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The five nastiest South Carolina races ever

The gantlet of infidelity accusations and ethnic slurs that South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley ran Tuesday night to (nearly) win the Republican gubernatorial nod got us to thinking about where the race ranked in the annals of the nastiest contests ever in the Palmetto State.

South Carolina is associated, perhaps more than any other state, with negative political campaigns that often stray outside of accepted bounds.

"We have a history of this," acknowledged former state Democratic party chairman Dick Harpootlian. "It may be in the water, it may be congenital."

Ask any South Carolina political operative -- and there are lots and lots to ask -- where it all began and they go back to an episode in the spring of 1856 when South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks caned Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner nearly to death after a heated debate over slavery.

While Brooks may have started South Carolina down the path of political incivility, it's clear that the late Republican political consultant Lee Atwater is the godfather of negative campaigning in the state.

Atwater, an Aiken, S.C. native, grew up in the political world of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond but soon grew beyond the state's boundaries to serve as an adviser to several presidential candidates during the 1980s and the self-proclaimed king of negative campaigns. (Atwater died in 1991, at the age of 40, of brain cancer.)

Harpootlian, who knew Atwater, insisted that he would be "offended" and "shocked" at where campaigns in the state have headed over the past two decades.

Maybe. But, here's a look at the five most negative campaigns in modern South Carolina history -- as culled from conversations with longtime state operatives on both sides of the aisle.

5. 2002 Republican governors runoff: In the Republican gubernatorial primary, then Rep. Mark Sanford took 39 percent to Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler's 38 percent -- setting the stage for a vicious runoff campaign. Sanford, as he had done throughout his career, ran against the established order in the state while Peeler was widely regarded as the choice of the party elders. Peeler spent the runoff digging through Sanford's voting record as a member of Congress and releasing a series of blistering attacks on issues like breast cancer funding and Sanford's alleged lack of support for the military and veterans. (In one particularly memorable Peeler ad, a Sanford look-alike is shown stripping a soldier down to his underwear to illustrate Sanford's alleged attitude toward military funding.) Voters didn't buy it as Sanford clobbered Peeler 60 percent to 40 percent and went on to beat Gov. Jim Hodges (D) in the fall. And the rest, as they say, is history.

4. 1978 4th district race: In 1978, a young Republican candidate named Carroll Campbell faced off against Greenville Mayor Max Heller (D). Arthur Finkelstein, who was Campbell's pollster, conducted a survey in the race in which there were several not-so-subtle hints to inform voters that Heller was Jewish. A third-party candidate named Don Sprouse -- rumored, though never proven, to have been secretly recruited by Atwater -- emerged on the scene and said publicly that Heller didn't believe that "Jesus Christ has come yet", a charge that Campbell distanced himself from but was, nonetheless, extraordinarily effective. Heller's large lead evaporated and Campbell went on to win by a few thousand votes -- a victory that launched a political career that eventually led him to the governor's mansion. But, Heller came back to haunt Campbell; in 1996, when Cambell was under consideration for the vice presidential slot under former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole the 1978 race came up and was regarded as one of the reasons the South Carolinian wasn't chosen.

3. 1980 2nd district race: In 1980, Democratic state Sen. Tom Turnipseed challenged Rep. Floyd Spence in the 2nd district. Atwater, who was serving as a consultant to Spence, sought to make an issue out of the treatments for depression that Turnipseed had undergone as a teenage -- telling reporters the Democrat had been hooked up to "jumper cables". (In a letter to Turnipseed following his cancer diagnosis, Atwater said the jumper cable incident was "one of the low points" of his career.) Atwater also engineered a series of phone calls to white suburban voters in the district "informing" them that Turnipseed was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (He wasn't.) Atwater's tactics worked as Spence won 56 percent to 44 percent. Spence held the seat until his death in 2001 at which point a former aide named Joe Wilson -- he of "You Lie" fame/infamy -- took over.

2. 2010 Republican governors primary: Haley's rise sent a panic through the state's political establishment. Days after polling showed her surging into a solid lead over Rep. Gresham Barrett, state Attorney General Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, Will Folks, a Republican blogger and former aide to Sanford came forward to allege an extramarital affair. Days later it was Larry Marchant, a one-time Bauer campaign aide, claiming he, too, had engaged in a sexual relationship with Haley. As if that wasn't enough, state Sen. Jake Knotts, a Republican, referred to Haley as a "raghead" in an interview with an Internet talk show. Got all that? Voters seemed to recoil at all the allegations and slurs directed at Haley -- she denied any affairs and appeared in ads with her husband and two children -- and very nearly handed her the GOP nomination outright. She faces Barrett in a June 22 runoff.

