South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Dick Harpootlian accused the GOP presidential candidates of being "racially insensitive" for scheduling a debate on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day), reports Joel Gerhke of the Washington Examiner.
“Is it a coincidence that this ‘states’ rights’ issue is so big right now before the South Carolina GOP primary?” Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC's "Politics Nation," asked Harpootlian.
“No I think the – uh – South Carolina primary typifies all -- you’re gonna’ hear all the issues that horrify the rest of the country, that’s what’s so great about it: you can’t come down here and talk to the Republicans without talking about states’ rights,” Harpootlian responded.
"The Republicans are scheduling their debate [for] Monday, Martin Luther King Day, without any regard, whatsoever, [for] the civil rights issues that this state has faced," Harpootlian added.
What does Harpootlian think the current frontrunner and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney should do?
"[Romney should say] 'no, I don't want to have a debate on Martin Luther King's birthday, that's a day we need to celebrate a great American leader,'" Harpootlian said.
Watch the MSNBC panelists accuse the upcoming GOP debate via MSNBC:
Two questions: how does one celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day and does this call to "celebrate a great American leader" extend to all activities?
“Harpootlian's suggests that scheduling the Republican debate for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 16, 2012) is racially insensitive, but what about the other events of that day?” Gerhke asks. “For instance, there are 35 basketball games scheduled for this Monday: 11 NBA games -- Kevin Durant will lead the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Boston Celtics at the same time that Republicans begin to debate in Myrtle Beach -- and fully 24 NCAA basketball games."
Okay, so apparently physical activity isn't off-limits on MLK Day.
Does MLK Day involve abstaining from political activity (wouldn't that be ironic)?
Considering that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has decided to schedule its “Washington State Muslims Day” on Jan. 16, the answer is "no." If the MSNBC panel indignantly condemns the GOP's for its decision to hold a debate on MLK Day, when do they plan on doing a segment accusing CAIR of similar "racial insensitivity"?
Despite a failure to define how one disrespects the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by holding a debate, Harpootlian (and the rest of the MSNBC panel) is convinced that the GOP is being "racially insensitive."
"[Romney] is a meek, meek man about these issues, because all he's concerned about is winning," Harpootlian said. "Race is the elephant in the room in South Carolina right now, and it's a Republican elephant."