Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 4, 2010

SOUTH CAROLINA POLITICS GETS EVEN UGLIER.... We're just a few days away from South Carolina's competitive Republican gubernatorial primary, and state Rep. Nikki Haley appears to be leading the pack, despite recent allegations of extra-marital affairs. But the race shifted from distasteful to ugly yesterday when a Haley detractor went after her ethnicity.

State Sen. Jake Knotts (R), who has endorsed a Haley rival in the race, appeared on a local radio show and said:

"We already got one raghead in the White House, we don't need a raghead in the governor's mansion."

For context, it's worth noting that Haley was born Nikki Randhawa and raised in the Sikh faith. She converted to Christianity in 1997, and recently updated her website to emphasize her Christian beliefs.

But, frankly, that really doesn't matter. Haley moving away from her previous faith is utterly irrelevant in the face of disgusting rhetoric from the likes of Jake Knotts.

After the South Carolina Republican Party "strongly condemned" the slurs, Knotts issues something resembling a half-hearted apology. The right-wing state official said his "raghead" comments were "intended in jest." Knotts added, "I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur."

It's hard to consider an "apology" like this one sincere.

Haley's campaign spokesperson said in a statement, "Jake Knotts represents all that is wrong with South Carolina politics. He's an embarrassment to our state and to the Republican Party." He added that South Carolina is "so much better than this."

I hope that's true.

In terms of the politics, Nikki Haley is a far-right, Palin-backed candidate, running on a platform that would move South Carolina even further to the right. And yet, clowns like Knotts are actually managing to make her a sympathetic figure with their vile attacks.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Emphasis added

He's a good old southern boy for sure.
What's he going to do for an encore? Poot and belch?

Posted by: koreyel on June 4, 2010 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

No dog whistle required here. What a wonderful unique place this land called South Carolina.

Posted by: John R on June 4, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

What, did lovely Nikki refuse to cavort with Jake's knot?

Posted by: eserwe on June 4, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

the south carolina choice has always been between the vile and the hateful

Posted by: neill on June 4, 2010 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

It is obvious, when one reads the comments of many on the far right, they view religion as synonymous with ethnicity. Despite belonging to churches that emphasize personal salvation experiences, these far rightwingers clearly don't believe their own church's theology. (In fact, they really seem to ignore almost all of it-- I have a hard time imagining any of them actually approving of the Sermon on the Mount or the parable of the good Samaritan). Moreover, they are, I think, convinced that Christianity is really only a "white" religion (I think in their hearts they may not even believe the black churches are really Christian). When they say Christianity is the true religion they mean European descended people are superior to other people.

Posted by: nazjake on June 4, 2010 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Nikki Haley's positions are tea party tested and Palin approved. You are right, it is hard to make her a sympathetic character. Somehow the Republican establishment in South Carolina has done it. I wonder why any woman would want to run for office in SC.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 4, 2010 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Raghead. "... an unintended slur."
Unintended? I don't know, it sure seemed pretty intended when he said it. She's an awful right-wing person, and to make her sympathetic won't help the Democratic cause.
What SC's main export? Is it adulterous politicians, or assholes?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 4, 2010 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like I remember that using the term 'raghead' did not work out very well for the Imus in the morning show.

Posted by: jJS on June 4, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Let's reminisce..SC started the nullification crisis in 1832, Preston Brooks (SC congressman) beating Sen. Sumner in 1856..and of course secession in 1861. SC politics has a history of serious crazy.

Posted by: Mudge on June 4, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Makes you wonder why she would be a far-right R. She has to know they are racists/sexist who believe she should be either confined to the kitchen or deported as only a "birth-right citizen" and not a RealAmerican.

Posted by: Darth on June 4, 2010 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

So, what was the intended slur?

Posted by: Jose Padilla on June 4, 2010 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

I spent two years in S.C. in 79-81. Deliberately choosing the place because I wanted to understand how people in the region think.
It was a mystifying experience - these mindsets are plasmacarved into titanium steel. Ethically the U.S. remains mired in the early 20th century, in spite of reading the 21st off the calendar, because of these troglodytes.