1. 2000 Republican presidential primary: When Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) crushed then Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 1, it was clear that the three weeks between that vote and the Feb. 22 South Carolina primary would almost certainly decide the race. With stakes so high, the full nastiness of Palmetto State politics was in display. The most memorable -- in a negative way -- attack of that campaign was that McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child, a message driven through a series of push phone calls made to likely primary voters in the state. (The truth? McCain and his wife, Cindy, had adopted a child from Bangladesh years before.) The level of vitriol was so high on both sides that following Bush's win -- a victory that all-but-sealed the nomination for him), McCain gave an angry speech a week later decrying the "agents of intolerance" with whom Bush had aligned himself. The rift caused by the South Carolina primary took the better part of the next four years to heal and for some senior staff the wound never has fully closed.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 10, 2010; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Governors , House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gresham Barrett tries to build a runoff case against Nikki Haley in S.C.
Next: Jeff Greene surges in FL-Senate, Kendrick Meek strikes back

Comments

I see that your source was a former chairman of the state Democratic party. I suppose that explains why 4 of the 5 examples reference Republicans and how SC suddenly rises in the standings over the largely Democratic Louisiana and Illinois. In the annals of political scandals, we're not in the same league as the aforementioned. However, nice job making the narrative work. Sort of.

Posted by: joanne600 | June 11, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Ayy yes, as nasty as it be, race baiting politics works...especially in SC. I think another extremely nasty race this year is not only the governor's race, but also the Republican nomination in SC's 1st district: St. Rep. Tim Scott vs. Councilor Paul Thurmond. Thurmond is a son of legendary figure Strom Thurmond. This one could get extremely nasty between now and June 22. I think Thurmond will play racial politics as Scott is black. Scott has the support of the Club for Growth and is extremely conservative, arguing that as a black congressman his criticism of Obama could resonate among black people. Is he right? Will Thurmond play race baiting politics to try & win the R nomination? Will the Club for Growth & conservatives still support Scott? South Carolina's 1st interests me and I think it will be a heck of a primary.

Posted by: reason5 | June 11, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

You failed to credit Terry Sullivan with the horrible McCain illegitimate baby rumor.

Terry was behind that and interestingly, Terry is running Gresham Barrett's race against Nikki Haley.

So, a vote for Nikki is a vote against Terry.

Posted by: sclawyer | June 11, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

John C. Breckenridge had it right 150 years ago: "South Carolina is too small for a nation and too large for a lunatic asylum." I wish the people of the state would grow up.
.........................

James L. Pettigru, not Breckenridge, made this comment after being informed of the passage of the Ordinance of Secession in December 1860, by those gathered in Charleston for that purpose.

The current SC Republican Party is the result of members of the SC Democratic Party who changed sides in the wake of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and further encouraged by Nixon's "Southern Strategy." Prior to 1964, the total number of Republicans in SC would scarcely fill Memorial Stadium over by Owens Field much less Carolina Stadium. Plus, up to about 1960, most of those Republicans were Black or transplants from the North.

South Carolina has always been a cesspool when it comes to politics. This heritage begins in the far, distant past and shows little sign of changing at any point in the future. Lee Atwater was simply the most notable of a similar bunch of political operatives that were spawned in the cauldron of SC politics. Atwater was able to move to the national level and implement tactics and techniques that were old hat to SC onto the national scene.

Having seen Atwater in action while living in SC, it was clear that he was as ruthless and amoral as they come. He was a perfect fit for the SC political scene. A decade or so earlier and he would have been a Democrat, but just as ruthless and amoral. Why? Which side you are on in SC scarcely matters, the behavior is pretty much the same.

As for Alvin Greene, Atwater would be proud of whomever of his (many) disciples came up with that one.

Posted by: E75Ranger | June 11, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

It is completely ridiculous that South Carolina and Nevada have apparently been granted special status in the Presidential primaries.

It appears that it has to do with the political influence of Clybourn and Harry Reid - which is completely improper and no reasonable person should believe that a democracy should be run that way.


AND to think, that as a result of the ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS OF THIS DISPUTE, Michigan and Florida voters were not counted in the democratic primaries in 2008 until the nominee was decided.

It was a disgrace - and yes, it casts a dark shadow on Obama's legitimacy.


Quite frankly, any attempt to have an AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PRIMARY CALENDAR is RACIST - if that is the motivation to put South Carolina and Nevada in prominent places - to increase the influence of blacks and hispanics.


This kind of stuff has no place in America.

Remember, now we have a bunch of Affirmative Action Appointees who have absolutely no idea what they are doing in the Gulf of Mexico - and we have a major environmental disaster on our hands.

