Last week, The Eye read one of the funniest newspaper ledes in a long time that was, incidentally, not published by The Post and Courier.

“Racial issues could be crucial to outcome,” blared The State in an article about November’s gubernatorial contest between Gov. Mark Sanford (R-Chas) and Sen. Tommy Moore (D-Aiken).

Are they for real, wondered The Eye?

The article went on to talk about the invitations received by both candidates to address the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples at the group’s annual meeting.

Sanford accepted and Moore bailed.

The paper detailed the next day that the meeting was held across the Savannah River because the economic boycott of South Carolina sponsored by the NAACP in 2000 over the Confederate battle flag flying atop the Statehouse dome (later moved to the grounds) is still in effect.

Sanford used his appearance before the group last Thursday to call on the civil rights organization to drop the boycott, characterizing it as ineffective.

“I think you have every right to protest, to participate in the democratic process to bring about further change,” said the governor.

Well now, wasn’t that big of him, thought The Eye.

He continued, “I would respectfully suggest or submit to you that I don’t think the boycott is an effective tool in bringing about the outcome you’re after. I would respectfully ask you to consider ending that boycott. It damages this great organization’s well-earned and worthy reputation.”

There you go, ladies and germs, Mark Sanford — Friend of the Races and Public Speaker Par Excellence!

Facing some grousing in the audience, Sanford shouldered on, saying that if he is reelected he would work for more black judges, “Because The Bible is crystal-clear on this front … this notion of diversity is something talked about since Noah and the Ark. It was two of every kind.”

Somebody out there please confirm that this joker writes his own speeches, as The Eye would hate to think that the notorious tightwad Sanford was actually paying for this tripe!

Sanford faced a lot of tough questioning from the audience regarding his support for tuition tax credits and how these would help poor students in rural areas where there are no private school alternatives.

Not answering the question, Sanford responded, “Tell me a time in the history of man when supply has not met demand.”

The Eye is of the opinion that just for that one, the NAACP assembled membership should have told the governor to take advantage of his proximity to the Savannah River and go soak his head.

No one brought up to his face Sanford’s recent use of the term “tar baby” to describe dealing with the state budget process, but it was definitely whispered about.

But then again, at least Sanford had the balls to show up.

The semi-official line from the Tommy Moore camp for his seeming acceptance and then refusal to attend was a miscommunication upon the part of a staff member.

More likely, Moore didn’t want to show out of fear of alienating white voters by appearing to support the NAACP boycott by crossing the river.

Sanford, as is well known, could apparently care less who he alienates — look at how much he’s accomplished with the General Assembly!

Anyway, the campaign arithmetic boils down to this:

Democrats must get 90 percent or more of the black vote and 30-plus percent of the whites to win in a statewide race.

In the last gubernatorial race, 832,582 white voters participated and 284,354 nonwhites did the same with Mark Sanford prevailing.

Mark Sanford is in jeopardy in Lexington County (which he needs to win) and everybody knows it.

The Eye is not so sure that Tommy Moore will be able to capitalize upon this because he spends too much time talking out of every orifice on his body and has managed to offend all the Democratic loyalists of The Eye’s acquaintance.

The two alternatives for the voters are a candidate who wants to put a “For Sale” sign on the public schools and another who continues to pay lip-service to public education.

Here’s an idea, fellas, howzabout fully funding the public schools so they’re all rated excellent; and then the only people who’ll enroll their kids in private schools are the fundamentalists and the remnants of the Klan.

This way Mark Sanford will be happy that his taxes will be offset by all that money he used to spend on private school tuition and Tommy Moore will just shut the hell up.