Here's Gervais' picks for the ten worst, most embarassing, not-so-bright events surrounding SC politics in 2005.
1. Armstrong Williams’ Pricetag. In January, SC’s native son and SC State grad Armstrong Williams was exposed for being on the Bush Administration’s payroll, to the tune of $240,000. In return, Williams lavished the No Child Left Behind Act with praise in his syndicated columns and on his talk show. I never studied journalism or Judaism, but that doesn’t seem kosher.
2. Donnie Myers’ DWI. Arrested in April and charged with DWI and open container, 11th Circuit solicitor Donnie Myers initially said the partially-full beer container in the car “wasn’t mine,” though he failed two breathalyzer tests administered by the Asheville, NC police. By August he changed his tune and pleaded guilty to both charges. Luckily no man is above the law, so he got a really firm smack on the wrist.
3. John Graham Altman’s Mouth. April: The “pop ‘er again” fiasco, followed by a confrontation with WIS-TV’s Kara Gormley in which he said, "You're not very bright, and you'll just have to live with that." Also: "You women want it one way and not another. Women want to punish the men, and I do not understand why women continue to go back around men who abuse them." Somebody put a muzzle on this guy, quick.
4. Michael Hollings’ Indecisiveness. The son of Senator Fritz Hollings was a Dem candidate for Lt. Governor for less than three months, and pulled no punches that he saw the job as an apprenticeship to higher office. He eventually figured out he couldn’t be Lt. Gov. and still be a lobbyist. When he cancelled his run in August, Andre Bauer reportedly breathed a sigh of I don’t give a shit.
5. Charles Sharpe’s Ethics. Agriculture Commissioner arrested in July for accepting bribe from cockfighting proponents, ends up in prison. The most troubling thing about this is that people who breed f#@ing fighting chickens have $10,000 to throw around on bribes -- I’m in the wrong business. (I breed peaceful chickens.)
6. Michael Graham’s Miscalculation. July-August: Pride of Pelion and Oral Roberts U, Michael Graham thought he could say “Islam is a terrorist organization” and keep his job as a conservative radio show host up in DC. Sometimes people slip up and say things they don’t mean. But when they say it 23 times during the same program, the radio station fires them like a drunken Sanford staffer (see below.)
7. Will Folks’ Domestic Violence. Sanford bulldog Will Folks pleaded guilty to criminal domestic violence in August, but not before writing an op-ed proclaiming his innocence and going on TV to blame his plight on Jakie Knotts and others. Knotts’ famous reply: "What's political about a man beating a woman? He needs to be more concerned about not beating a woman than who leaked the story." Still, Palmetto Neocon named Folks one of the “Best of 2005,” so I guess these events are open to interpretation.
8. That Other Sanford Staffer’s Arrest. Back in September, Mark Sanford’s Administration Director Michael Cavanaugh, 53, made headlines by being arrested for public drunkenness at 3:30 on a Wednesday night/ Thursday morning while walking home from Five Points. To Sanford’s credit, Cavanaugh was canned right away.
9. Phil Bailey’s Judgment. Dems got a black eye when this staffer for Senate Dem Caucus badmouthed a respected governor who had just passed away in what he thought was an anonymous post on the LaurinLine. I heard GOP Chairman Katon Dawson got Bailey a Blackberry for Christmas and told him, “go nuts, kid.”
10. Mark Sanford’s Performance. January – December. TIME was right to name Sanford one of the three worst governors; SC is 48th in the country in unemployment. If we were California, we’d be having a recall election right now.