Benjamin Tillman was governor of South Carolina from 1890 to 1894. He was responsible for doing everything possible to prevent blacks from voting. He proudly said that he "had done his level best [to prevent blacks from voting]…We have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminate the last one of them…"

Tillman He served in the Senate and was censured after assaulting another Senator. He was also barred from the white house. He became known as "Pitchfork Ben" after a speech he made on the Senate floor in which he threatened to go to the White house and "poke old Grover Cleveland with a pitchfork. Pitchfork Ben is a classic example of the Southern racist politician.

Then there is South Carolina's Joe Wilson. I am happy to see the House passed a resolution censoring Wilson for his conduct. This is the first time in the two hundred and twenty year history of the House any member has been admonished for conduct during an presidential address. The resolution said his conduct was a "breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session to the discredit of the House."

Wilson joined the Confederate Veterans and who was a leader to keep the Confederate flag flying above South Carolina’s state capital building. He also claimed that it was a "smear" by a black woman who said she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond even though it was true.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has it right when she identifies Wilson as a racist. She correctly points out that no one in Congress shouted "liar" at George Bush when he was addressing his program for Iraq. This Southern politician thought nothing of shouting "liar" at a black man, but would never have done that to a white president of the United States. His disrespect originated with his belief that a mixed race man wasn't entitled to respect.

Not only that Wilson has been a darling of the health industry receiving some $245,000 in contributions. He has been paid $86,000 by the pharmaceutical industry and $73,000 from insurance companies plus $68,000 from the hospital industry. Among his top contributors is the American Hospital Association. So Wilson's fierce opposition to health care reform has more to do with his pocket book then his convictions. Wilson deserves to be removed from Congress.

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