Heard in the Echo Chamber - Volume IX
Welcome back to the Chamber ... once again, you couldn't have picked a better Sunday to pay us a visit.
What kind of a week has it been in South Carolina politics?
Just take a look at Jill Richards' photo (above) from The State newspaper's Saturday edition.
Here's a hint - it's not Jeff Gordon appearing on The Tony Danza Show. Nor is it former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in a tank, although we think you'll agree it's pretty damn close.
Forget the filing deadline for candidates, the state budget clearing the House, the release of new unemployment numbers or South Carolina's second consecutive NIT basketball championship - the past six days have been "All Andre, All the Time" here in the Palmetto State.
And to borrow a quote from our favorite blog commenter, CGI Bin Laden, the week gone by has proven once again that South Carolina politics really is "like a couple of mongoloids slow-dancing."
NEW BAUER STRATEGIES
Whether it's Dan Hoover's Sunday column in the Greenville News or John Frank's "Capital Notebook" column in the Charleston Post and Courier, the mainstream news media continues to have a field day with South Carolina's lead-footed Lieutenant Governor and his 101-mph jaunt down Interstate-77.
"It seriously is the story that keeps giving and giving," one reporter told FITS. "Every time we were going to stop writing about it, suddenly there's this great new angle or attempt at spin coming from the Bauer people."
After blaming the Governor's Office, demanding $64,000 of our tax dollars for a lieutenant gubernatorial chauffer, temporarily returning a Constable's certificate (which it was later revealed wasn't even valid), walking 12 miles to file for re-election, racing go-karts with fellow speeders and leaking news of a traffic stop involving his primary opponent's 21-year old driver (oh, and let's not forget cleaning up his MySpace account in the process), what could be next on the "Andre Rapid Redemption" tour?
Evidently, we almost found out Saturday afternoon in Camden, S.C.
Numerous witnesses tell FITS that Bauer, on hand at the Carolina Cup to pass out stickers, shake hands and endure countless jokes at his own expense, had to be physically restrained at one point during the afternoon. No, it wasn't an angry response to an overzealous jokester, it turns out Bauer had to be stopped from hopping the infield fence and mounting one of the racehorses.
"He got that look in his eye and you could tell something was about to happen," said John McGill, the Democratic Senator's son Bauer had pegged previously for his $65,000 security/chauffer position. "Let's face it, Andre has a need for speed, and something must have clicked in his head when he saw all those fast, sleek, finely-chiseled racehorses flying around the track."
McGill added he and Bauer had watched the film Equus together over at McGill's home the night before while putting the finishing touches on table decorations and a delicious fruit salad.
Bauer was reportedly given a horse tranquilizer following the incident, and according to witnesses spent the remainder of the Carolina Cup in a lawn chair with sunglasses on, nursing Mimosa's and Champagne Napoleon's.
MORE NEW BAUER STRATEGIES
In related news, FITS has learned that Bauer Racing Inc. president Rod Shealy and pit crew chief Jakie Knotts will hold a lunchtime press conference at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet in West Columbia Monday to announce what a source referred to as "a breaking bombshell" in the case.
"They will present irrefutable DNA evidence showing that it was Jeff Gordon, not Andre Bauer, who was pulled for speeding in downtown Columbia, Chester and Laurens counties," a source close to Bauer Racing told FITS. "This conspiracy goes to the highest levels of NASCAR, and tomorrow we take the first steps toward uncovering it."
"Rod and Jakie will prove that Andre played no role in these incidents, he was just a patsy," the source added, invoking alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's famous quote. "On top of that, Jakie is more than prepared to eat any non-believers."
STILL MORE NEW BAUER STRATEGIES
FITS has also learned that former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar will be appearing at a special benefit concert for Andre later this month, unveiling a new version of his 1980's cult classic, "I Can't Drive 55."
"Write him up for one-hundred-five, post his face wanted dead or alive, take his license and all that jive, Dre' can't drive ... ninety-five," Hagar said, sampling the song's updated lyrics, which will be featured on a limited edition Bauer Racing Inc. compilation disc.
"All proceeds from the concert and the sale of this disc will go toward hiring Andre the driver and security detail he so richly deserves," Hagar told FITS.
Joining Hagar on the compilation disc will be Golden Earring, which announced it would reprise its 1973 hit, "Radar Love," and Rush, which said it would perform a new song called "Crown Victoria" set to the music of its 1981 Ferrari-inspired classic, "Red Barchetta."
STILL STILL MORE NEW BAUER STRATEGIES
Finally, assuming the second wave of Shealy-sauced pro-Andre P.R. misses its mark as badly as the first, FITS has learned that Bauer's camp is prepared to organize a "Million Motorist March" on Washington D.C. to demand that the national speed limit be reinstated - at 105 miles per hour.
"Andre has a dream," Bauer spokesman Mike Easterday told FITS. "Yes, I tell you, Andre has a dream that one day all God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join together and throw off this nation's current yoke of vehicular oppression, unshackling the callous chains of highway bigotry that enslave the natural gravitation of our right feet to our gas pedals and, at long last, let Speeding ring. Yes, let Speeding ring through every village and hamlet, every city and state. Let Speeding ring until we can all join hands and sing in the words of that ancient Andre spiritual, Speed at Last! Speed at Last! Thank God Almighty, we can Speed at Last!"
Until next week ... be heard.