I’m sure this will do wonders for the GOP’s outreach efforts with minority voters. Rusty DePass, described as a longtime Republican Party activist in South Carolina, stirred up a bit of a media controversy when he mused in a Facebook posting that a gorilla escaping from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia was probably related to Michelle Obama.
“I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless,” DePass wrote (he later confirmed to a TV newsman that he was referring to Obama). DePass also said his comment was “clearly in jest.”
The DePass comment was very much in the spirit of Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland’s remark last summer that Barack Obama was too “uppity” to be running for president. It’s a theme that’s been echoed for more than a century among the white segregationist types who still play a large role in Southern politics: if we don’t keep those negroes in their place, they’ll get the crazy idea they can get elected president (or sit next to our daughters in integrated schools).
I don’t know how much attention DePass’s remark will get in the media next week, but I’ll make this prediction: conservative blogger Erick Erickson will try to argue that since many Democrats referred to George W. Bush as “Chimpy,” that’s proof positive that DePass is really a leftist Democrat. It’s going to be difficult to make a convincing argument that a prominent member of the Republican Party establishment in South Carolina is actually a left-wing Democrat, but I’m confident Erick is up to the task.