It was refreshing to travel to South Carolina, the eighth most conservative state in the country.... Yeah, I know, I figured it would score higher than #8, too, but that's what Gallup says its surveys find.
The campaign signs don't just identify candidates as "Republican" but as "conservative Republican." Segregationist Strom Thurmond's child (one of the white ones) is running for Congress, and so is a weirdly ruby-lipped, dewlappy retired lieutenant colonel whose slogan is "Don't hope for a better America... demand it!" They're both up against the child (white, judging from the pictures) of a former governor. Chuck Berry once wrote, and Keith Richards frequently performed, a song about the last one's father (or maybe it was the grandfather).
And then there's a woman named Katherine Jenerette, whose slogan is "Fight as Tough as You Talk," which sounds like a bar challenge. Indeed, it sounds exactly like the bar challenge attributed to ex-PM Gordon Brown by the Guardian in a magnificent April Fool's joke ("Step Outside, Posh Boy").
Ms. Jenerette's name brings to mind another South Carolina politician, the bribe-taking one who had sex on the Capitol steps (not with them, so far as is publicly known). Still, Ms. Jenerette's enthusiasm for Random Capitalization and run-on sentences really ought to compensate for the unfortunate echo of her name:
Between an out of control Federal Government in Washington D.C. and a Good Old Boys Club here at home, we need to Stand Our Ground and get Government out of our day-to-day lives so we can retain our God-given freedoms and businesses can grow, and people can get jobs and hold on to their hard earned money without being taxed to death and more, so I'm asking for your vote June 8th...
Doesn't it make you wonder what's more than death? It will be interesting to see if her Strong Philosophical Opposition to government interference with BP's day-to-day management of its oil wells turns out to be a winning electoral strategy. (What? Surely you're not suggesting she might make exceptions to her Philosophy? That wouldn't be as Tough as She Talks.)
If we were to apply Ms. Jenerette's political philosophy to the regulation of violent crime in American society, what would we end up with? We'd get government out of our day-to-day lives, so that, for instance, men could discipline their wives and children as they see fit. We'd get government out of the business of regulating sexual relations, too. If history is any guide, murder ranks high among traditional freedoms. Such a criminal justice system would not attempt to "correct" imbalances in power by enlisting the state on the side of the weak against the strong.
A criminal justice system that put Ms. Jenerette's political philosophy into operation would bend over backwards to excuse the killing of human beings, for example by requiring self-defense instructions to be given on minimal evidence. It would work hard to prevent government from interfering in sexual relations, for example by preventing juries from learning what a raped child said when, for a few moments, she felt unthreatened.
In short, a criminal justice system based on Ms. Jenerette's 19th century survival-of-the-fittest political philosophy would function exactly like New Mexico's 21st century criminal justice system. The refreshing thing about being in South Carolina is that the politicians there talk openly about the principles that government officials here merely put into action.