With news reports saying that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley today will appoint U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, it’s worth revisiting a column I wrote on Scott when he was first running for Congress back in 2010. I believe mine was only the second major piece on Scott in a non-S.C. publication (Fred Barnes beat me by a week with an excellent piece). I loved the story he told about how his odyssey toward success was launched at a Chick-fil-A:
Young Mr. Scott did, however, hold down a part-time job taking tickets at a movie theater. The Chick-fil-A was next door. He bought fries there regularly. The restaurant’s proprietor, a guy named John Moniz – a “Christian conservative white Republican, although I didn’t know it at the time,” Mr. Scott said – “just started recognizing me, and one day he came up and sat down next to me and started talking.”
And Scott is a solid conservative:
To listen to Mr. Scott himself is to hear the clear echoes of former Housing and Urban Development secretary and vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, whom Mr. Scott revered. “That’s what I want to model as a public official. If it has to be done, let it be done by me with my own sweat equity. … The War on Poverty was four decades, and the same people are living in the same neighborhoods and the same bad houses, in the same poverty. A person who is full of compassion who is a conservative has to say that small business in a neighborhood creates jobs, not government. Government intervention does not lead to a more promising future. Entrepreneurship changes lives for real.” Also: “As a small-business owner, I cannot pay higher taxes and hire more people.”
Mr. Scott, though, seems far more comfortable talking about limiting government than Mr. Kemp was…
Now some might argue that Scott’s single term in Congress makes him a less qualified person for the Senate than some others who might have been chosen. But that ignores his 13 years on the Charleston City Council (four as chairman), his term in the state legislature, and his record of from-the-bootstraps successful business development. This extensive background in entrepreneurship and in more local levels of government is, arguably, exactly what is needed in the Senate. It should make him more dedicated to principles of federalism, and keep him better grounded. And it provided him with great experience in down-home, practical politics. He’s not just a talking head; Tim Scott is someone who produces results.