Surprise Appreciation Party Held For Buddy Witherspoon
(How Bush Almost Didn't Get Elected in 2000)
By Jeff West
The following article appeared in the March 18, 2009 issue of The Times Examiner
A crowd of about 75 supporters hid themselves in Columbia’s First Church of the Nazarene gymnasium on Thursday at 7:00 pm for a surprise appreciation party given for Dr. Buddy Witherspoon to thank him for his sacrifice in running against Sen. Lindsey Graham. Dr. Witherspoon’s wife brought him to their church on a pretext and Dr. Witherspoon was visibly surprised and grateful for such a warm and thoughtful reception. Some light food was then served while the crowd talked with Buddy individually. A program followed with several speakers who praised him for his courage and sacrifices for his fellow citizens, which included the first public revelation of an extremely important national secret about Dr. Witherspoon that demonstrates the true extent of his courageous leadership.
The ceremony was moderated by Dr. Henry Jordan and the speakers were Rev. Bob Slimp, Rev. E. Ray Moore, Dr. Christina Jeffrey, Mary Kerr and Dr. Witherspoon. Rev. Slimp told of Buddy’s personal life, including how active he was in his church, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, that he was an outstanding lineman for the University of S.C., his military career aboard a ship in Viet Nam and how as an orthodontist he loved children. He joked about how Buddy abhors modern technology such as cell phones, computers and the Internet. He described his political past in which Dr. Witherspoon served four terms as the GOP chairman of Lexington County, was the Republican National Committeeman for 11 1/2 years, and was an Electoral College delegate for three terms and president of the S.C. delegation for two of those terms. Dr. Jordan added that Buddy led the Republican Party at a crucial time when Christians were becoming involved in politics, which had created some tension in the GOP.
Dr. Jeffrey praised Buddy for all he had done and announced her candidacy against Rep. Bob Inglis. Mary Kerr presented a scrapbook to Buddy and a lovely bouquet of flowers to his wife for supporting her husband during his campaign.
Dr. Jordan reminded the audience that Dr. Witherspoon is an example of a multi-generational blessing. Dr. Witherspoon is a descendant of Rev. John Witherspoon, president of the College of N.J., founded in 1746 by the Presbyterian Church and later renamed Princeton. He exerted a tremendous Christian influence on America’s birth and was the only preacher to sign the Constitution. True to his ancestry, Dr. Witherspoon presents a painfully-rare model of our Founding Fathers’ courage which is only inspired by God. The most shining example was that presented by E. Ray Moore.
Rev. Moore provided a rare glimpse behind the scenes in politics as he described the tense 2000 presidential election in the close race between Gore and Bush. Although the election results were still being questioned, George Bush was ahead by five electoral votes, 271-266, and began announcing his cabinet which included no Christians. As president of the eight-person S.C. electoral delegation, Dr. Witherspoon was very disturbed about this and approached Rev. Moore with his concerns. Moore said “You couldn’t have pressured a Democratic candidate under any circumstances. But although the Republicans don’t want to do the right thing, they can be made to.”
Demonstrating the courage of David against Goliath, Buddy chose a course of action which gave him precisely the fulcrum point he needed to move a mountain. He contacted the well-respected Paul Weyrich of the conservative Heritage Foundation, now recently deceased, to act as a broker between the S.C. delegation and George Bush working through House Majority Whip Roy Blount from Missouri. At this time the delegation was composed of about six to seven Christians, and Dr. Witherspoon sent the message to Bush via Weyrich: “I cannot promise to hold the S.C. electors in place to cast a vote for George Bush unless he appoints John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the U.S., and he must announce it publicly.” If six delegates had simply refused to vote for Bush, then Al Gore would have been elected President. As a result of Dr. Witherspoon’s defiance, President Bush announced the day before the Electoral College met to vote that he had chosen John Ashcroft to be his Attorney General, and a conference call was made to make sure all the delegates were going to vote accordingly.
Rev. Moore pointed out that many lower court pro-life judges were appointed because the Christian Ashcroft was Attorney General, which would not have happened had the leading candidate been chosen, the pro-homosexual Gov. Mark Racicot of Montana. Rev. Moore said, “The appointment of John Ashcroft and the consequent numerous pro-life lower-court judges that were appointed was the one redeeming legacy of Bush’s failed presidency.”
Rev. Moore said he later asked Buddy what he would have done had Bush called his bluff, and he replied, “I really don’t know. But I was holding three aces.” Afterwards, the GOP ran Greenville County establishment Republican Chairman Ed Foulke against Buddy and was overwhelming defeated. Foulke’s apparent reward was then being appointed as head of OSHA by Bush. However, Buddy could not foresee his future race against the GOP’s favorite, Lindsey Graham, nor their apparent reprisal in giving him no support from Washington.
Dr. Witherspoon closed with an excellent address, particularly in light of the fact that it was spontaneous and unrehearsed, which showed his true beliefs. He thanked his family and all his supporters for their help, and said “Only the Lord can save America. America is going down fast. But I really feel that America was put here for a purpose.
“It’s time to stand up if we ever will. Even though we’re going down, we still have everything-we have the Lord.” He observed that, in contrast, the Republicans had everything, the House, Senate and White House, and backed down. He thanked every one for being part of his life and added, “Let me encourage you, it’s not too late.” He quoted the famous verse 2 Chronicles 7:14, and said that if we turn back to God He will still heal our nation. Dr. Witherspoon closed with very wise advice, saying “The best thing you can do is go home and turn the TVs off and get out the Word of God.” Despite his exit from politics, Dr. Buddy Witherspoon is still a true Christian leader among the people of South Carolina.