John Crangle

John Crangle

Kevin Fisher ranted at state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, age 85, and me, age 76, in his recent columns in Free Times (“McConnell Upheld S.C. Constitution, Current State Senate Mocks It,” Feb. 1, and “Crangle’s Sadly Sexist Rant on Nikki Haley,” Feb. 8), flaying Leatherman for not wanting to be the sixth person in a row to take the do-nothing job of lieutenant governor of South Carolina in six years and then castigating me as sexist, leftist, infidel and, worst of all, for not having seen enough homecomings because I was 76 years old.

Fisher, who in real life is a public relations shill, plays the role of amateur attorney and political expert in the pages of Free Times.

But in February, Fisher broke the glass ceiling when he railed against old Senate President Leatherman for not giving up the most powerful office in state government to take the least powerful office in state government. Fisher wrote that the South Carolina Constitution somehow said that Leatherman should take the job even if he resigned as president, which it does not.

But it was Fisher’s ageist, vicious and immoral rant that I did not know anything about homecomings (“The Homecoming Queen Has Left Us,” Free Times, Feb. 1) because I was 76 years old that really hurt my feelings. And it’s not true. In fact, I have vast experience and am an expert witness on the subject of homecomings. Since 1954, as a high school and college student and then as a college professor teaching political science and law, I have seen no fewer than 60 grueling homecomings come and go — and, in fact, some of the 60 homecoming queens I have seen in action doubtless have had great-granddaughters standing on the 50-yard-line at halftime on homecoming Friday nights. 

So, Kevin Fisher, I know more about homecomings than you do about law and politics.

What Fisher was really mad about was that I said that Nikki Haley, to my mind, was like the 60 homecoming queens I had seen over nearly seven decades. She had the radiant good looks of an 18-year-old high school homecoming queen and the same unreadiness to become governor.

And Fisher was extra mad, or pretended to be, because I thought Sarah Palin was a flyweight based on the fact that Katie Couric had interviewed the vice presidential nominee and shown her to have a major-league knowledge deficit, and because I mentioned that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann made a legally false statement that as a wife she had a duty to obey her husband even though state laws emancipated women in the United States in the 1800s. 

By the way, Kevin, although your untrained eye didn’t notice, my article was really not about gender politics at all. It was about how the likes of hormone-fueled Mark Sanford and wannabe president Nikki Haley were both running their own games while refusing to do anything real about the bad roads, crumbling bridges, failing rural public schools, poverty and crime that have plagued the people of South Carolina since they took over 14 years ago. 

But I can forgive you. You are just too young to understand.

John Crangle has spent 30 years as South Carolina executive director for government watchdog Common Cause. These are his personal views.

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