I hate being fooled. I despise seeing Republican after Republican campaign for “family values,” as they cheat on their wife or engage in numerous behaviors they seek to condemn publicly. The most recent one comes from just a few miles away from my house (well it started there, but it didn’t end there.)

The story involves a dairy farmer turned politician, an affair, a pick-up truck and SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) revoking the handgun priviledges and police powers for a jilted lover.

Bob Peeler belongs to the Peeler family that owns Peeler dairy in Cherokee county (where I grew up), which was a very successful business selling milk across the Southeast. He parlayed his exposure from TV commercials for Peeler’s milk into political success. He was South Carolina’s lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003. He sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2002 and ran a close second to Mark Sanford in the primary, but was defeated by Sanford in the runoff.

Many credit his defeat to his decision to go completely negative from the start of the runoff campaign. Many people saw what was to them a new Peeler and they didn’t like it.

The runoff garned national attention as Peeler attempted to portray himself as the true conservative, while attacking Sanford for principled conservative votes.

It turns out that Sanford was the principled conservative, while Peeler was just playing a part and his true colors finally showed. Recently, Bob Peeler decided to divorce his wife. Which, while bad, is not nearly as bad as all that has come out in this bizarre case.

Peeler moved from Gaffney, SC (where the dairy farm is) to Lexington county, closer to the power and the state capital Columbia. He began to have an affair with his next-door neighbor Donna Gulledge, whose husband happened to be Mike Gulledge, “a highly regarded state bureaucrat and former state representative.” Because of who he was and his duties as director of Local Government Financing at the state Budget and Control Board, Mike had police commission authority to carry a handgun.

Peeler, because he felt “threatened” by Gulledge (I wonder why? Maybe because you were sleeping with his wife!), asked the SLED Chief to investigate Gulledge’s gun privledges. This led to his police powers being revoked. Another SLED investigation, initiated by Peeler, into a private investigator that Gulledge hired is on-going.

Accusations between Peeler and his estranged wife are flying. He said that she abused him and that she beat his pick-up truck with a hose, after finding out about the affair. (Possibly, it was the truck that earned Peeler a Fox News story.) Of course, she is disputing this and alleging that he abused her.

Who knows if they will ever get to bottom of this, but one of the reasons this grates me so much is that I supported Peeler in his campaign for governor. Not actively (I didn’t even vote because I had just moved and had not registered in my new county), but I told everyone in discussing the race that I thought Peeler would be a better governor than Sanford. That was probably my worst political call ever.

Hey if you want to be a sleeze, go ahead, but don’t portray yourself as a solid, up-standing family guy. Because of dirty politicians like Bob Peeler and numerous other issues, I get more and more reluctant to call myself a Republican. Conservative – Yes! Republican – Not as sure as I used to be.