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