Because she’s getting her ass handed to her in the wake of last month’s “Savannah River Sellout,” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has turned to a friendly voice in an effort to put a positive spin on her self-serving betrayal of South Carolina’s economic and environmental interests.
And so Erick Erickson – whose website RedState.com has long worshiped the ground Haley walks on – fired off a missive related to the controversy late Friday.
“The good old boys in South Carolina wanted their backs scratched to get things done,” Erickson wrote of Haley’s sellout.
According to Erickson, Haley stood up to their conniving – and in the process firmly established herself as the ideological heir to ex-S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, a politician who was also willing to “(break) up the good old boy network and actually (fight) to reduce government in South Carolina and privatize what could be privatized.”
Erickson’s ignorance of the facts pertaining to the “Savannah River Sellout” – and the broader failure of our state to maximize its maritime competitiveness over the past decade – is staggering.
First, though – regarding the whole “fighting to reduce government” thing – let’s not forget that this summer Haley signed off on the largest budget in state history, a $22.1 billion spending plan which included massive pay hikes for her staff.
And as for Erickson’s “privatize what could be privatized” nonsense, we’ve repeatedly blown that myth out of the water.
Sanford never pushed for public-private port partnerships – a failing Haley has extended (and now exacerbated) during her first year in office.
No wonder the Port of Charleston has slipped from No. 4 to No. 12 in the nation over the last eight years – and no wonder a port in Jasper County hasn’t been built yet.
Of course these facts run counter to Erickson’s convenient “Governor v. Good Ole Boys” narrative … in which Haley is the “conservative” heroine and efforts to uncover the possible financial and political motivations behind her decision represent dirty deeds done by unsavory operatives.
“The good old boys decided then to haul all of Governor Haley’s top aides into the legislature for examination,” Erickson writes. “They couldn’t find that anyone did any wrong doing. And now Governor Haley has responded. She means to keep changing South Carolina, keep moving the state forward, and keep making it place where business is free to do business without scratching backs or letting government pick winners or losers.”
Wait a minute … let’s see if we’ve got this straight …
A website that claims to speak for conservatives is trying to spin Haley’s sellout as a “pro-business” decision? That’s beyond ludicrous. In addition to further compromising the Port of Charleston’s competitiveness and doing irrevocable harm to the Jasper County project, Haley’s sellout guarantees that U.S. taxpayers will be on the hook for Savannah’s expansion – rather than private capital going to fund a Jasper County facility that would create thousands of South Carolina jobs and cause much less damage to the environment.
In other words, Erickson is rejecting private investment in South Carolina’s port infrastructure in favor of a government-funded port in Georgia.
How is that “conservative?”
Such ideological inconsistency (nay, hypocrisy) isn’t surprising, though, when you consider that the opinions expressed on Erickson’s website are for sale to the highest bidder.
In fact just this summer, reporter Ben Smith of The Politico busted RedState trying to sell its endorsements.
“Erick Erickson’s reputation along with his rising profile, combine to make RedState the most influential conservative blog on Capitol Hill and across America,” read an email from the website’s parent company. “Why not put Erick’s influence to work for your organization?”
There’s even a link at the bottom of Erickson’s pro-Haley screed referencing the fact that the article is “sponsored content,” whatever that means.
For months, Erickson has aggressively promoted Haley on the national stage as a rising Republican star. During her gubernatorial campaign, his website also played an integral role in the smear campaign that was launched in an effort to insulate her from allegations of marital infidelity.
Last May – three days after our founding editor Will Folks was pressured by Haley’s enemies into acknowledging his previous “inappropriate physical relationship” with the former state lawmaker – Erickson put up an article claiming that Folks had been paid to smear her.
“We know who paid Will Folks to push this story out there,” he wrote.
Within 24 hours, however, Erickson had backed down from his accusation completely. In fact he published a follow-up post saying “I have no clue if anyone is behind Will Folks doing this,” and later admitted that he was merely stringing the media along “like Folks has done.”
Once again, Erickson is attempting to defend Haley’s honor … and once again he’s looking like an idiot in the process.
REDSTATE.COM: Nikki Haley Intends to Govern