The Newsweek endorsement of Nikki Haley

Oh, you say it’s not an endorsement? Don’t bore me with semantics. As I said, the national media — not giving a damn one way or the other about South Carolina, or about who Nikki Haley really is or what she would do in office — is enraptured at the idea that South Carolina will elect a female Indian-American (Bobby Jindal in a skirt, they think, fairly hugging themselves with enthusiasm), which just may be the most extreme example of Identity Politics Gone Mad that I’ve seen.

I told you we would have to expect this. And this is just the beginning.

This actually goes beyond an endorsement. This is a declaration that this woman IS our future. She IS the Face of the New South, and no one dare say her nay, least of all that — what’s his name? — the Democratic nominee. You know, the Catholic Lebanese-American — but who cares about that, right?

And if you think their excitement about her goes any deeper than that, you are not very familiar with the MSM.

But we are the ones who will have to live with what the national MSM is trying to ordain, the narrative that they have adopted and are extremely unlikely to deviate from. She may have come to their attention as the result of alleged scandal, but the narrative has adapted that as merely an example of how far the Dark Atavistic Forces of Reaction will go to stop their new darling.

The only good thing about this is that the national media is so ubiquitous that someone out there will raise questions. They will say, OK, if those allegations were lies, why doesn’t she — the supposed champion of transparency — want to release her public e-mail records, but instead hides behind an exemption to DUI law specifically carved out to protect lawmakers (you know, those awful Bubbas who fight so hard to resist transparency!). Or maybe they will take a look at those videos in which she obsequiously courts the neo-Confederate vote. Or maybe they’ll ask what other little consulting deals she might have had aside from that $40,000 from a company wanting access to her “good contacts.”

But those won’t make the headlines. They won’t supplant or derail the master narrative.

Newsweek has staged its coronation. Watch for other media to follow.

31 thoughts on “The Newsweek endorsement of Nikki Haley

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    [sigh] Well, the allegations of infidelity were [or were not, depending on how savvy you were] supposed to sink her candidacy; they did not. She’s supposed to be a shoo-in, if only because she’s the Republican candidate; maybe there’s a savvier position on that, as well.

    Oh it’s a long, long way,
    From June to November
    And the days grow short
    When you reach October

    [apologies to Kurt Weill]

  2. Doug Ross

    Is your fear that the people of South Carolina are just dumb enough to be influenced by a Newsweek cover? Which Democrats do you think are going to vote for Haley because of the national media attention? The same ones who voted for Alvin Greene?

    Sheheen has four months to get his message out as to why he would be a better governor (aside from “I’m not Sanford” and “Wah! No fair that the national media likes Nikki”. What’s he waiting for?

  3. Phillip

    By itself this is not that big a deal: Newsweek’s circulation has now descended to its 1966 levels.

    But as you say, it’s a harbinger of things to come.

    Maybe this is all for a larger good. Even if I disagree with almost everything Haley or Tim Scott stand for, if this means the GOP is now abandoning the “Southern Strategy” of the Helms-Thurmond-Atwater variety, that can only be a healthy thing, for the party and for the country (and region).

    Another way of putting it is that soon, racists and bigots in the South will have no one to vote for. That can only mean there’s fewer and fewer of them, and that, electorally speaking, they matter less and less.

  4. Karen McLeod

    I wonder if Newsweek has actually looked closely at her political positions.

  5. Lynn T

    Our only hope is that voters in South Carolina saw enough of this with Mark Sanford, in the months just before he hiked the Appalachian Trail, to recognize how distorted it is. The only difference — this is likely to be much worse, because the allure of a photogenic woman of Indian descent gives them such an easy story line. I doubt the national MSM will do any real investigation, though. In the case of Sanford, they parroted the same stuff time after time, with no analysis of what he had done to SC. They never got bored enough to get more information. People who care about SC are going to have to do the homework on this.

  6. Lynn

    Easy breezie “Cover Girl.” What’s the plan when SC loses it’s AAA credit rating in October? What’s the plan to put us back to work? Just how many non-family members did the small business every employ? Will we ever know what’s behind the music?

  7. scout

    Well I hope for our sake that someone else in the MSM will think hard enough about it to challenge this narrative….and that that story somehow gets some coverage as well.

  8. marconi

    Definitely agree.

    Females in politics elsewhere in the country is no de riguer — here, unfortunately it’s still a novelty. We as a state will be paying for this one for years to come after she’s governor.

  9. scout

    I don’t know if the danger is what democrats are going to vote for Haley because of this cover. I think it’s more to do with what Brad was talking about in the media/predator article – people in general of all parties and the media – seem to not be thinking hard or looking deep into things in general. Haley and Sanford’s world view plays into that – they make it seem simple and cut and dried – just a matter of cutting budgets no matter the consequences – don’t look at the consequences, that’d be looking too deep. People want things to be simple and cut and dried so they want to believe it. And when Newsweek and other national media get into it on the surface level too, it just amplifies the effect. In November, these voters who haven’t looked deeply at anything, will have heard alot about Haley and that will probably be enough.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  10. Brad

    Nice thought, but it hardly makes up for the hard reality.

