Unlike the comment itself, the furor that ensued when a prominent S.C. Republican activist referred to U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama as being descended from apes is completely understandable – which is why the people who have called us questioning our decision to break the story have all gotten the same answer.
Seriously, the fact that Palmetto Republicans don’t get that this is a serious problem for them baffles us.
But they don’t get it.
In fact, another prominent S.C. Republican activist added this update to his Facebook page yesterday …
Mike Green, the activist who made the comment, reportedly works for one of the GOP’s gubernatorial front-runners, while Adam Piper, who is on record as “liking” the comment, works for the GOP consulting firm of another 2010 gubernatorial hopeful.
Obviously, Green didn’t call anybody a monkey, but you get the joke …
In fact, Green’s “punch line” is similar to the one included in this racist flier, which was discovered last year by a FITS photographer on the desk of S.C. Rep. Bill Sandifer. The image on the flier portrayed a group of African-American men running away from President Barack Obama, who was offering them jobs, the obvious implication being that black people are lazy and don’t want to work.
In spite of the furor over the flier, Sandifer coasted to reelection last year and was promptly promoted by S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell.
Long story short, “humor” like this is nothing new for S.C. Republicans – even as the party claims to be focusing on “outreach” efforts to minorities.
So where does all the racist banter come from?
It could be the company Republicans keep.
For example, current gubernatorial front-runner Henry McMaster is a member of a white’s only country club – and in fact has been for decades. It’s the same club that former SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson was a member of prior to announcing his candidacy for RNC Chairman.
State Sen. John Courson and current First Congressional District candidate Carroll A. “Tump Tump” Campbell are members of the club as well, while McMaster and Dawson are also both members of a white’s only debutante society.
How Scarlett O’Hara of them, right?
Obviously, it’s not just Republicans in South Carolina who are dealing with this issue, though.
Who can forget the infamous “Barack the Magic Negro” Christmas message sent out by former RNC candidate Chip Saltsman? Or more recently the effort by a group of white Republicans to strip GOP Chairman Michael Steele (who is black) of his control over the party’s finances?
The point is this – at a time when Republicans need to be playing the game of addition, these stupid sophomoric comments are making it harder for their “outreach” efforts to succeed.
But again, therein lies our point …
As we’ve said in the past, “outreach” can’t be some pathetically transparent attempt to insert a few token blacks into leadership positions, it has to be a fundamental recasting of the party’s mindset – which, incidentally, has to be accompanied by a restoration of individual liberty and economic prosperity as the party’s two defining (and decidedly colorblind) values.
After all, we remain firmly convinced that black South Carolinians are being sold out by most of their Democratic leaders – and are waiting for a party to articulate what they believe in for a change.
Blacks are largely pro-life, right? Significant numbers of black people support school choice, right? And last time we checked, blacks liked to hold onto their money every bit as much as whites, right?
Check, check and check.
Seriously Republicans, there’s your “big tent.”