Mark Sanford on Will Folks

My Sunday column makes the case that Will Folks’ op-ed was worth running because it gave insight into his character and judgment, and therefore into the judgment of his boss, Gov. Mark Sanford. So what does the governor himself have to say about that?

Before asking the governor Friday about Rep. Gresham Barrett’s comments, I asked him one other question:

"Why was Will Folks your press secretary for four years?"

His answer was too involved to just slip into my column without ditching several of the comments from readers that were the reason for the column. And I sure don’t want to write another column on this subject. But I just had to share it, so here goes:

The governor began by noting that Will Folks hadn’t been his spokesman as governor for four years. That period started with the campaign, and that’s when he and Mr. Folks forged their bond, such as it is.

"You start out with a grass-roots campaign, you have very little in the way of resources," the governor said. "You’re working out of the basement of your house…. You can’t afford all the bells and whistles" of a full-blown, professional campaign with experienced people in all the key positions. In any case, he added, that kind of uptight, do-it-by-the-book campaign wasn’t his style.

So, he said, "You take someone who was playing bass guitar in a rock ‘n’ roll band and you give him a chance." (We all knew that’s what he did, but it meant a little more having the governor just say it that way.)

"Given the pressures he was under and the challenges he faced that he had never faced before, I think he did a pretty good job," during the campaign, Mr. Sanford said.

So after the election, he decided to give the young man the same job in the governor’s office. There, as we all saw, Mr. Folks moved from gaffe to gaffe — the Corvette thing, the comments about the Commission on Women, the alleged threats to the Chamber in Anderson.

The governor doesn’t deny that. But, he said, "For the most part, he did a pretty good job."

Bottom line as to why he kept him on so long? "I did it because he was competent," said the governor.

That’s pretty much all he would say for the record. Make of it what you will.

5 thoughts on “Mark Sanford on Will Folks

  1. lowcountryvoter

    While we don’t know what actually happened between Will and Ashley, we do know 2 things that are frankly, pretty troubling.
    First, the Governor was freakishly quick to condemn Folks, making it clear in the press that he assumed Folks was guilty. Unless Sanford was in the house that day (and we all know he wasn’t) how does HE know any more than the rest of us? For him to rush to judgment AGAINST a very close former employee — who might not have been perfect, but nonetheless loyally put up with a lot from his boss over the last 4 years, and for the most part, did a good job (definitely better than “competent!”) — says a LOT about Sanford’s character, I believe. The phrase, “With friends like these” comes to mind…what a guy! To me, it’s just another indication of his lack of leadership.
    Second, Brad, you’ve been very forthcoming about the editing of Folks’ Op-Ed piece, and I appreciate that. What gets me, though, is how Folks’ initial, unedited column conveniently “overlooks” a significant portion of Ashley’s email — which is why you edited the Op-Ed, and should have. But after Ashley’s email proved that Folks’ original Op-Ed blatently sought to mislead you and the reader, I wonder if you had second thoughts about running it. It certainly leads me to question the validity of his entire piece.
    Maybe these guys deserve each other.

  2. Audrey Horne

    The governor is well off without this fellow on board. We do not know all that may have transpired before this incident. We do know that Folks was a liability for a long time to the governor prior to the CDV charge.
    This media piling on of Gov. Sanford only incenses his supporters. Haven’t you got better things to do? The State staff and others in the media will not determine the outcome of the 06 election. The governor will be reelected. The fact that he is not a part of the buddy system at the statehouse only endears him to the voters.
    Get to real news and allow the Will Folks type continue to self inflict. Don’t be seen as validating them.

  3. Anonymous

    As the sister of a victim of domestic violence, I am deeply troubled that it has taken an incident like this (basically the childlike temperment and of an underqualified, loudmouthed politico)to bring the significance of domestic violence to the forefront. If this had happened to “Joe Public” in South Carolina, it would have barely been a blip on anyone’s radar. In fact, it does happen everyday and rarely makes the news, much less the front page. Let’s address the real matter at hand here – South Carolina typically handles domestic disputes and crimes related to domestic situations as something to be swept under the proverbial rug. It’s time to realize that men (and women) in all walks of life are capable, and willing, to victimize others. And if it takes making an example out of Will Folks – then I hope South Carolina’s “justice” system will strongly consider it.

  4. Joseph Wilson

    I think this is a great concept. This should be a regular piece. One criminal per week should be allowed to post “their side of the story.” In fact, call it that… THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY.
    Oh, but what about victims…. they should tell…. THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY?
    Both of them should be posted together. Like a point and counter-point.
    Great stuff!!!

  5. Iguana

    “If this had happened to “Joe Public” in South Carolina, it would have barely been a blip on anyone’s radar. In fact, it does happen everyday and rarely makes the news, much less the front page.”
    Anon above is your classic DV scream queen, full of exagerations and end-of-the-world predictions.
    She would like for you to believe that South Carolina is really Afghanastan when it comes to women in their homes. She would like for you to believe that every minor domestic dispute is an example of extreme domestic violence.
    The fact is, the sort of domestic violence that most people think of when they here the term – in which one spouse is conducting a sustained terrorist campaign against their spouse – does occur but it is rare.
    However, the domestic violence your state allow Will Folks to implement with the Governor and the legislator is based on the assumption that all disputes, however minor, are domestic violence. Worse, they are based on the ridiculous idea that all women are oppressed and controlled by the Patriarchy (never heard that term before? Basically it refers to a conspiracy of all men to oppress all women, and it is taught in Women Studies madrassas). So, look at your wife funny, and if she feels like it, she can call the cops and (1) they are mandated to arrest you (2) they will prosecute whether your wife is will to go along or not (3) you are guilty until proven innocent and (4) you will find yourself in the patriarchy re-education gulag where they try to beat the patriarchal influences out of you (using something called the Duluth Model, which is based on gender feminist fantasies of patriarchal control over women).
    Welcome to the post Constitutional world of gender feminism.


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