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South Carolina Edges Oklahoma to Top BCS Standings

October 20, 2009

In a surprise to many, South Carolina narrowly topped Oklahoma in the first BCS standings released this week. Not, that is, in college football's Bowl Championship Series, but in the Battle of Crazy States.
Oklahoma dropped to the #2 spot after a late South Carolina rally led by two Palmetto State GOP county chairmen who turned to anti-Semitic stereotypes to praise Senator Jim Demint. In their letter Sunday, Bamberg County's Edwin Merwin and James Ulmer of Orangeburg rushed to defend Demint from charges he didn't bring home the bacon by slandering those who don't eat it at all:

There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.

For his part, Senator Demint (who has repeatedly promised to manufacture Obama's "Waterloo") called the op-ed "thoughtless and hurtful."
To be sure, South Carolina is in the midst of a strong run as a national laughingstock. Rep. Joe Wilson disgraced himself and the House when he shouted "you lie" to the President during his recent health care address to Congress. Governor Mark Sanford added "hiking the Appalachian Trail" to the vernacular when he confessed to liaisons with his Argentine soul mate. (Sanford purportedly finished a close second to Barack Obama in the balloting for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to improve relations with South America.) And back in June, South Carolina GOP activist and former head of the elections commission Rusty DePass responded on Facebook to the escape of a gorilla from Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo by proclaiming, "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's [Obama] ancestors - probably harmless."
But for sheer political dementia, Oklahoma remains a powerful contender. Already one of the few states which sought to mandate ultrasound procedures for women seeking an abortion, a new law in the Sooner State will require clinics to collect and publish patients' personal details beginning November 1st. As Fox News reported, the Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act will trample privacy rights and intimidate women by compelling:

The Oklahoma Department of Health to publish data online on all abortion patients -- including the woman's race, marital status, financial circumstances, years of education, number of previous pregnancies, and her reason for seeking the abortion. Doctors who fail to provide such information will be criminally penalized and stripped of their medical licenses.

That extremism is in keeping with Oklahoma's Congressional delegation. Before obstetrician-turned Senator Tom Coburn became John Ensign's C-Street marriage counselor, he advocated the death penalty for abortion providers. (At last month's Values Voters Summit, Coburn's chief of staff Michael Schwartz declared, "all pornography is homosexual pornography.") Meanwhile, his colleague Jim Inhofe famously proclaimed global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" prior to endorsing the Obama birther movement. In that he was joined by Rep. John Sullivan, who charged that the President, "a guy that can't even show a long-form birth certificate," is "creating an enemies list of people who oppose this miserable health care plan." (Oklahoma ranks next-to-last in the state health care performance.)
It's no wonder only 3% o Oklahoma students could pass a basic civics exam.
Back on the college gridiron, the South Carolina Gamecocks and Oklahoma Sooners are already out of the running for the BCS national championship. But while their teams won't be in any of the BCS bowl games in January, you can rest assured Oklahoma and South Carolina will be fixtures your television screens as they continue their Battle of Crazy States.
UPDATE: South Carolina pads its lead, with word last week from The Post and Courier that the White House is wary of having First Lady Michelle Obama travel to the Palmetto State.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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