They were just trying to be helpful, trying to defend Jim DeMint against criticism from a local Democrat who had criticized the senator for opposing earmarks that would bring money to South Carolina.
So a pair of county GOP chairmen, Edwin Merwin of Bamberg and James Ulmer of Orangeburg, published this letter of support in Sunday’s editions of the Times and Democrat:
There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.
The Republican Jewish Coalition today demanded an apology.
“Unbelievably, [Merwin and Ulmer] drew on an old and malignant stereotype of Jews as penny-pinchers in their attempt to praise DeMint’s efforts to look out for his constituents,” said RJC director Matthew Brooks in a prepared statement. “It is difficult to comprehend how men in positions of leadership in a state Republican Party could demonstrate such ignorance and insensitivity in the year 2009.”
South Carolina GOP chairman Karen Floyd denounced the comments, as did S.C. state Sen. Joel Lourie, a Democrat and one of two Jewish lawmakers in that state’s legislature.
And CNN is now reporting that Ulmer, one of the two authors of the offending piece, has indeed issued an apology:
Ulmer e-mailed his apology to reporters late Monday. He said he “quoted a statement which I have heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life.”
“I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people,” he said in the e-mail. “I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology.”
Even so, file this under “With Friends Like These.”
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