Racist comment may actually help Haley’s poll numbers

From ‘Eva Braun’ to ‘back to wherever hell’, Haley enduring taunts gamely.

American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: She was born in South Carolina to Sikh parents who emigrated from India, was a businesswoman before she became the Governor, but somehow the barbs, questions and innuendoes about her race and ethnicity have never gone away.

Last month, an editor of Time magazine asked South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in an interview, if she would tip a Sikh cabbie in New York more, to which she replied sagely that she tip all drivers the same.

If that question was a veiled reference to her Indian roots, and perhaps asked with an intention of getting a masala-laden answer, then the brash and arrogant comment of South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian, who said last Friday that he intends to help send Haley “back to wherever the hell she came from,” was the more ugly kind of racist rhetoric that people of color have faced in this country, no matter how much they have accomplished in their life.

The boorish comment by Harpootlian, who was a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama, came at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Friday, where he introduced the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheehen, who must be ruing the controversial comment more than anybody else as his campaign is in danger of being derailed by it.

Haley herself has not spoken about the comment yet, but a spokesman termed it appropriately as the “lowest common denominator.”

The Daily Caller reported that Harpootlian defended his remark, stating that he does not mean to help Sheehen send Haley back to India, but rather back to her South Carolina hometown.

“Lexington County.. she was born in Bamberg [South Carolina] and lived in Lexington. Anybody implying anything different is attempting to feign insult,” Harpootlian said.

Harpootlian has a history of making provocative and at times racially-charged statements, and has taken a cheap pot shot at Haley in the past too.

Last September, Harpootlian compared Haley to Adolf Hitler’s love Eva Braun, saying, in regard to Haley conducting an interview in a basement, that Haley was “down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.”

One thing is for sure: Haley may be hurt by the taunts and comments against her race, but she must be relishing the prospect of voters scorning the Democratic Party for attacking the Governor, and helping her win the poll race.

To contact the author, e-mail:editor@americanbazaaronline.com

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