Posted by: SteinL on June 4, 2010 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Look at his picture.

Fat. Check
White. Check
Old. Check
Beady-eyed. Check

Posted by: SaintZak on June 4, 2010 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

A bit of damning with faint praise, if I may:
-From Nigger to Raghead in less than a generation; oh far you have come!

Posted by: DAY on June 4, 2010 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Is that Southern grace or Southern charm?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on June 4, 2010 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

It's hard to consider an "apology" like this one sincere.

Oh, it was sincere. It just wasn't an apology.

Posted by: Grumpy on June 4, 2010 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Raghead? Name calling at his age? If that picture in the Huffington Post is accurate, that idiot looks like a troll. Man-o-man.

As nauseating as this political discourse gets it is being very effective in scaring the bejesus out of independents who are seeing what the alternative is to "socialism".

I am soooooo happy I don't live in the South. What morons. Intellectual curiosity and true Christianity apparently never crosses into South Carolina.

Posted by: stevio on June 4, 2010 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Knotts would make an excellent front man for DeMint.

Posted by: Ted76 on June 4, 2010 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

South Carolina is also the home of the "You lie" Republican congresscritter.

It's of interest to note that, until the 1920's, SC was majority African-American. And the reason that white people eventually became the majority in SC is that a large number of colored people got up and left.

Posted by: MattF on June 4, 2010 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Jake Knotts is a pigf**king a**hole with an IQ of 47 and a severe incontinence problem, and his momma gangbanged the Clemson football team.

I mean that, of course, in jest.

Posted by: jvwalt on June 4, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine the national uproar if President Obama, when he was an Illinois State Senator, had appeared on a radio program and referred to Bush Jr. as "that white trash cracker in the White House"?

This is really shocking (and yes, I know it's the South), but in the 21st Century, it's shocking that a public official feels it's fine and dandy (there will be no consequence) to make that kind of statement.

South Carolina has seriously imploded.

Posted by: June on June 4, 2010 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

What more can we expect from a backward little man from a backward little state?

Posted by: Grousefeather on June 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

If only any of this ugliness would matter even remotely to the voters of South Carolina. But, it just won't. It'd be like one porn star being shocked at another porn star for saying the f-word.

Posted by: chrenson on June 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

"...South Carolina is 'so much better than this.' "

Nope, S.C. is exactly like this. It's a state that still hasn't moved beyond the civil rights era. It's a state that still openly endorses (the dominant) religious culture. And they like it that way, so this lame attempt to gloss over the hate and bigotry is just laughable.

Posted by: GP on June 4, 2010 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

And it is the Rs in this state that will have a large say in who Obama's opponent will be in 2012.

Posted by: John Dillinger on June 4, 2010 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

"I still think she's pretending to be someone she's not, much as Obama did" And therein lies the crux of the matter for so many birthers and others who claim that Obama is a fraud -- of course they're claiming to be someone they're not; only a white person has the right to be an American, G-d dang it!

Posted by: Elizabeth on June 4, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's the latest allegation that makes her sympathetic to me. I mean, who the hell wouldn't be driven to tear off a random one nighter if they were trapped iat some vomit-inducingly faux-wholesome "family values" conference in a state where caffeine, for cripes sake, is considered naughty?

Posted by: Steve (Not That One) on June 4, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing Jake is a native South Carolinan with deep roots in the state. So maybe Haley will challenge him to a DNA swab test to see just where those roots cross--in the spirit of troglodyte SC politics, of course.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on June 4, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Knotts: Sorry, but I still think you're a POS.

Posted by: Marko on June 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Haley's confidence that South Carolina is "so much better than this" seems oddly optimistic. How long has she lived there? 'Cuz they've been fostering racist crackers down there for at least 150 years now.

Posted by: biggerbox on June 4, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

najake hit it for me.

