Just to acknowledge the unsavory thing buzzing around on Twitter and the Web this morning (which Doug Ross brings up obliquely on a previous post) — now that the MSM has bowed to the inevitable and reported on it — I provide this place for you to discuss the implications.
I’m not going to mention the particulars. You can find them here, more or less.
Personally, I just hate the fact that I even heard about it. Something like this is to news what “Inglourious Basterds” is to cinema.
All I’ve got to say is, I saw the name “Will Folks” in a headline in my Memeorandum news feed, and before I even read that story I came straight to your blog to see if anything was a-stirrin’.
Thanks for the link to The State. Now I’m off to see what’s up.
I will offer this bit of social commentary: I’ve been reading a lot lately about the changing definitions of privacy in a Facebook age. Personally, I’m not one to make a fetish of privacy. The notion that it is an absolute right guaranteed by the Constitution (protecting even such unlikely things as abortion) is unconvincing to me. Besides, no right is absolute — the 1st Amendment is legitimately limited by libel law, just as it is legitimate for there to be limits on the right to bear arms and even, under rare circumstances, habeas corpus.
Nothing should be absolute; that way lies ideological madness. And for that reason, I am not absolute in my dismissal of privacy concerns. There are areas that are NOT legitimate areas of public scrutiny.
The interesting thing about this case is that we see someone who respects nothing about other people turning that same disrespect upon himself and taking perverse pride in doing so, even as he drags others down. Sort of a scorpion and the frog thing. The whole thing is terribly unpleasant to watch, and you just feel bad for all concerned.
I wouldn’t believe anything that came out of Will Folk’s mouth. Especially now that he’s willing to say anything as long as the check clears. The guy is a loser.
Though (or perhaps because) the story was written before this Folks-Haley item emerged, today’s headline in the State now turns out to be a real howler:
“Even Indirectly, Sanford Will Influence Gubernatorial Election”
By the way, we’ve watched this guy self-destruct before.
Although, in this age, does anyone ever actually self-destruct? Or do they merely thrive on the attention?
To grab the nearest cliche….Sleep with dogs and end up with fleas….and lose a shot at the nomination.
Sometimes things seem to head into impossible to understand territory; the places that seem to be mostly about unaddressed mental health issues. This situation clearly has that vibe.
For that reason, it doesn’t seem newsworthy. Whether something happened or not is of lesser concern here. This reads more like a cry for help than a real attempt to skew public perception.
But if it IS “dirty politics,” what on Earth would be the political motivation? The person perpetrating the story only has one horse in this race, only one imaginable ally — and it’s the person whose character is being maligned.
There’s just no way this adds up. My inclination is to believe the denial, and side with the maligned in condemning the accusation. But what on Earth would be the accusers motivation, beyond the basest, crudest kind of boasting? Which doesn’t persuade…
I’m starting to think this was an attempt to play with the mainstream media and get the rival campaigns riled up. Note the ambiguous nature of the “confession”. It leads itself open to a lot of interpretation.
The Post and Courier has a more in depth article on their website right now than does the The State. Absent any confirming evidence, my inclination is to believe this is just dirty politics. Indeed, if no corroborating info is forthcoming, this could actually work in Haley’s favor.
What’s interesting is what Free Times has on it over on their website.
It seems Folks admitted this a year ago…
Amid longstanding questions at the State House about the alleged affair, a source told Free Times several weeks ago that Folks, a former spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford, called him in 2009 and admitted it was true.
They also allege a former employee of Haley’s knew about it, too:
Brad, I never underestimate the willingness of people to make fools of themselves for self-promotion. It could also be retribution for some slight, whether imagined or real.
If one wants to get into tinfoil conspiracy theories, Folks’ marginal connection to Rod Shealy and thus the Bauer campaign provides a possible motivation. In my opinion, Bauer has the most to gain from a Haley implosion right now, as he would likely gain a plurality of her current support, and if the latest Rasmussen poll proves accurate, he currently has no chance otherwise of making the runoff. I didn’t include this conspiracy theory in my original post because I have no proof, and one could construct similar unsubstantiated conspiracy theories for the other campaigns, or even the Haley campaign itself if someone thought she could gain sympathy votes this way.
Brad: as to your last question in the comments, as I’m sure you’re aware there are tons of theories flying around. Like the fact that the blogger making the charges was hired by one particular political strategist in 2006 to do work for his candidates–a strategist that is closely associated with one of the candidates for governor–a candidate for governor who appears to be particularly peaved with Haley’s “on-the-record” crusade as evidenced by his blowing up at her in the debate on Saturday night in Greenville. This strategist also has a history of dirty politics including a rather notorious incident involving a family member of his running for statewide office a while back.
Another theory involves the blogger hating Jenny Sanford more than he likes Nikki Haley–and he can’t stand the “sisterhood” thing they have going on.
@ Mark Stewart
“mostly about unaddressed mental health issues” —dingdingding! Yeah, sounds like that to me. We have a lot of evidence that Folks is imbalanced–he proudly says so himself. I imagine he bragged to the wrong person–perhaps embellishing a kiss or even a hug into an “inappropriate physical relationship” and then faced with his own credibility on the line–Free Times on his tail, he ‘fesses up to scoop everybody–threw Nikki under the bus, and quite possibly the truth with it–as Thigpen says in the Post and Courier article, he’s not known for his dedication to the truth.
One thing’s clear…the entire Sanford Inc. entourage needs to be flushed. There’s got to be an island down in Argentina that can hold them all. They deserve each other, and we deserve better.
I first heard this rumor more than two years ago. Considering how long it’s been around and how many people were already aware, I tend to believe that something happened. And I’ve also heard that there’s way, way more than what’s in the public sphere right now. Hopefully, I’ll find out this evening.
Anyone heard the one about Sanford banging Haley? Then it was Folks….who knows. I doubt there is proof either way. Folks made a dumb move by trying to snatch the glory on the story. Everyone knows he is an attention whore. Henry or Gresham likely got the Free Times to run this. Since when is the Free Times mainstream media?
So given Folks’ history with women, does this mean Haley is now the candidate to beat?
@Nony Mous–Criminal Domestic Violence is not an appropriate subject for jokes. A woman got hurt, according to Folks’s plea–not funny.
I’m surprised Brad approved this.
Was it a joke? I guess I just took it as bitterly ironic. After all, my initial reaction to hearing of “an inappropriate physical relationship” was to think of violence, not sex. Considering the source.
Personally, the one I almost didn’t approve was the one from RF above, because of the language.
This whole thing takes us to such an inappropriate place — we shouldn’t even be having this conversation — that I guess my appropriateness meter is on the blink.
@Brad–You thought Nony Mous was a real name, too?
Rf had the “attention whore” part about Folks right, but why think that Corey Hutchins wouldn’t run it, if he got sufficient corroboration, just because it’s something obviously a lot of people want to read. The Free Times is not a charity.
Folks is hardly a slave to the truth. The whole thing is a bit weird in terms of motivations, except for the part where the media cover it–
Sheheen is looking better every day.
“I first heard this rumor more than two years ago”–Wes Wolfe
Certainly you have to admit at this point is that even if Haley does get nominated Sheheen has a even better chance of beating her ( he doesn’t even have to mention it, the media surely will. If the Sheehen campaign takes off after primaries (and it probably will) Haley is the GOP’s best chance. With any of the other candidates Sheheen has much more ammunition to fire on them, especially Andre.
“Inappropriate Physical Relationship” — would that include professional wrestling?