"Jake Knotts in The Chronicle of Narcissism"
January 21, 2011
The January 20, 2011 edition of the Lexington County Chronicle offers a fascinating contrast in recent political ups and downs--or perhaps it's really just a great strategy for a small paper to make money by selling its soul to a certain politician.
The front page celebrates Nikki Haley's inauguration as Governor of South Carolina and an article on A2 goes on to mention the five statewide offices being held by Lexington County residents. In contrast to the Knotts' "rag head" comments of last year against then gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and President Obama, perhaps now Lexington County is the center of the political universe for a positive reason.
But where is the drama in a story of success like Haley's? It's a done deal now. Featuring only good news would be like starting Star Wars near the end and just watching the awards ceremony and hearing R2D2 beep, Chewbacca howl, and overwhelming, grandiose orchestral music leading to the scroll of credits. That's too much upbeat and not enough down. Despite what some people claim they want in a story, you just can't appreciate the good without the bad.
Cue Darth Vader's funeral dirge! Here's comes Jake Knotts!
In an article on A7 along with a picture of his warmly dressed "Boss Hogg" visage from the inauguration, there is an article entitled "Sen. Knotts suggests churches can do better than government," that extensively quotes Knotts. The article mentions, of course, his "rough childhood" but strangely fails to mention his bastard origins despite his having frequently and openly reveled in that emotionally damaged state of mind when pandering for votes in the past. The article is composed almost entirely of Knotts' discussion of his apparently "born-again" opinion that churches could do better than government in handing out charity.
Welcome to the small government club, Jake! My, it seems that it was only a couple of years ago that you joined with big government, fascist Democrats and RINOs to speak on the steps of the Statehouse to demand that the state accept Federal money and the accompanying unfunded spending mandates that have continued to bankrupt us.
But let us not be so quick to accept Knotts into our fiscally responsible club. The article also quotes him as saying, "The state is facing serious financial problems, and we have to to stop supporting people who don't want to work."
Okay, now, I think I'm beginning to understand. During good times, it's okay to steal from workers and future generations in order to support people who do not want to work but he's willing to cut them off during bad times. It seems that mere expediency drives Senator Knotts' newly found religion more than principle. No surprise there.
The best quote is, "If my family needs something, I'm not going to sit down and expect the government to pay my bills" except, of course, when he's turning in his per diem expenses for reimbursement for that long drive from West Columbia and all the meals along the way when the SC Senate is in session. At least when he cheats and uses his campaign contributions to eat out, it's only the idiots who voluntarily contribute to him that wind up getting badly used.
Well, that's just one article you say? Maybe that's a bit of a consolation prize for his arch-nemesis having been elected Governor.
But, wait! That's not all, folks! If you're following along in your copy of the Lexington County Chronicle, please turn to A9, the "Opinion" page. As you start reading the topmost article entitled, "Transparency first test of cooperation?" your brain will start to feel all fuzzy and the world will start to spin. You may even hear Rod Serling's voice in the background as Mark Bellune leads you into The Twilight Zone.
Bellune discusses the passage of H3004 in the SC House and wonders what will happen in the SC Senate as they consider whether or not to make on-the-record voting mandatory so that voters will know how their elected officials voted on issues instead of relying on them to tell the truth about their votes. In the second paragraph which I'm looking at now--I keep checking to make sure I'm reading it right--it states, "making roll-call voting mandatory in both legislative chambers [is] a move Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington County has also championed." Bellune then goes on to quote Speaker Bobby Harrell of the House and President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell as if they they have also been championing this cause along with Nikki Haley and Jake Knotts.
The only problem with this fairy tale passed off as editorial expertise is that there is a very public and recorded history of everyone but Haley fighting hard to stop the votes from being recorded in order to prevent exposure of the waste and corruption in the Statehouse.
Rep. Harrell, after first harshly punishing Haley for her pursuing this bill, later helped to pass it unanimously in the SC House. Harrell made sure to schedule the vote in order to embarrass Haley when she was out of town campaigning. He only allowed it to pass at all after he had the assurance that it would die in the SC Senate--which it did despite public support and Haley and others speaking passionately on the issue.
Sen. Glenn McConnell gave a long speech at the inauguration (that day was, after all, really all about him) that sounded like a tea party member wrote it. He promised that he would continue to work hard to help get transparency passed. But it wasn't that long ago that he wrote an editorial that appeared all over the state declaring that such a law was unconstitutional (it is not) and that such a mandate would slow things down so much that no work could get done in the General Assembly. Maybe Glenn had been reenacting the 19th century too much on the side and forgot that 21st century electronics make such recorded votes a very easy and efficient process.
And last but not, by any imaginable means, least, Sen. Jake Knotts himself weighed very heavily in on the matter on the SC Senate floor when he declared that such a bill was "very, very insulting to this body." Although I looked through the wording several times, I never found anything that might have been interpreted by Knotts as a "fat joke" contained in the bill.
By the end of Bellune's "Bizarro World" article Jake had become the inventor of the bill. Bellune wrote, "It will be interesting to see what form of Sen. Knotts' bill will go before the full Senate for a vote and when, or if it will again sit in committee to die another year."
Just as it did last time thanks to Knotts and McConnell and other RINOs in the SC Senate, Mr. Bellune?
Gee! It sounds like you have full access to the very principles in that staged melodrama. WHY DON'T YOU ASK THEM YOURSELF?
Is that enough "balance" for the Lexington County Chronicle? No, not quite. In furtherance of the apparent attempts to transmogrify Jake Knotts from an unprincipled, profanity-spewing, arrogant blowhard into a sweet, loveable teddy bear, there is an ad on the last page in which he graciously agreed to appear showing his bloated, smiling face reading the Lexington County Chronicle. The title at the top identifies him as being a member of the "Chronicle Fan Club." Below that, "'I trust the Chronicle'" is apparently a straight quote from Knotts as is the following text appearing below the photo:
'I always smile when I read the Chronicle. It's one newspaper I know I can trust. It's the one newspaper that prints the truth. It doesn't lie to you. It doesn't try to be sensational. It doesn't have a hidden agenda. They've always been fair with me and reported more than one side.' --Jake Knotts, South Carolina State Senator
I'm sure the smile is not an evil one and surely his quote is not the least bit self-serving, is it?
No "hidden agenda" at all, right?
All I know is that I can't trust myself to recognize reality if what the Chronicle states is really the truth.