How weak a religion is Christianity that Knotts is convinced that all former Muslims are forever Muslims and no conversion ever takes hold? Try as they might Islam has an iron grip on their soul that Jesus cannot hope to loosen.

Similarly, I would wager that Knotts considers any Christian who converts to Islam permanently lost. No prodigal son for him. Anyone who falls into the influence of Allah is forever damned, no longer reachable by the carpenter prophet.

Considering the greatness Christians proclaim upon Jesus, they sure do seem to think he's a supernatural lightweight, eyes perpetually festooned with sand kicked there by the God of Mohammed. I'd think it would be depressing to worship such a wuss.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on June 4, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

It's always a bit disorienting, I am sure, for someone like Haley who has been so adept at "fitting in" to find that for some people nothing she does will ever be enough. She'll always be a raghead.

I would also note that the two most successful non-European politicians in the South converted to Christianity -- not saying they weren't sincere, but but there is no doubt that a politically ambitious Republican in the South would get nowhere if they didn't belong to a church. There are few places in South Carolina, at least, where you aren't defined by which church you belong to. It's stultifying, but it's obviously the milieu she grew up in and thought she would turn to her advantage.

Posted by: Barbara on June 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

And yet I swear they get upset when you point out that they are essentially a nativist party.

Posted by: Jon on June 4, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

As James Petigru, the South Carolina Unionist remarked in 1860, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." Although, I am not so sure about the insane asylum thing.

Posted by: sherparick1 on June 4, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

How weak a religion is Christianity that Knotts is convinced that all former Muslims are forever Muslims and no conversion ever takes hold? Try as they might Islam has an iron grip on their soul that Jesus cannot hope to loosen.

Nitpick: You're making one of the same errors Knotts did - Haley was raised as a Sikh, not a Muslim.

Posted by: Just Dropping By on June 4, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Nitpick: You're making one of the same errors Knotts did - Haley was raised as a Sikh, not a Muslim.

Meta-nitpick: Actually Knotts' racist comment was, in a perverse sense, accurate. Wearing a turban is a part of Sikh practice. Not that Knotts would ever bother to note the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim, of course.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on June 4, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Jeez, I was only funnin' y'all - cain't you people take a damn joke?" That's the usual right wing excuse when they get caught out being their right wing Nazi-loving, white-supremacist selves.

Someone is surprised that a South Carolina good ol' boy hillbilly is an unreconstructed piece of Confederate-traitor dog dung?

Posted by: TCinLA on June 4, 2010 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

What SC's main export? Is it adulterous politicians, or assholes?

How about adulterous political assholes?

Posted by: TCinLA on June 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

I've said it before and I'll say it again. People like Knott are using "Muslim," and the various pejoratives for "Muslim," EXACTLY the way Hitler used the term "Jew." Didn't matter if you were Catholic, Lutheran, or non-believer; if one of your grandparents was Jewish, you inherited tainted blood. Am I calling Knott a Nazi? No, but I'm saying that his racial attitudes are identical and that he and his fellow conservatives are on a slippery slope that leads in that direction.

Posted by: T-Rex on June 4, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

"In fact, they really seem to ignore almost all of it-- I have a hard time imagining any of them actually approving of the Sermon on the Mount or the parable of the good Samaritan)"

Well a glance at the history of Protestantism, or at least those portions of it that fed modern Fundamentalism, shows that they don't have much respect for the New Testament generally, except for the Eschatology of Revelations, for them the focus is always on the End Times, it is just as Christians they have to cast as the Second Coming rather than as the Jews do the first. Other than that Protestants have always been Old Testament people, go down the list of names associated with old style Protestants, particularly in rural areas, they are almost exclusively taken from the Old Testament: Ezekial, Jacob, Abraham, Enoch, Mikah etc, etc. There was hardly a name in the 'Begats' or among the Prophets too obscure to slap it on some Protestant kid

There is plenty of justification for slavery, racial segregation and above all strict patriarchy in the OT, whereas the Sermon on the Mount and then Pauline Patriarchy presents some obstacles. So it is not much of a surprise that Fundamentalists jump right past those inconvenient "Love thy Brother and thy Sister" and "Suffer the Little Children" pieces in favor of the Fire and Brimstone stuff. More satisfying to their personality types.

