Editor's column: Why we lost assembly line to South Carolina

Curious about Boeing’s decision to build airplanes in South Carolina instead of Washington, I did a little research on the winning state. What I discovered fully explains Boeing’s decision.

For example, South Carolina was the first state to withdraw from the union in 1860, setting off the Civil War. Washington, on the other hand, has never withdrawn from the union, showing a lack of spunk. We should have withdrawn last January, taken over the nuclear submarine missile base at Kingston, politely demanded massive U.S. foreign aid, and told the Boeing bigwigs in Chicago that they should put their new airplane factory in Everett, if they wanted there to still be a Chicago. Alas, we did not strike when the iron was hot.

After the Civil War went badly, the South Carolinians returned to the union and were unheard of again for approximately 150 years until their governor, Mark Sanford, struck up a dalliance with an Argentinean temptress on the taxpayers’ dime. Immediately, South Carolina sprang to the forefront of the public’s imagination, making the pages of People magazine and the chitchat list on The View. Meanwhile, Washington’s governor, Christine Gregoire, never even thought of batting an eye for an alluring gaucho in Patagonia, at least as far as anyone knows. As a result, Oprah has never mentioned “Washington state,” while South Carolina basked in the fame generated by its dim-witted but randy governor.

With history and publicity favoring South Carolina, the Boeing brain trust scrutinized the cost of doing business in both states. The research came to a screeching halt when they discovered that South Carolinians have the nickname of “Sandlappers,” which derives from their historic habit of eating clay. Have you ever been to the Boeing cafeteria in Everett? Well, neither have I, but you can bet the menu includes actual food, not clay, and you can imagine the cost savings accrued by feeding thousands of famished airplane workers cheap but filling clay for lunch. Boeing has ordered a menu consisting of only two words: “Clay Today.” Sadly, it’s too late for Washingtonians to adopt a diet of sawdust.

South Carolina also showed some foresight by changing their slogan from The Iodine State to The Palmetto State, the former being an antiseptic and the latter being a shade tree on the beach. Boeing board members couldn’t relate to idling with iodine, but love nothing better than dithering on the beach. Washington has shown a comparative lack of ambition by sticking with The Evergreen State as a slogan. Boeing may have stayed had we become the Drink Margaritas Until you Drop State.

Of course, Boeing isn’t entirely gone yet. But just wait until they hear that South Carolina’s welcoming motto is “Ready in soul and resource,” while Washington’s is simply “By and by.” In other words, bye, bye.

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