Is that the best Haley can do? Bring up Obama? Wow, that is truly lame…

There wasn’t much new in The State‘s recap Sunday of how Vincent Sheheen is pretty much thrashing Nikki Haley on her signature issues (transparency and business savvy) — nothing much you couldn’t have read here the middle of last week.

But I was struck by the unbelievably lame response recorded from the Haley campaign:

For its part, Haley’s campaign has argued Sheheen, a state senator from Camden, is ducking questions about whether the Democrat supports recently approved national health insurance law and the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging Arizona’s immigration law, two issues Sheheen could have to deal with if elected governor.

Really? That’s the best you can do? He’s totally crushing you on transparency, and making a mockery of your desire to run government the way you run your business, and that’s your response? You retreat to the current GOP playbook? That book only has one play these days, you know. It goes something like this:

When cornered, talk about Obama. Don’t worry that it has nothing to do with the office you’re running for. Just cry, “Obama! Obama! Obama! We hate Obama! Do you hate Obama? If you don’t, you’re not one of us, because we really, really hate him…” Yadda-yadda. Just keep going; don’t worry about repeating yourself or not making the slightest bit of logical sense, because your base will eat this up…

As for the last phrase in that excerpt from The State — “two issues Sheheen could have to deal with if elected governor” — it’s hard to imagine a more transparent case of news people bending over backwards to act like a source is saying something rational when he or she is not. Yeah, you stretch a point and sure, health care reform affects every state (just as it does business and many other aspects of life) and a governor will govern in an environment in which a lot of people insist that immigration is a huge state issue. But you could say that about almost any hot-button national issue, from Afghanistan to the BP oil spill — it still wouldn’t be central. Everyone, but everyone, knows that the Haley campaign putting out that response has absolutely ZERO to do with what faces the next governor, and everything to do with the fact that if it isn’t in the Sarah Palin songbook, they can’t sing it.

Anyway, we are left waiting for a substantive response actually bearing on the two things that are allegedly Nikki’s strong suits, and why we should believe anything she says about them. And Vincent didn’t pick these issues — Nikki did.

33 thoughts on “Is that the best Haley can do? Bring up Obama? Wow, that is truly lame…

  1. yarrrr

    “He’s totally crushing you on transparency”

    Is anybody really paying attention? If she releases her emails and there’s nothing big in there, then all he’s done is elevate transparency to be a big issue… which is interesting considering how Sheheen worked to delay her roll call bill in the Senate…

    So… what’s Sheheen’s position on ObamaCare and the Arizona immigration law? These cases have huge implications for FEDERALISM… they are important not because of health care and immigration themselves… they are important because of power…

  2. SusanG

    I think Sheheen needs to push his own agenda harder. It’s OK to say how Haley is not living up to her promises, but I doubt people will not vote for her based on this stuff. The fear factor related to taxes, deficits and no jobs is what will motivate folks this time. So he better do a bang-up job of communicating how his solutions to those issues are better and/or how he is more able to implement those ideas, or he’s toast. And I sure hope he can do it, since I really don’t want Haley!

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    @yarrrr–She is the one who’s big on transparency–she started it, Ma!

    and does Brad have to review NULLIFICATION for you? (I don’t know how to link to prior columns, Brad.)

  4. bud

    I love the way folks on the right like to cherry pick certain issues to show how their guys are the real champions of state’s and individual rights. The truth is a bit more complicated. The people in Washington are basically divided into 2 camps. One camp favors considerable latitude in allowing states to legalize a wide range of social issues such as: rights to end one’s life and legalized marijuana. This camp is largely populated by democrats, in particular liberal democrats. These folks have no problem with a greater federal involvement in healthcare and industry regulation.

    The other camp believes its a good thing for the federal government to get involved in pot, end of life issues and perhaps things like gay rights if their side every controlled congress. Just look at the activism they are willing to undertake to get rid of the 14th ammendment or block the construction of a community center 2 blocks from the WTC operated by a religious group who is out of favor with their world view of religion. I’m sure a kooky group like the Branch Dividians would be welcome.

    Let’s just be honest. Both sides favor activism by the courts or the federal government when it advances their own particular world view. But it’s only the right who howls when the other side become activists. The dems are honest in that they acknowlege they are willing to be activists. The GOP is hypocritical on this issue.

  5. Brad

    Exactly, Kathryn. Transparency and Nikki’s accounting skills would never be the issues upon which I would choose to base a campaign for governor of South Carolina.

    But they are the stated reasons for being of the Nikki Haley campaign, and she’s leading in the polls. So Vincent says fine, let’s talk about that… and he is easily able to demonstrate what an empty vessel she is on her chosen “strengths.”

  6. Steve Gordy

    Now let me get this straight – The gubernatorial race in SC is all about things our congressional delegation is supposed to be working on (health care) or policy in other states (immigrants). Huh?

  7. Doug Ross

    “Crushing her on the issue of transparency”…

    Yeah, transparency is what folks sit around talking about all day. I bet we’ll see a bump of at least 0.1% in Sheheen’s polling numbers off the fact that Haley paid her taxes late several years ago.