Posted by: Bruce Webb on June 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh crap, I meant to say Pauline Christianity not 'Patriarchy'. Actual St. Paul's preaching in the end was kid of subversive to Patriarchy of the OT sort.

Posted by: Bruce Webb on June 4, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

T-Rex and Equal Opportunity Cynic both nail it. Knott's and his fellow travelers demonstrate both monumental ignorance and impenetrable bigotry with comments like this.

Sikhs are neither Muslim nor Arabic in origin and the use of the term raghead as a perjorative is just another way of lumping a large swath of otherwise unrelated non-Europeans into a sub-Human category. It is every bit as invidious as the various, now-unsayable, slurs that have been used against Jews, Africans and Asians.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I don't feel sorry for Haley at all. You lie down with the dogs and you get some fleas on you. Perhaps if she kept better company she wouldn't find herself surrounded by assholes.

Posted by: The Fool on June 4, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

And this city is called the Holy City, I came here to this great state from the north and I must say I have heard and seen most white men and women of this great state do and say hateful things about black people and white people, so it is not a race thing it is a hateful thing,

I can't see this state being governed by the good old boys and girls anymore

this is not a pro black or an anti white statement.

Posted by: Ross on June 4, 2010 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

And this city is called the Holy City, I came here to this great state from the north and I must say I have heard and seen most white men and women of this great state do and say hateful things about black people and white people, so it is not a race thing it is a hateful thing,

I can't see this state being governed by the good old boys and girls anymore

this is not a pro black or an anti white statement.

Posted by: Ross on June 5, 2010 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Raghead is a term used by soldiers to describe the enemy in the ME; it is today's "gook". Towelhead is also used.

Knotts knows this, as he's bound to have heard it from people who have served.

What Knotts doesn't know, is that Sikhs, who are not of that region nor Muslims, have a spectacular "rag."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_URmCmd3IA

Posted by: SteinL on June 5, 2010 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

As a child, I sat in an all white SC Methodist church every Sunday listening in confusion and ever growing horror to what was being preached. Hatred and bigotry were always tolerated and even celebrated. I learned to keep my mouth closed except for an idiotic grin called for when my elders spoke. I thought the world was one incomprehensibly crazy place because my family and everyone else seemed totally different from me. I won a beauty contest when I was eighteen, so thank goodness nobody suspected that I had a brain. I grew up in a third world state which has not changed. I still live here, but I take great delight in tormenting my family and neighbors with Obama/Biden signs in my yard, as well as campaigning for Democrats in every election. We have a new Black mayor who beat the good old boy favorite(endorsed by Lend Me A Brain Graham and Jim DeMental), and we may elect a Democrat in the race for governor. Meanwhile, those of us who are trying to help SC, continue on. A few things have gotten better-- Twenty years ago, my house would have been burned down with me in it! My point is that there are a few of us with similar life experiences who refuse to give up on SC., but lawsy, friends, it's mite near diff'cult!!

Posted by: Ethel on June 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

SC politics just got even uglier.. watch this Youtube vid.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z37ObLUYLrk

Posted by: peter on June 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

That youtube video is of Nikki Haley admitting to affairs? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z37ObLUYLrk

Posted by: vic on June 6, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

I have been for the past four plus years coming from one of the wealthiest areas of "The North" .This place is like "the Twilight Zone" !! People living in fear " Change"....So-called churches, two plus on every block tax shelters, title loan shops, etc. No Wage growth, no income growth, education--what a joke !!!!! A TRUE OLIGARCHY---5% owns and controls everything---the balance are "indentured servants" to the "the GOOD OLE BOYS".....50 years behind the times.....fear of change....pitiful....sad

Posted by: Southie on June 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Already read a few off your posts, but i think this is one off the best i read so far.

Posted by: internet marketing on December 28, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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