Nancy Mace's FITSNews problem isn't sitting well with Nikki Haley fans. And by Nikki Haley fans, I mean, well, just one fan. But boy oh boy, what a fan it is: RedState's Erick Erickson.
The Atlanta-based blogger and Fox News contributor is a noted Tea Party darling and a long-time fan of S.C. Gov. Haley, and on more than one occasion, he's defended her honor, most notably when FITSNews' Will Folks announced that he had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with then-state Rep. Haley. It's safe to say that Erickson is willing to jump on any political grenade thrown Haley's way.
So it really isn't a surprise that the RedState head would bristle at the idea of supporting Nancy Mace, Will Folk's former partner in crime at FITSNews. What's shocking is that he actually penned a fiery diatribe explaining that his opposition to Mace is based solely on her association with Palmetto State politics' leading gossip monger and smear merchant.
The revisionist history going on about Nancy Mace’s record is a bit too much for me and the actual history disqualifies her in my mind. Nancy Mace has been making the rounds of conservative talk radio and blogs lately with so many eager to beat Lindsey. One of the things she is starting to get some heat over, and rightfully so, is her relationship with Will Folks.
This is a very good thing. But her response to it is to basically brush it off as Will Folks being a “client” and just one of many. That’s nonsense. They were business partners. She was co-owner of the website he used and continues to use as the platform for his stories about Governor Nikki Haley. And she served as his “spokesman” in response to all press inquires when he started smearing Nikki Haley with allegations of an affair. She was his mouthpiece, she spread those stories with her own name.
There is no way in hell I would have put her on stage at the RedState Gathering when that stage would be shared by Governor Nikki Haley and I have no intention of supporting anyone who was not only involved in that sordid mess, but is now trying to claim clean hands when she co-owned that website.
I just don’t think she should be able to get away with passing off what she did as just another service to another client. And if it was, then she is for sale in a way that everyone who thinks she would make a good public official should be extremely wary of. She should not so easily be given a pass for her role in smearing not just Nikki Haley, but the Haley family.
Never one to back down from a fight, Will Folks has since responded to Erickson. Folks says
Erickson’s reflexive support for Haley is cute, though. Like “lost puppy” cute. And he’s been with her from the beginning, so there’s something to be said for his loyalty – misguided as it may be.
In fact in May 2010 – three days after our founding editor Will Folks was pressured by Haley’s enemies into acknowledging his previous “inappropriate physical relationship” with the former state lawmaker – Erickson put up an article claiming that Folks had been paid to smear her.
“We know who paid Will Folks to push this story out there,” he wrote.
Within 24 hours, however, Erickson had backed down from his accusation completely. In fact he published a follow-up post saying “I have no clue if anyone is behind Will Folks doing this,” and later admitted that he was merely stringing the media along “like Folks has done.”
Despite all this history, we have nothing against Erickson personally. We’re glad he continues to give us ink. And if his website’s ongoing support for a big-spending crony capitalist “Republicans in Name Only” like Haley is going to color its endorsement in South Carolina’s 2014 U.S. Senate race – that’s entirely his prerogative.
While it's worth noting that Erickson won't be casting a ballot on primary day — he's not a South Carolinian after all — there's no doubt that his screed will prevent many Palmetto State GOPers from voting for Nancy Mace as she tries to take the Republican nomination away from Lindsey Graham.
It's also worth noting that the anti-Graham forces in South Carolina have seriously overestimated their numbers. Graham has always enjoyed sizable support from the more moderate majority of SCGOP voters, many of whom support his stances on immigration and the War on Terror, two areas where his positions anger thin-skinned Paul Family Tea Partiers.
These same moderate voters may also be strongly opposed to Barack Obama, but they have enough respect for the office of the presidency to believe that what the U.S. government needs more of are old-school statesmen like Graham who actually reach across the aisle to find solutions to our nation's very real woes. And for that reason and others, Graham will easily beat Mace, Lee Bright, and any other challenger who throws his hat into the ring.