Sunday, March 06, 2011

Governor Haley is using Clinton's playbook

The New York Times is running an article about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and how she is a political “comet.”  It comes on the heals of two stories that have been out there.  One is about blogger and political consultant Will Folks writing a tell all book about his affair with the Governor among other things, and the other is the Governor’s decision to “gun for” legislators who do not do her bidding by issuing report cards on them.  Haley said in the article that she would not read Folks’s upcoming book because she “did not have time to read fiction.”    Haley and her people are playing the game well.  Here’s why.

Over twenty three years ago, Gary Hart was seen as the perfect Democratic candidate for President to beat then Vice President George H.W. Bush or Senator Bob Dole, the two GOP front runners.  Then, Hart was derailed by a sex scandal with an young aide.  People do not even remember how the “monkey business” on the boat named the “Monkey Business” derailed Hart’s ambitions.

That is because Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary changed the game forever.  As American sexual moorings shifted, the Clintons took an aggressive approach to President Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.  The President lied about his affair.  Then the President even admitted he lied and then he, his wife and his operatives attacked political opponents.  It was a master play by them.  It resulted in Bill Clinton now being a respected elder statesman on the world stage and Hillary Clinton being the Secretary of State.

So, who can blame Haley for making the same play?  After all, true or not true, the allegations against a popular Governor of South Carolina are being made by a controversial blogger and consultant.  Just as President Clinton wrapped himself in the Presidency, Haley will wrap herself in the Governor’s office.  And, just like the Clintons, Haley and her people are on the offensive against legislators who might raise questions about her veracity about such things.  Hillary Clinton called it the “vast right wing conspiracy.”  The Haley folks are all but calling the charges about her sexual peccadilloes the “vast RINO conspiracy.”

To be frank, the Haley people probably want a few more miles from the Folks sex scandal.  With it, Governor Haley gets to play the first woman Governor of South Carolina so maligned by the good ole boys.  Even if every bit of the stories about the Governor are true, she wins with the controversy because it takes the attention of the press and others away from other things.

The biggest of those other things is how someone who calls for political openness is not open about her consulting fees paid by businesses while she was a member of the General Assembly.  Further, how can a Governor who demands openness and accountability just sit by while her mentor/predecessor still has an operating campaign fund from 2006?  Forget who Haley may or may not have had sex with, where is her moral clarity in demanding that laws be written to get rid of such political slush funds?  Also, will the Governor submit to a political report card that judges things like actual attendance on the job in the office?

But, such questions are not likely to be asked by the mainstream media.  Such things take work.  And, the people love sex and sex sells and people lie about their own sex lives, so they understand.  The Clintons knew that and so does Haley.  The irony is Nikki Haley, the so called conservative champion, uses the tactics of Barack Obama in being a rock star and Bill Clinton in being a victim of people dwelling on her sex life.  It seems Nikki Haley and the people around her know people very well.

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