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Cal Thomas: Tim Scott’s disruptive optimism


WORLD Radio - Cal Thomas: Tim Scott’s disruptive optimism

The Senator from South Carolina projects confidence that American values can win over ideology in the 2024 presidential race

Tim Scott speaks during a fundraising picnic for U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Of the Republicans who’ve jumped into the presidential race so far, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a heavy-weight. Even so, WORLD Commentator Cal Thomas says there’s a candidate worth watching for his disruptive optimism.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: It’s been a while since we’ve heard the kind of optimism contained in Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s announcement of a presidential run.

Scott chose a different narrative from the usual gloom and doom. Instead of talking about overcoming, he overcame. He said he had gone “from cotton to Congress” and embraced “victory over victimhood.”

How’s this for inspiration: “We live in the land where it is possible for a kid raised in poverty by a single mother in a small apartment to one day serve in the People's House and maybe even the White House."

Echoing Ronald Reagan, Scott added: “America is the city on the hill. I'm living proof that God and a good family and the United States of America can do all things if we believe.”

Predictably, he took some rhetorical shots at President Biden: “America is not a nation in decline," but under the president he said, it has become "a nation in retreat."

In 2020, Scott introduced a serious police reform bill. Democrats opposed it. Sen. Dick Durbin used a racially charged word when he claimed Scott’s bill was a “token, half-hearted approach.” It was nothing of the kind, but the partisanship is so deep in Washington that neither side will give credit to the other for anything reasonable and workable.

Scott has said he believes “racism is alive,” but he doesn’t dwell on it. Again, from his announcement speech: “When I cut your taxes, they called me a prop. When I re-funded the police, they called me a token. When I pushed back on President Biden, they even called me the N-word. I disrupt their narrative. I threaten their control. The truth of my life disrupts their lies!"

Scott has an impressive $22 million in campaign cash and some early endorsements, including Senate Republican colleagues John Thune and Mike Rounds. Thune calls Scott “the real deal.”

The problem for Scott and other current and future GOP presidential candidates can be summed up in two words: Donald Trump. The former president has an enormous lead in every poll, but circumstances can rapidly change in politics. Trump’s current and future legal troubles might result in a loss of support, but his loyalists have not abandoned him yet. It seems unlikely they will switch to someone else no matter what happens.

Unlike Trump, Scott seems disinclined to indulge in personal attacks.

During a town hall meeting at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire earlier this month, a questioner asked Scott about President Biden’s age and what some critics have said is his “frailty” and “mental fitness.” Scott didn’t take the bait, preferring to criticize the president’s policies.

Scott will do well on a debate stage. And one of his core issues – school choice – ought to appeal to those inner-city voters who want to get their kids out of failing public schools. The question is whether those voters, who have largely voted for Democrats in the past, will try something and someone different.

I give you the words of Max Homa from The Golf Channel: “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you’re getting.” He was talking about the right way to grip a club, but his statement would fit in Scott’s campaign.

I’m Cal Thomas.

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