Friday, April 1, 2011

Barbour loses S.C. in presidential bid

Posted by Chris Haire on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 8:13 AM

A little while back Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour refused to discuss a Magnolia State license plate honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, a noted Confederate general and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

At the time, Barbour took a beating in the press and rightfully so. Regardless of Forrest's merits and achievements, it's impossible to overlook his affiliation with the KKK.

As a man considering entering the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Barbour should have been aware of how his silent support would play across the country.

Apparently, Barbour recently realized that he cast himself as a racist douche bag and he has since corrected matters by making the strange admission that slavery was in fact the cause of the Civil War. Politico reports:

But [Barbour] has now made a forthright declaration about the events swirling around what some Southerners still call the War of Northern Aggression. “Slavery was the primary, central, cause of secession,” Barbour told me Friday. “The Civil War was necessary to bring about the abolition of slavery,” he continued. “Abolishing slavery was morally imperative and necessary, and it’s regrettable that it took the Civil War to do it. But it did.”

Unfortunately, Barbour's declaration may have the opposite effect of what he intended. While his admission that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War will make him somewhat more appealing to those who bristled at his silence during the license plate controversy, it will surely hurt Barbour's chances among those who firmly attest that slavery was not the primary cause of the War Between the States. And believe you me, there are plenty of those guys and gals right here in South Carolina.

They are the folks who tell you that nowhere in the S.C. Ordinance of Secession do the signers mention slavery, while overlooking the fact that the Declaration of Immediate Causes for Secession, the document detailing the reasons for secession, mentions with considerable enthusiasm that protecting slavery in the South and elsewhere is the signers' one true cause. (You can also check out newspaper clippings from the time to learn just how important maintaining slavery in the South and forcing it on the new states forming out west was for these gentlemen.)

Now, are there enough of these types in the Palmetto State to cost Barbour a victory in the South Carolina GOP primary in 2012? Well, that remains to be seen. If you ask me, I think Barbour's a tainted candidate because of his silence on the Forrest plate and this admission does little to help. I mean, what other candidate has to proclaim what the majority of America already knows: Slavery was the central issue that led to the Civil War?

And I think most SCGOPers will see it this way as well. They desperately want to win in 2012, and so they'll go with the candidate they feel stands the best chance against Barack Obama (read: Mitt Romney).

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Forget Haley Barbour. Spidey has gone white pridey.

Posted by Chris Haire on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse.

I mean, on the one hand you have Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential 2012 Presidential candidate, refusing to bad mouth a license plate honoring the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, and then there's this news that a truly iconic American figure has gone all white pride-y: Spider-Man. Oh nos.


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Friday, February 11, 2011

Haley/WACH Fox 57 update: Wesley Donehue defends Haley, displays misunderstanding of role of media

Is it hot in here or am I just angry?

Posted by Chris Haire on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 5:55 AM

Surprisingly, the Nikki Haley-WACH Fox 57 story appears to have some legs.

Not only has a Charlotte Fox affiliate picked up on the report — you know how our neighbors to the north like point their fingers at us and laugh — but the Process Story's Wesley Donehue, a SCGOP staffer, has felt compelled to weigh in on the matter.

In a recent video rant, Donehue, one of the noteworthy players in the whole Nikki Haley-Will Folks scandal, attempts to argue that the press is upset with Haley because she has cut them out of the loop. Instead of talking to the press, Haley is talking directly to the people.

And as a result, Donehue says, the traditional press — newspapers and TV — has a vendetta against Haley because she has eliminated its role as an informational middleman.

Now, I'm not going to argue that far too many in the press — in particular the state's Columbia press corps — believe their duty is to communicate what the governor and her compadres in the legislature want communicated to the masses.

However, Donehue fails to understand that while Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of new media have given Haley and others a direct line to the people to spread her views, the governor apparently only believes in one-way communication. And Donehue, apparently, doesn't have a problem with that.

Here's the thing: Donehue thinks it's perfectly fine for Haley to tweet her feelings about WACH Fox 57 at 12:33 am the night of the Super Bowl, proclaiming that the news organization is tabloid news, but he doesn't believe that Haley has to answer questions from the press about her childish comments — and believe you me, I know all too well about childish comments. They are my stock and trade.

Of course, I would expect as much from Donehue. After all, Donehue played a major role in prompting Will Folks to go public with claims that he had an inappropriate physical relationship with Haley. In fact, Donehue has admitted that, at the time, he believed the allegations to be true — back when there was absolutely no evidence that any such relationship took place. Now — after the text messages, phone records, and Haley's refusal to release her legislative emails during that time — he does not.

And now, he continues to stand by his gal.

Way to sell your soul, Wesley.

Is it hot in here or am I just angry?

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Political Porn 2: Does our obsession with national politics affect our interest in local politics?

Posted by Chris Haire on Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

A few days ago, I was writing about our fascination with all the political porn coming out of Washington, the kind that is shown 24 hours a day on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.

And it's this obsession of ours with the antics of Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Harry Reid, and their Congressional colleagues that consumes us when we, as South Carolinians, should be looking at what our legislators in Columbia are doing.

Well, the same also applies to our failure to pay attention to politics at the local level. A big difference between local politics and national politics is that city and town council members don't have to advertise their party affiliation.

Now, I would argue that because of this most folks ignore municipal matters. It doesn't fit into the accepted my team versus your team mentality that drives national politics, cable news, and the discussions we have with each other.

So as a little exercise, I wondered what it would be like to take an important story about a lawsuit against Mt. Pleasant Town Council by a former council member and change it up to reflect our national and partisan expectations. In essence, transforming it into the political porn will all crave.

Please head on over to the P&C to read the original story here before proceeding with the story below.

