As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the chair of South Carolina’s Democrat party, Dick Harpootlian, raised some eyebrows on Friday when he urged supporters to help send GOP Governor Nikki Haley, “back to wherever the hell she came from.” Given that the governor is of Indian descent, this was widely reported on and seemed to put the lie to that whole, oppose the GOP because they’re the real racists meme. But politicians put their over sized feet in their mouth all the time, right? Clearly, we’ll see a quickly sketched out non-apology and everyone will move on to the next story of the day. Well… not so fast.
Harpootlian, a longtime Democratic figure who has a history of using harsh rhetoric, made the comments at the party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner just moments before Vice-President Joe Biden took the stage.
Asked what he meant by comment, Harpootlian wrote in an email: “Lexington County.”
Before being elected governor in 2010, Haley lived in the suburban Columbia county and represented the area in the state House.
As to whether he thought the comment could be seen as touching on her race and parents’ immigrant status, Harpootlian responded: “No, she was born in Bamberg [South Carolina] and lived in Lexington. Anybody implying anything different is attempting to feign insult.”
I see. So you’re not taking the comment back because you were referring to the Governor hailing from… Lexington County?
I’ll confess that I don’t know exactly where Lexington County, South Carolina is, or Columbia County either. But then, I have never lived anywhere near the Palmetto State. I’m not sure that Mr. Harpootian can use the same excuse. If he’s supposed to be representing his party across the entire state, are we to assume that the Chairman isn’t familiar with this part of the state either? Or that he didn’t know that his own Governor comes from there?
I realize that Harpootian has found himself in a bit of hot water, and people in such positions tend to scramble to find a way out. But as “explanations” go, this has to be one of the weakest we’ve seen in a while. But on the plus side, the next time somebody makes a comment about where President Obama “is from” we can all just turn around and say, “he was talking about Hawaii, dummy.”