This past summer, ABC's Jake Tapper reported that Republican strategist Karl Rove levied this slight at Barack Obama: "Even if you never met him, you know this guy," Rove reportedly said "He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by." Rove was doing his best to propagate the idea that an African-American man who was raised by a single mother and by his grandparents and spent time working as a community organizer in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods was some sort of elitist.
I'm not sure what country club Rove envisioned this scenario playing out at, but it probably wasn't the Forest Lake Club in Columbia, South Carolina. The state's current Republican Party chairman, Katon Dawson, who officially threw his hat into the ring for consideration for the Republican National Committee chairmanship today, thoughtfully resigned his long-time membership in the white-only country club, The State's Clif LeBlanc reported back in September.
LeBlanc also reported that, "Dawson said he began working to change the club's admissions practices in mid-August..." The club's deed identifies it as a white-only establishment. That's all well and good of Mr. Dawson, but his timing is a little odd. After belonging to the club for about 12 years, he chose to seek to alter club's practices a mere few weeks before the Republican National Convention at the end of August. According to LeBlanc, this is about the time that Dawson made public his intent to consider a run for the Republican National Committee chairmanship.
Now, Dawson's concern for equality might strike some as calculated political posturing and others will regard it as a testament to the man's true good character. Whichever the case, I don't know how to better reinforce the idea that the Republican Party has become almost exclusively a regional party of southern white people than to install in its chairmanship a man who belonged for many years to an all-white country club, as if the results of the 2008 election itself weren't enough. The southern stereotypes will come fast and furious.
Boss Hogg, where art thou?