Let's get this straight: The White House has allowed first lady Michelle Obama to tool around Moscow, the Czech Republic and even Ghana in the past year, but officials are a little worried about her coming to South Carolina.
They consider the atmosphere here too dangerous.
Just when it seemed the summer of shame was over, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn dropped this bombshell on The Post and Courier's Yvonne Wenger on Friday. Clyburn says the White House is wary of bringing the first lady to the state because of the attitude of some of its residents.
Even if they are overreacting, or if Clyburn is overstating the case, it's embarrassing.
If security professionals, who apparently have reservations, actually believe it is too dangerous for the first family to visit a U.S. state, then we have dropped below the status of a Third World country.
It makes us look like buffoons, racists and backwater morons.
A loudmouthed minority of Neanderthals and sore losers have so poisoned the national discourse with their racist rantings, crude jokes and veiled threats that they have sullied South Carolina's reputation more than any governor, congressman or senator could ever imagine.
So, thanks for that.
If unemployment holds at its current rates, you can thank these same idiots. Think any international company, any major business, will locate to a state where the president's own wife might not be safe?
This is not about politics or that socialism baloney cooked up by politicians and insurance companies. It is about respect for the office.
This is the bottom of the barrel.
Not the humidity
This all came about when Clyburn, who has close ties to the White House, asked that the first lady attend an event at South Carolina State University. There have been more than 100 requests for the first lady to visit.
Clyburn quoted Valerie Jarrett, adviser to the president and a friend of the Obamas, as saying, "It's not always our decision to make." The implication is that the Secret Service has concerns about the state. A lot of it, Clyburn said, has to do with the climate in South Carolina.
He wasn't talking about the humidity, just the stupidity.
Clyburn was talking about Rusty DePass, a South Carolina Republican activist, who earlier this year said a gorilla that escaped from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia was an ancestor of Michelle Obama. Some rubes thought that was hilarious.
Clyburn was talking about the reaction to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's rude outburst of "You lie!" to President Barack Obama. Wilson has been hailed as a conquering hero by some for doing little more than embarrassing many of this state's residents.
He was talking about the knucklehead cowards who anonymously post vitriolic comments online.
A little disconcerting
As a young girl, Michelle Obama spent time in Georgetown. She has roots here. Clyburn says he has tried to persuade the Obamas to vacation here, bring the state some publicity.
That's not going to happen. If this keeps up, a lot of other people aren't going to vacation here, either.
Bottom line, this is the 21st century, not the 19th. It is perfectly fine to disagree, criticize or even not support the president. But the kind of rhetoric that has led to this, and may prompt some crazy person to do something stupid, does not help.
"All of this is a little bit disconcerting to me," Clyburn said. "It really is."
Everyone, regardless of politics, should feel the same way.
Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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