If the defensive backs, in our opinion, play too loose in coverage, we fans may select someone else as the DB coach. But what if the coach we select has a different philosophy than Coach Holtz and they don't get along? Would our Gamecocks struggle even more then they have historically? Of course they would.
The above scenario may seem absurd, but is it essentially the same mechanism used to select the leaders of our state government. The structure of South Carolina's government is perhaps the biggest anachronism in a state that is built on them.
We all know that our state brings up the rear in most every category concerning education, heath, and economics. Gov. Mark Sanford's proposal to restructure state government is not a panacea that will magically transform our rankings from worst to first. It is, however, the foundation that must be laid in order for improvement to begin.
To operate more effectively, our executive branch must be given power equal to that which is common in other states. This means letting the governor select the constitutional officers - Lt. Governor, Superintendent of Education, Adjutant General, etc., instead of them being elected by the public. In addition, we must finish the restructuring and streamlining of state agencies begun under Gov. Carroll Campbell.
Our cost of government is 130 percent above the national average in large part due to the semi-neutered nature of the office of governor. The governor's inability to carry out his plans through clear lines of authority, combined with a "lunchbox Cadillac" agency organizational chart, leads to no one being in charge. No one, that is, except the 170 members of the legislature. And, 170 bosses is 169 too many.
Our governor is hamstrung by some in the legislature who are too cautious to take the steps to achieve progress. Others are more interested in self-preservation, or log-rolling. They will deny their constituents an opportunity to vote for this plan in spite of having been leading proponents of allowing them to vote for a lottery several years ago.
Still more senators say they don't favor restructuring because it isn't something for which their voters are asking. No, government restructuring is probably not on the list of priorities for the average voter faced with the pressures of everyday life. Most would, however, favor safer roads, less waste and duplication, and a decent raise for loyal state employees who haven't had one in four years.
Must leaders, however, be instructed in what to do? Do bank executives wait for their customers to tell them they need to merge their organizations in order to create the economies of scale that ensure survival? No, they take proactive steps because not to do so invites failure.
Therein lies the difference between government and other organizations. South Carolina's government will never go out of business because it has the power to tax. A secure source of income insulates it from direct competition and fosters complacency. Most legislators, thanks to single member districts, are insulated from competition as well.
We are past due for a bold move. Inertia can no longer be an option.
Sen. Greg Gregory represents Lancaster, Fairfield and York counties in the state Senate.