The fact that two of its more prominent politicians—Gov. Mark Sanford and Rep. Joe Wilson—are the butt of recent political jokes is no laughing matter in South Carolina, where memories of the fight over flying the Confederate flag are still scaring off business and tourism. The firestorm around Sanford has paralyzed state government, and citizens of all stripes worry that one of the worst economic situations in the US is going to get uglier.
“It’s almost like the backwater of a swamp,” one Democrat tells the Los Angeles Times. “Everything’s sitting there, nothing’s circulating and the only thing moving is the mosquitoes.” Adds a businessman: “If you’re in competition and they say they're not coming because of Sanford or the flag, that gets told. What concerns the business community more than anything else is the looks we don’t get and never find out about.”