GREENVILLE, S.C. — Television news is inherently a team sport. Reporters are nothing without their photographer partners, and the visual stories created in the field are nothing without the teams of producers who craft them into something larger — a newscast, a series, a documentary.
One of the most high-functioning and family-like teams on which I’ve played was in my early twenties, in South Carolina. It was on that team that I was first given a chance to cover politics with regularity. And South Carolina is a place that’s shaped my perspective in indescribable ways.
I moved away five years ago after a couple memory-packed years here, and hadn’t returned until yesterday.
South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, with whom I’ve been fascinated for many years, is now making national headlines (again). If you’re unfamiliar with the guy I used to cover, this is what I wrote of him in 2006 :
“SC Lt. Guvnah Andre Bauer is a guy who uses the word “super”, but not ironically. He’s a guy who likes to drive fast and fly planes, and he gets into trouble for both. He’s a guy who barely survived physical death… and now he’s barely survived political death… more than once. I don’t know quite what to make of him. I can’t help but wonder if he’s Powder. Remember Powder? Maybe, like Powder, Bauer was struck by lightning before he was born and now he has mysterious powers. Only Bauer’s power is the ability to come back from near self destruction.”
Which is to say, he’ll likely recover from this:
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.