OPINION: Ravenel’s ‘reality’ run?

08/01/2014 11:55 PM

08/02/2014 12:04 AM

Thomas Ravenel, our erstwhile state treasurer-turned-convict, is testing a new theory in political campaigning.

Ravenel, who starred in last season’s Charleston-based reality show “Southern Charm,” initially said he would not be in the second season. But he has since changed his mind and has decided to play his own sordid self for the second season of “Southern Charm” even as he runs for the U.S. Senate as an independent.

“It doesn’t make sense to turn down a platform that enables you to spread your ideas to a bigger, more diverse audience,” he said in a July email.

Does that mean the 51-year-old Ravenel will be switching roles from a misogynist who beds a 22-year-old to a boring old fuddy-duddy who discusses the Affordable Care Act and the Ukraine-Russian standoff?

I watched about two minutes, give or take a minute, of “Southern Charm” when it was broadcast on Bravo this past spring. So I can’t tell you much about it.

It’s enough for me that The New York Times called the show “a higher end display of ‘Jersey Shore’-style debauchery.” And maybe it starred Tom Ravenel as the “Situation.”

His TV role and his candidacy have already raised questions about federal equal time laws. Forget for a moment that neither Ravenel nor anyone else is likely to defeat Sen. Lindsey Graham (two other candidates are running for Graham’s seat).

Bravo says it may continue running “Southern Charm” reruns through the Nov. 4 election, but how can it give equal time to Graham and the rest?

Graham probably could not care less. In one of his few comments on the matter, he laughed off Ravenel, saying he’s running for the Senate, “not a reality show.”

Ravenel responded that Graham was part of a much costlier reality show that might be called “Adventures in Nation Building” – a reference to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Still, one has to wonder how fathering a baby after a one-night stand and discussing his cocaine conviction – both features of the first season – can help him with South Carolina’s conservative voters. If that works for Ravenel, maybe Kim Kardashian should run for president next time around.

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