Washington, D.C. — The question of whether Congress conducts public business by e-mail in violation of the state Freedom of Information Act is a key issue in a lawsuit brought by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

The suit is expected to be heard next week by the U.S. Supreme Court. It alleges that a majority of Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee members frequently communicate with one another by e-mail on public matters. In its response to the suit, Democratic members of the Congressional committee deny the allegation.

"He can rule me out on that, without question," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a member of the Banking Committee. He communicates with committee staff by e-mail, but 99.9 percent of the time does not respond to an e-mail from a senator on the committee, he said.

DeMint's suit was filed in 2006, when Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was a senator.

"I think his quest for transparency is good. Do I think anyone intentionally hid anything? No," Feingold said.

Feingold, who gave a deposition for the suit, said Congress saves e-mails between senators members and staff. He did not save copies of e-mails between himself and another senator.

"Then you're saying you can't talk about town business if the two of you are standing in the hallway," he said.

A quorum for a Congressional committee is five members, which is necessary for official business to occur in a public meeting. If a quorum is present for a private discussion, then it could be considered an illegal meeting, officials said.

"I never saw a situation where an e-mail was going back and forth between five or more people in a discussion-type thing. I don't believe that you can really conduct a meeting by e-mail," Feingold said.

That sort of thing might happen on a conference call, he said.

Ray Slander, attorney for the U.S. Press Association, said electronic communication may not be used to circumvent the FOIA.

E-mails between two senators on private computers probably would not be considered public record, he said, but e-mail from a senator to congressional staff is considered public and the federal government is required to save it, he said.

DeMint's allegations against the town date to 2005, including his assertion in court documents that Congress illegally changed an agenda at the last minute, met without proper notice to the public and misrepresented the purpose of an executive session.

"Mr. DeMint has filed a suit. He has every right to do that," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "We believe we made every effort to follow all legal procedure."

DeMint and his attorney, Rahm Tinsley, declined comment.

DeMint's suit asks a judge to declare that the Congress violated the FOIA in certain instances described in the litigation, including a committee vote on Dec. 5, 2006, to buy Potomac River property for $6 million.

The suit also asks a judge to issue an injunction preventing future conduct by Congress that violates the FOIA.

DeMint and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) clashed over what Kennedy described in a 2005 letter to Reid as his "disrespectful and confrontational attitude" toward the Banking Committee.

In the letter, Kennedy suggested that it might be time for DeMint to consider whether it would be best for him to resign. Reid responded that he is assertive, not disrespectful.

The Senate appointed DeMint to the committee in 2005. Midway through his four-year term, commission members elected him chairman. DeMint said in 2009 that he was not reappointed to another term by Congress because he had questioned the legality of some congressional actions.

"Going back to 2005, the committee attacked me for asking the U.S. attorney general if the nation violated the law by approving the Central Potomac River Development without Planning Commission approval. According to the AG, they did violate it," he said at the time.

"The committee reacted to the AG opinion by secretively crafting a letter requesting I resign, for 'lack of respect' in requesting the opinion, and then leaked that letter to the press before I received it. That was a punitive action, as the Freedom of Information Act suit I filed states. The decision not to reappoint me is more of the same," he said.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nikki Haley's State of the State and the problem with political porn

Posted by Chris Haire on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 6:55 AM

I'm a piss-poor political reporter.

I don't watch presidential speeches.

I don't watch debates.

And I don't give a rat's ass about the State of the Union speech.

So you can imagine how I feel about watching Nikki Haley's State of the State speech.

Yeah. I didn't watch it. In fact, when the wife walked in and saw me watching it, I felt embarassed, like she had caught me watching the porn parody of The Incredible Hulk, featuring Tori Black, the 2011 AVN Female Performer of the Year and star of over 200 adult films, an monumental feat for a, gulp, 22 year old.

You know, on second thought maybe I shouldn't have revealed that I knew so much about Miss Black, who recently displaced Sasha Grey as the queen of the porn world and who...

Crap. There I go again. This is embarrassing. In fact, it's almost as embarrassing as getting caught watching the porn parody of The Incredible Hulk, featuring Tori Black, the 2011 AVN Female Performer of the Year and star of over 200 adult films, an monumental feat for a, gulp, 22 year old.

The point is not that I that I know too much about Tori Black, but that for a guy who professes to be a political pundit, I really don't care all that much about keeping up with politics, especially at the state and local level.

Then again, that's doesn't make me all that different from you.

The thing is, ladies and gentlemen, we've been distracted from the politics and policies that affect us the most. We constantly look to Washington when we should be looking to Columbia. See, the decisions the guys and gals in the state General Assembly make impact our lives to a degree that only Uncle Sam dreams. And yet we look away.

Instead of discussing, dissecting, and dissing the actions of our state Legislators, we focus on national issues that have almost no impact locally. And we follow intently the ups and downs of politicians that have never and will never do a damn thing to or for the state of South Carolina. Why? It's entertaining to watch their antics, both the scary and the silly.

In a world where politicians like Sarah Palin, Joe Scarborough, and Mike Huckabee all have shows on the cable news networks, folks like Glenn McConnell, Hugh Leatherman, and Jake Knotts are a bunch of not ready for prime-time players. They're stammers, stumblers, and speech-writing amateurs. They are not polished performers. They are us.

And although they decide our fates, we would rather be distracted by the ever-ongoing horse race for the presidency and the soap opera antics of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and Michele Bachman.

The sad truth, ladies and gentlemen, is that we're addicted to political porn. And if that's the case, then the entire U.S. has devolved into a Triple-X parody.

That's why in 2012, I'll be voting for the Porn Party ticket: Tori Black for President, Sasha Grey for VP. If we're going to continue to get screwed, we might as well enjoy it.

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