The history of South Carolina explains a lot about why they seem so different from the rest of us. In the early days of European colonization, South Carolina served as port of entry for a disproportionate segment of the slave trade—not surprising, since a disproportionate segment of its first white settlers were slavers from Barbados. From that happy genesis the state has led the way in regressive thinking, from its early and enthusiastic Indian removal policies in the 1700s, to passing the first secession resolution in December 1860, through to its continuing existence on flying the Confederate battle flag.
I'm fairly certain only a small minority of the 4.5m people who live in South Carolina have attitudes reminiscent of the 19th century, but unfortunately they elected one of those cretins Lieutenant Governor. And yesterday, Andre Bauer expressed himself in the fine tradition of Strom Thurmond and Preston Brooks:
Bauer, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, made his remarks during a town hall meeting in Fountain Inn that included state lawmakers and about 115 residents.
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better," Bauer said.
In South Carolina, 58 percent of students participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program.
Bauer's remarks came during a speech in which he said government should take away assistance if those receiving help didn't pass drug tests or attend parent-teacher conferences or PTA meetings if their children were receiving free and reduced-price lunches.
Ordinarily, I'd welcome a guy like this as the GOP nominee, because (as George Allen discovered) it makes my party's job a lot easier. But South Carolina isn't Virginia, and Bauer is already the Lt. Governor and the GOP front-runner. We'll see if enough South Carolinian Republicans want a different candidate on June 8th. We'll see.