On September 28th, there was a meeting of local GOP members and citizens at Hudson's BBQ on Hwy. 378 in Lexington, SC. SC State Senator Ronnie Cromer and SC House Representative Kenny Bingham were there to talk and answer questions. I can't say enough good things about the variety of great tasting food there at Hudson's so if you're in the area, please be sure to go.
Unfortunately, I also can't say enough bad things about SC House Representative Kenny Bingham's arrogant behavior at that meeting. I probably disagree with SC Senator Ronnie Cromer on the issues more than I do with Bingham but Cromer's behavior was not an issue whereas Bingham's behavior was very disagreeable.
If I were advising Bingham, I'd tell him the first rule of dealing with a citizen, especially constituents, is to never get defensive and never denigrate the facts nor motives of someone asking questions. Bingham's big head apparently couldn't tolerate someone popping it with a pin of question about the highly and proudly polished lump of fecal matter that is the TERI program.
I will let Representative Bingham speak for himself. Click here for a link to the video.
The citizen asking the questions was a bit confrontational in his tactics but, if we do not currently live in the age of confrontational politics in the proud American tradition of questioning governmental abuse and power, then I must not remember what country I woke up in this morning. The last time I checked, giving politicians hell for their actions or their B.S.--which Bingham's long self-praising speech was surely the epitome of--is not only allowed in this country but is encouraged. You wouldn't know that from Bingham's microphone-enhanced verbal battering of a man simply challenging him on an issue.
Bingham's attack on the citizen was not only the height of rudeness and intolerance, it was also vicious and arrogant and--ultimately--self-defeating. Who goes into politics to do this? If you're an elected official and truly a servant of the people, where does such a combative and denigrating speaking style come from?
It was so bad that, if you'll listen all the way to the end of the linked video clip, one citizen finally asked Bingham in a very loud voice, "Would you not be so rude to him?" Another joined in telling Bingham that, "I think you should quit being quite so disrespectful." That got Bingham's attention and he managed to calm down some. After the Lexington County GOP Chairman, Rich Bolen stepped in a few seconds later, they agreed to discuss it afterwards which they did.
The fact that Bingham had to be chastised by members of the audience is not a good sign to say the least. Apparently Bingham is a spoiled child who doesn't have to live up to the adult standards of behavior that the rest of strive for. His behavior was completely uncalled for. If I were in his SC House district, I would not be able to vote for someone displaying that sort of arrogance even though I usually vote GOP.
Bingham's vicious display makes him the poster boy (and I do mean poster boy ) for term limits. Although he has sometimes been on the side of reform, he is a big supporter of Speaker Bobby Harrell who is currently the biggest roadblock to reform in this state.
Harrell's impeding of reform issues and his back room deals with the power brokers in the SC Senate also give Bingham great cover for him to go through the motions of promoting reform issues with no fear that significant changes will actually make it into law.
The only possible redemption for Kenny Bingham now that might possibly convince me and others that he is serious is if he were to vote for and work hard to remove Bobby Harrell from his position as SC House Speaker. The chances of his supporting someone besides Harrell are, I'm sure, slim to none. Bingham has, in this display, shown himself to be with the in-crowd of pretenders in the SC House who act as if they want reform but really support the same old corporate welfare and big government politics that have put this state into a huge hole.
Kenny Bingham's arrogant display begs the question: will an adult run against him in two years?
Special note: To give credit where great credit is due, Mrs. Mac Toole (whose husband's stand on Bobby Harrell will be addressed in another part) was very gracious and I witnessed her thanking the two citizens who objected to Bingham's bad behavior. From everything I can tell, Mrs. Toole is truly a class act.