Melon Choler Baby

Author of SC Voter ID Law Said ‘Amen’ To Racist Email, Admits It Was Maybe Bad Idea

I sure love a good racist zinger!Are we even slightly surprised anymore to see a story about Republican elected officials at the state or county level treating a racist email as no big deal? No, thought not. Still, this iteration of the meme has implications beyond the usual facepalm and “Oh no, not again.” Here’s the dealio: the email is evidence in a federal trial involving South Carolina’s Voter ID law. The Justice Department was all, “No, sorry South Carolina, that violates the Voting Rights Act,” and then SC was like, “Hey, we just wanna make sure there’s no fraud, even though, OK, sure, there hasn’t been any fraud, but you never know!” And the Justice Department just rolled its eyes and went “Pffft, yeah, right, whatever.” But gosh, what if it could be shown that the law was actually aimed at suppressing minority voting? That would be pretty bad!

So in court on Tuesday, the law’s author, State Rep. Alan Clemmons, acknowledged that, while he was drafting the law, a supporter named Ed Koziol emailed him a hilarious insight: If, instead of requiring ID to vote, the state offered a cash incentive to have photo ID, then the poors and the blacks would all “be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon.” Clemmons testified that, yes, he kind of replied “Amen” and “thank you for your support” to the email. But please, do not be deceived! Rep. Clemmons has thought it over and also testified that his reply was “poorly considered.” That is quite a relief! Rep. Clemmons would like to talk about something happy now please, because the past is the past, really, and maybe “watermelon” is not a racially-charged word choice any more.

Also, wouldn’t you know that there is a nut-tossing angle on this story as well? TPM notes that

A civil rights lawyer also asked Clemmons about packets of peanuts that were distributed with cards that read “Stop Obama’s nutty agenda and support voter ID.” Clemmons reportedly testified previously that he was the one who handed out the packets, but this time he said he could not remember doing so.

We will take the high road and attribute that to the irresistable call of a bad pun, and nothing more.

And in other Voter ID news, here is a radio interview with a black conservative lobbyist in Florida who thought requiring a photo ID to vote was a nifty idea until he was almost prevented from voting. Oopsies! That’s only supposed to happen to OTHER people!

Update: Also, too, some good news for a change: A federal court has permanently struck down Florida’s dumb restrictions on voter registration drives.

[ThinkProgress / TPM / Here And Now]

About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom
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156 comments

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    At least he didn't pass out packets of those gross orange Circus peanuts. Talk about bad taste.

    1. BigSkullF*ckingDog

      Orange, marshmallow peanuts with banana flavoring. The olds had weird taste in candy back in the day.

    2. bikerlaureate

      Orange is too closely associated with Mr. Speaker. Some bright young intern probably caught that before yet another optics-flub occurred…

    3. BoatOfVelociraptors

      For giving me the image of congresscritters handling sacks of orange nuts, I curse at thee.

      1. IceCreamEmpress

        "White and delightsome!"

        The Rmoneys are surely white, but I would not call them delightsome.

    1. Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Republicans would supply plenty of their left over skin bleach to any brown person who wants to become the "right kind of hispanic" (like pasty Ted Cruz). Jesus H. Christ those people can't get any pastier….I wonder if someone were to inform Snookie that by being a Republican she's not allowed to fake tan and slowly kill herself anymore if she'd reconsider it….probably not, she's dumb enough to think those pasty albino tea baggers are only joking…like the whole "invade Iran fer the rapture" thing is a joke too…

  2. Hera Sent Me

    These guys mix the morality of the KKK with the finesse of the Keystone Kops.

    It's like Lee Atwater had a bunch of genetically impaired offspring.

        1. dsgruntled

          After spending hours drawing a face on mine, rubbing it out and redoing it over and over, I've come to the conclusion that your right.

    1. Willardbot9000_V2.5

      And his body looks like a sea slug…the (head of a dick+ flabby sea slug) look has become all the rage amongst right wingers since Karl "pubes" Rove blew into town.

  3. BaldarTFlagass

    “a swarm of bees going after a watermelon.”

    Dude should have said something like "a swarm of defense contractors going after a cost-plus contract."

    1. bikerlaureate

      I was working up something about conventioneers and rent boys, but Doc Zoom has inspired me to take the high road. Too, also.

  4. Baconzgood

    Spear chuckers shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    Oooops, that was poorly worded and shouldn't be construed as a racist statement. It's the liberals that turned it around to make it sound racist. REVERSE RACISM!!! USA USA TRUCK NUTZ 2nd AMENDMENT!!!!!!

