by William Moultrie
Florence – In a rare act of near-unanimous contrition, South Carolinians have admitted that they used poor judgment in the past few statewide elections. In particular, the resolution drafted at the annual Meeting of Everyone in South Carolina (MESC) addresses the failings of statewide officeholders elected in 2006.
In addition to highlighting the failings of past elected officials, MESC attendees are attempting to proactively prevent future occurrences by forming a Facebook page.
“Every little bit helps,” said Morris Tipton, spokesperson for MESC, referring to the page.
The state government class of 2006, often referred to by the rest of the country as “WTF, SC?” has had a tough time in the years since their election, both with those elected and the people who work for them.
Republican Thomas Ravenel was elected Treasurer in November 2006 after a primary runoff and eventual unseating of 9-term incumbent Grady Patterson. Seven months later Ravenel was indicted on federal cocaine distribution charges and eventually served a 10-month sentence in federal prison.
“We thought we’d seen the worst of it when T-Rav went down,” said Furman Political Science professor Ben Tillman. “Boy, were we wrong. The big stuff started happening in 2009.”
In June of 2009, Governor Mark Sanford made international headlines when he disappeared for a week, in the process creating one of the most ambitious euphemisms for an international love affair: “Hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Sanford’s dalliance led to calls for impeachment, his own divorce, and an uptick in the Argentine sexual tourist trade.
In September, Kristin Maguire, a Sanford appointee to the State Board of Education, abruptly resigned when it was revealed she had been authoring salacious fiction on the internet. Word is the grammar was impeccable.
Just before Halloween, Assistant Attorney General Roland Corning was caught in a graveyard with a stripper, sex toys, and Viagra. He said he always kept the Viagra and sex toys in the car “just in case.”
The state’s vice-principal, Lt. Governor André Bauer, has had a sordid history of talking his way out of speeding tickets and odd rumors about his sexuality since he took office, but he didn’t hit the national news until earlier this year, when he compared the state’s poor and need to stray animals, and implied that like those animals, they shouldn’t be fed.
Also, a few weeks ago, it was revealed that State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom had been having an extra-marital affair with Kelly Payne, a candidate for Secretary of Education.
“It’s been an interesting time here since these guys were elected,” said Tillman. “It’s actually made my life easier — I teach a course on political scandals and I used to have to look around the country for examples like Gary Hart and Mark Foley, but now we have some great examples right here in our own back yard.”
Organizers say that this year’s MESC, held on Wednesday at Francis Marion University, was a success even though it wasn’t particularly well-attended.
“We’re obviously never going to get everyone in the state here,” said Morris Tipton, spokesperson for MESC, “but all things considered, we did pretty well. We really don’t have the resourses to do an official count, but most estimates are that we got about 60% of the residents of the state here, and that’s pretty good — especially with H1N1 concerns and the like.”