South Carolina’s guffawing, glad-handing “gubnuh” Henry McMaster ranked No. 15 on a new national list of the best state-level executive branch leaders – even though governors in the Palmetto State possess far less power than the vast majority of their counterparts across the country.
South Carolina is a legislatively dominated state, people … with governors enjoying the power of the bully pulpit, the veto pen and limited executive authority.
State lawmakers, on the other hand, control state spending and enjoy expansive executive authority via their dominion over numerous unaccountable boards and commissions. Oh, and they also control the judicial branch of government via a notoriously corrupt (and increasingly dangerous) legislative election process.
Anyway, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – a group with a history of bestowing honors upon undeserving, left-of-center “Republican” politicians in the Palmetto State – claims McMaster is a “four-star governor.”
According to its second annual report (.pdf), McMaster’s No. 15 ranking was due in large part to favorable wealth migration trends – and the fact the Palmetto State has the lowest percentage of unionized workers in the country. McMaster also scored big with the group for his decision last May to put an early end to federal Covid-19 unemployment subsidies – which was actually one of the few things he has done right since inheriting his office in 2017.
“Every American deserves an efficient, effective and accountable government that puts the people in control,” said Arthur B. Laffer, the author of the report. “The governors scorecard informs the citizenry of how well their governors are doing relative to all governors and ensures they have fact-based, nonpartisan information to help them either vote with their ballot or with their feet.”
Does it though?
Looking at McMaster’s real record on taxes and spending – and his ongoing failure to champion true academic reform – it is hard to see how a group claiming to be “conservative” could possibly support him. Hell, even when McMaster has purportedly “stood for taxpayers” there was some serious sleight of hand going on in the background.
Are these national groups too dumb to see what is really going on? Or do they not care?
Two years ago, I chided ALEC – the group releasing this report – for its support of left-leaning former state lawmaker Alan Clemmons. ALEC fawned obsequiously on Clemmons for championing its flawed, cookie-cutter “solution” on the issue of civil asset forfeiture – which cost the Palmetto State a chance at real reform on a serious liberty issue.
“If ALEC truly wishes to positively impact South Carolina in the name of ‘limited government, free markets and federalism,’ then it needs to reconsider the lawmakers it is supporting at the state level … and also do its homework when it comes to preparing legislation to introduce before the S.C. General Assembly,” I noted at the time.
I would humbly suggest this group go back to the drawing board and do its homework in ranking governors, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. Oh, he also has LOTS of hats … but has given them up for Lent this year.
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