Eating One's Own

It has taken me awhile to get around to writing anything about the sordid saga in my home state of South Carolina between Nikki Haley, who is hoping to become the first Indian American woman governor in the country, and her Republican party colleagues who have gone all out in the last few weeks to rename her “Darling Nikki”, the title of a Prince song about a fictional sex fiend.

We were in the mall a couple of weekends ago, where we ran into several of our old neighbors and friends of the Resident Diva that we haven’t seen in awhile. One of the families was from Brazil. Their youngest daughter, who had always seemed to be in the middle of some emotional turmoil during her middle teens, looked like a new person. Aster they walked away, I said to S. “It’s good to see her smiling. She used to always look so sad.”

S. didn’t miss a beat. “It’s because her eyes turn down.”


“The corners of her eyes turn down – that’s what makes her look so pitiful when she frowns.”

Maybe Will Folks and Larry Marchant, the two miscreants in this whole mess, as Petey Greene used to say, wanted to get Nikki Haley to frowning all the time on TV, because if you look at Mrs. Haley closely, you will see that her eyes turn down at the corners too. But Mrs. Haley has hung in there gamely, with a grim, determined look on her face these days, even as South Carolina’s Republican party has become more fully committed to eating one of their own.

Instead of building the front runner for governor up, in hopes of retaining the governor’s seat, the South Carolina GOP has decided to risk tearing apart a woman who is very likely going to be their party’s nominee by 11 o’clock tonight.
Usually, animals eat one of their own when they are weak and sickly. When they pose a danger to the herd. When they are undersized or slow to develop the skills necessary for survival in the wild.

Could it be that at the last minute, the good old boys who pay for a lot of the political machinery in SC decided they weren’t quite ready for a female Bobby Jindal? Could it be that some of the more ultra right wing elements of the party , elements whose brains have been pickled by the poison of fundamentalist religious beliefs, could hold their tongues no longer, because god dammit, no woman is supposed to be the head of anything, much less an entire state government?

I’ve written four hundred and thirty five words without once addressing the central issue in this “whodunit to Nikki?” mystery – who is telling the truth here? - in this “they said, she said” situation.

With the right amount of time, space, and opportunity, any man or woman has the capacity to take a walk on the wild side. No pedigree, no wedding ring, no line of children out the door has yet proven to be the antidote to the human libido. I’ve lived long enough to know that people who think they are smarter than average tend to feel that they can get away with more than middle America Joe Blow. And lying for a politician is an art form as old as politics itself, so I wouldn’t rule out for one second the notion that these assignations could have happened.

What I do wonder is, now that Bo and Luke Duke have let the proverbial cat out of the bag, what are they going to do now? Will Folks swears he has a team of lawyers going over his information, or evidence, or his blue dress that he didn’t take to the cleaners, a la Monica Lewinsky, but unless his evidence had to be delivered by tractor trailer, or his lawyers were one of those weak minded scions of SC legal dynasties who had to have the bar exam jimmied so they could pass it, I guess he’s just hamming it up for the cameras until a book deal comes his way.

Larry Marchant is probably avoiding the press since his old client, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, has gone out and taken a polygraph test in secret, a test he is now happy to flap about because it shows the right result. Could Larry Marchant perform well enough to look like he is telling the truth on a publicly administered polygraph, or has he lied so much for so long that that is impossible to measure any variations in his breathing patterns or heart rate?

Maybe, if we were really lucky, Governor Mark Sandford would play Pied Piper, take his entire party “hiking on the Appalachian Trail”, and forget how to find their way back.

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