In BETTER OFF WITHOUT ‘EM, I nominate South Carolina as the most dysfunctional state in the country and outline the “7 Deadly Sins of Southern Politics,” among them willful obstruction of government.

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s recent appearance on The Colbert Report underscored my arguments.

It also offered a funny and fascinating look at why her state, and the South as a whole, dominate virtually every state-by-state breakdown of social ills in this country.

Colbert introduced the governor with a secession joke (lots of southerners venerate Dixie’s secessionist history, though when they see it mentioned in books like mine the same people pretend to have massive emotional breakdowns over the very idea) and went on to call South Carolina politics “just one notch above Honduras.”

Haley laughed and agreed with the “joke.”

The ensuing exchange highlighted Haley’s slavish devotion to the southern pol’s time-honored strategy of obstructionism, which places blind, bitter resistance above the interests of constituents.

Colbert: What is next for South Carolina? How’s unemployment going down there?

Haley: It’s down for the seventh month in a row.

Colbert: Really?

Haley: Yes.

Colbert: And we’re not gonna credit Obama for that, are we?

Haley: No, we are not. (Laugh, shit-eating grin.)

You can see the full interview here.

I don’t begrudge anyone their political philosophy, but there’s a difference between opposition and sabotage.

Haley may be Indian American, but she’s showing herself to be nothing more than part of a grudge-bearing, crybaby and ultimately destructive southern political tradition that reaches back to the 1800s.

Her “Honduran” approach to governance is in lockstep with blinded-by-hate rebel pissants such as South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who in 2009 promised to make health care reform “Obama’s Waterloo.”

Apparently, as far as pols like Haley and DeMint are concerned, it’s better to continue a brain-dead opposition to a majority-elected American government than it is to safeguard the well being of their people.

According to the state of South Carolina’s own figures, which I found online today (five-year-old figures, but they seem to be the most recent posted by the state), South Carolina ranks first in the nation in the rate of stroke victims, third in diabetes, third in infant mortality, fifth in adult obesity, sixth in hypertension, cough, cough, cough and, here’s the inevitable kicker, eighteenth in residents who have no health insurance.

Jim DeMint must be proud.

According to the latest federal government unemployment figures (ending February 2012), by the way, South Carolina is also tied for sixth among states with the highest unemployment rate.

But, hey, fuck any government that’s reversing a losing trend if that government happens to be run by a bunch of socialist, godless northerners.