By A. Citizen || This political season is full of golden opportunities. The administration of Barack Obama – which was sold as a vehicle for “hope and change” - has been an abject failure. From ObamaCare being rammed down the throats of a disgusted electorate to a nose-diving economy that Obama continues to make worse, voters are poised to demand REAL change.
Recent days have also provided an opportunity for the Republican Party in South Carolina. Sen. Jakie Knotts, of Lexington County, has made national news by using a derogatory term to describe a GOP candidate for South Carolina governor.
While Knotts’ words were disgusting, his loose tongue is but part of the record of embarrassment that he has authored during his tenure in public office.
Going back to 1998-99, then-Rep. Knotts became a media darling for his so-called “Maverick” decision to vote with Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges to borrow a billion dollars to build more public schools. The GOP, the party that Knotts claims allegiance to, offered a more fiscally responsible plan to pay for the schools with the money on hand instead of incurring debt service on a vast amount of money. But Knotts’ chose media support over fiscal responsibility and gave Hodges the votes he needed to send the state deeper into debt.
Knotts, who is a RINO on his best day, is actually the Democrats’ best friend. He spends like the weekend girlfriend of a drunkened itinerant sheep herder. And his rotund, fatback-gnawing persona of a good ol’ backroom backslapper is the epitome of so many Dixie demagogues, the personification of the kind of buffoon that ruled the Democrat Party in this state for more than a hundred years.
Knotts, of course, has continued to fight against fiscal conservatism throughout Gov. Mark Sanford’s tenure. Despite the fact that Sanford disgraced himself and the state with his personal behavior, the governor had good (although tragically wasted) ideas on running the state’s budget.
But Knotts’ most-recent embarrassment, an insult based on race and ethnicity, is the kind of episode that has drawn vast amounts of negative media attention. And with that media attention, of course, come the incessant reminders that this “man” is a Republican.
Accordingly a drastic step must be taken if the GOP is to save itself and show that it has changed from the “anything-to-get-elected” mode of operation (see Dede Scozzafava and Arlen Specter).
South Carolina GOP Chairman Karen Floyd can take this step by immediately scheduling a press conference and formally asking Knotts to leave the Republican Party. Kicking Knotts to the curb would be a bold move - signaling that the party means business when it comes the practice of accepting any type of behavior, as long as the official claims to be a “Republican.”
Jettisoning Knotts also comes with limited political risk. His district is in Lexington County and there is a true conservative running to replace him. Also, Knotts’ most recent re-election bid against this same candidate forced him into runoff election, which he only won thanks to a huge number of Democratic crossover votes.
Bottom line? This is a great opportunity to seize the electorate’s attention and deal a painful blow to the “politics-as-usual” treadmill that continues to hold South Carolina back. The only question is this: Does Karen Floyd (and the SCGOP) have the intestinal fortitude to finally stand up and reclaim the Republican brand?
Voters are responding to action. Hollow words will no longer draw support. That said, the ball is in Floyd’s court. An opportunity to show courage knocks at the door.
Will Floyd and the SCGOP answer?
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