Well, Nikki did it (dang it)


I wish she hadn’t — she’s a good House member, but isn’t ready for this (and the last thing the campaign needs is someone dubbed the “Mark Sanford candidate,” since this election needs to be about moving beyond Mark Sanford) — but she did it:

Nikki Haley Announces Bid for Governor

May 14, 2009

LEXINGTON, SC – May 14, 2009 – Representative Nikki Haley (R-Lexington) today announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for Governor of South Carolina.

“After months of encouragement from supporters all across the state and countless discussions with friends and family, I have decided to run for Governor of South Carolina,” Representative Haley said. “For more than five years I’ve sat in the statehouse and watched – sometimes in disbelief – as our state government has spent with abandon and in the process wasted taxpayer dollar after taxpayer dollar. I know what good government can look like. I’m running for Governor so the people of this state will know what it feels like.”

Haley, one of the strongest fiscal conservatives in state government, was first elected to represent the 87th District in Lexington County in 2004, when, as a virtual unknown she beat the longest serving state legislator in a Republican primary. In 2008 Representative Haley was sent back to the statehouse with 83 percent of the vote – the highest percentage earned by any lawmaker facing a contested South Carolina election that year.

Her time in Columbia has been marked by conservative leadership on behalf of her constituents and an unwavering commitment to the taxpayers’ bottom line. She has fought wasteful spending at every turn, pushed for smaller, more efficient government, and led the fight for the accountability and transparency that before her arrival was sorely lacking in the Legislature.

For her efforts to cut taxes and slow the growth of government spending, Nikki was named “Friend of the Taxpayer” (2009) by the S.C. Association of Taxpayers and a “Taxpayer Hero” (2005) by Gov. Mark Sanford. She has also received the Palmetto Leadership Award from the S.C. Policy Council for her expertise on policy matters and the Strom Thurmond Excellence in Public Service and Government Award from the S.C. Federation of Republican Women for the outstanding constituent service she provides to her district.

Born in Bamberg, S.C., the daughter of Indian immigrants, Nikki’s first job was keeping the books for her family’s clothing store – at the age of 13. She went on to graduate from Clemson University with a B.S. degree in accounting and following her graduation worked as Accounting Supervisor for the Charlotte, N.C. based corporation FCR, Inc. and five of its subsidiaries. Nikki then went back to the family business where she helped oversee its growth into a multi-million dollar operation. Since 2008 she has served as the Assistant Executive Director of the Lexington Medical Foundation.

“We’ve got great challenges facing us in South Carolina, but also a world of opportunity,” Haley said. “I have every confidence that with conservative leadership and a renewed commitment to the principles that have made America great – hard work, traditional values, promoting an atmosphere of opportunity over an environment of bailouts – South Carolina can be transformed into a state that’s not always at the bottom but sits proudly at the top.”

Nikki and her husband Michael, a full time federal technician with the South Carolina National Guard and an officer in the Army National Guard in Darlington, South Carolina, attend Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington. She was previously a board member of both the Orangeburg and Lexington County Chambers of Commerce and a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Currently, Nikki sits on the board for Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church, Medmission, and is a proud member of the West Metro Republican Women, Lexington County Republican Party and the NRA.

Dang it.

16 thoughts on “Well, Nikki did it (dang it)

  1. Workin' Tommy C

    Nikki not ready???

    Yeah, as you define it, maybe not. She hasn’t yet sold her soul like the establishment hacks that will be running against her.

    Show me someone else in the field who’s shown the same level of GUTS as Nikki Haley has and I’ll vote for him.

  2. Doug Ross

    She must be one of those fringe lunatics Brad talks about. I mean she’s claiming there is wasteful spending by the state government. That can’t possibly be true — why would we be hearing about laying off teachers and policemen if that was true? Surely our legislators understand the priorities the citizens of this state have when it comes to government? They wouldn’t allow waste, patronage, inefficiency, and duplication of effort to occur under their experienced (read “on the public payroll for life”) stewardship would they?

    She’s got my vote.

