College Republicans host controversial blogger
Will Folks, known for his political blog FitsNews.com and even more known for claiming to have had an affair with Gov. Nikki Haley, told College Republicans at USC Wednesday night that he was still writing a book about the alleged sexual relationship.
Folks confirmed he is halfway done with the book, and said it should be published by mid-2012. He said he originally announced his plan to write a book only as a scapegoat when he learned that his hard drive, which he says contained incriminating e-mails between he and the governor, was fried.
“I just told all these reporters ‘Oh yeah I got e-mails, yeah I can prove it, no doubt, just hold on,’” Folks said. “So at that point I realized I had to come up with something quick to say, to report. I figured that would buy me some time, so for four or five months, I didn’t write a d--- page of the book, because the book was just something to get people off my back.”
He said the book would be accompanied by “another component to the push back,” and said physical evidence for the relationship existed.
Folks’ speech to the College Republicans focused on holding politicians accountable for their rhetoric and actions. His critics in politics and the traditional media often say he is the one who needs accountability.
State Rep. Tommy Pope, in tie and button-down shirt, spoke at the beginning of the meeting about students needing to take advantage of their youth to effect change. After Pope’s speech, Folks — unshaven, in backward baseball cap, T-shirt and jeans — then stood up to, as is his style, give his own opinion.
“Rep. Pope would argue that you guys should be focused on making a difference and all that stuff,” Folks said. “You’re in college, my advice would be to focus on getting laid. And whatever spare time you have after that, I mean absolutely it’s good to get involved.”
Folks said he didn’t get into politics in college — preferring a bohemian student lifestyle instead — but later became press secretary for former Gov. Mark Sanford.
“You lose a lot of faith in the process when you spend a lot of time up there,” Folks said in reference to his time in the Statehouse. “The people there are very focused on themselves in terms of how can I get campaign money, how can I route business to my family, how can I get my inbred cousin from McClellanville or wherever. I hope no one here is from McClellanville, they make great shrimp dip there.”
Folks, whose blog makes no secret of his libertarian stances, said the state’s politicians aren’t as fiscally conservative as they pretend to be.
“Your party, the Republican Party, controls the governor’s office in this state, has sizable majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Folks said to the students. “Yet they spent $1.3 billion more this year than they did last year in the middle of a recession, at a time when income levels are going down, unemployment is going up and SAT scores are going down.”
While Folks admitted his website was “very opinionated” and that he tries to be “provocative,” he also said that numbers don’t lie at the end of the day.
What he did accuse of lying, or simply not caring enough to get the truth, was the mainstream media. Members of South Carolina’s mainstream media, on the other hand, have criticized Folks for using numerous anonymous sources and rumors in his stories.
Folks also explained how he chooses which Republicans to call RINOs — a derogatory acronym for ‘Republicans In Name Only,’ or Republicans he thinks betray conservative values. He said his labels are based on politicians’ full records instead of specific votes, and took the opportunity to take another jab at Haley.
“I’m not going to just call someone out for just one bad vote, it takes a lot of time for things to build up to that,” he said. “For example, I haven’t called Nikki Haley a RINO yet — I’m still holding out hope that she’s going to turn things around, and not in the way she used to turn things around.”