What is it with South Carolina?

Kevin Drum, citing reports that the “Barack Obama is a secret Muslim” story has gotten some (very minor) legs is South Carolina and reminding readers that there were some rather ugly smears against John McCain there in 2000, asks, “What is it about South Carolina, anyway?”

This, perhaps predictably, brings forth some spewing of venom and counter-venom among commenters about ignorant Southern hicks and their hatred of the negro.

It strikes me, though, that a much less sociological explanation is more likely (leaving aside the small ‘n’ problem): South Carolina hosts the first significant primary outside the media decampments of Iowa and New Hampshire. Because the courting of voters in the latter two states is so prolonged and “retail,” they are flooded with press for months on end looking for even slightly nuanced variations of the same tired reports. Dirty tricks are simply going to get found out in that environment, probably early enough to backfire. The South Carolina primary, by contrast, is largely ignored by the national media until the week or so before the campaign. It’s simply more fertile ground for skullduggery.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Hal says:

    I think there’s still the fact that the “skull duggery” in question – particularly with respect to the primary with McCain – is racial “skull duggery”, which means that there’s an audience who will be swayed by it. After all, why do “skull duggery” which won’t work and has no audience. It would make no sense.

    Nice try, though.

  2. bob in fl says:

    It strikes me, though, that a much less sociological explanation is more likely

    Seems that way to me, also, but for different reasons. Fox News? broke the ‘story’ back in January. Didn’t know THEY were located in SC. And Politico does NOT know where the emails originated, either. They were sent one from a SC Democrat – doesn’t mean they originated in SC. Everybody from Rove to Hillary is being blamed for them (read the comments from Kevin’s post.)

    This, perhaps predictably, brings forth some spewing of venom and counter-venom among commenters about ignorant Southern hicks and their hatred of the negro.

    Oh, yes. Again I direct you to the comments section at Kevin’s. They also bring out the unconscious bigotry we all have but few of us realize & examine. Obama is too white, or black, or Christian…or something. There is no way he will win.

  3. Christopher says:

    I think you are all forgetting the obvious fact-his name is Muslim. What American kid who is NOT Muslim keeps his Muslim name?

    I hope he does win the dem nomination for prez or VP. It will INSURE a repub victory, thereby saving the country from socialism and from surrender to Islamic terrorism.

    It’s not dirty tricks when it is the Truth.

  4. Hal says:

    I think that last comment pretty much proves the entire point, don’t it?

    You can keep on imagining it doesn’t exist, but clearly it does and they vote republican.

  5. LaurenceB says:

    It’s too bad Christopher doesn’t specify whether or not he lives in South Carolina. That could have been an interesting data point.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh, yes. Again I direct you to the comments section at Kevin’s. They also bring out the unconscious bigotry we all have but few of us realize & examine. Obama is too white, or black, or Christian…or something. There is no way he will win.

    Don’t be to sure, he dose the best Slickwilly impersonation I have ever seen, it was enough before, man I lost a 10 to 1 odds bet
    aganist old Bootybill, but at the time I thought my boss was crazy for giving me them odds.

  7. Hal says:

    That could have been an interesting data point.

    I suppose, but the real issue is that the whole attitude, which the right continuously tells us doesn’t actually exist, is present across the country. It may be more concentrated and prevalent in the south due to historical reasons, but it certainly lives on throughout the country.

    So, it would be interesting, but in the end it’s like worrying about minutiae, and doing so is a recipe for arguing about angles dancing on the head of a pin and the number capable thereof.

  8. Christopher says:

    Why is it bad NOT to want a Muslim as president of the USA? Would YOU want that? Seriously, would you? It’s bad enough he is an extreme left wing liberal, but would you really want a Muslim? At the very least, if he is not a Muslim (a big if) then he is at best a member of a black racist church. And you call republicans racists! You libs are about to nominate him!

  9. Hal says:

    Man, you really make a great object example, Christopher. I’m starting to think you really might be a plant simply to make Kevin’s point. Even down to the whole “libs are really the racists!”.

    Amazing.