South Carolina's Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who is running for Governor of the state on the Republican ticket, said a bunch of monumentally stupid and ignorant things that would shock even the most cynical person at a luncheon the other day, like:
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
Let's be absolutely clear, here: Bauer's remarks are not appalling because they're offensive or "un-PC" or a Biden-esque "oops!" They're reprehensible because this man who currently holds office in South Carolina and is making a bid to run the state is demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that he doesn't possess even the very most basic understanding of the biggest problem in his state, which is poverty. Deep, ingrained, historical-legacy style poverty. The kind of poverty where, forget about college, nobody in your family has ever owned a telephone or a car or a TV or known how to read. The kind of rural poverty that at its worst is invisible to most Americans, because the only way to see it is to accidentally get off I-95 at a no-gas-station exit and drive twenty or so miles from the highway. That is what this still, in 2010, very segregated state is dealing with. And then their Lt. Governor said something even worse:
"I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina. You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I'll show you the worst test scores, folks. It's there, period."
Yeah, no shit. The fact that Bauer is presenting the correlation between poverty and low test scores as his own magical "aha" discovery and not something every high school student who has ever taken a sociology class understands should strike nothing less than mortal fear in the hearts of anyone who lives in or cares about the state of South Carolina. Poverty, especially of the Southern kind, is an extremely complicated and difficult and frustrating issue, and so far nobody, Democrat or Republican, has been able to solve it. But South Carolina deserves a leader who at least knows what it is.
Bauer: Needy 'Owe Something Back' for Aid [Greenville News]