As you may know, the much ballyhooed state ethics reform bill failed to pass the General Assembly last week. In part, it’s because a few senators fought to prevent their Colatown comrades from voting on the measure, and in part it was a bad bill that protected corruption, not prevented it. But most of all, the ethics reform bill failed to pass because voters in South Carolina care about ethics reform even less than legislators.
Yes, the people talk a good game, but truth be told, they really don’t know what reform would entail or how to go about it. I know, I don’t. And while I’d like to say that I’ve given it some thought over the past year, I haven’t. Hell, I’ve devoted more time to thinking about what I’ll have for lunch today than how to stop corruption in the state Legislature. The point is, until voters in South Carolina truly give a damn about ethics reform, meaningful reform is impossible. In fact, I’m willing to bet the following things will happen before that day ever comes:
1. Will Folks will finally release his tell-all memoir detailing his glory years as Mark Sanford’s right-hand man, his advice for would-be domestic pugilists, and that one time he and Nikki Haley got sorority girl snockered and listened to John Mayer in Haley’s SUV. When the book fails to sell, he’ll post a story on his blog admitting that he is actually the love child of Lee Atwater and Willie Horton.
2. Mark Sanford will be named the poet laureate for South Carolina after he pens a volume of erotic economic poetry inspired by Ayn Rand and his Argentinian soul mate Maria Belén Chapur.
3. Glenn McConnell will change the College of Charleston alma mater to “Dixie” and launch a new Living History major at the school. And in an effort to attract more African-American students, he will offer free scholarships to all of those willing to serve as “Gullah re-enactors” at the president’s house.
4. Bobby Harrell will finally find the box where he kept all of his missing campaign receipts, Marsellus Wallace’s soul, the Ark of the Covenant, the 12-hour cut of David Lynch’s Dune, Hitler’s other ball, and Bigfoot’s birth certificate. Unfortunately, Harrell will somehow lose the box on the way to his latest ethics hearing.
5. Tim Scott will inadvertently hear John Boehner utter a racial slur, switch to the Democratic Party, and a become the greatest African-American civil rights leader since the Wayan brothers. He’ll also take up competitive eating and defeat both Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi at Nathan’s annual Hot Dog Eating Contest, a pyrrhic victory of sorts considering that Kobayashi gave him the worst case of heartburn he’d ever had.
6. Jim Clyburn will remember what it’s like to actually run for office again when he’s challenged by his very own clone. Jim 2: The Second One, as the clone is affectionately known, will be the strongest opponent that Clyburn has faced in years and will emerge victorious on Primary Day after it’s revealed that the Congressman is, in fact, a clone. Marvel Comics will option the rights to the story for a silver screen release in Summer 2017.
7. Leon Stavrinakis will make defeating Charleston’s 12 a.m. bar closing ordinance the main focus of his campaign during his mayoral race and will cruise to victory on Election Day. However, in his first day as mayor he’ll learn that the city owes Condé Nasty a pound of human flesh, a box of pralines, and an express pass at Jestine’s. He promptly resigns and begins running for his old House seat.
8. Wendell Gilliard will develop an allergy to track suits. In response, he begins wearing muumuus when he’s out in public. Floral prints quickly become his favorite.
9. Larry Grooms will finally sit down to read Fun Home, one sad and lonely night. Unfortunately, he’ll discover that the images of two naked lesbians is far from arousing. Later that night, he’ll see 2 Girls 1 Cup for the first time, and he doesn’t like how it makes him feel.
10. Marlon Kimpson and Robert Ford will both make wishes at the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park at the same time. The next morning, Kimpson will discover that his mind now inhabits Ford’s body. Eventually, he’ll manage to convince his wife that he is in fact exactly who he says he is. He soon discovers that Ford’s supply of male-enhancement pills come in handy — as a gag gift only.
11. Vincent Sheheen will march at the head of the S.C. Pride Fest. Unfortunately, he will be dressed in little more than tar and feathers.
12. T. Rav will be the lone South Carolinian to be raptured on Judgment Day, but even he will wonder what he did right.
Chris Haire is the editor of the Charleston City Paper and the author of The Many Crimes of Wyatt Duvall, Archmotherfucker
; Great Assholes in S.C. Politics
; and The 12 Days of the Marquis de Santa