GateHouse — Months ago, during an uncharacteristically unpleasant period in what has been an over-erudite political environment too heavy on facts and pie charts, I wrote a long and extremely mean-spirited piece about the state of South Carolina, which had broken off and floated into a magical space fairy-land in the sky, where there was no NPR or reuseable grocery bags or desegregation and everything was well-preserved in amber in 1951.
Ha! I’m kidding, of course — what South Carolina was actually doing was requiring terrorists to register with the state of South Carolina before, ostensibly, attempting to reduce to a smoking crater the state of South Carolina. (It’s called record-keeping, people!) For people who write about the focal points of human idiocy for a living, and by that I mean a laughably meager figure that necessitates a third-shift side job at the wastewater plant, it was a little like walking into a castle made of key lime pie where margaritas were served to you daily by thousands of chambermaids who all looked like Megan Fox.
As a rule, I try to avoid revisiting topics, unless of course the topic is pierogies, but we return this week to South Carolina, where, against the well-chiseled laws of human decency and basically physics at this point, politics IS EVEN MORE AWESOME THAN BEFORE, and by “awesome” I mean “there’s more fat sweaty racists than there used to be.” And there used to be quite a bit. Obviously.
First, some background: A few weeks ago, some gross blogger who writes about Palmetto state politics claimed he enjoyed plentifully inappropriate relations with one of the state’s multitude of Republican gubernatorial candidates, a 38-year-old named Nikki Haley. And then some other dude piped up also claiming he slept with her, and etc. etc., I apologize for not knowing the details, but I’m afraid that if I keep looking this stuff up, South Carolina funk will get all over my hands, and washing that stuff off is like hosing down Gulf pelicans.
Anyway, obviously everything is horrible in Lee Atwaterville, but still the blogger-sex story was a formalwear-required reading of James Joyce at the public library compared to the subsequent mouth-blobbing of a deeply unpopular new liability named Jake Knotts, a Republican state senator and upstate mound of face-sweat and overbuttered side dishes who is basically Boss Hogg with an orange tie and who appears in campaign literature with his jacket thrown dangerously over his shoulder he was like Don Johnson dashingly going after coke dealers on a boat. Knotts went on some sort of Internet radio show called “Pub Politics” — I know, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it either — and called the Christian-of-Indian-Sikh-descent-and-as-such-evil-Martian-gay-Jesus-repeller Haley a “raghead.” Actually, by way of ensuring everybody in the world kept thinking about South Carolina like everyone in the world thinks of South Carolina, what he said, according to the AP, was: “We have one [raghead] in the White House, we don’t need one in the governor’s mansion.”
Knotts’ point, of course, is that, wait, that Barack Obama is Indian? So, not a terrorist Muslin? Listen, perspiring politicians: When climbing the exceedingly influential soapbox of “Pub Politics,” you really need to have a notecard available to help you organize and possibly alphabetize your misspelled slurs.
Anyway, in what has become my favorite part of anything happening in South Carolina, ever, Knotts hired a fancy schoolboy to write a day-after statement, in which he said “If it had been recorded, the public would be able to hear firsthand that my ‘raghead’ comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest.” Yes, if only the Internet was able to record and store important information, perhaps this wouldn’t be a thing! (Actually, the show was webcast, but some crazy-timed “technical issues” prevented video from being available.)
“Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub,” one of the computer-savvy members of Knotts’ staff wrote, with increasing sadness. “It’s like local political version of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ which is actually where the joke came from.” Ha! We, of course, all remember that episode of “Saturday Night Live,” which has been in reruns for a month, in which they deliciously skewered an aspiring South Carolina Republican primary candidate who no one knows or cares about. I mean, sure, no one can find it on the Internet, but seriously think about how difficult it is to locate a comprehensive search engine online. Maybe it wasn’t recorded.
Hilariously, Haley here is the pro-family Palin-approved Tea Party candidate, which means that there is someone MORE PRONE TO CRAZYPANTS RANTING IN SOUTH CAROLINA THAN THE TEA PARTY. What does this mean for South Carolina, aside from that they’re the best drunken party guest in the world? It means one thing: KEEP WATCHING THIS STATE. Twenty bucks the next South Carolina-politics story has a human centipede in it.