About Will Folks…

I just wrote this long piece asking what y’all thought about Will Folks’ op-ed today — not the content, but the fact that we ran it at all. I’ve gotten a lot of flak about that today.

And just as I went to save, TYPEPAD BLEW UP ON ME!!!!

Just as well — I had written down MY thoughts on the question, and it’s probably best to see what y’all think first, and then answer you.

So, what do you think?

43 thoughts on “About Will Folks…

  1. Scott Barrow

    Well, you’re giving him credibility and helping him restore his bad name by printing his columns. When he’s arrested this weekend for the third time in six months for domestic violence, you’ll have egg all over your second-rate newspaper.

  2. Uncle Elmer

    Several things occurred to me when I read this. The first, to be honest, was: “Isn’t this the Sanford guy who got hauled in for hitting a woman? Twice??”
    Even so, I read the column. With regard to the column content, after I got past the part where he was insulting people whose opinion differed from his, I found…the end of the column! Hmmm…
    However there were some good phrases, like his description of Darla Moore as a “self apppointed dilettante.” Merriam Webster says that a dilettante is “an admirer or lover of the arts,” and I guess in that case the self-appointed part sort of follows, or alternatively they could be a “a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge.” Can you be self-appointedly superficial? I suppose no one else can appoint you to it…Brad can we have some editorial input here?
    One tiny piece of meat in the article is the 160% increase in state budget over the last few years, and I am sincerely curious about that. Particularly, I would like to know how it compares to the states around us, especially per capita, over the same period. Does anyone know where to look for that?
    Does Mr. Sanford really need cool-headed, articulate friends like this?

  3. Capital A

    Please never give this scum so much as a scintilla of attention evermore. He’s little more than a self-loathing troglodyte whose only slightly-veiled simplicity served as comfort for his slack-jawed, yokelish superiors.
    Now, I’m saddened at myself for sacrificing so many syllables on the subject of this simpletion.

  4. Mark Whittington


    How is it that people such as Mr. Folks get published, especially considering their questionable, and possibly illegal actions? Was this guy ever convicted?

    Anyway, to me it seems ludicrous that the Chamber of Commerce and the Palmetto Institute are in any way left leaning, yet Mr. Folks has a voice.

    Undoubtedly, in large measure, your own views are in accordance with the before mentioned organizations, and of course, there is a place for your views.

    There are those of us however who do not have a voice. The centrist vs. the libertarian debate has been well publicized for years in The State, and in SC in general. When the debate is limited to those who want free market capitalism with equal opportunity through public education, vs. those who want free market capitalism with no government or public education, then you’ve got a right-wing debate.

    Even when The State does manage to publish a liberal (modern liberal) piece on economics or taxes, it’s usually in the context of race rather than class (by local writers). Granted race is still a big obstacle in SC and in the US, but The State always pigeonholes liberal economic populism as being only a racial minority viewpoint, when in reality many white folks feel the same way as does the black community in general. Gee, if all the white folks who are unhappy with our lopsided system could learn on the Editorial Page about class oppression and its remedies, then maybe they could vote with all the black folks who are unhappy with class and race oppression, and then SC most certainly would become a left leaning state. Undoubtedly, you are in your position to keep this from happening. After all, you are in effect being paid for your opinions by the same entities that fund your paper through advertising (i.e., the members of both the Chamber of Commerce and the Palmetto Institute, for example). I know-before the denials start- the thought has never crossed your mind: you’re perfectly willing to bite the hand that feeds you.

    You see, if my views were promulgated, then I’d say that racism is a special form of classism, and that the vast majority of black and white folks are in the same economic, sinking boat. Most white folks are hampered by their class origins, while most black folks are doomed by the combination of race and class. Free market capitalism punishes the bottom 80% of the population while lavishing reward upon the top one half of one percent of the population. The more unequal the society is in terms of wealth, then greater is the degree of relative poverty, and lesser is the chance of upward social mobility. It’s silly to think that equal opportunity alone will solve our problems because today we can prove that huge levels of wealth inequality are statistically built into capitalism using computer-simulated economies comprised of statistically equal people. The rising tide can never lift all boats. We’re falling behind our contemporaries in Northern Europe in almost every measure because of our laissez faire system-a system that other civilized Western democracies abandoned long ago in favor of some form of Social Democracy. Yet the advent of global free market capitalism is destroying not only our own country, but also even the bedrock social democracies of Northern Europe with their superior worker benefits, and extensive social safety nets.