    1. bikerlaureate

      Those godless commies are just crouching and waiting for every little slur that comes out of your mouth.

    2. BerkeleyBear

      What you got against javelin tossers? You relatives with that German official who tried to catch one the other day?

      And yes, I know what you meant, but since the SC defense was about how poor whites would be disenfranchised along with the blahs so it should all be cool, I was channeling.

  5. gullywompr

    All this hatred, deception, intimidation, and law-skirting, and they're going to lose anyway. It must suck to be a Republican.

    1. rickmaci

      Well it would be great if the Florida decision stands because that is a big electoral count state with lots of olds who are going to be voting the "don't voucher me" line against the Repuke ticket. That would mean maybe BHO grabs one other undecided state, I betting Colorado, and he's over the top.

  6. luckismine

    The 2016 GOP Platform: We no longer have opinions on rape and black people. No further comment. Thank you.

  7. MacRaith

    Oh, sure. The inten of the lawt was not to disenfranchise minorities, the intent was merely to disenfranchise Democratic voters. The fact that the easiest way to do that is to disenfranchise minorities is just a coincidence, right?

      1. bikerlaureate

        I know watermelons. Watermelons are good friends of mine.
        And you, Alan Clemmons, are no watermelon.

    1. bikerlaureate

      There didn't seem to be any doubt in their minds.
      It's like waving a can of Hobo Beans in front of a starving mob.

    1. MosesInvests

      I grew up in the South, and as a child I was always confused about "soul food". It didn't occur to me that there might be anybody who didn't like fried chicken, grits or watermelon.

  8. orygoon

    <<Rep. Clemmons has thought it over and also testified that his reply was “poorly considered.”>>

    And then went on to express concern if he had offended any "jungle bunnies"

  9. Estproph

    “be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon.”

    Or:

    "like Jews chasing a windblown $20 bill."

    Or:

    "like Chinamen signing up for a ping-pong tournament."

    Or:

    "like slanteyes fighting over a dead dog to eat."

    Or:

    "like a bunch of young buck neegras lookin to rape a white woman."

    Hey, this sure is fun!

    1. IceCreamEmpress

      "Like a bunch of stupid rednecks at a Klan rally."

      I mean, you know he's seen that one.

  10. miss_grundy

    Voter fraud is just Republican code to stop anyone who would possibly vote Democrat to be able to do so. The idea that someone would knowingly commit a crime in front of witnesses, would be the stupidest thing anyone could do and anyone who has ever voted knows that there are plenty of witnesses at the polls on election day. Just another reason to wish harm on the GOP in November.

    1. sullivanst

      He found that Super Hit, at the time he was sold, had been drugged with a staggering amount of painkillers – more than he had ever seen given to a horse in 38-years of practice.

      Sounds like Romney's plan for healthcare for humans: take that aspirin from between your knees (or your wife's, if you're with penis, and if you're a single man, you must be gay and should die soon please) and keep slaving for the Man.

  11. Callyson

    During Tuesday night’s Republican Convention, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) complained that the “hardest part” of her job is “this president” opposing South Carolina’s voter ID law

    Really? You've got a 9.1% unemployment rate and a $630M deficit, and the hardest part of your job is keeping the blahs from voting? Well, that explains your 38% approval rating…

    (Google is so much fun…)

    1. Generation[redacted]

      I believe what she meant to say is:

      "The hardest part my job is winning elections when we're forced to comply with the Voter Rights Act of 1965."

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      To be fair, she is trying really hard to raise her approval rating — among those who actually get to vote.

  12. Baconzgood

    You know that we all like to snark about sexism and racism here but is it just Baconz or does this shit honestly make you wanna puke? Really rape doesn't cause pregnancy, minorities can't participate in the democratic process, God likes the rich and not the poor….God I feel really sorry for the GOP. I do. To be that narrow minded and turn your back on the basic tennents of being a good citizen. FUCK THAT SHIT!

    I hope they get (statement deleted by administrator) with (statement deleted by administrator) while they and all those they hold dear are (statement deleted by administrator) (statement deleted by administrator) (statement deleted by administrator) (statement deleted by administrator). And all with a rusty chainsaw up (statement deleted by administrator). That's just the start of what I think too also.

    1. sullivanst

      You just need to get drunk enough that you can't tell whether your nausea is from the booze or the bastards.

          1. Callyson

            Oh, I keep the local liquor store in business, believe me. Though they might just get a windfall if I watch Mittens' coronation speech tomorrow night…

          2. sullivanst

            My advice: stock up now, just in case. You wouldn't want to wait until your hour of need and discover similarly-minded watchers had already cleared the shelves.

