Phil Bailey, a Democratic operative and co-host of irreverent local talk show Pub Politics, is known to frequently poke fun at South Carolina Republicans on Twitter. But the Senate Democratic Caucus political director was forced to shut down his Twitter account Thursday over an ethnically-tinged joke regarding Gov. Nikki Haley’s influence over Wednesday night’s SCGOP hearing for Katrina Shealy.
Shortly after the party’s executive committee voted to reinstate Shealy on the primary ballot at Haley’s urging (a decision which was struck down hours later by the State Elections Commission), Bailey called Haley “the Sikh Jesus. She can resurrect an unlawful campaign from the dead simply by appearing at a SCGOP hearing.” Haley was raised Sikh by her Indian immigrant parents, but said she became a Methodist at the age of 24.
Republicans quickly responded to Bailey’s comment with predictable manufactured outrage. SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly called the tweet “one of the most offensive, bigoted remarks I’ve ever heard” (Really?), lamenting how the Democratic operative “brought shame on our state and offended honorable South Carolinians.” The SCGOP leader and former Amway salesman called for Senate Democrats to fire Bailey and collectively apologize for his joke, warning that “failure to take these steps means that you and the Democratic Party endorse such despicable comments.”
Jeez… Could Connelly’s demand possibly have been any more melodramatic?
While it looks like Bailey will keep his job, The State’s Andy Shain reports that Sen. Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) “reprimanded” Bailey and made him shut down his Twitter account.
In keeping with this story’s social media origin, we’ve collected several reactions to Bailey’s comment from the South Carolina Twitterverse: