Here's what you need to know about the terms you will hear -- and some you won't hear -- during Sanford’s State of the State address tonight.
Unemployment – Sanford chokes on this word like Mama Cass eating a ham sandwich. Don’t expect to hear it. Listen for “employment situation” or “employment numbers” or “jobs picture” instead. In the last State of the State, when SC was 47th in unemployment (known by some as the “good ol’ days”) the word was used a grand total of (let’s see…carry the two) zero times.
“Sending your tax dollars into Columbia” – Sanford likes to evoke the image of garbage trucks full of cash cruising down I-26 towards Columbia. Fair enough. Nobody likes the thought of their tax dollars going to another city. However, as a point of fact, the tax money is actually sent to a warehouse in Pomaria, SC. Not many people know that.
Put Parents in Charge – Not a chance you’ll hear these words. You have a better chance of hearing Jakie Knotts sing “It’s Raining Men” a capella than hearing Sanford discuss the ill-fated legislation he crafted and fought for. See “Charter Schools.”
DaimlerChrysler – Sanford will blow the CEO of DaimlerChrysler right there in the chamber if he thinks it’ll make people forget we’re 48th in the nation in unemployment. Expect a subtle mention, like wearing a DaimlerChrysler sandwich board.
Soil Conditions - “soil conditions” is an “economist metaphor” used by “economics students” who didn’t “study for the test.” I don’t really think he’ll say “soil conditions” again, but my bullshit flag will be pre-staged in my breast pocket just in case.
Biking across the state – for the uninitiated, this isn’t a euphemism for hard work, perseverance, or for rallying support for an agenda. It’s a euphemism for riding a bicycle across the state.
“Work with the legislature…” – Sanford will extend an olive branch by ensuring that livestock carried into the State House will first be provided ample opportunity to defecate on the lawn.
Charter Schools – Charter schools were authorized in South Carolina in 1996. Education leaders like Democrat Inez Tenenbaum are not opposed to them. Still, if Sanford puts the entire weight of the Governor’s Office behind them… who knows?
China and India – A lot of people make the mistake of comparing SC’s 7.1% unemployment rate to Alabama (3.6%) or Georgia (5.4%) or NC (5.2%) or Florida (3.6%). But as any economist worth his soil conditions knows, South Carolina should only be compared to India and China. Look for Sanford to evoke these Asian countries as a reason for our unemployment crisis, no matter how well other states are doing.
Nikki Haley – The State of the State is a good chance to prove to the public that one gets along with legislators swimmingly. You never know who he’s going to mention by name, or whose name he’s learned recently. The obvious picks are Haley and McConnell, but rest assured a Democrat and an Upstater will also get mentioned -- and subjected to relentless teasing from their peers on Thursday morning.
Veteran – Sanford will recognize a Palmetto State veteran of the Iraq war, to commemorate the four-year anniversary of his joining the Air Force Reserves while running for Governor.
Jokes - Sanford is a born comedian. Expect zingers from the get-go. Some of the best from years past:
Bob Faith is someone in whom I have – well, tremendous faith. (2003)
I realize that for many of you, this is like watching paint dry… (2003)
As for me, I’m going on a bike ride across South Carolina this spring. I’ll start out in the mountains, hoping it’s more or less downhill. (2004)
Jon Ozmint led our efforts at Corrections to start our own grist mill for grits and chicken laying operation for eggs…to get to the other side! (2004 - Okay, I added that last part)
To be competitive in keeping creative people, you don’t run them over on the road. (2005)
In this chamber last year, I proposed kicking it off by riding a bike across the state… to get to the other side!” (2005 - That one he really said. Not really, though.)
Milwaukee – In a rare fit of beer-induced Turret’s Syndrome, Sanford blurted out the word “Milwaukee” twelve times in his last State of the State address. Seriously, twelve. Charleston? Once. Greenville? Zero. Columbia? Twice - the “District of Columbia” and “tax dollars into Columbia.” This year, I’m going to play a drinking game: Every time the Governor says “Milwaukee,” take a drink.
Property Tax Relief – Unlike “Milwaukee,” the term “property tax” wasn’t used in the last State of the State address. Or the one before that. Or the one before that. But those weren’t election years, and for some reason I think property taxes will become a front-burner issue while the cameras roll. Just a hunch.