It continues to amaze us that State Sen. Greg Ryberg hasn't learned to shut what we Southerners call his "fool mouth" when it comes to grandstanding on the anti-gambling issue.
Maybe somebody needs to say it to him in Yankeese.
Whatever the language, here's the basic point: If you've sold thousands of lottery tickets and owned dozens of video poker machines (and made a small fortune off of both), you don't get to run around playing Mr. Anti-Gambling Crusader - ever.
Ryberg of all people should realize this given the intense backlash his gambling hypocrisy churned up during his second failed bid to become State Treasurer. After putting $2 million of his own money into the race, which included TV ads and mailings that highlighted his "anti-gambling leadership," Ryberg finished more than 20 points behind GOP nominee Thomas Ravenel.
Now, fresh off his shellacking at the polls, Ryberg is at it again. This time he's going after former Jim Hodges' Chief of Staff Kevin Geddings, who was recently indicted in North Carolina for alleged lottery-related improprieties. On Thursday, Ryberg announced he was asking the Legislative Audit Council to investigate Geddings' lottery dealings here in South Carolina.
Referred to as an "outspoken lottery opponent" by the media Friday, Ryberg said he was concerned that "the award of the lottery contract occurred as a result of graft or corruption and that consequently South Carolina citizens suffered, and continue to suffer, from this fraudulent activity."
While an LAC investigation may or may not be warranted in this case, Greg Ryberg asking for it is a lot like Tom DeLay asking for an ethics investigation. Or Barry Bonds requesting another round of hearings on steroids in baseball.
Politics 101: If you've long ago surrendered the moral high ground on an issue - don't engage in political gamesmanship on that issue. Stay the hell away from it, and find something else to dupe the masses with.
But Ryberg just doesn't know any better, as evidenced by his trip to Miyo's restaurant in downtown Columbia with his wife Betty the day after his ignominious defeat.
After observing our favorite bad boy Sic Willie enter the restaurant (one of his favorite downtown Columbia eateries), Mrs. Ryberg apparently pulled her husband inside the establishment not to savor its sumptuous Orange Chicken, but for the expressed purpose of confronting the Slick One.
"I wanted to see if he walked on two legs or four," Mrs. Ryberg later told a witness to the scene.
It got worse.
Ed McMullen, S.C. Policy Council President, was vehemently chastised inside the restaurant by Sen. Ryberg for merely sitting down with Folks.
"You'll be seen with anybody these days, won't you, Ed?" Ryberg bellowed.
After the ever-diplomatic McMullen attempted to ease the tension with a joke, Ryberg shot back "you think this is funny? I'm serious as a heart attack."
The entire scene was Jokerville inside baseball at its finest.
Sen. Ryberg's chances at statewide office are done, and frankly it's past time he realized that. His petty personal tirades and partisan public attacks are - like those of his lackey Terry Sullivan against T-Rav - the mark of a sore loser.
Grow up, Greg. And stop subjecting the rest of us to your presumptuous displays of public and private sanctimoniousness.
Like the voters of South Carolina told you two weeks ago, we're done and over it.