    This POSITIVE name recognition, that doesn’t go more than a micrometer deep (an Indian-American woman! in the South! Swoon. End of story) is going to make her unstoppable — until the narrative changes in some way.

    If SC MSM will do its job and ask the hard questions, maybe the media that people in SC are MUCH more pervasively exposed to will notice. Maybe, maybe.

    You want to hear a dark spin on Phillip’s rosy scenario? It’s all well and good for racism to have nowhere to go, and it’s fine for you to moralize about those awful racist Republicans becoming better. But here’s the other side of that: Maybe after she’s elected and we have another four, if not eight, years of Mark Sanford largely because the national media couldn’t see past its THRILL over an Indian-American woman, liberals in South Carolina (liberals elsewhere won’t notice because they don’t give a damn about SC, except as a source of their occasional amusement) will think, “Maybe this identity politics thing isn’t such a wonderful thing after all.”

    Now that would be tremendous. But you know what? I’ve waited through too many 4-year chunks of wasted time in South Carolina to go through another such period just so that Republicans can be more ideologically correct and Democrats can wise up a little. It’s not worth it. Change these things about the parties, and other objectionable idiosyncrasies will simply expand to take their places, because parties are schools for foolishness.

  11. bud

    Change these things about the parties, and other objectionable idiosyncrasies will simply expand to take their places, because parties are schools for foolishness.

    I agree. John McCain just stated he will oppose the Kagan nomination for SCOTUS.

    The stated reason: Her opposition to military recruiters on college campuses.

    Actual reason: To cowtow to ultra-conservatives in the GOP.

    The stated reason is really awful. Military recruiters SHOULD be banned from college campuses. Go Kagan!

  12. Phillip

    It’s not that “Republicans are awful racists.” It’s that the party made a conscious decision to use race, culture, code, to appeal to some working-class whites in the South who might be drawn by that to vote against their own natural economic self-interest. (See “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”) If that well’s gone dry for the GOP, they have to rise or fall on the basis of their fundamental party philosophy, especially as regards the economy.

    If Haley wins and the state goes further down the drain, the repudiation that may follow would not come from people “returning” to a racial basis for voting, but from an honest rejection of extremist-libertarianism, or whatever it is she’s offering. I’m not trying to be pollyanna here, Haley’s scary, no question about it. I just think that the country benefits from a straight clear-cut debate over fundamentally different political philosophies, and if we can strip the racial overtones from our politics in the south once and for all, how can that be bad?

    You’re right about the ball being in the court now of the press in SC, what’s left of it. We’re seeing in Nevada that the press is being diligent in trying to get straight answers out of Sharron Angle, who also was getting a fair bit of national attention while avoiding the local press. The GOP may have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in that race by nominating such an extremist. Let’s hope the same goes for SC, once people get to know Ms. Haley better.

  13. Doug Ross

    Until Harrell, Leatherman, Cooper, McConnell, Knotts, et al are gone from the State House, it won’t matter who is in the governor’s seat.

    They’ve got you hoodwinked to focus on Haley/Sanford.

    I ask again, what is Vincent Sheheen doing to make his case to the people of South Carolina? He has to get every Democrat and a chunk of the Republicans. Sitting on the sidelines waiting for some dirt to come out on Haley is not a winning strategy.

    If I were him, I’d be pushing for debates every week. I’d be putting out specific plans of what I’d do different from Mark Sanford (saying “everything” is not enough). Instead of courting the chamber of commerce, he needs to convince people like me that we’ll be better off with him instead of Haley. I’m open to voting for the candidate with the best ideas… so far, that’s Haley.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    For the record, and as Kagan made abundantly clear, military recruiters were not banned from Harvard Law School. They were not allowed to use the law school employment facilities because they discriminated against LGBT students, per Harvard policy. They did have plenty of access through other means to students, through other on campus means, and of course, students could also seek them out.

    McCain also said that he’d back the brass on DADT, until they decided enough and he ran for cover. Shame shame shame.

    And you’re absolutely right, Doug! We need to keep out eyes on the Legislature ball (although look how much the toothless Sanford managed to muck up the works with his vetoes this year) and Sheheen needs to get out there hard!

  15. sorenkay

    Yawn… another Warthen post full of anti-Nikki derangement…

    “OK, if those allegations were lies, why doesn’t she — the supposed champion of transparency — want to release her public e-mail records”

    If the allegations were true, the other person should be able to come up with some evidence…

    As the one who discovered this, I’d really want to see Boyd Brown’s over the past week though…

    “Or maybe they will take a look at those videos in which she obsequiously courts the neo-Confederate vote.”