    Of course, readers of The State will never read my opinions-certainly never in the systematic way that you promote the business community’s viewpoint as being your own.

  5. Dave

    I choose to disregard the kerfuffle that Folks may be involved in with a past objet d’amour. He is making a valid point however about the directions espoused by the business leaders. First, it is no surprise that businesses want the following: relief from high workers compensation payments, lower business health care costs, less regulation, and tax relief FOR their businesses as well as readily available transportation routes. Business in SC is also starving for a highly educated pool of workers to choose from to staff for growth and attrition. Again, no surprises there.

    Business leaders, while lobbying for business tax cuts, should also be looking at the “big picture” economically. The leaders of the Chamber are not from the small businesses and it is a fact that that is where jobs for the most part are created. Many small businesses are self proprietorships or S1 corporations or even family partnerships. Giving tax relief to these types of businesses would engender more expansion and hiring in the state. I have posted before that the solution to SC growth problems is to CUT taxes as low as possible and business dollars will flow into the state. Adam Smith was not wrong, the example of prosperous Hong Kong is not wrong, the business miracle in Ireland is not wrong, the economic expansion in the USA as a whole is not wrong, and I think Folks is wondering aloud why the leaders here cannot see these facts.

    When people talk, think “cui bono?” or as Cicero said to a Roman judge, to whom will the benefit go?

  6. Captain America

    We have some criticism to Will Folks, the person, on several different occasions.
    We think there is a certain plantation mentality among the business community. There is a difference between encouraging policy changes to lower costs on job creation and increasing costs on the general population.
    These elitists have no idea what the average taxpayer in South Carolina contends with, but that average taxpayer should resent what they advocate.

  7. Steve Aiken

    In publishing Will Folks’s latest comments, The State has, lamentably, confirmed that it apparently thinks that people who travel in the orbit of Columbia (no more than 10 miles from the Statehouse) have some wisdom that other South Carolinians don’t possess. If you want to be the “newspaper of record” for the state, you need to cast your net wider in getting commentators and columnists.

  8. Lee

    I suspect that the only reason The State gave Will Folks the opportunity to speak the blunt truth about so-called “business leaders” selling out the other taxpayers, was in hopes of turning big businesses against Governor Sanford. The editors hate Sanford, and would do anything to sabotage tax reform and reduction of government.

  9. Don Williams

    Will Folks, Bob McAlister, Mike Cakora, etc.
    These are the people I remember who have been given the chance to share their views on your op-ed pages- men who have a well defined ideological point of view and arrive at the same conclusions time after time.
    Where are their counterparts in your pages- Tom Turnipseed once a year perhaps? I am sure there are others, I only remember the men above because it is so apparent where their sympathies lie.
    If I remember correctly, this is Folks second submission since his public tenure ended. If you’re not getting thought provoking pieces from the moderate and progressive sides, perhaps you should consider soliciting them. I’m sure Gov. Riley, Senator Hollings and others of their ilk would be happy to furnish their thoughts on issues. I suspect they may have a little more insight than Mr. Folks and Mr. McAlister.

  10. Mark Whittington

    Amen Don!

    I don’t know about now, but Tom used to send op-eds to The State whenever he would submit material to national publications. Tom is frequently published in major publications outside of SC, yet Brad ignores Tom’s writings along with everyone else locally who isn’t a centrist, a reactionary, or someone connected to big money. Years ago, The State published a couple of opinion pieces of mine, but Brad put an end to that you can be sure. Mike C. on the other hand is friends with Cindi Scoppe and Brad (Brad is a Republican, by the way), and he gets his own spot on The Columbia Record. I’m sorry, but I do have some measure of self-respect, so you won’t see me kissing Brad’s big toe in order to get published. I haven’t updated my website (www.boycottthestate.com) in some time now, but I suspect that I’ll be keeping this domain name on a permanent basis. I may have to read The State, but I’ll never buy The State until local progressives get a voice on the editorial page. Perhaps if other progressives do the same, then maybe change will finally come to this right of center newspaper.

