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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which. This week, he ventures from California into the wilds of South Carolina.

“I put my professional reputation on the line, my personal reputation on the line. I’ve got absolutely nothing to gain.”

There you have – read in its full context – perhaps the most gorgeously delusional statement of the year. It ranks right up there with – indeed, above – President Obama’s assertion that his administration had been on top of the oil blowout “from day one.”

The quote, published in Politico, is from a South Carolinian named Larry Marchant, who has staked his personal and professional reputations on his claim to have engaged in illicit carnal relations with gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley.

We leave it to you to explain how this can be a resume enhancer. Even if the claim is true – which Haley has denied – any man who engages in this sort of kiss-and-tell is at best a knave.

We say Marchant’s statement is perhaps most delusional, because some may favor the words of Will Folks, who confessed an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley, ostensibly to keep it from being leaked by “the less savory elements of this state’s failed status quo.”

One must assume he means there are elements in South Carolina less savory than he. Maybe your imagination will stretch far enough to encompass this concept.

Folks, described as a “conservative blogger,” went on to explain on his website that coming clean about the relationship – which Haley denies – was to preserve “my ability to shoot straight – free from threats and intimidation.” This, he said, was “essential to my professional livelihood, while being able to look myself in the mirror each day is essential to who I am as a person. … I can sleep at night knowing I handled this the best way I knew how …”

Now we know what the route to honor, pleasant visions and restful sleep is in South Carolina: It’s traducing women.

In the good old days – not so long past – the husband of the offended woman would haul these cads into the street and thrash them soundly. Public opinion, and most courts, would have considered such action justified.

Further back, in the time of southern chivalry, Folks and Marchant would have been given their choice of weapons in a duel to the death. That option is gone with the wind.

In these kinder, gentler times, the best we can suggest is a new, 12-step program called Kiss and Tell Anonymous. We haven’t drafted all of the dozen steps of recovery, but the first would be, “Shut up!”


The best government money can buy: Voters may be wondering how Meg Whitman could afford to spend $71 million of her own money to buy the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California (a purchase consummated last Tuesday). The answer is simple: She’s a billionaire. Since the idea of a billion dollars is difficult to grasp, consider this: If she had all her money in a cookie jar, earning nothing, she could spend $71 million every year for 14 years.

Steve Poizner is Whitman’s principal competition and also a rich guy, but he felt qualified to complain that Whitman was trying to buy the office. After all, he kicked in only about $25 million from his own bank account. The pot, in this case, is not free of the kettle’s tarnish.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jerry Brown, who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a walkover, gave a victory speech that presaged the contest to come. He’ll hit Whitman’s “excessive spending” on the primary campaign, her record as a nonvoter and her desire to jump – without previous political experience – into the governor’s office.

Look for Whitman to take the same tack she took in the primary: She’ll try to drown the Brown campaign with her personal fortune.


Bad news for cold-sore sufferers: Los Angeles is gearing up to shut down more than 400 “medicinal” marijuana dispensaries. This will leave only from 70 to 130 places to serve the needs of the thousands for whom pot offers the only relief from the pain of cold sores, hangnails and fallen arches.

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