Thought I should share with you this story by my friend and former colleague Aaron Sheinin, writing in the Atlanta paper. I think this is officially the umpteenth story about South Carolina to put “down and dirty” in the headline.
Here’s the good part:
Brad Warthen, who spent 22 years writing and editing political news at The State newspaper in Columbia, said South Carolina voters are typically “boring” when it comes to presidential contests.
“Even though we are the state that seceded first and would do it again and all that kind of stuff, there is this anti-establishment, anti-government, hyperindividualism thing, but when it comes right down to it, we kind of vote for the ‘boss,’” said Warthen, now a public relations executive who still writes about politics on his personal blog.
The 2012 cycle seemed different, though, until about mid-December, Warthen said. Perry leaped to the top of the polls after joining the race in August. Then it was Georgia’s Herman Cain who enjoyed front-runner status while Gingrich held that role from late November through mid-December.
“Finally, it’s like, ‘Oh, well, we know we’re going to nominate Romney, let’s just get on with it,’” Warthen said…
After I gave that “boss” quote to Aaron, I told him I had been about to say, “in the end we kind of vote for the massa,” playing a bit on our history. But I had decided against it, partly because people might have found the reference confusing. He said he thought that was a good call.
(Here’s what I was thinking when I thought of “massa.” I was thinking of all the poor whites who got suckered into fighting the Civil War by the massas back then. Nowadays, while those same whites’ descendants love to get excited about fringe candidates, particularly the ones who appeal to their sense of personal freedom — which was the same thing the slaveowners played on in 1860 — in the end they go with the candidate who looks most like the master of the plantation. See? People wouldn’t have gotten all that. They would have thought I was saying something about black voters, and gone, “Huh?”)