I love South Carolina. Some of the friendliest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met. But, as Tom Turnipseed says in Boogie Man, the place is “too small to be a country, too big for an insane asylum.”

President Carter just called out SC Rep. Joe Wilson for his “You Lie!” outburst.

“That racism inclination still exists, and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people — not just in the South but around the country — that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply,” Carter said.

Get ready for the all-too-predictable backlash. Because Wilson didn’t explicitly mention race, he will cry foul and conservatives will attack Carter’s comments as - you guessed it - racist.

Interestingly, Maureen Dowd weighed in on this a day before Carter:

Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

“A lot of these outbursts have to do with delegitimizing him as a president,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn, a senior member of the South Carolina delegation. Clyburn, the man who called out Bill Clinton on his racially tinged attacks on Obama in the primary, pushed Pelosi to pursue a formal resolution chastising Wilson.

“In South Carolina politics, I learned that the olive branch works very seldom,” he said. “You have to come at these things from a position of strength. My father used to say, ‘Son, always remember that silence gives consent.’ ”

…For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both…

An interesting storyline here is the predominance of South Carolinians leading the charge against Obama. Dick Polman in the Philadelphia Inquirer takes us all down memory lane, in an article sure to be decried as more South Carolina-bashing.

“An anti-slavery senator from Massachusetts was nearly beaten to death on the Senate floor by a colleague wielding a cane. The assailant was Preston Brooks, from…surprise…South Carolina. Brooks became the Joe Wilson of his day. South Carolinians were so thrilled with his behavior that they showered him with gifts, especially new canes.”

Of course Polman discusses the Atwater playbook - which appears certain to play a key role in the upcoming elections of 2010 and 2012. With even minor school bus fights turned into race-baiting judgements on ‘Obama’s America’ by Drudge and Limbaugh, so much for the punditocracy’s eager predictions of a happy, Kumbaya-singing post-racial America.

Posted: September 16, 2009 Comments Off