  11. Honesty

    Mr. Warthen,
    There are quite a few reasons why it is concerning that your editorial board has elevated Mr. Folks to a level of credibility beyond that of what he deserves. Many of those have already been mentioned. However, the fact that you published a guest editorial from an individual that you, Mr. Warthen, personally caught misstating the facts in his State Newspaper editorial regarding his domestic violence conviction is truly troubling. The fact that you found the need to edit his previous editorial due to his apparent dishonesty while deeming him worthy of now being published as a guest editorialist borders on bizarre. Is there no standard of journalistic integrity in choosing guest editorialists? What has risen Mr. folks from a convicted abuser of a women who apparently lied about it on your editorial page, and was prematurely dismissed from the Governor’s office to the level of guest editorialist on your pages?

  12. Samuel Tenenbaum

    Poor Will has nothing to say except to display his ugly anger and instead of hitting his girl friend here he just throws meaningless labels and what is worse you print the gobbledygook . Shame !

  13. Lee

    Poor Sam has nothing to say about Will Folks’ criticism of businessment who oppose tax reform, so he attacks the messenger.
    Albert Einstein abused his wife, but intelligent people don’t use that as an excuse to ignore his theories in math and physics.

  14. Steve Aiken

    Einstein’s theories have been subjected to rigorous testing. If Folks’s theories are so great, he needs to run for office, so that he can get a chance to put them into effect. Using his high profile to function as a PR flack is a cheap tactic.

  15. Lee

    Will Folks’ observations about an elite group of self-appointed business leaders having personal motives at odds with the general population are not rocket science.
    Why are so many of you unable to dispute his assertions? Are you waiting for some experts from the Darla Moore School of Business to apply “rigorous testing” and provide you with rebuttals?

  16. Uncle Elmer

    It’s true, they aren’t rocket science. In fact, they are so devoid of context they’re hard to comment on. For instance, what kind of property taxes is he talking about? Real estate? Products? Privately owned or business? What about the income taxes? Again, what group of people are being taxed so badly (it’s a proportional scale, is he saying everybody is equally affected?)? What data is he using to say our school system is the worst? The assertions without context are, true enough, not rocket science. Maybe a little national or at least Southeastern context would actually lead to a more deliberative discussion where people realistically could respond to his assertions. What he’s spouting now is just sound bite junk.

  17. Lee

    Add Uncle Elmer to the list of those who oppose every suggested tax reform but have no ideas of their own.
    The anti-reform crowd is dividing the taxpayers with carrots and sticks. Big business gets big carrots and big sticks. Small taxpayers get ignored.
    I see no reason all the legitimate functions of government cannot be run off a 5% sales tax. The income tax and property taxes are unnecessary, unfair, and discourage economic activity.

  18. Will Folks

    I genuinely appreciate all the comments regarding my personal life. Seriously, I do. Just once, though, it would be nice to submit an article and actually have folks debate its merits instead of venting their spleens with all this anonymous speculation regarding a domestic situation they didn’t witness and don’t possess the slightest bit of insight into.
    That’s probably too much to ask, though, given that it would require brain matter equal to the task of formulating a legitimate counterargument, something it would appear the vast majority of commentators on this particular post do not possess.
    If anyone wishes to dispute the premise articulated in my most recent column, believe me, I’m all ears. I was trying to make a point and if I’m wrong, by all means show me how and why, and I’ll gladly admit I was wrong.
    Finally, and I’m just guessing here, but perhaps the real reason that The State newspaper publishes my columns from time-to-time is that I’m a damn site better writer than the rest of you.
    Well, that, and the opportunity printing such a column affords so many of you residing in anonymous freakland to go nuclear with impotent rage on Brad Warthen’s blog.
    Well, that, and maybe something to do with selling newspapers.
    At any rate with warm regards, kindest wishes, no hard feelings, I am, sincerely yours, respectfully, have a nice day, etc.

  19. Scott Barrow

    Mr. Folks’ ego will not fit in the small and empty space between his ears. So he brings it here, to Mr. Warthen’s blog, to share with us. With such arrogance spewing from his mouth, no wonder the average South Carolinian is disillusioned with the whole political process and the asses like him who work in government.
    He physically abuses women (like the gutless bully he is), and he seeks to abuse verbally anyone here who would disagree with him.
    You’ve had your 60 minutes of fame. Just go away.

