Here’s the problem with South Carolina politics, folks, and it has nothing to do with philandering governors, heckle-happy congressmen, and elected officials who may or may not be living in the closet.

It’s that the Bible-beating Upstate has too much sway when it comes to how this state is run.

They’re different than us down here in the Lowcoutnry. They don’t have the same values.

For starters, they believe it’s a sin to drink a Bloody Mary at brunch. Hell, they even think that brunch is a sin. And you know what that means? All that carousing and cuddling you did the night before, the stuff that makes brunch not only possible but absolutely necessary, well, that’s about as sinful as sinful gets.

Simply put: The Upstate does not know how to have a good time. Not on Sunday. Not on Saturday. Not on any given goshdarn day of the week.

And not only does the god-fearing Upstate have its hands on our two U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, but it looks like our backwoods brothers just might have their hands on the governor’s office come 2011.

In a quest to shore up support in the S.C. GOP and to secure his lead in the race for the Republican nomination for the governor’s office, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, an Upstate native, has now joined hands with the forces of teetotalism and abstinence-only living: Bob Jones University.

In a press release from the Barrett campaign last week, Gresham announced that Bob Taylor, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Bob Jones University, and state Rep. Wendy Nanney have not only endorsed Gresham for gov, but they will serve on his Faith and Family Coalition Steering Committee. (Nanney is a Bob Jones graduate and Dr. Taylor’s daughter.)

“Lots of people talk about putting faith and family first, but Gresham actually does it,” said Taylor. “His faith is the foundation of his ideology, and the best interests of our families is his only interest. At a time when South Carolina is facing such uncertainty, we need a leader who relies on the certainty of Christian-conservative principles.”

Wendy Nanney added, “When I was considering who to support for governor, I wanted to choose a candidate that my children could look up to …”

Faith and family values? A role model for children? What is this nonsense? How did we come to this place where South Carolina politicians feel the need to include such claptrap in their press releases? Seriously, can you imagine Strom or Fritz ever signing off on this crap? Fritz was a fearless shit-talker (he once called Upstate Congressman Bob Inglis a “goddamn skunk”) while Strom bedded every leggy woman in the state, including your grandmother and mine.

Of course, Barrett’s not the only candidate bowing down before the false idol of self-righteousness ninny-ness. So is his biggest, hell, his only competition, S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster.

Evidently for McMaster, it wasn’t enough to shore up the racist vote — along with 1st District candidate Tumpy Campbell and former state GOP head Katon Dawson, the AG was a member of an all-white country club — he’s after the frightened fundies too.

And his efforts just might be paying off. After all, he’s won the adoration of Upstate Sen. Mike Fair, who believes homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children and creationism should be taught in public schools.

In a recently released missive from the McMaster campaign, Fair says, “As attorney general, Henry has fought the ACLU and defended our right to pray in public. He led the constitutional campaign for traditional marriage. He confronted the Craigslist prostitution ring. And he is fighting to protect the ‘I Believe’ license plates.”

The Upstate senator also says, “If our social and cultural laws drift from time-proven Judeo-Christian principles, then America will collapse into a heap of moral relativist chaos. I fear we are closer to that than most people believe, and it’s being driven by the Washington political elites, whose thirst for messianic power is astonishing.”

Look who’s talking.

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