Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

September 7, 2011

A South Carolina governor who hikes the Appalachian Trail... "openly"?

Remember South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford? In 2009 he vanished for nearly a week "hiking the Appalachian Trail", then reappeared from a tryst in Argentina and captivated the nation by crying on camera about having "met my soul mate," while his wife stewed.

Now Sanford is gone, and the new governor of South Carolina is another militant Christian conservative: Nikki Haley (at right, with husband Michael). Who, as came out last year during her campaign, also apparently had lovers not her spouse. First up was Republican political consultant Will Folks, who had worked as a spokesman for Mark Sanford and founded the South Carolina political blog FITSNews ("Unfair. Imbalanced."). Folks publicly admitted to an affair with Haley when, he said, he was faced with phone records, text messages, and other evidence about to go public. The whole mess got published and you can see it on the web.

Unlike Sanford, Nikki Haley aggressively declared that she had been "100 percent faithful" to her husband, and Michael stuck with her. Then, married Republican lobbyist Larry Marchant confessed that he too had an affair with Haley. He went on TV telling his side of their one-night stand just before reporters were about to break the story.

Later, after she implied that Marchant and Folks had been lying, each of them swore out an affidavit on pain of perjury and challenged Haley to do the same. When it came to putting her apparent denials under oath, she became very quiet. See more followup. She won the governorship anyway.

Today, FITSNews suggests that Haley and her husband have had an open-marriage agreement all along (but notice the weasel-wording):

[Haley's] relationship with her husband is one of the most bizarre things we’ve ever witnessed....

While South Carolinians may not be 100 percent sure that Haley has stepped out on her man in the past, we’re guessing that the “First Man” harbors no illusions about his wife’s extramarital activities.... We’re guessing that Michael Haley knows all too well that those numerous late night phone calls between his wife and our founding editor Will Folks were not about work. And we’re presuming that he did a quick check of the dates of the especially lengthy late night calls — perhaps cross-referencing them with the dates of his “military” training at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas.

Also … we’re presuming that, like our founding editor, Michael Haley knows exactly what sort of underwear his wife prefers.

...What — if anything — did Michael Haley know about his wife’s affairs before they became front-page news? And when did he find out? And most importantly, why is he still doing the whole “cuckold” thing?

Here's the article with links to sordid source material (Sept. 7, 2011).

This comes amid a messy batch of firings, investigations, and alleged affairs among Haley's appointees and officials. Her governorship has been a tempest from the start, a replay of Sarah Palin's in Alaska (Palin campaigned for her) — though she's an even better separated-at-birth match for Michelle Bachmann (whom she has quartered at the governor's mansion).

Haley recently declared again on national TV that she will not accept the Republican vice-presidential nomination in 2012. Even so, Fox News contributor and conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer cites her as looking good as a Republican candidate for president in 2016. As in, President of the United States.

Let's be fair, open marriages ought to be for conservatives too.

I'm posting about this craziness because it may hold a lesson for non-monogamous pols: If you're a conservative and your spouse is okay with it, conservative voters and party bigshots may be too. Or at least they may bend their eyes far, far away to avoid seeing anything.

This runs counter to the widespread poly observation that conservative people tend to be more upset by seeing an open relationship than by seeing old-fashioned cheating.

This circus isn't over.

Update Nov. 4, 2011: Nope, it isn't! "Gov. Nikki Haley allegedly has a secret “love nest” in Washington, D.C., too," says FITSnews today.

...Not only that, she and her husband – S.C. First Gentleman Michael Haley – are said to have an “open marriage” in which they are free to have sexual relations with other partners.

Want more? We’re told that members of South Carolina’s mainstream media have nailed down both stories – yet have been sitting on them for weeks.

...A third man – S.C. Rep. Thad Viers – was also alleged to have had a one-night stand with Haley at a 2006 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in San Francisco....

Over the last few months, the “open” nature of Haleys’ marriage has been confirmed to us by multiple sources including, but not limited to … our mole in the governor’s office, a pair of state lawmakers from Lexington, a former Haley staffer, a member of the governor’s security detail, two exotic dancers at Heartbreakers (the strip club frequented by Haley’s husband) and three residents of the Governor’s Grant neighborhood where the Haleys continue to maintain a private residence....

...“The impression I got was that this was a very confused, conflicted woman,” Folks said, adding that this was one of the reasons he broke off the affair with Haley....

Read the whole story (Nov. 4, 2011). And remember, if Charles Krauthammer is right, you may be voting in 2016 on whether she'll be the next President of the United States.


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Anonymous Robert919 said...

Yes "open marriages ought to be for conservatives too", true. If only they weren't such huge hypocrites about it. (Because they'd rather focus on how gay marriage is a big threat, but they themselves can sleep around with people of any gender and it's ok as long as you call yourself a good Christian.)

Just like some gay activists have tried to "out" hypocrite politicians, we in the poly world should do similar.

As far as her winning SC governorship, same happened with Senator Vitter in Louisiana. No matter how much you screw up and how much of a hypocrite you are...if you run a die-hard red state as GOP, you're gonna win. They're so convinced that the republicans are god's chosen party, they'll over look anything.

If someone with the same amount of affairs had tried to run in that state as a Democrat, they'd been skewered!

September 08, 2011 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any sufficiently militant movement will overlook moral lapses on the part of valuable cadres.

September 08, 2011 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Marjorie the Medium-rare said...

Because moral lapses don't matter compared to carrying out the mission and destroying the enemy.

September 08, 2011 11:18 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

> ...compared to carrying out the mission
> and destroying the enemy.

I think it was Barney Frank who said, "Democrats do politics like it was pro sports. Republicans do politics like war."

In war, anything goes. And guess what, polys are part of The Enemy. We're just a bit below the radar right now.

September 08, 2011 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Jenni said...

There are a fair number of Republicans who are swingers or have friends who are. Here in Texas, the swing community is massive and mainly comprised of couples who are mainstream in every other way. The most famous example is probably Roger Stone: the Enquirer published his and his wife's personal ads, so he resigned from the Dole campaign but began working for other Republicans almost immediately.

It is interesting to contrast Governor Haley's situation with that of another governor: Mitch Daniels, who chose not to run for President in part because of the possible flak about his reconciling with a wife who had left him for another man. I can't see any negatives in a couple deciding to bring their family back together, but apparently to some, forgiving cuckolding is inconceivable.

September 08, 2011 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Lucius Scribbens said...

They always go straight to the cuckold thing when it's one women and more than one man, don't they? It's so tiring.

September 08, 2011 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

respect other peoples right to choose their own lifetyle

September 11, 2011 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Lucius Scribbens said...

You don't have to look any further than David Vitter and Anthony Weiner to see the double-standard in the Conservative's views of open relationships, cheating and other indiscretions. Vitter (a Conservative) is still in office and almost nobody asked for his resignation. Weiner (a Liberal) was crucified and has resigned. It's a real "do as we say not as we do" with many Conservatives.

I do hope though that in some manner, it opens people's eyes to the idea that open relationships are not dysfunctional relationships, but it sure seems the dysfunctional ones get the greatest press and that is what general society builds it's opinions on.

September 11, 2011 5:19 PM  

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