplies and vastly out numbered, what do you do ? CHARGE !!!

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We Do Know October 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I certainly do. When out among the public, I refer to Graham as a “pig shit.” How many county GOP parties censured him?

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CNSYD October 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm

and that matters, how?

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The Colonel October 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

He still has to live here (prostetations of renouncing his citizenship aside…)

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E Norma Scok October 2, 2014 at 10:28 am

Will the deleted ad and story now get put back into rotation now?

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E norma Scok October 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

And I noticed you also didn’t mention T-Rav saying he was going to move out of the country after he got out of jail. When is he going to make good on that promise?

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mamatiger92 October 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

i’ll help him pack

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TontoBubbaGoldstein October 3, 2014 at 7:44 pm

i’ll help him pack

Didn’t 9″ say the same thing about Graham?

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mamatiger92 October 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

“… an arrest many Palmetto political observers attributed to his refusal to go along with the machinations of powerful legislative leaders on the S.C. Budget and Control Board (SCBCB), where he represented the swing vote.”
oh, please.
mamatiger92 attributed it to the fact that he BROKE THE LAW.

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Buz Martin October 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

I’d say he broke the law but didn’t get it covered up like the rest of them always do, due to not going along to get along.

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Quite Enough If You Don't Mind October 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

“That’s too bad for Ravenel, too bad for South Carolina taxpayers and too bad for a deliberative body in Washington, D.C. that desperately needs more of the views he’s advancing.”

If you don’t mind, I’ll call bullshit on your list of “too bads.” We don’t need TRav; he apparently needs us more. Even the numbnut voters of SC have decided they don’t need him, and for God’s sake don’t we have enough debauchery and mind numbing silliness in Washington?

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mamatiger92 October 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

seriously. like Washington needs another entitled, self absorbed cokehead.

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E Norma Scok October 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

“Lowcountry, S.C. operative”

lulz…was that the hot girl who got married, or the sorta chubby one with the weird hair cuts who thinks she’s hot?

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LowcountryGmCock October 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

I think it’s funny this is being written buy the same guy who appeared on the show last season as his “political consultant”…..bitter much?

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Smirks October 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm

This site had a huge positive vibe for T-Rav until a few weeks ago. One has to wonder what changed.

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intrigued October 2, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Noticed it , too. HMMM…

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Intrigued2 October 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

Fits = Paid to say for T-Rav, paid to say for Curtis Loftis.. T-Rav and Loftis = 2 drinking buddies and coke friends. 2 peas in a pod. Where are the positive vibes for T-Rav now? Gone, I think, since police got involved. Same scenario is coming for Curtis Loftis… Just a matter of time..

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Inquiring Mind October 2, 2014 at 10:44 am

May we consider this your last job and “reach around” of Ravenel?

Be careful now. Man love is addictive.

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Will Folks aka Sic October 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

At least you have me as the pitcher in the equation. Much obliged.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein October 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

T-Rav wants his Cato cds back. Your “clingyness “drove him to that Dennis girl.

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Fuck Cato! October 2, 2014 at 11:35 am

T-Rav’s fucked either way, Stato fucks people up with their inconsistency anyway.

Hell, they just came out with a write up endorsing NSA spying the other day for fucks sake.

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euwe max October 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I thought *you* lent those to him.

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SC Political Digest October 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

LMAO: I didn’t read the whole thing: but is there mention of this high advantaged-low returner child denouncing his US Citizenship after his conviction?

Maybe he meant he wanted to run for office in Haiti or Venezuela, where banana republics, and entitled-class criminals, flourish. LMAO…

I will say this: FITS is a leader befitting most all of you. Liberal-Tarians are the quickest to quit because nobody is as smart as insightful as them. And if you gorge yourself on this, all I can do is LM @$$ off at you. You are truly the ignorant class.

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The Colonel October 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

“…For these and other reasons, Ravenel was able to qualify for the ballot – and early internal surveys had him polling as high as 15 percent…”
Some of the other reasons:
The money he poured into getting signatures
Daddy’s positive name recognition
Drunk people with ball point pens and cute girls asking for signatures
The money he poured into getting signatures
In a state of 2,700,000 registered voters he managed to get 0.6% of the voters to sign a ballot – not agree to vote for him, just agree that maybe he ought to get a chance to be on the ballot.

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Lenny October 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Well said Col.

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RogueElephant October 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I wish you would quit all the bull shit and tell us how you really feel. LOL

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HD October 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

Who is this Ravenel person about whom you’re constantly nattering?

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The Colonel October 2, 2014 at 11:25 am

A cocaine dealing, drunken driving, FEC regulation violating, out of wed-lock baby making, narcissistic, “reality” TV show “star” and playboy running as an “independent” for Senate

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JamesRiverBlues October 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

What a bunch of dupes. It’s always been about the show.

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Gary Puckett And The Union Gap October 2, 2014 at 11:35 am

well, look at it his way: is a 50+ year old man parting with kids the best way to present yourself?

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Town Crier October 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

“…California-based operative…” >> THE PROBLEM.

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Manray October 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

Hmmm…nadir? Nadir implies there was a zenith. I missed it.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein October 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Before the Samsung, before the Mitsubishi, before the RCA…TBG had a Zenith.

