Friday, March 18, 2011

Why it's hard to get federal funding after comparing the First Lady to a gorilla.

Pity poor South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC 6th). Yes, he occasionally gets the ear of fellow Democrat President Barack Obama, especially as the assistant Democratic leader in Congress.

And yes, that access pays dividends for South Carolina residents of every partisan stripe via those super coveted closed-door meetings with folks like former Illinois Congressman and now U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood - so that Clyburn can pimp for federal dollars for Charleston and Georgetown ports. All good stuff.

But yesterday Clyburn admitted to The Post and Courier that the seriously incendiary anti-Obama rhetoric coming out of South Carolina hurts those efforts.

There is a lot of other things that I am able to do," Clyburn said. "I wish that the tone, the rhetoric, were different in South Carolina because I think this: The president's got staff, they read all of those blogs, and no matter what I may say to the president, he's got staff... and I know they're influenced by a lot of what they see and read. They are human beings. We're all human creatures."

So what is making Clyburn's job of stumping for federal dollars for SC harder than it need be? Oh, probably little things, like former SC GOP chair Rusty DePass' Facebook post on a local escaped gorilla: "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle (Obama's) ancestors - probably harmless."

Just one of many similar blog comments coming out of SC the past two years. See the original Huffington Post story about DePass's comments here.

When we southerners complain about the poor infrastructure in our ports, and missing out on international shipping contracts because of it, and losing jobs to other states and countries because of that - apparently this kind of racist trash-talking ain't helping our case. Just sayin'.


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