  3. jfx

    I think Brad referred to her as a “good House member,” rather than fringe lunatic.

    Well, the Libertarians are happy. It will be interesting to see where the money comes from to give her a chance. Guess we sit back and wait for the Club For Growth to start firing the moolah cannon.

  4. Doug Ross


    Brad frequently uses a very broad brush to paint anyone who doesn’t believe in the almighty power of government as a small minority of selfish whiners.

    We’ll see how far the status-quo con artists will go to destroy her.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, I like Nikki and I think she’s very conscientious.

    But she has a certain political naivete that both serves her well and ill. One GOOD way it manifests itself is in the fact that she is open and honest, and sees no reason to compromise on that. So she walks into a buzzsaw — the way she did with the speaker late last year — that a more “sophisticated” politician would avoid. And she ends up being the heroine of the hour, a sort of Ms. Smith Goes to Columbia. And good for her.

    But if you scratch beneath the surface, you find a disturbing tendency to cling to cliches without examining their value to any depth. For instance, she’s a devotee of that hackneyed phrase, “I want to run government like a business.” Yeah, I know, you small gummint types love her already. But that is a notion that simply doesn’t hold up to any kind of scrutiny. NO ONE who both understands what a business is and understands what government is (and I mean government in the American system of self-government via representative democracy) would ever try to run one of them like the other. They are two entirely different kinds of enterprises that SHOULD be entirely different if either is to be run properly.

    The aims and goals, the processes by which they should be operated, the underlying assumptions for decision-making are all radically different. Think about the fundamental values involved. What is the simplest and most basic goal of a well-run business? Making a profit. (Oh, you can wax poetical about providing a needed product or service, but as a laid-off newspaperman can tell you, a business that doesn’t turn a profit is useless in any other regard.) So anybody who goes into business had better be focused on doing that.

    But you know what you call somebody who goes into government with the intent of turning a profit? You call him a CROOK. A properly run government must raise only those revenues needed to operate the governmental functions that the people, acting through their representatives, have decided upon.

    As for the decision-making process, forget about it. One thing that some of the “government-like-a-business” advocates are thinking of is that they want their elected official to choose the best course and march in that direction without shilly-shallying, without wasted time, words, or money, the way a decisive CEO should do. But NO ONE in public life is, or should be, like the imperial CEO of a private business (of course, even a CEO has less absolute power than outsiders imagine, but since we don’t see the inner workings of private businesses as clearly as we do the operation of government, the myth of the titan of industry persists). In government you MUST (not just because this is the way it works, but the way it SHOULD work) take into account the opinions of other people and the things they see as priorities. You are constitutionally required to do so. Legislatures, for instance, are deliberately designed to be as slow as molasses in making decisions, and to run around in circles. So to a person who has no regard for the wishes of those with whom he disagrees, government is always wasteful of time, energy and money, because it’s always doing things that people YOU disagree with want to do. And you know why? Because it’s their government, too.

    If you want government to be run as efficiently as it can be (without being tyrannical), and to make the best use it can of your money, etc., say so. But don’t say you want to run it like a business. I’ve worked in the private sector for most of my adult life. And it is filled with waste, and foolishness, and capriciousness to a degree that you simply can’t get away with in the public sector.

    Part of the mystique that “run like a business” holds in the minds of people who don’t think about it very hard is that, since the private sector isn’t subjected to the same scrutiny as the public, its inefficiencies and outright waste is not as visible to them. If you’re buying a good product from a private company at a good price, you don’t CARE that the CEO is going on lavish junkets in the company plane, or offering free massages and haircuts to his employees, or making stupid decisions to waste fortunes launching projects that were doomed from the start. But when those things happen in the public sector (and you’re much more likely to hear about them when they happen there), you are furious. And you should be.

    So the assumptions, and expectations, are completely different.

    Saying you want to run a government like a business is like saying you want to run your car the way you fry a fish. Or hit a golf ball the way you blow your nose. It makes no kind of sense.

