OFF THE GRID

The Blogger and the Would-be Governor: What’s the Truth?

May 25, 10 | 7:58 AM   byMichael Wolff
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Is it South Carolina or is it the Internet?

Nikki Haley, who is running to replace South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford—whose own affair was great political soap opera for South Carolina as well as for the rest of the country—and who has been endorsed by both Sarah Palin and Sanford’s own wife, Jenny (who, having divorced her husband, may now be a potential candidate herself), had an affair with a blogger supporter—says the blogger supporter, one Will Folks, in his blog.

Actually, he is not really, per se, a blogger, nor does he actually say they had, per se, an affair.

What he is is a political operative, who are, like bloggers, often sketchy and unemployed. Folks was Sanford’s spokesperson—or he was until 2005, when he pleaded guilty to kicking in the door of his girlfriend’s apartment. His girlfriend was a South Carolina lobbyist—also a profession, like political operative, and blogger, that covers a lot of sins.

As happens more than one might think in politics, Folks went from an alternative rock band to working closely with the governor. The Folks blog is in fact something of a mash-up of alternative rock and politics, with the tag line: "Unfair. Imbalanced."


(AP Photo)
 
Haley, for her part, is a CPA-turned-state representative who combines a purposeful Southern charm with Christian fundamentalism—like Jenny Sanford and Sarah Palin (Palin’s charm is by way of Alaska).

“We need to keep the Lord close, we need to keep our family close, we need to keep our friends close. And we need to make sure we are never put in those situations so that that can happen," Haley said, rather cryptically, not long before the Folks accusation, about the Sanford affair.

What Folks said is that in 2008 he and Haley—a married mother of two—for whom he apparently wrote speeches and did general PR work (while blogging on the side), had “an inappropriate physical relationship.” Haley responded: “"I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage." Of course, Haley’s and Folks’ statements could both be true.

You can immediately see how a political candidate, having regularly slighted and abused many of the people in his or her immediate orbit, might easily be avenged by a former acolyte. Seems odd that of all the disgruntled people left in Sarah Palin’s wake, nobody claimed a meretricious relationship with her. Folks, however, actually appears to be a Haley loyalist and supporter. Which, of course, does not mean he isn’t a nut job, too.

It is the thing about politics (specially South Carolina politics, but not limited to South Carolina) and the Internet: They attract the marginal—which is perhaps part of democracy, but also has something to do with going to bed with dogs.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWolffNYC.
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