And you if don't think any of that is directly related, you are a complete fool.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 11, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Well when you get up there say hi to the tooth fairy and the easter bunny too for me, chump

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 7:02 PM
-------

They'll be with you. I will, however, give your regards to anyone who inquires.
Poor Chump.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side, that crazy state also gave us Jim Clyburn, one of the most respected members of Congress. It is amazing, tho, that SC gets to be the third state, after Iowa and New Hampshire, in the Union to decide who might be our next president. Whatcha going to do? If really nasty politics were not tolerated by its citizens, it wouldn't happen.

Posted by: creatia52 | June 10, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


.

I am totally behind Alvin Greene - I hope he wins - I hope the People come out for him - and back him strongly.


AND let anyone who has not EVER looked at a dirty picture on the internet CAST the first stone at Alvin Greene.

Alvin Greene would be a fantastic US Senator - We need more men like him to represent "the every man" -


Alvin Greene deserves it.


Besides, he needs a job. If he wins, he will have a job in January.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Well when you get up there say hi to the tooth fairy and the easter bunny too for me, chump

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

So tell us all about your belief in your magical invisible spirit, briggy. And all the supportive evidence.

Shorter still.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 6:17 PM
-------

It would be rather like describing a sunset to someone who's been blind from birth and never known anyone else who wasn't blind. Suffice to say that my belief is non-transferable. There's only one place you can get it, and it appears that your name isn't on the list. You do have my sympathy, though you won't appreciate it---after all, how can you miss something you don't believe in?

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Drindl wrote,
"In an interview years later, Gantt, who is black, says the ad played on a latent fear in the South.

"It dealt with people's worst fears," he said. "In one sense, we thought the ad was political genius. In the other sense, we couldn't believe that someone in 1990 would run an ad like that.""

-----

It was ten years later that the NAACP ran their dispicable racist Anti-Bush ad, but you wouldn't want to mention that. You practice what some call the soft bigotry of low expectations concerning the treatment of blacks in politics. No doubt blacks would still be in chains if it weren't for people like Drindl, Noacoler, and Leichman1, standing toe to toe with them as they faced down the mobs in the old South. LOL.

Just like the Civil Rights Act---let the Republicans do the heavy lifting and then try to revise history by claiming it as a Democratic victory---and hope that people are as stupid as you and don't know any different.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

If there is an afterlife, I hope Lee Atwater who clearly slept with the devil in life is enjoying his afterlife in hell.

Posted by: dl49 | June 10, 2010 11:21 AM
-------

I have no way of knowing anything about Atwater's relationship with God, but as far as him going to hell, at this point his odds are definitely no worse than yours.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

What struck me was after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor he said he “found god” read the new bible that one of his brethren gave him and forgave those he attacked. Yet after his death the bible he claimed he consulted to inspire him to forgive remained in his hospital room, unused still wrapped in cellophane. Maybe the unwrapped bible is the ultimate metaphor for the cynicism and corruption of the last several years where you can pander to the lowest common denominator and play to worst prejudices and anxieties just to get enough of the base out or as

Sen. Moynihan called it in different context “Boob bait for bubbas”.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | June 10, 2010 11:59 AM

-------

Haven't seen too many Bibles come wrapped in cellophane. Tell us, were you changing the bedpans, rummaging through his wallet for change, or just how did you happen to come across this little tidbit of information?

Frankly, Frank it sounds like a story made up for gullible people. Did you ever hear the one about how Charles Darwin turned to God on his deathbed and begged forgiveness?
Not sure if he got past the cellophane.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Bumblingberry wrote,
"The result is that he(Obama) receives a 38% approval and 52% disapproval rating on his handling of the economy in the latest Economist/YouGov poll. The GOP enjoys a nine-point lead over Democrats in Rasmussen's latest generic ballot."

Sorry, old liberal pundits and buffoons, but I guess the country didn't get Leichtman1's memo about how the economy has been roaring since Obama took office---or was that since two months AFTER he took office?

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"Washington (CNN) – Three weeks after acknowledging he had misstated his military record during the Vietnam era, a new poll suggests Richard Blumenthal maintains a large lead in the Connecticut Senate race."

Sorry, Beltway pundits...

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 12:03 PM

-------

How's Rand Paul holding up? Sorry, lib buffoons.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Drindl wrote,
"as i see it developing, they are saying that the federal government is responsible for allowing BP to operate with faulty equipment/procedures. it is true that MMS was far too cozy with the industry in every way, because everyone there was a bush appointee and lobbyist, and obama should have gotten rid of every single one of them."

A total crock of BS. But then these liberal trolls continually spam this site with their whoppers. Obama's team approved the permits and waivers for the BP well which gave us the leak. Everyone knows this, but trolls like to read their own fibs.

"nonetheless, the fault is entirely BP's and Halliburton's for cost-cutting and negligence. taxpayers should bear no cost -- it's an insult to ask us to pay for this crime against our country."