  20. Capital A

    No one is buying what you’re selling, Willy. You can’t go back on the road for us.
    You’re not liked; you’re certainly not well-liked.
    Now, please take a hint from that tragedy and do us all a favor by completely dying off from the political stage. In the public eye, you’ve died the death of a salesman because in part, like another low man, you couldn’t keep your hands off the ladies.
    You have all kinds of greatness in you…as a trash collector. You should have plenty of time to plan your grand economic schemes and ponder proper comma use as you’re picking litter from the culverts and ditches in our fair city while fulfilling the needs of your community service. I just hope you’ll take your phony dreams of political advocacy and burn them before something even worse happens.
    In the future, when you’re lying somewhere, beside some railway, don’t try to pin it all on us. Spite, spite is the name of your undoing.
    Everyone, attention, attention must no longer be paid to this person. Only then will we be free and clear, free and clear…

  21. Mark Whittington


    You know these people. How many other callow miscreants of Mr. Folks’ ilk belong to the Sanford gang? My God, if low-life scum such as Mr. Folks controls the administration, then indeed we are in serious trouble. Is this a case of just one bad apple, or is there a systemic problem here?

  22. Dave

    It sounds like a number of posters are equating Mr. Folks with Bill Clinton. I don’t know Will Folks personally and don’t know if he is guilty of anything and really don’t care to know. The subject matter he raised is legitimate and that is what should be debated.

    I think we need a strong pro-business climate in SC. That equates to a low tax profile and regulation only where it is absolutely required. I think that is what the governor’s policies are in a general sense. That is what the debate should be about.

  23. Don Williams

    Earlier in this post I raised an issue about the plethora of conservative local columnists which have been given platform. To me, that is a legitimate response to your question which started this post.
    Otherwise, the attacks of Mr. Folks character should not be part of your decision or their derision of him. As he correctly stated, we don’t know what happened and since he is not an elected official, it is of only prurient concern to the community.
    I totally disagree with his viewpoints, find the entire Sanford administration unresponsive and disconnected, but none of that disqualifies him from submitting a piece and you deciding on its merits whether it should get a public forum.
    PS- I do wish he had used “sight” correctly, and I do wish he hadn’t bragged on his writing. But he IS a Republican- humility isn’t likely to be his strongest suit.

  24. Lee

    Mr. Williams,
    I invite you to prioritize the spending of this state, and see if we really need any more taxes than a 5% sales tax to cover all the really necessary things. No one in our legislature, colleges, or boards of economic advisors has done that, so their “expert opinions” are not so expert.

  25. Steve Aiken

    Lee’s propositions are disjunctive. On the one hand, he assumes a 5% sales tax. On the other, “cover all the really necessary things”. One is a quantifiable value; the other isn’t.

  26. Lee

    I invite you to tell us what is a necessary project, and why, before asserting that the taxes are necessary to purchase it.

  27. Will Folks

    Take a joke, people. Grammar police included. Damn site. Damned sight. Whatever. Isn’t that what editors are for?
    And no, I’m not going anywhere.
    I was born here. I live here. I run a business here. I’ll raise my children here, and as God allows, will offer my thoughts from time to time on things that happen here.
    As for Bill Clinton, I kind of like the guy. He sure managed to keep government spending in better check than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

  28. Lee

    The illiberals, as usual, are avoiding the issues raised in the opinion piece. Their usual fallback tactics are to attack the writer personally, and pick a typing and grammar errors in posts.

  29. Capital A

    Yea, those liberals really went after John Kerry’s personal choices! It WAS them, wasn’t it?
    I think the Republicans are the masters of sleight of hand; you mislead, Lee. Any political party that can manage to shift blame from a cult of terrorists to the entire nation of Iraq must have the aid of Houdini’s ghost! Quite a trick pulled off by Bush-baby and his own personal Grima Wormtongue or, as he calls him, “Turdblossom.” Nicknames like that pass for humor among Republican ranks.
    My allusion wasn’t to Slick Willy Clinton; it was to Willy Loman who, like Willy Folks, has problems with the ladies, as well as with his chosen career. Of course, Willy Folkspeare, our resident man of letters, should have picked up on that considering his self-proclaimed and transcendent knowledge.
    Lee, you didn’t need that comma in your last sentence as it had a double predicate; it was not beginning an entirely new independent clause. Also, a “to” is missing in front of the word “pick.” You needed this to maintain your parallelism. If you want to pick on those illegal aliens for not holding to the traditions of your homeland, you better “damn sight” know how to express the language, y’know? Show ’em how it’s done!
    There’s your free education in both literature and grammar. To read your theories on education funding, that is what you’re seeking anyway–something for nothing. Heck, you don’t even want to pay the price of admitting you’re wrong on a message board. Who’d expect people like you to drop a dime on the welfare of the children of our state?
    Ah, there’s the class division bell…
    Of what type of business are you proprietor? I admit my ignorance on that subject.

