Requiem for a Jerk


When South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was busted for possession of cocaine with intention* to distribute I felt a little sorry for the guy. He's rich, he's bored—why shouldn't he be able to blow a few briefcases of cash re-enacting Jack Nicholson's double-prostitute sequence from The Departed?

Meg Kinnard had a little less sympathy and started diving into Ravenel's public e-mails, sent from his government office. Surprise: He was scum. Ravenel whiled away the hours lining up a yacht deal and (probably illegally) plumping for the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Ravenel and his spokesman also bantered via computer during work hours about an op-ed by Ravenel encouraging South Carolinians to support Giuliani, the former New York mayor.

"The two most central issues the next President will face will be how to protect us against terror and how to keep our economy growing," wrote Ravenel, who has stepped down as Giuliani's state chairman. "It will be a daunting task, but there is no question in my mind that Rudy Giuliani is the right man for the job."

South Carolina government ethics rules prohibit any state worker from using time on the job, or state equipment, to work on political campaigns.

Ravenel spent even more time plotting a Senate run against Lindsay Graham, the heretic Republican who's unforgiveably 1)come out against torture and 2)called some of the people who oppose immigration reform "bigots." Google around: Tons of people were begging Ravenel to run. It hardly mattered that he was a dilettante* wasting taxpayer money on his own ambition.

*I'm not so much a bad speller as I am someone who writes a post in a hurry, says "I'll fix it later," but only rarely does. My blunders are countless and must be pointed out.