by Chris Haire
As many of you know, I’m not a big fan of Gov. Nikki Haley. She’s a thin-skinned narcissist with a Borderline-Pollyanna disorder who will gladly abandon her principles and backstab her one-time allies if it means getting some face time on Fox News or a fashion spread in Vogue magazine. She’s also a liar.
That said, I’ve kind of lost interest in Haley. In fact, I try to avoid writing about her — something that I previously did on a near-weekly basis. These days, I’m even a little sympathetic. I’m not sure what happened.
Maybe it's because I realized that the Good Ol' Boy system is after our governor simply because she is a woman.
Maybe it's because her harshest critics are the scummiest of the scummy and the rottenest of the rotten. (You know who you are.)
Maybe it's because I realized the oust-Haley crusade has become something of a Ken Starr-style witch hunt. (To read more about Haley’s most recent woes, read Corey Hutchins' piece on the House Ethics Commission investigation into her time as a lobbyist in lawmaker's clothing.)
And maybe it's because there are those bigoted assholes out there who believe that Haley's biggest crime is being an "other," somebody who's just not like all of us true-blue South Carolinians. Some of these choad lickers love to refer to Haley by her birth name, Nimrata, while others probably prefer the slur favored by state Sen. Jake E. Knotts, "raghead."
Well, now the anti-Haley forces have launched their silliest attack yet. Not surprisingly, Knotts is the man firing the shots.
The whole mess began last Thursday when Lexington's Knotts effectively blocked a vote on a bill creating a state Department of Administration. This piece of reform legislation would create a new governor-controlled department that would oversee the day-to-day operations of the state. Currently, the state Budget and Control Board, which is more or less an extension of the General Assembly, is charged with this task.
So exactly how did Knotts block the bill? Well, during the confirmation vote for the state inspector general, Patrick Maley, Jake took to the Senate floor and ran out the clock on the legislative session by reading aloud Maley's bio and his letters of recommendation. The Senate ultimately voted to confirm Maley, but thanks to Knotts' effort, the time on the legislative session ran out before a vote on the DOA could be taken.
Was it a masterful move? Yes. But make no mistake, it was a dick move of the highest order.
In response, Nikki's hubby Michael took to Facebook to let the world know that he was none too pleased with the demise of the Department of Administration bill. In fact, he compared Knotts and his fellow senators to three S.C. Guard members who died in a suicide attack earlier in the week to fully illustrate his disdain. Michael wrote:
“It amazes me that in a week that we have heroes who have died fighting for our freedoms, we have cowards who are afraid to take a vote in the Senate.”
Apparently, this pissed off Knotts, who in turn called Adjutant General Robert Livingston, the man who oversees the S.C. National Guard, Michael's employer. Knotts also released a statement:
Michael Haley should be ashamed of himself for invoking the memory of dead soldiers just to make a partisan political point. As a commissioned officer in the S.C. National Guard, Mr. Haley should know that he is not permitted to engage in partisan rhetoric. Yet he continues to participate in contentious partisan issues. Mr. Haley should immediately apologize to the families of those brave heroes for using them as political cover. As my friend and fellow veteran Sen. Phil Leventis said from the state Senate floor this week, if Mr. Haley insists on being involved in politics, he should consider resigning his commission. The two cannot be mutually exclusive.
Everybody makes mistakes, including myself, but the important thing is to admit to being wrong, apologize for those mistakes, and refrain from making them again. I call on Mr. Haley to do the honorable thing in this situation.
State Sen. Phil Leventis, a Sumter Democrat, joined the fray, chastising Michael for his comments, followed by Charleston's Chip Campsen, a Republican state senator. Later, the good guv jumped into the ring to defend her husband. Ugh.
Fortunately, Livingston put an end to the silliness, declaring that even though Michael was a member of the National Guard, he had every right to post what he posted. (What he didn't say, though, was that, yes, the state Senate is packed with wusses who are afraid to go on record to vote against the Department of Administration bill, a key component of Haley's reform agenda. If they went on record and killed the bill, then they would be sending a signal that they aren't actually interested in reform, and that wouldn't go over too well with their constituents.)
Unfortunately, while good sense prevailed in this case, I fear it's not the last time that Haley's opponents will seize upon the tiniest perceived infraction to embarrass or attack the governor or the last time that Jake Knotts will be behind it.