I love the people of South Carolina. I'll have a chance to talk to the folks down in Columbia on the airwaves on Friday (the anniversary of 9-11.) Yet, I have to ask.
What the heck is going on in South Carolina? Have the politicians lost their sense of political bearings?
First, we hear about a spontaneous governor, taking his achy-breaky heart down to the land of forbidden loves (at least for him.) That situation - supposedly a "personal matter" - still tears apart the Republican Party in the Carolinas, particularly as more than 60 Republicans from the Palmetto State are asking for Governor Sanford's resignation...again.
Now, we get Congressman Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, making a picture-made moment for the Democrats as they attempt to craft Republican opposition to the universal health care directive as mean-spirited, angry, and misguided.
Now, people will take the line that Wilson's blurt was a prime example of the venom and racism directed at this president. After all, Wilson is from the state of South Carolina and we know that everyone from the South is racist, right?
If anyone goes with that angle, they are not only going off on a tangent, but they are going off of a cliff as they miss the point.
Wilson and Sanford are high profile Republicans from a solid red state - South Carolina. To have these two in lights for all of the wrong reasons only allows for the Left to continue to do the exact thing that has plagued the GOP for years now. With their actions, they give the Democrats the paint brush to draft the image and perception of the Republican Party as a party of fact-bending hypocrites (see Sanford during the Clinton affair in the 90s), apathetic policymakers (again, see Sanford, this time with the stimulus funds as South Carolinians suffered earlier in the year), disrespectful malcontents in the worse of scenarios (see last night and Congressman Wilson.)
It's almost as if they - on behalf of Republicans - are trying to throw the game here, even as Democrats can't get out of their own way.
Even with the best-speaking politicians, being spontaneous often leads to being apologetic later on; (even President Obama comes to mind with this "guns and religion" comment last year, along with other speaking snafus.) If the GOP is going to rally past this South Carolina stumbling blocks and the president's brilliant-sounding speech (that, to date, has shifted some polls), it must continue to stick to plans and hope that rogue politicians supporting USC would remain removed from the media's cameras or microphones...
...especially if they are willing to prove the wrong perceptions or points to the American people.