Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page to defend yet another persecuted Christian (aka, Tea Party favorite) in South Carolina, Nikki Haley. Haley is the front-runner in the Republican primary for Governor of South Carolina and she has been accused of having an affair with a staffer by said staffer who recently announced the affair on his blog. In reality, this isn’t persecution, this is politics.
The irony of this scandal is that its origin comes from the patriarchal values and inherent hypocrisy of both extremist Christianity and the current Republican Party. It’s a scandal steeped in faux-feminism and dirty Southern Republican politics. Palin claims the origin of the accusation is “the opposition”, which is as disingenuous and inaccurate as almost everything that comes out of Palin’s mouth.
Sarah Palin’s Facebook Note: “Nikki Haley in Opposition’s Crosshairs: a Good Sign for Nikki and South Carolina!
Well, whaddya know? South Carolina’s conservative candidate, Nikki Haley, recently zipped to the front of the line in her state’s race for governor; and lo and behold, now accusations of an affair surface….
When Nikki and I held her endorsement rally on the steps of the beautiful and historic South Carolina state house a few weeks ago, I warned her and her family that she would be targeted because she’s a threat to a corrupt political machine, and she would be put through some hell. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast in politics today – especially for conservative “underdog” candidates who surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up so government can be put back on the side of the people…”
The accuser, Will Folks, is a Libertarian Republican who not only worked for the current Governor Sanford as a spokesperson but has also done PR work for Mrs. Haley. How exactly is he the opposition? Folks claims the relationship took place when he worked for Haley in 2007. And how is he “some blogger”? He writes a blog called “Faith in the Sound”, a conservative blog that according to the Guardian UK:
“…features occasionally insightful commentary, thinly sourced stories of state political intrigue and photos of women in bikinis.” Oh, my. Misogynist much? The Guardian goes on to describe “His website refers to him as “Sic Willie,” sports the tag line “Unfair. Imbalanced,” and often promotes Haley’s campaign. Besides running his website, Folks has worked on several successful political campaigns.” In other words, he runs a website comprised of a veritable patriarchal feast: conservative news combined with cheesecake porn and alpha male sports, topped off with steroidal puffed up egotism and proud ignorance. In other words, the current conservative platform.
Haley is certainly no “underdog”, she was the front-runner in this race and a conservative in Red South Carolina. This is just more of Sarah Palin’s fantasy world where she and Carrie Prejean (masturbation video queen) are victims of a cruel world, who have to carry a heavy wooden cross nailed to their backs as they faithfully carry on in the name of their co-opted Jesus.
An added twist in this story is that Folks pled guilty to domestic abuse in 2005 when he kicked in a door and pushed his then fiancé. It’s worth noting here that the very same patriarchal “values” which are the tenets of the Republican authoritarian platform, enable violence against women who are second-class citizens in their world-view. It’s as if everything Palin stands for empowered this accusation to be leveled at Haley.
It would be unfair to suggest that accusations of infidelity don’t smear male candidates, as Haley certainly knows from watching her mentor Gov Sanford go through the public Crucifiction (but ultimate pardon from the old boys network of the Southern Republican party who did not impeach him after his Argentinian hike, but slapped him on the wrist). In fact, when Haley was asked about his affair in a debate, she hypocritically stated, “We need to keep the Lord close, we need to keep our family close, we need to keep our friends close. And we need to make sure we are never put in those situations so that that can happen.”
The only bonus for her is that she is not being charged with sexual harassment, which she most certainly would be were she a man, as Folks worked for her. I’m sure Palin remembers her ranty rants about David Letterman, no?
For those of you unfamiliar with the South, to be a far right Republican Christian in the South is different than the rest of the country. It’s not doubling down but tripling down on rigid gender stereotypes. See, Haley stands for the same things Palin does, which are not values that promote freedom and liberty for women, but rather keep women oppressed. Haley has been given a 100% rating by LIFEPAC, the South Carolina Citizens for Life political PAC, an anti-choice group that claims to protect the “pre-born” from euthanasia.
A true feminist would not be running on a Republican Christian ticket. The Republican party has been grooming women like Haley and Palin to be sexy Uncle Toms — ultimate betrayers of their gender, and that’s part of what makes this story so predictable and yet so sad. Palin the anti-feminist endorsed Haley, another anti-feminist.
The irony that this woman-abusing man is the person outing Haley can’t be lost on those who value their freedom and liberty as women. Having an affair and being outted for it as you inch closer to success is not persecution, it’s politics. Had Palin been paying attention during the 2008 campaign, she might have noticed a man named John Edwards whose career was ended over this very issue. What’s hypocritical here is Palin’s claim that this is persecution from the opposition by “some blogger”.
If Palin or Haley were true feminists and Christians, they would not claim persecution when called out on their failings nor resort to hiding behind Jesus. Personally, I could care less who John Edwards slept with, who Bill Clinton slept with, or who Nikki Haley slept with. But then, I am not a radical Christian running on family values and social issues that involve judging other lifestyles.
To be brought down from success by a sex scandal sucks, but this is the world and the value system Republican Christians support. To be hoisted on this petard should come as no surprise to them unless they are so hypocritical as to believe the standards they seek to impose on others do not apply to themselves, as Sanford asserted. The Right seems to believe that Jesus has given them a special dispensation when it comes to infidelity.
In truth, it’s impossible to reconcile infidelity with their Family Values Platform and this is the problem. This isn’t persecution, it’s politics.
Edited to Update: Sic Willie (Folks) now claims he has the emails to prove it and he’s none too happy with Sarah Palin accusing him of “making things up” and at least one news outlet confirmed it was ready to run with the story which Folks claims is what prompted his confession. If this is true, any reasonable person can read between the PR Titanic and surmise that Haley may have been working with Folks to get the best version of this story out there ahead of the revelations. Or at least, that’s what they’re suggesting in the SC State House.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.