I’ve tried to avoid a post on the mess in South Carolina politics, but I guess you can only avert your eyes so long from such a spectacle.
I mean, really?
It’s the most bizarre state of affairs I can remember in politics. In the current episode, two men deeply involved in GOP politics in South Carolina have now come forward to claim an affair with Nikki Haley, the frontrunner for the party’s gubernatorial nomination. The
gentleman person above, Larry Marchant, is the second. He’s apparently a well-known lobbyist and political consultant in South Carolina who until this week was working for one of Haley’s opponents, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. He resigned once he decided to “confess,” if that’s really what he’s done.
Bauer is himself a piece of work. You might recall him as the man who argued that the way to stop the poor from breeding was to stop feeding them. And of course, they’re all running to replace the notorious Mark Sanford, who in the name of love hiked the Appalachian Trail all the way down to Argentina and back.
South Carolina voters have to be appalled by all this. It’s the Deepwater Horizon of American politics, just spewing and spewing toxic material with no apparent means of stopping it. The place has always been known for its dirty politics — it’s where Lee Atwater learned his trade — but this is a whole ‘nother level.
Late in life, fatally ill with cancer, Atwater repented his behavior and sought forgiveness from his victims. In a 1991 piece for Life magazine, he wrote:
“My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The ’80s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.”
The tumor continues to spread.