Background: “South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian, a trial lawyer, longtime Democratic leader, and legendary figure in local politics, reportedly told a South Carolina Democratic Party dinner [Friday night*] that the Democratic challenger would send “Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from.”" Harpootlian, of course, has a history of these kinds of remarks:
- 2012: “The Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party is refusing to apologize after he compared his state’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley to Adolf Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun.”
- 2011: “The South Carolina Democratic Party tried Thursday to make Haley out as a liar for checking “white” as her race on her 2001 Lexington County voter registration application.” (Added to highlight the absurdity of Harpootlian pretending not to know where the Governor is from.)
- 2011: “Before the hopefuls arrived Wednesday in North Charleston to meet with local Democrats, the race took a twist after Harpootlian earlier apologized for using the word “retard” on a recent webcast… Harpootlian said Wednesday he’s misused the word “retard” before, specifically when he referred to Republican Gov. David Beasley and former Rep. Bob Inglis as “tard and retard.”"
- 2002: (From Harpootlian’s previous tenure as SC chair): “[Lindsey] Graham became the senior senator from his state — but not without controversy. The 50-something confirmed bachelor was finally forced to face down long-standing suspicions about his sexual orientation in 2002, when South Carolina Democratic party leader Dick Harpootlian referred to Graham as being too “light in the loafers” to fill Thurmond’s shoes.”
…and so on, and so on, and so on.
Now, I understand that politics in South Carolina is not for the timid. And it should be noted that the garbage coming from Dick Harpootlian’s mouth on a regular basis doesn’t seem to translate to electoral wins for the South Carolina Democratic party. But neither detail particularly helps Elizabeth Colbert Busch, here. This is unacceptable behavior from her party’s leadership; and if Ms. Colbert Busch thinks that it is somehow moral to allow her side’s racist attack dogs to do their thing without hindrance then I’m afraid that she’s learned all the wrong lessons from South Carolinian politics.
But if Elizabeth Colbert Busch needs a pragmatic reason to do the right thing, here you go: South Carolina’s first Congressional district voted for a Mormon Presidential candidate 58-40 in 2012. The district (as near as I can judge; the district borders have changed since) went for Sikh-descent Nikki Haley in 2010. It elected African-American Tim Scott (now Senator) Representative twice, with over sixty percent of the vote. In short, this district is not friendly territory for bigots.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch would be well advised to keep that in mind.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Mark Sanford has many faults, but being friendly with Dick Harpootlian is not one of them.
*Buzzfeed neglected to mention that Vice President Joe Biden (D) was likewise present for those remarks.