It's the fault of BP AND the administration. It is certainly a crime against the country. I think BP and the DNC should share the cost. If there isn't enough money to cover the problem, take up a collection from the morons who voted for Obama. That should raise about 50 cents. Drindl could contribute this month's government cheese allotment.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I can't beLIEVE that an adult actually believes in an afterlife. Wow. Fables for little kids.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote,
"Nominal topic: may Lee Atwater burn in hell for the Willie Horton ad"

-------

Why would you want to spend so much of your future with Lee Atwater? Besides, the Horton add helped keep that incompetent boob Dukakis out of the White House. And the backlash from a much more racist add, the 2000 NAACP add against GWB, did its little part to keep another tub of raw sewage out of the White House.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

So tell us all about your belief in your magical invisible spirit, briggy. And all the supportive evidence.

Shorter still.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Drindl wrote,
"Now back to SC -- which appears to be a race to see who can be the most Christiany"

-------

Now tell us everything you know about being a Christian. That will no doubt be the shortest post of the day.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

It's not just that Republican nativism pushes perhaps a fifth of the electorate into the Democratic column. It's that the state's Republicans are simply far to the right of the majority of Californians -- so much so that they do not have a majority of registered voters in any one of the state's 53 congressional districts."

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 4:01 PM

-------

How's all that liberalism working out for California? If they're happy out there, they should vote for Moonbeam and Moonbat. You won't have to worry about going to Vietnam to live in a third world environment; just roll on down to California. By the time the rest of the businesses pull up stake, you'll be able to buy up a lot of worthless mortgages for a song.
I hear a bunch of the illegals from Arizona are already high-tailing it into California. You go Babbsy.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

How surprising! The state whose representative tried to beat a U.S. senator to death on the floor of the Senate, the state where the American civil war, the bloodiest, most treacherous action in U.S. history, was launched, and the state whose politicians defended racism to the bitter end...has dirty politics.

Posted by: jjedif | June 10, 2010 5:10 PM
-------

And none dirtier than the manure-pile-in-a-suit the Dems just nominated there. Does he have your support?

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


.

I am totally behind Alvin Greene - I hope he wins - I hope the People come out for him - and back him strongly.


AND let anyone who has not EVER looked at a dirty picture on the internet CAST the first stone at Alvin Greene.

Alvin Greene would be a fantastic US Senator - We need more men like him to represent "the every man" -


Alvin Greene deserves it.


Besides, he needs a job. If he wins, he will have a job in January.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

How surprising! The state whose representative tried to beat a U.S. senator to death on the floor of the Senate, the state where the American civil war, the bloodiest, most treacherous action in U.S. history, was launched, and the state whose politicians defended racism to the bitter end...has dirty politics.

Posted by: jjedif | June 10, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE

GO ALVIN GREENE

GO ALVIN GREENE

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Fairfaxvoter: "Gantlet" is a legitimate variant of "gauntlet" in this phrase. It's archaic and a little weird, but it's technically correct.

Posted by: Blarg | June 10, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Over to CA:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/09/AR2010060904870.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

"But California Republican primaries have a nasty habit of rendering their winners unelectable in November, and this year's contest looks like it will be no exception. To win, Whitman and Fiorina -- conventional conservative business Republicans both -- had to take positions so far to the right that their chances of winning a state in which Barack Obama commands a 59 percent approval rating are slim. During one debate with her Republican opponents, Fiorina affirmed the right of suspected terrorists on no-fly lists to buy guns, presumably lest the gods of the National Rifle Association strike her dead on the spot. At a campaign event at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, Boxer, never one to let a hanging curveball go unswatted, contrasted Fiorina's guns-to-terrorists stance with her own co-authorship of a law allowing pilots to carry guns in cockpits."

...

"When your own primary ad is directed against you by your opponents in the general election, you have a fundamental problem. It's not just that Republican nativism pushes perhaps a fifth of the electorate into the Democratic column. It's that the state's Republicans are simply far to the right of the majority of Californians -- so much so that they do not have a majority of registered voters in any one of the state's 53 congressional districts."

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

SPELLING CORRECTION, Chris

(kind of obvious 'cause it's right at the top of the column)

Right now you have "gantlet"

It should be "gauntlet"

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | June 10, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

BP should have thought of this before they cut corners, 12Bar. Are US taxpayers now supposed to bail out British pensioners? I'm sorry, I don't think so. We have our own problems.

Now back to SC -- which appears to be a race to see who can be the most Christiany:


"Nikki Haley, the Sarah Palin-endorsed, scandal-hounded, Sikh-turned-Methodist who finished first Tuesday in a contentious South Carolina Republican primary for Senate governor, is facing new questions about the length and depth of her commitment to Christianity.

CBN.com's David Brody notes that Haley's Web site has been, for lack of a more descriptive word, born-again in the past few months.

