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Chairman Connelly: Ard’s fall personal, not party, failure

From The Greenville News

by Chad Connelly
Chairman, South Carolina Republican Party

The resignation, indictment, and guilty plea of Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard was the culmination of a sad, disappointing saga that regrettably brought a black eye to our state. Despite the serious nature of his offenses, our thoughts and prayers remain with Ken and his family.

These recent events highlight why America was founded as “a nation of laws, and not of men.” Our Founding Fathers were greatly influenced by Samuel Rutherford’s “Lex, Rex” and the issue of divine rights for kings. The book was one of the first to suggest that kings and elected officials are not above the law.

Americans have always believed that rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, do not come from man or government, but from God. No individual deserves special treatment. This truth set our nation apart in history and formed the core of our constitutional republic.

Ken Ard admitted to breaking campaign finance laws and took full responsibility for his actions. He paid a huge price in losing his office, but the outcome demonstrates the necessity of holding our leaders accountable. Ultimately, our system worked.

We will continue to expect nothing less than excellence from elected officials while acknowledging that humans can, and will, fail.

Yet the values of personal responsibility and self-government are still worth pursuing. The Republican Party platform also includes these values, and they are the central reason we hold our elected officials to a higher standard.

South Carolinians, including me, are rightly upset with those who fall short. It seems to happen all too often. While some in the political arena will now take the low road of personal attacks, including name-calling and mocking, the South Carolina Republican Party has chosen the path of forgiveness.

Ken Ard’s personal failures reflect his own choices, and not those of all Republicans.

In performing their constitutional duties, Attorney General Alan Wilson and now-Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell conducted themselves with the utmost dignity and respect. They put principles above politics and are great examples of our state’s strong Republican leadership.

Today I challenge you to read the two major parties’ platforms. I believe you will learn more about your values and, in the process, be reminded to work a little harder to support candidates who stand up for you once elected.

The South Carolina Republican Party and its candidates remain guided by our platform principles including good, limited government, a strong national defense, and protecting the unborn. Our mission and message will not change.

Given Barack Obama’s failed presidency, the Republican Party’s mission and message are more important than ever. This fall, we will continue to support and elect candidates who believe in prosperity through opportunity for all.

Following over 100 years of complete Democratic Party control in our state, it is no accident that South Carolina Republicans have won almost every important recent election, including both U.S. Senate seats, five of six U.S. Congressional seats, nine of nine Constitutional offices, and majorities in both the State House and State Senate. The once-proud party of Thomas Jefferson has abandoned state Democrats with a platform that insults South Carolina values.

We still have work to do, but South Carolina Republicans are committed to making our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family. In a nation that, at times, seems to have shaken loose from its moorings, let us always remember that in every aspect of life, character and leadership still matter. Our country needs them now more than ever.