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euwe max October 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Acme is cheaper.

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Philip Branton October 2, 2014 at 11:50 am

Brutus with a keyboard………

…..and Cleopatra sits quietly whispering……”Its the..OIL”……

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Inciteful October 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

T-Roids cocaine charges are due to his resisting the good ole boys on the Budget and Control Board? Are you kidding? The “machine” made him do it? Wow! A stunning avoidance of the real responsibility.

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The Colonel October 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

“…At this point Ravenel’s candidacy – now definitively linked to his reality television exploits – reminds us of the old line from Macbeth, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing….”

Just now figured that our for yourself did ya? Here’s the beginning of that quote, you might ponder on it; “…it is a tale told by an idiot…”

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--------- October 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

He needs to go for Graham’s jugular. He’s being way to nice of a “Southern Gentleman,” operating like his father did when he was in office. Those old campaign ways do not work in today’s South Carolina society. One must incite hate for Graham if they expect to defeat him. And Lord knows like you say here, Sic …. there is plenty to take Graham down with. But it’s not being used and applied in the right way. It appears to be too late now for T …. he should have come right out the gate swinging baseball bats and throwing bricks in his face. But he didn’t.
Graham will remain and always be a douche bag. He hasn’t really done anything for South Carolina worth while, except run his mouth. And now he and McCain are pushing hard to put combat troops back on the ground in Iraq.

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Tunes'n'News October 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Moral of the story: there’s no way to “address your past” if it’s bad enough to disqualify you in the minds of most voters. Regardless of your platform.

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Smirks October 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Moral of the story: there’s no way to “address your past” if it’s bad enough to disqualify you in the minds of most voters.

It’s kind of hard when your attempt at addressing it is pretty much “hard drugs should be totally legal” and “I was sent to jail for sharing.” He resigned and apologized for it when he was initially caught. The dude’s working competely ass backwards for his own selfish, narcissistic ass.

I’m inclined to agree that our stance on drugs is too strong, and even that some drugs should be totally legal; however, if an employer can fire your ass for having a drug problem, it stands to reason that We the People should be more than able to pass you over in November for the same reason.

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euwe max October 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

In short, reality won’t get you elected.

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Fitsdouche October 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Maybe if you suck his dick a little more, maybe that will help.

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aikencounty October 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm

You can sugar coat it any way you wish.
This SOB will never be elected.
Why?
Because he is a childish, egotistical, coke snorting, cradle robbing,drunk, immoral PIECE OF SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU BETCHA!

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4redhorses March 10, 2015 at 4:09 pm

which is irrelevant to the campaign. His only flaw is he doesn’t hide these things.

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Buz Martin October 2, 2014 at 3:39 pm

That’s one of the best “the guy is a morally bankrupt, immature, narcissistic piece of shit, but I still kinda-sorta half-ass support him” pieces I’ve read in a long time, Will. Thanks.

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Cecil October 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm

A jailbird for the US Senate? What a funny joke!

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anon. October 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Why no mention of T RAV renouncing his US Citizenship, Will?

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Whoops! October 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm

FBI has connected Graham to the SC house scandal?

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Mike at the Beach October 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Quite the sorta-kinda mea culpa / admission of reality…basically acknowledging everything the anti-TR set on this discussion board has said from the outset:

1. He never had any real chance (your “veteran pollster” must run polls between hits on the crack pipe). If the serious people thought he did, they would have donated to him. Almost no one did. Any half-drunk clown will sign a petition if you stick it in their face.

2. He never *really* had 15% support (early polls like that one are notoriously fickle and unreliable). I doubt he has 8% now (many TR “supporters” won’t drag their drug-addled asses out of bed to vote).

3. Of course people “saw through him.” He should have run as “Thomas Cellophane,” because you can spot his ego from Earth orbit with the naked eye (like the Great Wall).

4. Graham was only super vulnerable in the tin-foil hat version of reality. When he beat the entire pack of challengers back on night one, the grownups knew it was over as far as the general election was concerned.

5. It didn’t hurt Graham’s cause, either, that TR continued to say and write genuinely stupid things. He is the classic more exposure = less support candidate.

6. Then, of course, there’s the whole “truth challenged” thing. I won’t belabor all of that again here, but dude lies…a lot.

The bottom line is that, despite FITS’ musings to the contrary, this candidacy was never anything but a vanity play / exercise in self-promotion (as plainly predicted by many here months ago). It was a fun exercise, though. Good times…

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TaraDeSaussure October 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Does guvmint need any more crooks? please wake up SC

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Laughing Fits October 7, 2014 at 12:16 am

In other news: MOLTEN LAVA FOUND AT SOUTH POLE! Here’s a great line for you Sic Willie. Why do we call ourselves fits “news”? Because “you’ll laugh fits when you read ‘our’ ‘news’… We make it up ourselves!” If you’re going to write satire, you may as well go all out. This was no where near as creative as your Nikki Haley piece! Come on, you can do better! Be creative!

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4redhorses March 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

thanks for the information. Thomas Ravenel really should just focus on being himself and stay out of politics if he doesn’t understand he needs to successfully present one (fake) image of himself to the public so he can do anything he wants behind the scenes.

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