Brody notes that in April, Haley's site said this about her faith:

"Nikki is a Christian. In her words: 'I believe in the power and grace of Almighty God. I know, and have truly experienced, that with Him all things are possible. I have looked to Him for leadership throughout my career and will continue to do so as governor."

Now, her site says this:

"In Nikki's words: 'My faith in Christ has a profound impact on my daily life and I look to Him for guidance with every decision I make. God has blessed my family in so many ways and my faith in the Lord gives me great strength on a daily basis. Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day.'"

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Nominal topic: may Lee Atwater burn in hell for the Willie Horton ad.

Current topic: Republicans seem determined to self-immolate. Of all the crazy stands to take, defending a large corporation responsible for history's worst environmental disaster. The Gulf is going to die, species extinct, millions of jobs will be affected, American eating habits will suffer, costs in the hundreds of billions.

Republicans? Circling wagons around corporate profits. Hey, GOP, when you get tired of shooting yourself in the feet why don't you stick the gun in your collective mouth and do the country and the world a real big favor.

You really have to wonder about the morals of these guys. Sure, they don't care what happens to wildlife, dead turtles and dead pelicans probably make them smirk, and the fact that environmentalism is a liberal value is all conservatives need to be against it, self-interest taking a distant second.

But this also affects American workers, and in the one area where GOP identification is still strong, the rural south. STILL think the Republicans are on your side, guys?

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"The plunge in BP's share price, which dropped 6.7 percent in London on Thursday, has hit British investors hard, while U.S. demands that the company not pay dividends could result in a huge shortfall for UK pension funds. BP accounts for 12-13 percent of dividend payouts in Britain.

British business and shareholder groups, alarmed that Obama's attacks could worsen BP's problems and fuel a backlash against other British businesses in the United States, are also clamoring for Cameron to defend the company."
----------------------------
More of same article.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

KABUL/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain stands ready to help BP deal with the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday as he came under intense pressure at home to stand up for the oil giant.

In his first public comments about the crisis, Cameron said he would raise it with President Barack Obama when they speak in the next few days. That will be a delicate balancing act between upholding British interests and nurturing a key diplomatic relationship.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=10878098
---------------------------------
Nothing is simple.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin


The great majority of the biodegradation will be aerobic.

I don't know where you are getting your information from.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

drindl wrote: The rightwing echo chamber is excellent at spinning, and they will say that forcing BP to pay will costs jobs. And their minions will eat it up, trust me.
----------------------------------
The GOP can line up behind the Brits. ABC news is reporting the ordinary pensioners in Britain are complaining bitterly that their pensions are being severely affected because of their holdings in BP stock. If BP cuts their dividends, the complaining will REALLY escalate. Parliament might be forced into the act to help out pensioners.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the greatest single moment of South Carolina right-wing nastiness occurred in the early 1950s, during a debate, when candidate Strom Thurmond, rather than say anything to retort his opponents, pulled his pants down and squatted to move his bowels on stage. republicans were so impressed by his platform that thurmond won unanimously.

Posted by: neo-nemesis | June 10, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@mia,

Sorry I stepped on your area of expertise about bacteria, but someone posted that some company (who is selling bacteria) is not getting a lot of attention from BP. I thought I'd point out that the dispersant they are using, has oil-eating bacteria in it, per the petro engineers.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

12BB, I saw the reply at Flickr and learned a lot about aerobic bacteria. too, as opposed to the anaerobic bacteria my client cultured for "dead spot" cleanup, back in 1989.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 10, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

12bar, it won't get reported that way.

The rightwing echo chamber is excellent at spinning, and they will say that forcing BP to pay will costs jobs. And their minions will eat it up, trust me.

If they are republicans, they are already blaming Obama for the spill anyway, as they do for everything else.

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

We have to remember that this is the same state that elected a man to the Senate (about 15 times) who ran as a segregationist while at the same time fathered an illegitimate child with his black maid. And this is the same man who trained Atwater. They do things just a bit differently down in South Cak.

Posted by: AndyR3 | June 10, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@drindl and ddawd,

Drindl, perhaps you are right. The GOP, in an attempt to keep the story simple, has chosen to aim all the blame at the Obama administration.

ddawd, I am also perplexed as to why the GOP is positioning themselves as defenders of BP. Even if drindl is right as to their motives, I would think this attempt is "too clever, by half". Americans are ALREADY angry at BP. I don't see how GOP defending BP will do anything but irritate and disgust most Americans.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

dawd, they are so used to getting away with murder, and with reflexively ALWAYS siding with industry, what else would they do?

they know their own voters are stupid enough to side with BP if they are given the right story. Fox, Hannity, limbaugh, will all contribute to the PR efforts, and eventually you will see the rightwingers nodding their heads in agreement, like the bobbleheads they are. they'll buy anything their spinmeisters tell them.

as i see it developing, they are saying that the federal government is responsible for allowing BP to operate with faulty equipment/procedures. it is true that MMS was far too cozy with the industry in every way, because everyone there was a bush appointee and lobbyist, and obama should have gotten rid of every single one of them. that's what he gets for trying to be 'bipartisan' every time.

nonetheless, the fault is entirely BP's and Halliburton's for cost-cutting and negligence. taxpayers should bear no cost -- it's an insult to ask us to pay for this crime against our country.

but watch, you will see wingers agreeing, once they are properly brainwashed.