    A national media outlet(Wall Street Journal) has already covered that video… and the WSJ did a much better job than you ever have… and I say that as the one who uploaded the video after someone who hated her had uploaded it and hid/unhid it…

    “Or maybe they’ll ask what other little consulting deals she might have had aside from that $40,000 from a company wanting access to her “good contacts.””

    Probably none… btw, she met the guy who hired her when they were both on the local chamber of commerce… and it was only for local projects… and the ethics commission said she didn’t break any laws… and she wrote a law to close this loophole long after she had done her consulting..

  16. bud

    Sorenkay, you didn’t address the e-mail issue head-on. Rather you simply changed the subject. It’s irrelevant whether Ms. Haley’s detractors have evidence to support their claims. What’s at issue is Ms. Haley’s zealous advocacy of transparency by public officials. What she’s doing with the e-mails is exactly the opposite of what she advocates. She just needs to release the e-mails, otherwise she just comes across as just another politician who can’t be trusted.

  17. Kathryn Fenner

    I have a friend who is otherwise a low-taxes voter, but not politically active, who will not vote for Nikki because she will not release the emails, and thus, in my friend’s eyes, must be hiding something. My friend is not going to vote for someone who appears to be lying about infidelity. I suspect there are others out there who feel likewise.

  18. Pat

    @ Phillip:”It’s not that “Republicans are awful racists.” It’s that the party made a conscious decision to use race, culture, code, to appeal to some working-class whites in the South who might be drawn by that to vote against their own natural economic self-interest.” I was going to comment on your first post until I read this – an absolutely brilliant statement! to add: I think the extremists running the GOP now aren’t remotely related to the Thurmond GOP – at least then, I think they were thinking of protecting SC from outside interference, however prejudiced. Now, we have some locals who are INVITING outside interference and being used by them.
    @ sorenkay – “A national media outlet(Wall Street Journal) has already covered that video”- really doesn’t matter. The average voter doesn’t read it and the ones who are interested in putting her in office and do read it know the score: she has to do what she has to do to get into office. I also think she was very cool-headed in answering allegations of infidelity – suspiciously so.

  19. Kathryn Fenner

    @Pat–Well, the whole Will Folks part of it muddied the waters so much–talk about the enemy of the truth–he’s some sort of post-modern construct when it comes to reality! –By Jove, you’re right–I never focused on how surreal her response was.

  20. miller

    Nikki Haley is the most flawed candidate we have for governor this year, except for all of the others. — Did she have extramarital affairs? Maybe, but probably not. The evidence is thin and the sources are dubious bto say the least. — Did she accept $40k+ for her political connections? Yes, but it was legal. Does that make it right? No, but what are you going to do, sit around and wait for a pristine candidate? Vincent Sheheen’s lucrative legal career is built on family political connections. You didn’t see him leave Camden to see if he could make it in a town where the family name has no sway. — Is Haley benefiting from her race and gender? At the moment, yes, but only after running a five-year gauntlet of vile racist and sexist attacks coordinated by the Neanderthal wing of the Republican party.

  21. Kathryn Fenner

    Yo, miller–part of the reason the evidence is thin is that she, Ms. Transparency, is refusing to release emails.

    Other than his not leaving town, what do you have on Sheheen?

  22. miller

    If Haley sent or received emails, not yet made public, to a guy convicted of assaulting his fiance or a guy who doesn’t seem all that masculine, these gentlemen should release them. — It seems we are entering an era in which candidates accused of no crimes are being asked to publish emails transmitted on public computers. Fine, lets do it, starting with Jake Knotts, Andre Bauer, and Vincent Sheheen.

  23. Brad

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask other senators, particularly Vincent since he’s her opponent, to make their PUBLIC e-mail records publicly available.

    But of course it is especially relevant to expect the person who bases her whole appeal to voters on her championing transparency to do so. And very, very weird if she does not.

    But don’t for a minute expect there to be anything about those alleged affairs. I don’t. And I don’t even think the records for those periods of time are available.

    No, there’s something else going on here, and it has nothing to do with Will Folks or Larry Marchant. What it is, I don’t know — because Nikki is keeping it hidden.

  24. miller

    I think many people in this world have things in their emails that they would rather not make public. Embarassing emails could include innocuous yet catty comments about another person’s appearance or intelligence, a few choice expletives, or, on rare occasion, evidence of improper activity. — To me, emails on publicly-owned compututers are equivalent to conversations on publicly-owned telephones. There is an informal expectation of privacy. Now if the law were changed to explicitly eliminate this expectation of privacy, from that point forward, public officials would adapt and limit communication to privately-owned computers and telephones.

  25. Kathryn Fenner

    @miller–we are not “entering an era”–it has always been true that email is not secure and that the Freedom of Information Act applies to most all of it.

    Folks says he deleted his copies, and has allegedly been trying to see if they can be recovered, with no luck.

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