* BUMPED 9:15 p.m. ET - SEE UPDATE BELOW *
If blogger/consultant/man-whore Will Folks has accomplished nothing else by his boast of an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Nikki Halely, there’s no denying that he has provided a target-rich environment for snark. (Ace was classic.)
The fundamental question is this: Out of all the bloggers on the planet, why would an attractive married woman like Nikki Haley choose to have an affair with a complete douchebag like Will Folks? Even if you consider such a scenario as being within the realm of possibility — as does Michael Brendan Dougherty — there can be no doubt that Folks has made a complete laughingstock of himself, and destroyed whatever career prospect he ever had as a political consultant. He’s as radioactive as Chernobyl.
But let us suppose, hypothetically, that Folks is the irresistible stud he claims to be and that, like untold thousands of other women, Nikki Haley fell victim to his seductive magnetism. (She unequivocally denies it.)
Now further suppose that the rumor-mill is turning and reporters are asking questions. What do you do, if you’ve got half a brain in your head? You shut the hell up, is what you do.
The fact that Will Folks can’t seem to shut up about his “inappropriate” relationship is Exhibit A in this case. Exhibit B is that he writes his blog with weird third-person references to “our founding editor,” as if he expects readers to believe that this is anything other than sock puppetry. Typical of been-too-long-in-the-basement paranoia, he’s spinning tales of persecution by “Team Haley” and talking about “our lawyers.” And now — get this — he’s suggesting e-mails and phone records as proof of what he calls “Haley-Gate”:
All we can tell you for now is that the record of correspondence between the two of them began on November 20, 2005 – with an email sent at 8:33 a.m. from Haley’s State House email address (email@example.com) to Will Folks’ personal address (firstname.lastname@example.org) in which Haley complimented Folks on an article he had written praising her gubernatorial ambitions. . . .
That four-and-a-half year record of correspondence ended on Saturday, May 22, 2010 – three days ago – with a text message sent from Folks’ cell phone to Haley’s cell phone at 1:04 p.m. alerting her to the fact that he had been placed in a position where he felt that he had no choice but to address the rumors regarding their relationship on his website.
(Via Memeorandum.) Hey, douchebag: Publish the e-mails or shut the hell up. I’ve got $20 that says you can’t produce an e-mail proving an affair with Nikki Haley. What you are doing is demanding that Haley prove a negative.
Will Folks has already proven one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: He is a vicious monster.
If he did have an “inappropriate” relationship with Nikki Haley, his actions were dishonorable, proving him to be untrustworthy and disrespectful. And in that case, he would have been doubly dishonorable to “admit” to a rumor that he himself probably played a key role in spreading.
On the other hand, if Will Folks is lying — and who would accept his word against hers? — he is unspeakably vicious.
I’ll get back to laughing at this douchebag later, but right now I’m thinking that if I was Nikki Haley’s huband, the next news story about Will Folks would be his obituary.
On the one hand, Will Folks assures me he’s a straight shooter who calls it like he sees it and is so full of integrity and courage that in some countries the oath to tell the truth is made upon one of his incorruptible bowel movements. . . .
I really, really have a problem with guys who never shut up about how uncompromising and courageous and principled they are.
Ace calls attention to this interesting story:
[Folks] says he was pressured to disclose the affair by the campaign of fellow candidate Gresham Barrett. . . .
Folks elaborated in an email Monday night that he believes Barrett is behind the takedown. “All of my sources pointed their fingers directly at the campaign of Gresham Barrett,” Folks wrote. . . .
Barrett spokesman Luke Byars categorically denied that any pressure on Folks came from the Barrett campaign. “This is absolutely not true,” Byars said. “Mr. Folks seems to be full of allegations lately without any proof.”
So, while Folks claimed that he was reluctantly making an admission, he’s now exchanging e-mails with reporters throwing more dirt at people. Politics ain’t beanbag, as James Carville likes to say, and if Will Folks thought he could play this kind of game without consequences, I ssupect he’s about to get a very brutal education.
By the way, because I’m so uncompromising and courageous and principled: I categorically deny any accusation that I ever had “inappropriate” thoughts about Dede Scozzafava.
UPDATE 9:15 p.m. ET: Will Folks was considered “dangerous and unreliable” by some Republicans in South Carolina, according to one source who knows him.
“He’s very smart, but at the same time, he’s stupid, too,” the source said.
Folks’ loose-cannon reputation and his blog’s frequent attacks on powerful Republicans in the state have long made him an object of intense scrutiny. It has been rumored that politicians he’s targeted have been digging for dirt on him for years.
As to the question of whether Folks actually had an affair with Haley, my source gave it a ”50-50″ chance of being true. Folks is known to “have a way with the ladies,” said the source, confirming Michael Brendan Dougherty’s report.
True or false, what would have been Folks’ motive for making the ”admission”? My source was as puzzled as everyone else. Rumors had circulated for more than a year in South Carolina about Folks and Haley, but rumors are just rumors.
A post Tuesday afternoon at Folks’ blog says he was “pressured by impending media reports that would damage his family.” But if his spouse already knew the truth, what harm could Folks suffer from these “impending media reports”? A couple of wild guesses on my part:
- Reckless as ever, Folks could have spoken to a reporter and been bluffed into saying something about Haley that — once it made news – she would know could only have come from him. So he panicked and issued the Monday statement.
- It may be that Folks was in essence being blackmailed, threatened with disclosure of other damaging information about him — not the Haley rumors — and published his “admission” to forestall that disclosure.
The Tuesday afternoon post at Folks’ blog said “the story of the Folks-Haley affair was being pushed by several operatives with ties to the campaign of U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett.” You have ask yourself: What other secrets could someone know about Folks “that would damage his family”? What else might he be threatened by?
Folks is now married (he says the Haley affair was before he was married) but, according to Dougherty, Folks was once reported to have seduced “nearly every female consultant in the state.” In fact, when he worked on Sanford’s gubernatorial campaign in 2002 — and was living in the basement of Sanford’s mansion on posh Sullivan’s Island — Folks was said to have been romantically involved with a TV reporter for a South Carolina station.
Does such a compulsive womanizer drop his philandering habit on his wedding day? Does a leopard change his spots?
Well, so much for wild guesses. One thing my source is sure about — Haley has offended the “old boys network” in South Carolina. In addition to Barrett, her opponents in the GOP gubernatorial primary include the state attorney general Henry McMaster — who obviously would have access to any law-enforcement records on Folks.
Politics is a dirty business everywhere, but especially rough in South Carolina, where the legendary GOP operative Lee Atwater learned his craft. Nikki Haley is paying a heavy price for taking on the “good old boys.”