Democrat State Senator Vincent Sheheen put his campaign for governor to death yesterday. After reciting the usual political blah, blah, blah about his opponent, incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley (R) during a stump speech in Florence, South Carolina, Sheheen chanted “We’re gonna escort whore out the door.”
He immediately repeated the line, substituting the word “whore” with “her.”
I’m not one to criticize candidates for verbal fumbles on the campaign trail. Emotion, exhaustion and, in Sheheen’s case, a need to push the polls up, tend to weigh on folks while they’re speaking. They flub their lines. It happens and it normally doesn’t mean anything. This time, however, I think there’s more to it than strangled syntax.
First, the phrase itself is both rhythmic and rhyming. “Escort [the] whore out the door.”
It indicates Vincent Sheheen has said this before. Certainly in private, but the familiarity with which Sheheen almost sang it suggests the Florence speech was not the first time that lilting verse has rolled off his tongue. In the manner in which the line is constructed and was delivered, “We’re gonna escort her out the door” isn’t natural.
Second, and maybe most telling, is Sheheen’s attitude after he said it. He laughed. He grinned that boyish grin that makes him so endearing. He pointed to folks in the crowd and, responding to an inaudible comment from the audience, said “Listen, you gotta tell the truth…”
After making not just a gaffe, but using a slur, Sheheen was down right festive. No, “I apologize for that,” or “I’m sorry.” No, he kept going, laughing with the folks and enjoying – enjoying – the moment.
As the folks at RedState.com put it:
Vincent Sheheen probably did not mean to call Nikki Haley a wh*re. But he most certainly meant it. And probably has said so, in a more private setting that this one. And before you tell me that that’s unfair… remember something about that crowd: they ate that line up.
This certainly doesn’t diminish Sheheen’s platform or his differences with Gov. Haley, but it does show an inexcusable disrespect for women. Sheheen’s dumbassery would not have happened had his opponent been a man. Well, at least not THIS bit of dumbassery.
There are many folks in South Carolina who will see nothing wrong with what Sheheen said and will vote for him anyway. They believe in his platform and disagree with Haley. Fine. Others will vote Democrat no matter who runs. What isn’t “fine” is a man who wants to be governor who is so partisan that he, apparently, sinks to the discourteous and crude to characterize those who disagree with him.
Who’s the real whore?