    2. hagajim

      Baconz…I couldn't agree more. It's fun to snark and all, but as some point you just have to get pissed. These tools don't give two shits about the country, all they want to do is sow dissension and fearmonger because a blah man is President. They've been pretty clear about that since the election in 2008.

    3. miss_grundy

      What's trippy about the whole thing is that they will tell you that they are Christians to boot. Which makes you wonder which interpretation of the Bible they are reading because their hateful ideology isn't Christian in the least. That is what really, really, gets to me, the audaciousness of their racism and hatred for someone because of the color of their skin. And that they would rather see this country go to hell in a handbasket, for all of their USA chest-thumping, than work to make things better.

    4. Monsieur_Grumpe

      I figure that being mad all time is just plain unhealthy. Writing sarcastic, smart ass remarks poking fun at the wingnutz keeps me from going off the deep end.

    5. Negropolis

      What I don't get is why liberal millionaires haven't been all over this shit with their money.

  13. BaldarTFlagass

    Saying "Amen" was pretty bad. It would have been a whole lot more interesting if he had responded "Ditto."

  14. duh_du

    Two stories involving PEANUTS today. Rove's grand plan to tie Obama to … hmmm who was that peanut guy who became prez??

    1. Lazy Media

      That would be George Washington "Carver," the father of our country, who gained his nickname from slicing up Brits wth a sword before going on to invent the peanut-shell lightbulb filament and found Tuskegee University.

  15. elviouslyqueer

    Also, I'm torn. I can't decide whether Alan Clemmons looks like a pedophiliac minister or a spokesperson for LeatherDaddies.com.

    1. actor212

      He looks like one of those self-help gurus who are all about "tough love" but then whine on their blogs about getting a traffic ticket.

    2. horsedreamer_1

      He has the face of a man with 15 years of high school cheerleader up skirt shots to his name.

      Boys, too.

  16. thefrontpage

    Here's more transcripts from the trial, thanks to a courthouse source:

    Prosecutor: Mr. Clemmons, are you a racist?

    Clemmons: Yes. Yes, I am. I am a racist.

    Prosecutor: And, Mr. Clemmons, isn't it true that you took an Oath of Racism when you officially joined the Republican Party?

    Clemmons: Yes, I did. I took the Oath of Racism.

    Prosecutor: And, Mr. Clemmons, isn't it true that most, if not all, of your fellow Republicans are also racists?

    Clemmons: Yes, that is correct. I believe that all Republicans are racists. We are proud of that!

    Clemmons lawyer: Objection!

    Judge: Shut up! Sit down and shut up! Prosecutor, please proceed.

    Prosecutor: I have no more questions, your honor.

    Judge: Good. Bailiff, get this slimeball racist off the stand.

    # # #

  17. barto

    Here's what I don't understand. Let's say someone wants to vote fraudulently. Isn't it much better to have a record of them voting so you can catch them and penalize them? We could set up like fake voting booths and have like a sting operation. Brilliant, just like DUI checkpoints!

  18. CthuNHu

    Bees aren't actually all that crazy about watermelon. If he wanted a good analogy, he should have said, "like yellowjackets going after a squashed peach."

    Really, I can't imagine why he chose to mention watermelon. Maybe he just went crackers from the heat. This time of year it must be just burning cross the state of South Carolina, including in his hood.

    1. Negropolis

      You can't imagine why he chose to mention watermelon? Really, or are you being rhetorical?

      And, yeah, there's lots of "burning crosses" across the state of South Crackalacky.

  19. OneYieldRegular

    Accosted by a reporter in the court parking lot, Clemmons refused further comment, got into a Chevy pick-up outfitted with a Confederate flag and shotgun rack, and sped away, yelling something about Yankee agitators.

  20. HarryButtle

    Clemmons said that? Well, I'll forgive him because he blows a mean sax on Thunder Road.

    Wait…what?

  21. deleted4523223

    To preface, I'd never vote GOP in a million years, but is asking for an ID really that big of a deal? Hell, you have show an ID to buy cigs, liquor, see an R rated movie… why the fuck not for voting?

    1. SorosBot

      You'd never vote GOP in a million years – but you recite moronic right-wing talking points? Really? And yes, it is a big fucking deal.

          1. garryboldwater

            You can bet whatever you wish. I fail to see what Ron Paul has to do with Voter ID laws in SC.

        1. ibwilliamsi

          There's no limit on characters you can type here. Go for it. We'd love to hear your explanation. We're just not that fucking stupid here, Troll.

