For all their pious holier-than-thou family values preaching, Republicans sure seem to like indulging in adulterous sexcapades. It's only been about a week since a Republican congressman admitted to an affair with one of his aides and resigned his seat. Now there are rumors of another adulterous affair, and the accusations don't come from the left, but from a Republican consultant and blogger named Will Folks.
Making matters even worse, the scandal is breaking in South Carolina and involves the leading Republican candidate to replace Gov. Mark Sanford (who had his own sex scandal when it was learned he had an Argentinian mistress). South Carolina voters were hoping to put this kind of problem behind them by electing a new governor. They certainly didn't need a new scandal to break out regarding the leading candidate to be the new governor.
This new scandal involves Rep. Nikki Haley (pictured above with her family). She had recently catapulted into the lead for the Republican nomination, with the support of Sarah Palin and Gov. Sanford's ex-wife Jenny. Haley is the teabagger candidate in the race, and has campaigned on fundamentalist values and ultra right-wing political beliefs.
Folks, who used to work for Haley, said he had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with her a few years ago. He said he's revealing the relationship because it has been leaked to the news media.
He went on to say, "It is what it is, and aside from the Haley family -- Michael, Nikki, Rena and Nalin -- I feel no need to apologize or explain myself to anyone. People are human. We make mistakes. And as I have learned from experience, the key to life isn't the mistakes we make, it's how we choose to handle them."
For her part, Haley denies the improper relationship. She said, "I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false." Denial is probably her best approach right now (unless Folks has some kind of proof of the relationship), because South Carolina is pretty tired of scandal in the governor's office. The problem she has is that the accusation comes from a fellow Republican who supports her candidacy.
Now I don't mean to imply that sexual improprieties are strictly a Republican thing. As you may remember, Democratic governors in both New York and New Jersey have resigned over adulterous affairs in the last few years. What makes the Republicans different is their sanctiminious and hypocritical campaigning on a "family values" platform. They can have their sexual adventures if they must, but they should then avoid the hypocrisy of posing as a "family values" candidate.
Will this sexual accusation hurt Haley's chances of becoming governor? We don't know that yet, but it certainly won't help.