Reid Credits Obama with bin Laden’s Death

Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
May 2, 2011, 7:46 a.m.

Ex-Sen. Rick San­tor­um (R-PA) will be the guest at IA state Rep. Jeff Kaufmann’s (R) “third an­nu­al bar­be­cue” on 10/13.

San­tor­um “will at­tend along with a host of oth­er can­did­ates,” Kaufmann said 10/11 (Jac­obs, Des Moines Re­gister, 10/11).

Earli­er in the day on 10/13 San­tor­um “will be the Key­note Speak­er for a lunch­eon” be­ne­fit­ing Linn Eagles, an or­gan­iz­a­tion com­mit­ted to fur­ther­ing a strong GOP pres­ence in Linn Co.

San­tor­um con­tin­ues his IA swing on 10/14, be­gin­ning with a “vo­lun­teer rally” at the Scott Co. Vic­tory Headquar­ters in Dav­en­port. Later that day, San­tor­um will at­tend a lunch­eon for state House can­did­ate Paul Kern (R).

San­tor­um de­parts IA for an­oth­er key ‘12 primary state, ar­riv­ing 10/15 in NH to “give a key­note ad­dress at Corner­stone-Ac­tion’s An­nu­al Stew­ard of the Fam­ily” in Manchester (re­lease, 10/11).

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Race is no longer as overt a factor in South Car­o­lina polit­ics as it was when Strom Thur­mond, who is me­mori­al­ized in a statue loom­ing over the state Cap­it­ol com­plex here, quit the Demo­crat­ic Party for the GOP after Con­gress passed the land­mark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Yet race re­mains em­bed­ded in the state’s polit­ic­al DNA. The role of race in South Car­o­lina polit­ics has moved far bey­ond the civil-rights era’s ques­tions of ex­pli­cit dis­crim­in­a­tion. Today, wheth­er openly dis­cussed or not, race is cent­ral to the clash between Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans over taxes and spend­ing. In that way, far more than in the days of the back­lash against in­teg­ra­tion, the state pre­views what na­tion­al polit­ics will in­creas­ingly re­semble if it con­tin­ues along its cur­rent tra­ject­ory.

The dom­in­ant fact of South Car­o­lina polit­ics is ra­cial po­lar­iz­a­tion. In the 2008 gen­er­al elec­tion, Barack Obama won 96 per­cent of the state’s Afric­an-Amer­ic­an vote, but John Mc­Cain car­ried 73 per­cent of its white voters. That wasn’t an an­om­aly rooted in Obama’s race: In 2004, George W. Bush won an even high­er per­cent­age of the state’s white voters (78) against John Kerry. And in the 2010 gov­ernor’s race, In­di­an-Amer­ic­an Nikki Haley car­ried 70 per­cent of whites in the Re­pub­lic­an’s nar­row vic­tory over Vin­cent Sheheen, a cent­rist white Demo­crat­ic state sen­at­or. Sheheen, mean­while, won 94 per­cent of the black vote. In Sat­urday’s crit­ic­al GOP pres­id­en­tial primary, whites will likely cast more than 95 per­cent of the bal­lots (al­though they rep­res­ent only about two-thirds of the state’s pop­u­la­tion).

Some­times the two parties in South Car­o­lina col­lide over is­sues that dir­ectly in­flame ra­cial ten­sions, as they did in 2000 over the dis­play of the Con­fed­er­ate flag. The le­gis­la­tion that Haley signed last May tough­en­ing voter-iden­ti­fic­a­tion re­quire­ments — which the Obama Justice De­part­ment has moved to block as ra­cially dis­crim­in­at­ory — has pro­duced sim­il­ar, if less ex­plos­ive, col­li­sions.

But mostly, ra­cial con­flicts in state polit­ics now play out through the parties’ dif­fer­ences over the role of gov­ern­ment. Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans and oth­er minor­it­ies over­whelm­ingly be­lieve that they need an act­iv­ist gov­ern­ment in­vest­ing in ser­vices, such as edu­ca­tion, job train­ing, and health care, to help them as­cend in­to the middle class. Most of South Car­o­lina’s whites are com­fort­able with a gov­ern­ing mod­el that lim­its taxes while in­vest­ing far less than most states in pub­lic ser­vices. “There is a fun­da­ment­al dif­fer­ence in at­ti­tudes about the role of gov­ern­ment between whites and Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans,” says vet­er­an South Car­o­lina GOP strategist War­ren Tomp­kins.