          1. garryboldwater

            I am sorry I deviated from your shared, DNC sponsored narrative. Ill try to conform better next time.

            I suppose only trolls deviate from the narrative. You guys like me when I slam Romney. But now I'm a troll for deviating from DNC talking points. Ummmm ok….

          2. SorosBot

            Projection much? It's Republicans who follow the narrative they're ordered to, something we liberals don't do. But they always keep accusing us of doing whatever they do.

    2. IceCreamEmpress

      It's called history. Learn you some.

      Hint: There is no Constitutional right to attend an R-rated movie.

    3. actor212

      The next step is to show ID to exercise your Consitutional right to assemble, or then walk down the street.

      It's a right. It should be presumed.

      1. garryboldwater

        Since when did Democrat and Republican party supporters start caring about The Constitution? The only time I ever see a Democrat supporter get indignant about The Constitution is when a Republican is pissing on it. And the only time I ever see a Republican supporter get indignant about The Constitution is when a Democrat is pissing on it.

        1. Generation[redacted]

          Because people, in general, tend to mostly see things that confirm their pre-conceived ideas.

          But more to the point, it's not an old piece of paper that people want, it's the right of self-determination. And people tend to fear for their own rights, when those same rights are exercised by people who disagree with them. Politics exist because someone cleverly found a way to have wars without killing people. The partisan labels are for convenience only.

          1. garryboldwater

            Better watch out talking common sense rhetoric like that… they may call you a troll if you don't "take sides"….

          2. Generation[redacted]

            You think so? Because my p-score says otherwise.

            that word you keep using. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          1. SorosBot

            And the troll has already taken his ball, gone home and deleted his account; aw I'll miss him.

        2. actor212

          Interesting you use the term "Democrat" and not "Democratic," which is the generally accepted term.

          I support my Constitution, even when I think it is wrong, as in the broadest strokes of the Second Amendment. I would dearly love to see that scaled back substantially, but I also understand in a nation as vast as ours, guns actually can protect people. I'm fortunate to live a few minutes from my local police station, but I know many people who do not, and they treasure their guns for the varmint-killing abilities alone.

          So next time you want to talk about pissing on a document, perhaps you should look a little more closely at your own beliefs and mores.

    4. Incitefully_Joe

      Because the prohibition of states from forcing people to pay money in order to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote was, after 100 years of (often government-sponsored or -enabled) intimidation, terrorism and apartheid, finally written directly into the Constitution (for the second time, if you actually read the Equal Protection clause to mean what it seems to mean, vis a vis discriminatory laws), is why.

      How come "it's in the Constitution" is a good enough reason to void every gun control measure ever, in the face of weekly mass shootings, but not good enough to prohibit poll taxes?

    5. ibwilliamsi

      It's a big deal because the ID's are difficult for certain segments of society to obtain, and because voter ID is a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist. Troll.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        "voter ID is a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist."

        Oh, it's a solution for a "problem", all right … just not a problem the Repukes are willing to admit to in public.

    6. miss_grundy

      What about minorities who have never driven a car, so they don't need a driver's license. Or, if you've never traveled abroad, why go through the expense of getting a passport. Until the GOP went crazy, all a registered voter needed to do to vote was to show their voter's registration card. But because they want to win another election by hook and crook, now people who have been voting for YEARS have to show identification? Really?? Shame on you for reciting this garbage. Go stand in a corner, right now, and don't come out until I tell you to.

  22. iamrrm

    Every one of these hateful block the vote stories should end with an update such as this one. See to that, please.

  23. Lazy Media

    Now, these people ARE racists, but food as a racist meme is a Yankee thing. All Southerners eat fried chicken and watermelon, and no one in the South thinks of those as food associated particularly with blah people. That's a Northern association, because y'all didn't know what good food was until the black diaspora.

    1. Negropolis

      Yeah, because "bees after a watermelon" makes so much sense and is such a common Southern saying, right?

  24. ttommyunger

    That expression screams: "I'm not gay, but I'd hold one between my teeth until the swelling went down.".

  25. MinAgain

    When I went to vote in the Tennessee primary on August 2, the poll worker didn't ask me for my primary preference. She just gave me a ballot for the Republican primary. I caught it in time, so my first ballot was voided, and a new one was issued, and I voted in the Democratic primary. I thought it was just her mistake, but it has now come out that the new electronic polling books for my county, which is one of the bluest in the state, were set to default to the Republican primary, if the poll worker didn't specifically input the Demcratic primary.

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