South Carolina has a new embarrassment: Andre Bauer, the lieutenant-governor — and the man who is running to replace Mark Sanford as governor:
Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer drew a comparison to “feeding stray animals” during a speech about people on government assistance, “babies having babies,” and parents whose children are on free and reduced-price lunch.
Bauer, who’s running for the Republican nomination for governor, made his remarks during a town hall meeting in Fountain Inn that included state lawmakers and about 115 residents.
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,” Bauer said.
It actually gets worse from there. Read the whole article.
You do have to give the guy credit, though. Today he told CNN, “I wish I had used a different metaphor.”
On the other hand, comparing poor people to an animal that a lot of people love might not be so bad, eh?
“I never intended to tie people to animals,” he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: “If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?”
Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is “not against animals.”
As discouraging as it is that major political figures can still think like this in 2010, it’s also heartening that such remarks cannot, any longer, be made without attracting immediate condemnation. In this case, even some local Republicans are publicly rebuking Bauer:
Rep. J. Todd Rutherford, a Richland County Democrat who said he is a friend of Bauer, said the remarks would be disappointing coming from anyone.“It appears crystal clear that Jesus has left the Republican Party,” he said. “The only comparison between animals and people that should ever be done is to say that they are all God’s children.”
Rep. Harry Cato, a Greenville Republican, said it sounds like Bauer “has gone overboard.”
“We do have a responsibility as adults, as Christians, to take care of the children,” Cato said. “They’re here, and it’s not their fault that they were not born into loving parents or a life that does not provide for them. Sometimes parents are just down on their luck.”