  30. Lee

    You really do conjur up some straw opponents to make yourself feel better. I won’t bother to mark up your grammatical errors.
    You might want to read the 9/11 Commission Report and the omitted sections, to acquaint yourself with all the meetings between top Iraqi officials and Al Qaeda, the fugitive terrorists offered asylum in Iraq, and the hijacker training camps in Iraq.
    Bill Clinton gave 31 speeches in which he said Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”, as he tried to justify his dropping 80,000 tons of bombs no that nation during his last year in office. Anyone who wants to claim that 100% were destroyed needs to provide an inventory of the damages at each location from credible military sources.
    Rational Americans know Saddam Hussein was a source of terrorism. None of that has anything with your being unable to argue with Will Folks, but it is another subject in which leftist depend upon fabrication to support their seditious instincts.

  31. queerasfolks

    damn. I thought that I was unpopular these days. I guess I better not submit a column to the state.
    Brad, I guess, well I think that you may have gotten some sort of the answer that you were looking for and this time…it wasn’t our blog that said a darn word about Mr. Folks and his previous legal battles. That’s what we get criticized about all of the time. Not the fact that we say most of his ideas are a little party line and not his own.

  32. Dave

    Will, I am stating the obvious here but Bill Clinton was not leading a worldwide war on terror. Maybe he should have but as we know now he routinely ignored the pleas of his own staff in regard to taking Bin Laden and fighting terrorism. Also, something like 80% of federal spending is fixed in the budget no matter who the president may be. We have a GOP Congress but it is hardly a dominant GOP legislature as long as you have Chafee, Snow, Collins, McCain and other pseudo Republicans thwarting conservative programs.

    On a personal note, I give you a lot of credit for not engaging your naysayers in personal vitriol. I have read some of your posts on the Laurin Line and you aren’t as good as Mark Steyn, few are, but you have excellent writing skills. Keep it up.

  33. Capital A

    Dave, neither one of these two have chosen to strike back because they both lack the eloquence and wit to do so. Their actions aren’t admirably moral by any means.
    It’s a typical post-modernist Republican tactic to carpetbomb those they believe they can bully until they are outshelled, themselves. At that point, they cower and ask why their previous targets are attacking.
    It’s one reason why the post-modernist Democratic party sickens me. None will stand up to their dirty-pool playin’ counterparts. If they did, they’d surely see their opponent scratch more often than sink.
    Also, how is what many of us are doing here considered an extended personal attack? He committed a crime against our state, our city and masculinity. It’s “The People vs. Mr. William Folks.” That’s legal, not personal, and judging by the responses on just this board-sampling, it’s very literal!
    Besides, it’s not the first or second time he’s committed such offense. Fond remembrances of college, Mr. Folks?

  34. Lee

    Capital A, like most critics of Will Folks, has studiously avoided addressing his argument that a handful of business elites are touted by The State editors as the only people worthy of opinion on tax reform.
    I wonder why these people feel so unqualified to challenge Mr. Folks or to defend the business leaders. Maybe they know they are unqualified.
    Unfortunately, they let their insecurity spill over into attempts to bully everyone else into silence. It doesn’t work, and that just fuels their frustration.

  35. kc

    “Business elites.” Is this supposed to be a pejorative? Why, I never thought I’d see the day when right wingers started using such sneering language to refer to bidnessmen.
    Capital A, like most critics of Will Folks, has studiously avoided addressing his argument that a handful of business elites are touted by The State editors as the only people worthy of opinion on tax reform.
    I missed where The State editors said any such thing. Besides, they gave Mr. Folks a nice fat editorial slot. What more do you want?

  36. Lee

    I want more South Carolinians to act like adults, take responsibility for their own lives, and stop waiting for big government or big business to give the a job.
    South Carolina has always been run by competing cliques who considered themselves as elite, natural proprietors. As a consultant, I respect any business person, the more so in direct proportion to how little they depend on government for subsidies and protection.
    It is fine that some of these retired or fired executives made lots of money in a 1950s business model using hundreds of low-paid workers. That does not make them authorities on cardiac surgery, aerospace engineering, nanotechnology, biotech, fuel cells, or tax reform – any more than Paris Hilton on Bono.


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