We love to see politicians screw up, especially during election campaigns. When they say something stupid (which is usually revealing) we live off that gaff for weeks – sometimes forever.
Mitt Romney’s father, George, was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1967 when he made the ill-fated comment that his initial support for the war in Vietnam was due to “brainwashing” by U.S. officials.
Crash followed by burn.
There was George Bush’s “read my lips” in 1988 and Howard Dean’s “Yeeeeeeee Ahhhhhhhhh” in 2004.
And, although it caused neither crash nor burn, Barack Obama is still chastised for his 2008 “clinging to guns and religion” statement about Pennsylvanians while fund-raising in California. John Murtha called his own constituents rednecks and racists, and, more unforgivably, said Marines in Iraq “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”
And now, South Carolina Republican Congressional candidate Christina Jeffrey: “We’re inbred like all South Carolinians,” she told the Rocky Mountain News. “I did my duty by marrying an Iowan to improve the gene pool.” Further, like Obama’s statement, Jeffrey’s was made out-of-state.
That’s enough to kill her candidacy in South Carolina. Although the Up State isn’t as patrician as other parts of South Carolina, her slam of the citizenry is likely enough to offend just about every native voter in the district.
Interestingly, she was born in Fort Bliss, Texas to a military man born in South Carolina (and Citadel graduate). And, I can’t find any cute little derogatory remarks about her potential constituency when she ran for Newt Gingrich’s seat.
Controversy and Christina are not strangers. Because she was a Gingrich compatriot before he was elected to Congress, Ms. Jeffrey was appointed to be the House Historian when Newt became Speaker. Soon after the appointment, she was fired because of a very controversial review she wrote. In evaluating a program called “Facing History and Ourselves” in the mid-80’s, Jeffrey said “The program gives no evidence of balance or objectivity. The Nazi point of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view and is not presented, nor is that of the Ku Klux Klan.” The statement was made specific to historical perspectives on the Holocaust.
Ms. Jeffrey has denied the implications of anti-Semitism and claims she was “fired by the press,” but, in my opinion, when it comes to the Holocaust, neither the Reich nor the Klan have valid points of view.
How much of Ms. Jeffrey’s comments can be written off as “out of context,” “misinterpreted,” “twisted by detractors,” “mistakes in syntax,” “misstatement” or other qualifiers?
Conservatives haven’t forgiven Obama for his “clinging” comment, nor should they/we or anyone else dismiss either remarks by Ms. Jeffrey. South Carolina has plenty of problems already, a number of them with her politicians.
Words have teeth and Christina Jeffrey has taken a bite out of her own candidacy.