Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley took a break from governing his state over the weekend to visit Charleston, support state Sen. Vince Sheheen’s gubernatorial aspirations and rip Gov. Nikki Haley in the process. So much for collegiality in the nation’s most well-mannered city.
Gov. O’Malley is considering a run for the White House, and his visit also served as an introduction to South Carolina Democrats. But most of the attention focused on his remarks about Gov. Haley, a Republican.
He criticized her for the state’s failure to avert the Department of Revenue hacking scandal, and for her support of Georgia’s plan to dredge the Savannah River. Fair enough.
But he cited the state’s record on the jobless front, high school graduation rates and lack of financial support for higher education, putting the onus on Gov. Haley. Apparently he isn’t aware that the South Carolina governor has limited authority over public schools or higher education, and that the state is largely governed by the Legislature or its appointees.
Mrs. Haley, however, has taken an energetic lead in job creation and economic development in South Carolina, and the state has seen a steady addition of new business and industry — and a decline in its unemployment rate.
Following the Maryland governor’s remarks, Mrs. Haley’s spokesman, Tim Pearson, cited Gov. O’Malley’s support for legalized gambling, gay marriage, termination of the death penalty, and his state’s rising unemployment rate and larger budgets since he took office.
The Maryland Republican Party elaborated on that response, citing Maryland’s multiple rankings in the bottom tier of business-friendly states and Mr. O’Malley’s support for a variety of tax increases during his years at the helm in Annapolis.
So, by proxy, our governor gave as good as she got. Not that it would matter much to Mr. O’Malley who was just passing through.
And for the Charleston area, it was more political fireworks on the heels of the recent First Congressional District primary extravaganza.
Haven’t we suffered enough?