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

John C. Breckenridge had it right 150 years ago: "South Carolina is too small for a nation and too large for a lunatic asylum." I wish the people of the state would grow up.

Posted by: jlhare1 | June 10, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand what the hell the Republicans are thinking by trying to get taxpayers to bail out BP. What is the political upside to this? Hell, what is the philosophical justification for this line of thought? Are they just knee-jerk anti common sense?

Certainly they must be a little aware as to how Americans are feeling about bailing out companies, no?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 10, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Inbred Baptist Huckabee cousins of Fred Phelps.

Posted by: areyousaying | June 10, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Chris- Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, SC politics has always been about as much fun as Illinois. If we open this nationally, the Harold Ford, "Call me!" ad is certainly up there. Kudos to you and your team for the super excelent work on the primaries. My inner geek was well fed and I am finally coming down off the high. A trip to the Beach is well eserved! Thanks!

Posted by: slmdarien | June 10, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris- Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, SC politics has always been about as much fun as Illinois. If we open this nationally, the Harold Ford, "Call me!" ad is certainly up there. Kudos to you and your team for the super excelent work on the primaries. My inner geek was well fed and I am finally coming down off the high. A trip to the Beach is well eserved! Thanks!

Posted by: slmdarien | June 10, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

GOPERS want taxpayers to clean up the spill -- what a surprise.

"Congressional Democrats and the White House are working with different ways to force BP to cover the costs of damages from the Gulf oil spill. But they face stiff opposition from industry...and it seems leading Republicans. In response to a question from TPMDC, House Minority Leader John Boehner backed Tom Donohue, President of the Chamber of Commerce, in saying taxpayers should help pick up the tab.

"I think the people responsible in the oil spill--BP and the federal government--should take full responsibility for what's happening there," Boehner said at his weekly press conference this morning.

On Friday, Donohue made clear that he opposes efforts to stick BP, a member of the Chamber, with the bill. "Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that."

Sorry, Mr. Boner, taxpayers are not responsible for the spill.

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

12Bar,

'Shares in BP have plunged a further 6% amid concern in the City that the beleaguered energy company will cut its dividend to help pay for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.'

http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/corporate-sme/bp-shares-plunge-amid-fears-of-dividend-cut-1.1033970

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The reason that BP's stock price dropped 15% yesterday.

" The latest sell-off came after respected oil industry analyst Matt Simmons told Fortune Magazine that a bankruptcy filing was likely within a month. "They're going to run out of cash from lawsuits, cleanup and other expenses," he said.

"One really smart thing that Obama did was about three weeks ago he forced BP CEO Tony Hayward to put in writing that BP would pay for every dollar of the cleanup. But there isn't enough money in the world to clean up the Gulf of Mexico. Once BP realizes the extent of this, my guess is that they'll panic and go into Chapter 11."
---------------------------------
Today, the stock has bounced back 8%, but obviously investors are heading for the exits on BP.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I can not believe all these dimwits attacking the author because all of his examples are Republican. In case no one else noticed, let me point out that S. Caroline is profoundly Republican, and the actual list of contested elections in the last half century really have been Republican slugfests.

I am assuming that the people complaining that national elections, or elections in other states were not included in the list of dirtiest South Carolina races simply didn't think before posting, because no one capable of reading and writing could really be that dense.

Posted by: reussere | June 10, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

This pattern of being merely present has been apparent almost since the first days of the Obama presidency. He may unveil his mighty teleprompter to help pass what Congress has drafted, but this White House seems strangely disconnected from crafting legislation.

For example, last year's stimulus was largely drafted by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey of Wisconsin, one of Congress's most liberal members. As a result, what passed was a wasteful spending bill rather than an economic growth package.

And faced with a growing mountain of debt, Mr. Obama passed the issue off to an ineffectual commission whose report is due after the election. After growing the size of the federal government by a quarter in just over a year, he now says he'd like agencies to try to find 5% cuts in their budgets.

On other controversies—the attempt of high-ranking aides to entice candidates not to challenge incumbent Democratic senators, the details of cap-and-trade legislation, the resolution of big conflicts between the House and Senate versions of financial regulation, and the drafting of comprehensive immigration reform—Mr. Obama appears to be removed, distant and detached, unwilling or unable to provide the adult supervision Washington requires.