    Anti-gummint folks like my friend Doug like to mischaracterize my position as loving “almighty government” and such. Not at all. I see the flaws in government (and have made a living pointing them out and arguing for change), but I also see them in the private sector. I see them as both flawed because both are run by fallible human beings. I am NOT blinded by an ideology that sees the private sector as somehow magical and perfect in ways that government is not and should be. I am neither reflexively anti-business nor reflexively pro-government. Each has its virtues and its faults, depending upon the decisions that the people running them make. And I would never confuse one with the other.

    But when you try to point things like this out to Nikki, she just says, quite disarmingly (she is, at all times, a charming lady), “Well, I just believe that anyway.” And that’s that.

    You can be a good House member without understanding the workings of government better than that. But our next chief executive needs to have a MUCH deeper understanding of how government works, and more importantly how it SHOULD work.

  6. Bill C.

    She did it, but she doesn’t stand a chance considering who else is running on the Republican ticket. This will end up being nothing more than a waste of time and money.

  7. Doug Ross

    Dirty tricks have started by Gresham Barrett’s campaign.

    Will Folks has the scoop:


    This is how politics works in South Carolina.

    Think about that before you make your run, Brad. Seriously. They will defame you, lie to your face, and stab each other in the back. I saw it firsthand in a run for a lowly school board position. A school administrator made a point to find me in a parking lot to tell me my wife would lose her job if I won a board spot.

    Imagine the crap that these guys pull when a higher office is at stake? And why do you think that is? Because power = money.

    Term limits. That’s the only solution.

  8. jfx

    Amateur mistake by Haley. She should have had an independent web presence ready to go live with her announcement. Instead, she was still yoked to the same host as Barrett, who has some clout with the company.

    If the characterization that Haley didn’t inform Under The Power Lines of her announcement intentions is accurate (dubious, since UTPL can’t really be trusted to be impartial, what with them licking Barrett’s boot), that would be even more bothersome.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Why do the Republicans have such incessant trouble with this whole new media thing?

  9. Herb Brasher

    Doug thinks he is going to fix everything with term limits. All that will do is exchange one set of problems for a different set.

  10. Doug Ross

    And what will those new problems be, Herb?

    So you’d be opposed to the term limits on Mark Sanford that are currently in place?

  11. Herb Brasher

    Yep, I think term limits are an over-reaction and an attempt to fix problems with knee-jerk legislation. Of course they get rid of bad politicians who have been in office too long, but they also get rid of good people with the perspective that experience can bring.

    Judging from the fact that you’re a member of First Baptist in Columbia, we’re both evangelicals. But I’m not as cynical about human government as you are, as we’ve discussed before.

    In the business of non-profit governance, the general practice, as you probably know, is to limit terms for directors, but to give them the option of coming back on if approved by a certain percentage of the whole board. We do the same thing with employees over the age of 65. Some safeguards have to be in place to keep people from continuing on way past their time of competency, and yet provide for those to stay whose knowledge and experience are needed.

    I’d have think long and hard about how to have some term-limit safeguards in place, and still provide for some system to allow conscientious and effective people to be re-approved for one term at a time, but I think it could be done, somehow.

    But since I need to get some work done, and since I don’t think we’re going to have term limits any time soon, I’ll not try to speculate any further about what is totally theoretical.

    As for Governor Sanford, I’m sure if he had to have special approval of some kind from the legislature to run for a third term, he wouldn’t get it under any circumstances. He doesn’t seem to have ever been interested in building the kind of coalitions that get things done, but only in proving his point.

    In the church, we have to discipline members like that in some way; those whose purpose is only to prove their point are called “contentious,” and it is not a compliment. The rest of us have to learn to work together. It’s called teamwork in a lot of places.

  12. Lee Muller

    4 years in office, then 5 years off before you can run for anything again.

    No lobbying or accepting any job with any company regulated by legislation passed by your assembly while you were in that assembly, even if you abstained.

    Take away the ability to be paid off with phony “legal fees” and “marketing studies” and “consulting fees”, and you will remove most of what drives our politicians: personal financial gain.

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