Governor Haley knew over two weeks ago that someone still unknown had hacked into the computers at the South Carolina Department of Revenue and that the personal information of approximately 3.6 million taxpayers had been compromised. She finally decided to tell those taxpayers last Friday afternoon, the time when all bad news is dumped.
The governor, moreover, talked to South Carolina about this extremely critical and dangerous development not with the demeanor of a serious leader and chief executive but with that of a mobster or a petulant child, declaring that she wanted “that man brutalized” and “him slammed against the wall”. She added that if this had been internal to a state agency rather than external then she would have been able to “call him in a room and kick him in the…and kick him (she then giggles).” One wonders where our classy governor would have kicked a woman. Perhaps Governor Haley is auditioning for the next season of the Sopranos. The governor, moreover, in each of her puerile comments, assumes that the criminal is a man. This incident seems to have awakened her inner sexist.
A person of character and temperament would have said something like “no effort will be spared to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law” or “they will be brought to justice” (SLED Chief Mark Keel indeed said this). Instead, whatever shred of dignity, class and moral authority she had left for herself and the office she holds dissipated with her intemperate remarks.
Governor Haley is the chief magistrate of the state. She sets the tone not only for her cabinet but for all public officials. It never has occurred to her that words matter and that for her to use the vulgar language of a thug demeans her office, denigrates her authority and perhaps even taints the case that ultimately is brought against the perpetrator. Her emotionalism, more importantly, serves no purpose other than to confirm that in this crisis she has no answers, no plan, apparently no clue, and certainly no manners.
Our governor hardly has the temperament to hold her current office much less any other elected or appointed office of public trust.
John S. Rainey