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Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Haley's Comeback

I've described before the charming peculiarities of my home state, South Carolina, notably here and here. Philip Roth waxed eloquent on the "American berserk," setting it typically in New Jersey, and, having seen both Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives of New Jersey I won't quibble with his psychic geography, except maybe to press for a sandlapper sidecar.

Tonight, me boys have done it again, and I don't mean, gone shaggin' or cloggin'. Mark Sanford hasn't even left office, and the GOP has nearly (save for the now predictable runoff) nominated yet another hard right, libertarian cum states' rights extremist and serial philanderer to hold their highest office. Don't get me wrong, I'll take the latter sin so long as it breathes free of the former. Public and private virtue aren't the same after all, props to Machiavelli. But Madame Haley lacks for either, so she gets no love from this blogger. How odd, though, that the SC GOP should so passionately rally around her in her moment of greatest implausibility, allowing a mere state senator to lap an MC, an AG, and an LtG. It's as if the very transparency of her bedroom lies made them love her more. The Tea Party has thrived upon its willful embrace of the paradoxical, the hypocritical, and the patently ludicrous. A test of faith? In The True Believer, the great Eric Hoffer wrote that, for the Kool-Aid inclined, big lies were better motivators than small ones, since they created both a more powerful sense of in-group identification and a more intense sense of grievance against that pesky and persecuting "reality." Maybe, but it could also be that defending Darling Nikki--notably against the caddish Jake Knotts--gave them a chivalrous shiver, especially when it let them flatter their Rand-Paulian fantasy of racial indifference. A lady's "virtue" must be preserved, especially if she's fixin' to cut taxes and repeal health care.

Overlooked almost entirely, my home district (SC-04) has likely (again, runoff pending) defeated the hard right incumbent Bob Inglis with the holy-shit-that's-hard right of Trey Gowdy (28%-39%). Inglis committed the sin of telling the Tea Partiers that they were delusional, hoping his rock solid conservative voting record would save him. No such luck. Amazing to think that, growing up, my rep in that district was a liberal Democratic woman. But that was the golden age of Gamecock progressivism, a halcyon time when Gov. Dick Reilly (D!) was inspiring young Bill Clinton with his New South savoir faire, visions of technocratic policy wonks dancing in their heads. Looking back, and having seen SC's political exhibitionism stripped barer and barer over several decades, I now think that dreamy interregnum must have been the real South Carolina berserk--between the reign of Thurmond the restoration that was Reaganism. Ah, South Carolina! Good times there are not forgotten.

3 Comments:

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Will said...

TMcD,

Really? No mention at all of Alvin Greene? I thought, for sure, that primary win would've interested you. I certainly was intrigued by it.

Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions as to who is going to win the general, but still. I'm perplexed by how this guy got elected.

I've heard many theories, many times in the form of excuses, as to why this happened. one being "his name was the first on the ballot, so people just hit the first button they saw." This "theory" doesn't hold water, for me, because he got nearly 100,000 votes. Seems unlikely that all those people simply hit the first name they saw. Another "theory" is that Repubs switched primaries to vote for the guy they thought was a sure loss. This one is interesting, but still not very likely.

Regardless of how it happened, I'm interested to know your opinion, if you have one at all, of the 32 year old, unemployed Senate Candidate for SC, that still lives with his parents, and had no money and didn't even have a website.

Thoughts?

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger Will said...

I forgot to mention potential felon. But that wasn't discovered till after he earned the nod.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

This story didn't break until after I had posted, so it slipped past my radar. I actually think the "first name on the ballot" theory is a pretty good one. Believe it or not, this does happen a lot, though usually on down-ballot races (not US Senate). But the Dem nomination race may have been so overlooked by SC voters that Greene and Rawl got down ballot treatment.

The more perplexing question is why he appeared in the race in the first place. How does an unemployed vet with a felony record, living with his parents, plop down 10K for a Senate race that he never campaigns in? Just bizarre. Unless someone gave him the money to make a little mischief. But why bother when DeMint was a shoe in anyway?

 

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