"The problem is that any time you have a largely uninformed and uneducated electorate, that kind of lowest common denominator mudslinging can be effective." — Will Folks.We've been dragging on and on all week led by Will Folks on a never ending wild goose chase of the salacious in South Carolina. The media, more national press than local press, has gone along willingly on the ride.There has to be a there there they think. Will Folks drops a bunch of phone records that prove he talked a great deal to his employer. A-ha! it is proof of something.Maybe it happened. Maybe it didn't. We know no more today than we did on Monday. The media should be ashamed of itself. But it's ratings week and sweeps week all rolled into one.With apologies to RedState readers (and Dan Riehl who is rather upset about the whole post from this morning), I've had no hesitation in stringing the media along like Folks has done. He wanted his fifteen minutes of fame and got a week. Now he needs to show us what he has and, if he has what he says he has, let Haley supporters make up their minds. No one needs to humor him with another week of sensational salaciousness. There are kids and a husband involved in this mess too.I have no clue if anyone is behind Will Folks doing this. He really could feel aggrieved for some reason and just want to take out Nikki Haley. But I have a theory, I have some facts, and I've drawn some inferences to form my opinion. Let's go below the fold and down the rabbit hole.Let's stop playing the Will Folks game of stringing everyone along and let's just get to what I actually know and what I think. And I'll dispense now with the third person, which is really over done.The consultant who last year was telling people about Will Folks' story worked or works for Andre Bauer. Bauer himself admitted this week he has known about the rumor for a year.In 2006, Rod Shealy hired Will Folks to do something called "counter-negative consulting services" for Andre Bauer and a couple of other campaigns.Sometime after 2006, Will Folks turned decidedly hostile toward Andre Bauer. He was very much part of the Sanford reform crowd that included Nikki Haley. Starting in June of 2009, around the time Bauer's consultant is pushing out the Will Folks story, Folks starts to change his tune on Bauer.About the same time last year, another blogger notes this: "Bauer seems to have cut some kind of deal with blogger Bill Folks."Three days before the Palin endorsement, Folks is singing the Bauer campaign's praises. By the way, I was told though know of no public polling from that time, that internals showed Haley was already starting to track upward before Palin's endorsement, which just sealed the deal and added momentum. Andre Bauer is pushed from second place to third place, cutting him out of a runoff. Then you have Bauer's own conduct. On the day the story broke, Bauer was in Greenville, SC, but then couldn't make the Greenville Forum that night. While Gresham Barrett and Henry McMaster both spoke out against the attack on Nikki Haley, Bauer's response? They should take a lie detector test. Oh, and as I said up top, he's known about it for a year, but he says he did nothing with it.Then there is Jake Knotts who allegedly hired a private investigator to dig into Will Folks and who is rumored to be responsible for the rumored picture. Knotts also helped in the Bauer Palace Coup. Note that in the same blog post at the Palmetto Scoop about Knott's involvement to help Bauer, Adam Fogle wrote the quote, "Bauer seems to have cut some kind of deal with blogger Bill Folks."Andre Bauer's campaign strategy has been to get into the runoff. Something like this sure would help if Haley started getting up in the polls.Who knows where this story will lead. And who knows if anyone is behind it other than Will Folks. A lot of people suspect Andre Bauer has some role just given his history. That's my opinion and I'm perfectly willing to admit it is speculation based on inference from a number of facts that haven't really been discussed yet. Take it for what you will. Right now it is Will Folks' dribble of evidence versus Nikki Haley's categorical denial. Time will tell.In my opinion, I think if you want to get back to being a player in South Carolina politics beyond being a blogger and you know can't hitch your ride with your previous horse, you latch on to the one you might be able to help get across the finish line and earn some good will. Now you know my opinion on the whole sordid mess and now you can make up your mind for yourself with some added information.UPDATE: Let's not forget this gem from the New York Times about Haley v. Bauer:
On Sunday, standing outside his family’s home on Sullivan’s Island, Mr. Sanford told The Associated Press that he had considered resigning but decided against it.That is good news for Attorney General Henry McMaster, Congressman J. Gresham Barrett and State Representative Nikki Haley, all Republican contenders for the governorship. Last week, Ms. Haley attacked Mr. Bauer, saying in a statement she feared for the conservative reform movement should he take office.“South Carolina cannot afford to go back to the good old boy system that so badly serves the taxpayers and undermines our government,” she said.Meanwhile, Mr. Bauer’s camp appears to have been orchestrating pressure for a resignation.