On solid ground: God help the candidate...
“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.” -William Shakespeare
If you hold the primary race for South Carolina’s first congressional district up to your ear, I think you can hear God.
Well, at least you can hear a lot of talk about God. First, there was former governor Mark Sanford’s television ad in which he mentioned having made mistakes and learning about forgiveness and the God of second chances.
Then former Charleston County Council Member Curtis Bostic made a surprise second place finish in last week’s primary. Celebrating making it into a runoff with Sanford, Bostic said: ““I attribute our success to the grace of God. I believe that the implement that he used was common-sense conservative Americans that were looking for a new direction.” Maybe the sequester is far-reaching after all, but now when God “hath loosed the faithful lightning of His terrible swift sword,” He can only muster up 13 percent of Republicans and a second place finish?
South Carolina voters generally like to have people in public office who believe in and, quite possibly, feel accountable to God. Both Republican candidates have been open about their personal faith.
However, both candidates need to resist the temptation to rush to the pulpit and out God-speak the other.
In the rush of a short primary and subsequent short runoff, they mustn’t lose sight of the fact that they are in the first congressional race that will set the stage for a nationwide battle for control of the United States House of Representatives. That battle has the complete attention of the president of the United States, when he’s not golfing, and that of the Democrat’s national machine.
As the stage is set for the 2014 nationwide battle for control of the U.S. House, Republicans are just one Aikin-like gaffe away from giving the Democrats the fodder they are looking for on a national scale.
Todd Aikin, for those who have forgotten, was the Republican senate candidate in Missouri who blew certain victory over a struggling incumbent Democrat by making his “legitimate rape” comment.
The Democratic election machine used that statement to negatively brand all Republicans in all races.
If Sanford wins, the national Democratic Party machine will be handed ready-made fodder. Bostic already used it in a statement the day after the primary.
First congressional district voters now must weigh the possibility of giving Democrats another national branding opportunity if Sanford wins this runoff. Bostic, on the other hand, would do well to limit references to God to his personal walk of faith and resist self-anointing statements similar to the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The way to win this primary and the general election is to stick to the message of taking a sword to the runaway spending and debt that threaten to make insolvent our one nation under God.
And God help the candidate who strays from that message.
Will Haynie has published more than 400 oped columns as a feature columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News when it was owned by the New York Times. His niche is as a humorous conservative.