But what is this issue, exactly, and how on earth did it become such a mess?
At a picnic following the recent annual conference of the South Carolina Progressive Network, Donna Dewitt – the soon-too-retire president of the state’s AFL-CIO – struck a piñata that carried the name and image of Gov. Nikki Haley.
A video of that sarcastic gesture at the private event (see below) quickly went viral, and – for some reason – launched a tidal wave of angry responses from the governor, her supporters and even national networks.
And somehow, for some reason, and which many nationwide now know, striking a piñata that carries the image of another person is a very, very bad thing to do. Forget the fact that those traditional party features are regularly made in the images of very popular personalities, and even in a bride-and-groom format that gets knocked around at weddings – it’s wrong, dammit.
But if folks want to believe that hitting a Haley piñata is a terrible thing to do, and if we’re going to make Dewitt (a great person, by the way) go through grilling questions on nationwide television broadcasts, then why aren’t these same people and media asking Haley to own up for what she’s done to us so far in just this first year-and-a-half of her term?
Apparently, there’s a double-standard when it comes to issues involving elected officials and those involving everyday citizens. For example:
It’s okay for Haley to campaign on a platform of less spending, small government and an end to cronyism, only to then begin paying her staff almost a quarter-million more than the last governor did.
Striking a piñata with her name and picture on it is very wrong, however.
It’s okay for Haley to ignore her job right after she took the governor’s office so she could begin writing her autobiography, and then to ignore that job even more as she runs around attempting to promote that book.
Taking a stick to a piñata that has her image on it, though, is somehow wrong.
It’s okay for Haley to promise to help senior citizens register to vote, only to break that promise, leaving those seniors on the phone with Haley’s staff who didn’t know anything about that promise.
But hitting a Haley piñata is bad.
It’s okay for Haley to spend our money to build a wine cellar in the governor’s mansion.
Hitting a piñata that carries her face is a no-no.
It’s okay for Haley to spend $127,000 of tax-payer dollars on a trip to Paris, and it’s okay for her to spend additional money on having her staff meetings at exclusive vacation getaways instead of her own office.
It’s wrong to smack a $19.99 piñata that bears her name, though.
It’s okay for Haley to call a reporter who asks her important questions about those tax-payer funded vacations “a little girl.”
Hitting a little piñata with Haley’s picture on it is somehow wrong.
It’s okay for Haley to sell her endorsement to other politicians in exchange for $36,000.
However, it’s quite erroneous to hit a piñata with Haley’s picture on it.
It’s okay for Haley to say on national television that “women don’t care about contraception.”
Women like Haley do care, though, when a piñata gets used like a piñata is supposed to be used, but which you can’t do if it has her name or photo on it.
It’s okay for Haley to remove a woman who gave over $70 million to the state university from its board of trustees in exchange for a guy who have Haley’s campaign $4,500.
But, nope – hacking at the Haley piñata is bad.
It’s okay for Haley to sign an executive order to block workers who are on strike from collecting unemployment, and apparently only as a publicity stunt since striking workers don’t get unemployment benefits anyway.
But hitting a piñata that has her picture on it is wrong.
It’s okay for Haley to declare representation of workers is “not needed, not wanted, and not welcome” in South Carolina, seeking to knock our citizens further down the ladder into serfdom.
Using a piñata in the exact way a piñata is supposed to be used is gravely wrong, though, if it has Haley’s name and picture on it.
It’s okay for Haley to play around with a $1 million federal grant to such a degree that the federal government is calling for an investigation on misuse of funds. It’s also okay for Haley to actively delete all of her office’s email records pertaining to that misuse of the $1 million grant, not only breaking her own promise of transparent government, but also violating state law against disposal of public records.
But whopping a piñata with her picture on it is wrong.
It’s okay for Haley to have 23 arrested for exercising their right to assembly on public property, even though there’s been federal ruling on the books for over 50 years protecting that right.
Don’t hit a piñata if it carries her picture, though.
It’s okay for Haley to block the bipartisan and unanimously approved Stroke Prevention Act here in this state that ranks fifth highest in number of strokes, and to try to veto a total of four bills that pertain to improving healthcare in the state.
But smacking a piñata with Haley’s picture must be worse than a stroke or any of the other medical maladies she wants to ignore.
It’s okay for Haley to try to veto three bills that pertain to funding of the state’s Dept. of Health and Environmental Control, and only as vengeance for the time when DHEC denied approval of a project attempted by Haley’s former employer.
But striking a piñata – which is exactly what you’re supposed to do with a piñata – is wrong, simply because it has Haley’s picture on it.
It’s okay for Haley to appoint a new board for DHEC, which now votes exactly the way she tells it to.
It’s not okay to use a piñata in the way it’s supposed to be used, though, if that piñata is a Haley piñata.
It’s okay for Haley to sell out our state and harm the development of its major port by aiding the development of that port’s biggest competitor in another state, which could cost South Carolina 280,000 jobs – and all in exchange for campaign donations she received from that other state.
But don’t even think about hitting a Haley piñata.
It’s okay for Haley to be implicated in an IRS investigation of false reporting and sneaky financial tricks, including illegal contributions to a political candidate, in her role as treasurer of her family’s (supposedly) non-profit organization.
But who the hell do you think you are to use a piñata as a piñata if it carries Haley’s picture?
It’s okay for Haley for interfere with the state legislature’s own investigation of those charges, too.
But damn you and your name and your reputation if you have the audacity to smack a piñata, even though that’s what you’re supposed to do with a piñata, if that piñata has picture of Haley on it.
And now that the piñata bashing is all over and done with, it’s okay for Haley to use this incident as a fund-raising scheme, asking for donations on her website and twitter account to help her “fight back now against the bullying of Liberal unions,” and by sending emails saying she needs campaign money to “show big labor we will not stand for their bullying.”
See how different things are supposed to be if you’re a governor? And even for a quite unpopular governor, who’s never had an approval rating higher than 37.3 percent since the day she took the office?
Don’t worry, Donna Dewitt. You’ve got plenty of back-up. And hopefully media will begin paying attention to issues that matter, like all of the trash going on in Haley’s less-than-half term so far as governor.
But if it doesn’t, and if they decide to only pay attention to stuff like this, I’ll be glad to be your designated hitter at the next piñata party.