The POTUS, The Port, The Posturing & the Politics

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Two things are going on with the whole Charleston Harbor debacle.  First, both Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham have been “had” by the Obama Administration.  Second, we are watching the way the Obama Administration and the Dems are using an issue that should not be an issue to divide and conquer. There is one major miscalculation on their part.  If you step back and wallow through the rhetoric, it is quite easy to see that the Dems are trying to hurt Jim DeMint more than they are Lindsey Graham.  It’s an election year, for Pete’s sake.

There’s nothing a Dem likes to do more than make a Republican look bad.  And – they’re doing a good job.  There’s  just one little miscalculation.  When one wades through the mess the whole issue has become, it is obvious it was designed to separate Jim DeMint from a few votes.  The problem is who are those annoyed voters going to vote for – his opposition?

The harbor issue is a perfect example in the differences between two honorable men.  The Pink Flamingo, having spent most of my  life in South Carolina, would far rather have Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint representing me than the Democratic me-toos here in New Mexico.  Both are good men.  They are just different.

Lindsey is pragmatic.

Jim DeMint is idealistic.

The Pink Flamingo doesn’t mind admitting that I am pragmatic.  I will always be able to see both sides of an issue and I hope make a reasoned and logical decision based on fact rather than ideology. This is not a condemnation of Jim DeMint, simply a comment on the fact that I have a tendency to side with the pragmatic. There are times when only the pragmatic will work.  I happen to think this is one of those instances where Lindsey is right, but you gotta admire the way DeMint is standing on principle and is willing to take a hit.

That’s what I like about both Senators from South Carolina.  They are willing to stand on principle and take a personal hit when they think they are right.  I admire that characteristic in anyone, having taken more than a few hits myself.

One can only hope the big loser in all of this will be the Dems.  They are the ones playing with thousands of jobs.  If Jim DeMint gives in, then he can be slammed for doing an earmark.  They are already slamming Lindsey for demanding one to save the jobs.

It only goes to prove – there is no honor among Democrats!

From today’s Charleston Post and Courier:

Charleston Post & Courier

THE BACK STORY

Jim DeMint thinks there needs to be more study about the port in Charleston and a $400,000 earmark that will save thousands of jobs. He does have courage, to go into Charleston and oppose a bill that will cost the state, already hard-hit, thousands of additional jobs.

“…U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint said fellow senators are “playing politics” in blocking his colleague’s efforts to secure a $400,000 earmark to study deepening Charleston Harbor. DeMint, R-S.C., made several appearances in Charleston on Friday, including a meeting at the Charleston Chamber of Commerce in which business leaders emphasized the importance of the project. DeMint stopped seeking earmarks a few years ago. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has been working to get the earmark added – particularly since other states with competing ports have secured earmarks to proceed with harbor-deepening projects. “My not asking for an earmark had nothing to do with us not getting it. They’re just playing politics. It could be because Lindsey and I have both voted against some of the big bloated spending bills,” DeMint said. “The fact that we’re even having to deal with this shows you how broken the system is.” DeMint said if a bill emerges with earmarks for other ports but not Charleston’s, “I’m going to do everything I can to stop the whole bill.”…”

When does the pontificating and the Tea Party end and loyalty and honor towards one’s own state begin?

Charleston Post & Courier

Is this story about Lindsey Graham v. Jim DeMint or Obama triangulating against SC’s two Senators?  Or is it about Jim DeMint pandering to the tea party folks and allowing 260,000 jobs be lost or threatened?  Or is it about the Dems setting up both men?

“…The Port of Charleston is the fourth busiest port on the East coast. It brings in $45 billion every year and employs more than 260,000 workers across South Carolina.

But ships are getting bigger, and if the port is not dredged soon, Senator Lindsey Graham says the port could die.

“The deepest ship now during right circumstance has a five-foot cushion from keel to the sand bottom of the harbor and five feet to the Ravenel bridge,” said Graham.

Graham says the Obama administration funded dredging studies for all the other East coast ports, but not Charleston. And once the Panama Canal is widened in 2014, even larger ships will be coming to the East coast.