The Re­pub­lic­an skep­ti­cism about gov­ern­ment here, as in Wash­ing­ton, mani­fests most im­port­antly as un­waver­ing op­pos­i­tion to new taxes. Res­ist­ing tax in­creases “is the one is­sue that uni­fies Re­pub­lic­ans,” says GOP state Sen. John Courson. “It is the chew­ing gum, or glue, that keeps Re­pub­lic­ans to­geth­er.” Courson, who chairs the Sen­ate Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, ac­know­ledges that com­mit­ment to low taxes comes with a cost, par­tic­u­larly for the state’s pub­lic-school stu­dents, nearly half of whom are now minor­it­ies. “The rev­en­ue stream has not been there to ad­equately fund pub­lic or high­er edu­ca­tion in South Car­o­lina,” he says flatly. But, like oth­ers in his party, Courson ar­gues that the an­swer is not to in­crease rev­en­ue but to trim waste in the edu­ca­tion sys­tem and to find sav­ings else­where, par­tic­u­larly in Medi­caid for the poor.

As Obama does na­tion­ally, Demo­crats in South Car­o­lina of­fer the coun­ter­ar­gu­ment that the state can­not at­tract good-pay­ing jobs without in­vest­ing more in edu­ca­tion, train­ing, and in­fra­struc­ture. That case helped Sheheen un­ex­pec­tedly win the state Cham­ber of Com­merce’s en­dorse­ment in the gubernat­ori­al race last year.

Yet in press­ing that ar­gu­ment, Demo­crats face two huge head­winds among South Car­o­lina’s whites. One is the en­dur­ing be­lief that too many gov­ern­ment pro­grams be­ne­fit the in­dol­ent — a group that in many minds is dis­pro­por­tion­ately com­posed of minor­it­ies. “It’s all race, it’s just that simple,” says John Land, the (white) state Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er. The second prob­lem is a sharp right­ward shift among white seni­ors, who see little per­son­al be­ne­fit in the edu­ca­tion or in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments that Demo­crats fa­vor. “They feel dif­fer­ently about pay­ing taxes for kids they don’t have any­more,” says Demo­crat­ic state Rep. Wil­li­am Cly­burn, who chairs the le­gis­lat­ive black caucus.

In all these ways, the state crys­tal­lizes the dy­nam­ics shap­ing the na­tion­al de­bate. Na­tion­al polls show that amid tough times, most whites (es­pe­cially older and blue-col­lar whites) are harden­ing in skep­ti­cism of gov­ern­ment, while most minor­it­ies con­tin­ue to view it as es­sen­tial to their op­por­tun­ity. Mitt Rom­ney presents that back­lash as op­pos­i­tion to an “en­ti­tle­ment so­ci­ety,” but that’s too broad. Sur­veys in­dic­ate that most Re­pub­lic­ans (par­tic­u­larly the white seni­ors flock­ing to the party) are adam­ant about pre­serving the biggest en­ti­tle­ments, So­cial Se­cur­ity and Medi­care; what they op­pose is trans­fer pay­ments to people they view as un­deserving.

It’s that sen­ti­ment Newt Gin­grich stokes when he de­rides Obama as “the food-stamp pres­id­ent.” It al­most doesn’t mat­ter wheth­er Gin­grich is de­lib­er­ately send­ing coded ra­cial sig­nals. As long as the ar­gu­ment between the parties re­volves so cent­rally around gov­ern­ment’s role — and whites and minor­it­ies di­vide so sharply in their at­ti­tudes to­ward gov­ern­ment­al act­iv­ism — the ra­cial po­lar­iz­a­tion that defines South Car­o­lina polit­ics will in­creas­ingly drive our na­tion­al cam­paigns as well.

What We're Following See More »
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
13 hours ago

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
17 hours ago

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

IN 2014
Pentagon Warned Flynn Not To Accept Foreign Payments
19 hours ago
One-Week Spending Bill On The Table
19 hours ago

Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

White House Proposes New Tax Plan
1 days ago

The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.