May 8, 2013

Bad News For Peter Beinart: Calls for Dems to Denounce Harpootlian’s Ongoing Nikki Haley Insults, Gets Nothing

At the Daily Beast on Sunday, liberal Peter Beinart called on Democrats and liberals to “strongly denounce” former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian’s insult campaign against Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, or else “Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse.”

It’s too early to test Beinart’s long-term prediction (such bigotry is bad enough already), but the denunciations he desires are nowhere to be found, even as Harpootlian has doubled and tripled down on his original wish to see Haley sent “back to wherever the hell she came from.” Meanwhile, the establishment press has virtually ignored Harpootlian’s unhinged harangues.

First, a bit of Beinart (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Yes, Democrats Can Be Racist

If Dick Harpootlian were a Republican, liberals would be jumping over one another to call him a bigot. In 2002 Harpootlian called Lindsey Graham, then running for a South Carolina Senate seat, “light in the loafers,” thus fueling a nasty whispering campaign about Graham’s sexual orientation. Last Friday he struck again, telling activists to “send Nikki Haley”—South Carolina’s Indian-American governor—“back to wherever the hell she came from.”

But Harpootlian isn’t a Republican. Until he retired last Saturday, he was chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He made his comments about Haley at the party’s annual dinner, just before Joe Biden took the stage. And as a result, the liberal response has been muted. So far, neither Biden nor Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, whose candidacy for a South Carolina congressional seat has gained national attention, has repudiated Harpootlian’s comments. And for now, at least, conservatives are just about the only ones asking them to.

That’s a problem, because unless offenses like Harpootlian’s are slapped down hard, Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse. The reason is simple: the Republican Party is getting more diverse. Stung by its disastrous electoral showings among Americans who are neither white, Anglo, straight, nor male, the GOP has finally begun to broaden its candidate base.

Finally, Peter? Bobby Jindal has been a national or state elected official for eight years, and in politics for two decades. The party’s four female governors (AZ, NM, OK, and SC) have all been in office at least two years. Wake up, bud.

Also, Beinart’s “as a result, the liberal response has been muted” either makes no sense, implies that Joe Biden was fine with Harpootlian’s insult, or infers that Dems have decided they can’t criticize the Vice President for letting Harpootlian’s insult slide because, well, Dems can’t ever be seen criticizing Biden either directly or indirectly and denounce Harpootlian.

Harpootlian hasn’t really backed down, as noted by National Review’s Andrew Johnson at The Corner, and virtually no one else:

Former South Carolina Democratic party chairman Dick Harpootlian today attempted to clarify remarks he made Friday at the party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner when he assured the audience that the Democratic challenger to GOP governor Nikki Haley would “send her back to wherever the hell she came from.”

Many understood Harpootlian’s barb to be directed at Haley’s ethnicity — she is the Indian-American daughter of Sikh immigrants. The longtime Democratic activist immediately waved off such criticism, and today told MSNBC, “All I’m suggesting is she needs to go back to being an accountant in a dress store rather than being this fraud of a governor that we have.”

Haley, who was raised in Bamberg, S.C., previously worked in her parents’ clothing business, Exotica International, and took over the bookkeeping there at the age of 13.

Sure, Dick. That’s all Nikki Haley was at Exotica, a bean counter (to be clear, a noble line of work in and of itself).

Not true, of course.

According to A&E Networks

She attended local schools and graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. Haley went on to work for her mother’s upscale clothing business, Exotica International, helping to make it a multimillion-dollar company.

In 1998, Haley was named to the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, and in 2003, to that of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

… In a June 2010 Newsweek article, Haley was quoted speaking about breaking racial and gender barriers: “The fact that I happen to be an Indian female, of course that brings a new dynamic,” she said. “But what I hope it does is cause a conversation in this state where we no longer live by layers, but we live by philosophies.”

Dick Harpootlian and Democrats apparently have no interest in such a “conversation.”

Harpootlian has a last name which makes determining the degree to which his odious utterances about Haley receive establishment press coverage pretty easy. As of 9 a.m., a search on his last name returns nothing at the Associated Press, nothing recent at the New York Times, and nothing recent at the LA Times. Even the Politico has lost interest since its May 4 entry.

Part of the reason why Harpootlian and his ilk feel they can rant on without being accountable is that the press lets them go with virtually no coverage. As Beinart himself said, if a Republican said such things, the treatment would be totally different.

Cross-posted at


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