Right now, the harbor is 45 feet deep at low tide, so many ships can only come in during high tide, and once the larger ships come, they could need 52 feet of depth.

State Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome says the port needs to dredge to a level where the ships don’t have to depend on high tide to move in and out.

“You don’t want to depend on a tide, because you have to make an appointment to go through the Panama Canal and you don’t want to wait if you miss your appointment. Shipping lines expect unfettered access to a port because that’s what they have throughout the world, Asia and Europe, and they want that here,” said Newsome.

Since other East coast ports like Savannah received funding, they’re  further along in the dredging process. The Port of Charleston has finished the first step with the Corp of Engineers, but can’t take the next step to start the dredging study without the federal funding.

“The study is a 3-to-4 year enterprise, $400,000 is the first chunk of money,” said Graham.

Then comes design, construction and maintenance. In all it’s close to a $300 million project, but Graham says considering the money the port brings in, it’s well worth it.

Dredging could take 10 years, but Newsome says as long as we move now we’ll survive, since Charleston has advantages, like a wider

When it earmark reform patriotic and when is it just plain insane?  Lindsey and everyone in the SC delegation is willing to vote for money to save hundreds of jobs in SC.  Jim DeMint is not. Libertarian Ron Paul Bots think we need more of people like him.  Do we?…”

Lindsey is for the earmark:

“...Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is all for deepening South Carolina’s ports – both of them. Tuesday, shortly after he made a public announcement that the Port of Charleston needed to be made 5 feet deeper, Graham met with officials from Georgetown to discuss the need to deepen the Georgetown Port.”Funding for our South Carolina ports is critical to our state’s economy, and the Georgetown Port is an important piece of our state’s infrastructure. We must have the ability to export our goods and products around the globe. If we lose that ability, it will cost our state jobs,” said Graham in a statement….Once 27 feet deep, Georgetown’s port is now 21 feet deep. The shallower depth limits the kind of ships the port can accommodate and therefore the kinds of businesses that can use it.
Representatives from the city of Georgetown, Georgetown County, ArcelorMittal steel company and the United Steel Workers Union were at the meeting to state their case for deepening the port.
All of those present agreed that dredging was needed, but there was no timeline offered for beginning the process, and no word on where the funds would come from or when they might appear.
“Right now it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Jerry Oakley, the Georgetown County Council vice chairman. And he said he “can’t think of anything that will have a greater immediate and secondary effect for employment” than dredging the Georgetown Port.

For example, more than 300 jobs at the Arcelor Mittal steel mill would have security if the port were dredged, said James Sanderson, the president of the local United Steel Workers union and the organizer of the meeting.The future of the mill “will depend on that port going forward … whenever we do open back up,” Sanderson said. Oakley said the deepened port would not just lead to more jobs in Georgetown.
“Those jobs will go right up [U.S.] 521 and have a positive impact all the way up through Berkeley County,” he said….”

The DeMint Version

“…DeMint’s built up loyalty from many of the conservative would-be senators who might head to Washington through his Senate Conservatives Fund. His activities have sometimes meant he would cross the party establishment’s endorsement of candidates. Among the crop of conservatives who might tend more toward DeMint’s camp would be Nevada candidate Sharron Angle, Florida candidate Marco Rubio and Alaska candidate Joe Miller, among others.

Even without a bloc, though, DeMint told NRO that Republican disloyalty on issues like earmarks “will not be tolerated anymore” with a heavier conservative presence — sending a message to colleagues about the direction in which the party might tilt next year.

Voting blocs, formal or informal, don’t always pan out the way their creators hope, either. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) launched a “Moderate Dems Working Group” in May of 2009, but the group has been a virtual non-factor the past two years when it comes to actual Senate votes.

DeMint has been seen as more likely to pursue a spot in the Senate GOP leadership. He has said he has no interest in challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as GOP leader, and to that end, McConnell confidently proclaimed on Thursday that he’d already secured the votes to remain in that position once GOP senators vote on leadership positions earlier next year.

The South Carolina senator said he was not focusing on any such leadership bid at this point…”

Black Talk Media

From The Charleston Post & Courier:

Charleston Post & Courier
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