2006: Best Year Ever?

 

Ok, the headline may be a bit of a stretch on any account, but shouldn’t our goal for every year be to have the best year ever?  Glass-half-fullers around the world would agree, and we think there must be something that happened this year of our Lord two thousand and six that was important to you.  Below are a few that make our list:

South Carolina 

1.  Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer decides that flying just might be for the birds. 

     First of all, we thank God that Andre and his passenger both made it out of the airplane alive, but who could argue that this story was not one of the biggest in the state this past year?  Coming on the heels of SC-2gate and with his political life on the line, Andre’s plane crash was front page for the duration of the Primary. 

2. Governor Sanford lays the smack down in re-election bid

On the surface this may not seem to have been a highlight worthy news item; a Republican Governor winning re-election in one of the reddest states in the Union, but South Carolina is known for showing it’s state leaders the door irregardless of Party.  In addition, Sanford’s first term was marked with constant strife and bickering with the Republican controlled Legislature, which led to a Primary challenge from political novice, e Oscar Lovelace, who received a very troubling percentage of votes.  Nevertheless, Governor Sanford dominated his race for re-election and arguably goes into the new year with some political capitol to spend on his agenda.

3. SC Congressional Delegation regains political clout

After the mid-term elections, South Carolina has once again earned back some major power that was lost with the deaths of Strom Thurmond and Floyd Spence, and the retiring of Fritz Hollings.  Oddly enough, it was not our Republican 3/4’s of the delegation that are the power brokers in Washington, but rather Congressmen Spratt and Clyburn who now have their hands on the steering wheel of Congress.   For Congressman Spratt, before he got to the Promised Land, the 13 term incumbent completely dismantled his most serious challenge from the Republicans, by trouncing Ralph Norman in what was supposed to be a race where the Republicans finally claimed the 5th District as rightfully theirs.  With Spratt in the leadership of the House of Representative, that seems unlikely for some time to come.

4. Jim Rex defeats Karen Floyd for Superintendent of Education

Before November 7th, we were asked about this race and ever so brazenly said, “Take it to the bank, Floyd will roll on Election Day.”  We are very glad we gave up odds making in College.  Floyd emerged out of the Primary’s with a hot hand and a head full of steam and Jim Rex was unknown and poorly funded.  There were a number of hot button issues at play in this race; school choice, evolution vs. creationism, SC’s pitiful national standings, questionable campaign funding, and the effectiveness of the Republican machine to carry the ticket.  In the end, Jim Rex, a Democrat won election by the tightest margin in state history.  What makes this story even bigger is that no matter who won, the task of bring South Carolina out of the basement remains daunting and ever so important.

5. Superman does wear Steve Spurrier underwear, Bowden sighted in underwear department.

Preseason hoopla had Clemson’s uber-telented football team playing for the ACC Championship and BCS bound.  Conversely, USC would be 6-6 at best and once again claim it rightful place at the bottom of the SEC.  Fortunately (or not), this was not to be for either team.  After a breakout start, Clemson seemed to have lost it’s will to win and dropped 4 out of the last 5 games, including an embarrassing loss to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.  Meanwhile, Spurrier took a team returning only one starter on defense and coached them up to an 8-5 finish, including a win at Death Valley and a shootout victory against conference champions, Houston Cougars in the Liberty Bowl.  In addition, Spurrier is closing out the year by bringing in a top 10 recruiting class.  Has next year finally arrived? 

National

1) Saddam given crash course in neck stretching by Iraqi people

Agree or disagree with American foreign policy in the Middle East, one would be hard pressed to argue that the hanging of Saddam Hussein is not one of the biggest, and on our opinion, best news of the year.  For many of our readers, Saddam has been a fixture in our lives for many years and his demise at the hands of the Iraqi people is fitting and just.  The world is a better place without him in it, but what happens in the wake of his execution will continue to keep him in the news in 2007.

2. Democrats deliver “a thumpin'”

For roughly four decades the Democrats controlled the Congress until the Republicans in 1994 rode a tide of fiscal conservatism and a promise of personal responsibility into the majority.  Now twelve years removed from the Republican Revolution, the Republicans found themselves knee deep in an unpopular war, rocked by corruption scandals, and discredited by a lack of ability to keep government spending under control.  Consequently, they no longer hold the keys to the kingdom.  The mid-term elections delivered stunning defeats to Republicans across the country, left the Democrats in control of Congress, and forced President Bush to refer to the election cycle as “a thumpin’.”

3. Is it 2008 already?

It appears that throughout 2006, Presidential positioning and politics was ever present.  Major contenders raised hundreds of millions of dollars and traveled the country distributing cash to candidates for office.  Candidates jockeyed for position and avoided answering the big question, news outlets produced popularity polls, and bloggers speculated ad nauseum.  Staffs were hired, activists enlisted, and we even saw television ads hit the airwaves.  It seems that like the rise of the 24-hour news cycle, the never ending campaign cycle is at hand. 

4. The rise of the new media

For years now, bloggers and internet news websites have played a role in bringing news into the homes of millions of computer savvy news junkies, but in 2006 internet news sites have made their mark as real media and will continue to do so for some time.  All too often, bloggers are getting the scoop and driving the agenda.  The internet has now given power to the keyboard jockey and has been credited with influencing elections, such as in Primary battle between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont.  People around the world are now sitting in their offices pretending to work while hitting the refresh button on their favorite blog or news aggregator looking for the lasted scoop or bit of soap opera news.

Don’t like some of our picks for highlight of the year?  Think we left something out?  Feel free to add your thoughts to our list of some of the most important things to happen in 2006. 

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! We here at The Shot are grateful for your readership and promise some big things to come in early 2007.

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