The result is that he receives a 38% approval and 52% disapproval rating on his handling of the economy in the latest Economist/YouGov poll. The GOP enjoys a nine-point lead over Democrats in Rasmussen's latest generic ballot.

This is causing the public to revisit concerns it's had about Mr. Obama since he clinched the Democratic nomination in March 2008. Then the ABC/Washington Post Poll reported that 46% of Americans found him too "inexperienced" to be an effective president, the highest number ever for a major party presidential nominee. In October, just before the election, ABC/Washington Post asked the question again: 44% called Mr. Obama too inexperienced. On issue after issue, Mr. Obama is providing plenty of evidence to validate those concerns.

Americans might hope the president's diffidence when it comes to the hard work of government might mitigate his more extreme liberal tendencies. No such luck. Mr. Obama is an odd mixture of passivity and radicalism. He's happy to be a cheerleader for policies (like nationalizing health care) that many Americans find dangerously liberal.

The country has had another president both weak and radical at the same time: Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Rove


Posted by: bumblingberry | June 10, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Even the dog knows he's a patsy and can be led around. Maybe Bo could figure out how to lead the country.

http://blogs.chron.com/apetschronicle/2010/06/president_demonstrates_his_dog_1.html

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 10, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Dispersants being used on the BP gusher contain oil-eating bacteria, per petroleum engineers:

MarkInAustin1 says:

Do we know that the dispersants being used are not toxic to the anaerobic bacteria we will rely upon to eat the sludge, over time?
------------------------------

Mark,
The dispersants actually have bacteria and enzymes in it to help the bacteria break the oil down.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4551846015/in/photostream/page28/

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

animal house or the white house - hard to tell??

Last week's jobs report tanked the stock market; the president took weeks to assert control of the oil spill that threatens doom on the Gulf Coast -- but at the White House the Gatsby-like parties roll on as if happy days were here again.

Just yesterday, President Obama held another fun-filled White House event, a picnic for Congress members, complete with hot dogs, cold beverages and a fire pit.

All told, during the last seven weeks of spewing oil and rampant unemployment, he has frolicked and danced through three major White House music parties:

* The black-tie tent bash on the White House South Lawn after the state dinner for Mexico's President Felipe Calderón, which featured singer Beyoncé.

* The Paul McCartney hootenanny -- a night of tributes to the former Beatle, which featured the president himself scooting onto the dance floor to join the Jonas Brothers in the long "la-la-la" closing refrain of "Hey Jude." (Plus, of course, McCartney serenading the first lady with "Michelle.")

* The Ford Theater event -- in which the president, taking a break from "kicking a$$" on the oil spill, kicked back and relaxed to the song stylings of one-time "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson, among other B-listers.

It was one thing when the president launched his White House days with a round of Martini Wednesdays, Stevie Wonder concerts, conga-line dancing and Super Bowl parties. That was before the gushing oil and before the employment picture defied the Obama hope-and-change cures.

Now it's different. Now the president's fascination with fun and parties in the midst of crisis has not only reinforced a feeling he's out of touch, but has migrated down the chain of command.

Last weekend, Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held a "super soaker" squirt-gun party at the veep's residence. Everybody ran around giggling and shooting squirt guns at each other. Members of the press covering Biden joined in, to their shame.

And last Sunday, presidential spokesman Tommy Vietor and Obama speechwriter extraordinaire Jon Favreau, both 29 years old, were spotted at a Georgetown bar, stripped to the waist, playing a game of beer pong with a gang of bare-chested buddies. (This game involves throwing a ping-pong ball into cups of beer -- loser drinks beer, winner drinks beer, everybody drinks beer.)

Meanwhile, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell said on the "Morning Joe" program that she talks to White House staffers who are having nightmares about the oil spill. Evidently, Vietor and Favreau aren't O'Donnell's contacts at the White House.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 10, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Washington (CNN) – Three weeks after acknowledging he had misstated his military record during the Vietnam era, a new poll suggests Richard Blumenthal maintains a large lead in the Connecticut Senate race."

Sorry, Beltway pundits...

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Do speak up, Azarkhan... we're waiting.

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Atwater and S.C everyone should check out the documentary Boogie Man about Republican campaign consultant Lee Atwater's career which peaked when his client, George Bush the elder, won the 1988 presidential election.

Interspersed throughout the film were comments which put into context the attacks on “Liberal elites” as well as the power of attack politics to shape elections and how Richard Nixon’s "Southern Strategy" continues to this day to exert a powerful influence on the electorate.

