COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - What's scarier than a trick-or-treater dressed as former House Speaker John Boehner? A Friday without The Cheat Sheet, of course!
THE HELP: South Carolina lawmakers want relief from October's devastating flood to be spelled H-O-U-S-E-A-N-D-S-E-N-A-T-E (doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as Rolaids). The Senate held its first flood relief hearing Wednesday, receiving testimony from the five major agencies involved in flood response -- National Guard, EMD, DOT, DHEC, and SLED. The House Ways and Means Committee holds their first hearing on the same topic Nov. 5.
Hearing testimony is the easy part, though. Sen. Hugh Leatherman hit the nail on the head when he said this flood would "make budgeting this year especially difficult." If you haven't experienced a State House budget debate before, go get Tommy Wiseau's The Room, and play it for thirteen hours straight. For three days. With one bag of popcorn.
Oh, and that's just for the House. You'll have to do it all over again the next month for the Senate. But, the legislature says they're working together on this one to get relief to the people and agencies that need it the most. They've promised no partisanship, just like they did with roads and ethics. And we know how that turned out.
THE CAMPAIGN: Jeb Bush could really use a hug right now. The only people who had it rougher than he did on CNBC's Wednesday night primary debate were the moderators (more on that in a minute). Bush's less than sparkling performance in the debate comes after news the former front-runner is slashing salaries and campaign staff. And his attempts to look strong against his Florida counterpart, Sen. Marco Rubio, made the senator look better.
Rubio has slowly gained ground on leaders of the pack, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, making Marco the only establishment candidate to gain a decent foothold, not just in percentage points. After Wednesday's strong showing, one source close to Rubio's campaign says phone calls and donations have flooded in. It's like that scene in My Cousin Vinny where the kid finally realizes Joe Pesci is a decent lawyer. (Okay, I've got two movies references in this article already, how can I squeeze in a third?)
The Democratic candidates, the three that are left, will have their chance to have a knock-down, drag-out fight next Friday at Winthrop University. The debate will be aired on MSNBC and moderated by Rachel Maddow. Get your bingo cards ready, you lucky policy wonks!
THE, UM, OTHER CAMPAIGN?: State Rep. Jenny Horne is going after Congressman Mark Sanford's congressional seat, I did not see this coming (said no one, ever)! Horne made national waves with a passionate and emboldened speech on the House floor during the Confederate flag debate. Horne's speech took 8 hours of bloviating and strategic dancing by those against removing the flag and turned it on its head. This could make for an interesting race, especially since State House scuttlebutt has one more possible candidate in the mix, a former Ports Authority employee (you get three guesses).
THE WINNERS: South Carolina Agency Heads - The directors of the five state agencies who testified before the Senate had the praise poured on them in buckets by lawmakers, and with good reason. They led their teams through some nasty, nasty stuff in the beginning of October. And as Samuel L. Jackson said in Jurassic Park, "It could have been worse, John, a lot worse" (Boom! Three movie references!).
THE LOSERS: CNBC Moderators, and all media for that matter - The Republican presidential candidates had a bold strategy: if you have a question you either don't want to answer, or can't, blame the people who asked the question. Now, granted, the moderators did ask some really dumb questions ("If you were a comic book villain, which one would you be?" Seriously, is this a presidential debate or a beauty pageant?). But, they also pressed the candidates on economic policies that don't always add up, which is usually when the media bashing started.
And before you start shaking your head and thinking, "That's just what the liberal media would say," let me let you in on a little insider secret: There's no such thing. We get accused just as much of being the right-wing media. Blaming the media is just another way of saying "That person doesn't think the way I do!"
THE TAKEAWAY: If you screw something up today, be sure to blame the liberal/right-wing/conspiracy/Illuminati/chemtrail/Jedi/Sith media.