What struck me was after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor he said he “found god” read the new bible that one of his brethren gave him and forgave those he attacked. Yet after his death the bible he claimed he consulted to inspire him to forgive remained in his hospital room, unused still wrapped in cellophane. Maybe the unwrapped bible is the ultimate metaphor for the cynicism and corruption of the last several years where you can pander to the lowest common denominator and play to worst prejudices and anxieties just to get enough of the base out or as

Sen. Moynihan called it in different context “Boob bait for bubbas”.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | June 10, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Azarkhan, if you think this list is biased, please list the dirty Democratic campaigns in SC that CC skipped.

Posted by: Blarg | June 10, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Consider; -Natural oil eating bacteria was successfully used to clean up the ocean and shores after the Exxon Valdez accident. To date, the company which produces up to 200,000 gallons a day of the oil eating bacteria has not had their phone calls returned by Obama's White House or BP. -Kevin Costner has a small fleet of oil cleaning centrifuges at the ready. This device actually recovers lost oil. Again, Obama's White House is dithering and BP will not return Costner's appeals.


Chairman Nero, make that Zero dithers on.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 10, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I suppoose after all the facts about the bumbling Obama, you had to write at least one story to keep your loony base intact cilizza.

I wonder if a story about rampant corruption in chicago is in the queue. How about who is the most corrupt chicago pol of all time? you know, you must remember the guy who is on trial for selling the seat of the guy who is the present ident. The one who won without any scrutiny at all, ever from the press. The one who regulary buys off opponents, contrary to the law. the Liberal. Oh, never mind, I just answered my own question.

Well how about Rahm's BP paid house? It would be difficult to pare it down to five I admit.

Posted by: bumblingberry | June 10, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"And what a surprise, they were all Republicans."

You expected something different from a leftist publication like the Washington Post?

Posted by: Azarkhan | June 10, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite Fix posts too -- history, perspective!

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"And what a surprise, they were all Republicans"

You expected something different from that leftist mouthpiece the Washington Post?
Poor baby, time to go back to sleep.

Posted by: Azarkhan | June 10, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

As someone with a keen interest in political history, I found this to be one of the best Fix posts in a long time.

I knew about the Max Heller race but didn't know that Arthur Finkelstein was involved. He is truly one of the most despicable scumbags ever to take a breath. He will occupy a circle of hell many degrees hotter than Lee Atwater's.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 10, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for this assortment of delectably foul campaigns. The pity is that so many of these tricks worked. What a charming legacy for Atwater.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 10, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I'm stunned. An interesting, informative post on the Fix!

It's just like the early days, before it became all about page views (and therefore, Sarah Palin bought a cup of coffee in Duluth today!, Dems in Distress!, and Republicans Rising!).

Good job, Chris. Keep it up.

Posted by: Bondosan | June 10, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If there is an afterlife, I hope Lee Atwater who clearly slept with the devil in life is enjoying his afterlife in hell.

Posted by: dl49 | June 10, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If there is an afterlife, I hope Lee Atwater who clearly slept with the devil in life is enjoying his afterlife in hell.

Posted by: dl49 | June 10, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

If there is an afterlife, I hope Lee Atwater who clearly slept with the devil in life is enjoying his afterlife in hell.

Posted by: dl49 | June 10, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

it seems to me that out of all this craziness not only in SC but in NV California etc - a competent Dem strategist could come with with a TV add showing all of this craziness with the caption "Is this what you want for America?"

It would hit a nerve with the Repubs and possibly turn the tide for Nov.

Bobby WC

Posted by: bobbywc | June 10, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Nobody could touch Lee Atwater for evil, bsimon, except maybe Alex Castellanos, another R strategist, who made the 'White Hands' ad that won Helms the election -- he had been several points behind Gantt until after the ad, and then he surged. Although this was North Carolina, but same difference.

"Harvey Gantt says the "White Hands" ad was "political genius."

In the new documentary "Senator No," the former Charlotte mayor talks about his 1990 race against U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. Toward the end of the campaign, Helms aired an ad that showed a white pair of hands opening a letter.

"You needed that job, and you were the best qualified, but they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota," an ominous voiceover says in the ad. "Is that really fair? Harvey Gantt says it is."

In an interview years later, Gantt, who is black, says the ad played on a latent fear in the South.

"It dealt with people's worst fears," he said. "In one sense, we thought the ad was political genius. In the other sense, we couldn't believe that someone in 1990 would run an ad like that."

Read more: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/gantt_on_the_white_hands_ad#ixzz0qShpLqJE

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking that too - Clinton and Obama. Although I'd have to say the nastiness probably came after the race was finished and carried over into the other elections. I don't think the race itself was that bad, but Bill Clinton saying that the only reason Obama won was that he was black hit a nerve with a lot of people.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 10, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Awesome topic.

Presumably Clinton v Obama makes the top 10.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 10, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

And what a surprise, they were all Republicans.

Posted by: drindl | June 10, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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