    Keep clutching at the straws.

  8. Amy

    It is true – Vincent Sheheen does need to answer those two questions. It isn’t a lame move to bring up those two topics. A lot of people are waiting to see what he says about those two things before they will cast a vote for him. If he answers them appropriately (as a lot of people have some well-founded fears about these two issues) – then he will get more votes.

  9. Brad

    Do “yarrrr” and Amy actually work for the Haley campaign? Because it’s sort of difficult to imagine someone just walking off the street and forming the impression that THAT response by the Haley campaign is relevant…

    “If he answers them appropriately…” Really? What on Earth does that mean? Yes? No? Maybe? What would be the “appropriate” response, the response that would bear in any way upon the kinds of things we need to know about our next governor?

  10. David

    People may not sit around talking about transparency all day but a hell of a lot of them listened when Haley was talking about it. And those people ate it up.

    And the ones who voted for her based on all that transparency-campaigning are suckers.

  11. Doug Ross

    I’ve spent the past two months in Flordia. The airwaves are flooded with campaign commercials and the one I see most frequently is about which candidate will implement the toughest Arizona-style immigration bill.

    They wouldn’t be spending millions on ads if they hadn’t tested the issue with focus groups.

    It would be nice to hear Sheheen say ANYTHING about ANYTHING without talking about Haley. Just one or two thoughts on a specific belief he has that goes beyond “I’ll work with the legislature”.

  12. Brad

    Just pay attention, Doug. But while Vincent has plenty to say about other issues, he IS running against Nikki Haley. Sorry if it bothers you if he acknowledges the fact.

    And you know what? I don’t care if every voter in South Carolina, much less Florida, has his head wired to go DING-DING-DING and pay off in silver dollars if you mention the words “illegal immigration.” The voters would still be WRONG for thinking that was an adequate basis for choosing the next governor of our state.

    Let me get this straight: Are you saying that, because this presumably “tests well with focus groups,” you think it IS a proper basis for an electoral decision? For governor of South Carolina? Really? So if hypothetical Candidate A is in every way superior to hypothetical Candidate B — with demonstrated ability to deliver on economic development, clean, efficient government and with a track record of responding proportionally and effectively to all sorts of unpredictable situations, while Candidate B has demonstrated nothing in that line — you think it would be legitimate for Candidate B to win the election if he or she more effectively pandered to voters of such a peripheral issue that they happen to have strong emotions about? Really?

    I mean, I knew you and I looked at immigration differently, but to suggest that such a NATIONAL shouting-match, litmus-test issue (I would say “non-issue,” but I’m trying to communicate here) is a sound distraction for a candidate to resort to when she comes up empty when challenged on the issues SHE has INSISTED are of paramount importance?


  13. Kathryn Fenner

    I wonder how well Immigration Reform will play with the Cubanos of southern Florida?

    Do we decide what’s right based on focus groups?

  14. Doug Ross

    I’ll say it again – just because YOU care about trying to link Haley’s call for transparency in voting and government spending to her tax forms and emails doesn’t mean most voters care about the issue. You and Sheheen are the ones who are trying to spin the call for open government into a litmus test on her tax filing and releasing emails. They are two different issues. Most of us without a Sanford fetish can grasp that.

    Illegal immigration is of interest nationally at the state level because the Federal government has not enforced the existing laws thus burdening the states to deal with the impact of millions of illegals. Ask Senator Graham to explain it to you. He had a good rundown the other day on all the things he wants to do to remove the incentives (his word) for people to commit the crime of entering the U.S. illegally. Until the U.S. Congress acts, the states will have to come up with their own plans to deal with the issue.

    Each state should be able to decide how to handle the immigrants who arrive illegally in the state. States should be able to decide what state tax dollars can be spent (or not spent) on non-citizens. Are you saying the federal government decides what services illegals get access to at the state level?

    I would assume you would want the Federal government to shut down sanctuary cities? That would be the exact same thing you think isn’t their right to do. Correct?

  15. Lynn T

    The role of immigration issues in state politics aside, Haley’s campaign simply evaded the questions raised by her personal finances. It isn’t at all apparent how the Haleys could have gotten these loans and paid their bills unless there are sources of income that have not been disclosed to the public, or apparently to the I.R.S. It doesn’t look like poor financial management, it looks like tax evasion.

  16. Brad

    Lindsey Graham is a UNITED STATES SENATOR, and has definitely paid his dues to earn the right to be heard on the federal issue of immigration, possibly more than any other senator.

    You may not have noticed, but I have a bit of a thing about people talking about issues that are central to the job they’re actually running for, not issues that are properly the concern of other levels of government. The concept is called “subsidiarity,” but I seldom use the word because it makes people go “huh?” (Back when the GOP briefly embraced the concept in the 90s, I think they called it “devolution,” but that’s a very limited description. “Federalism” is a better term.)

    I’m not sure Jane Frederick has ever quite forgiven me for writing, back when she was running against Floyd Spence for Congress, that if she wanted to go around talking about public schools all the time, she should run for the school board down there in Beaufort. She thought it was an insult, I believe. But I was merely pointing out a more appropriate level of government for acting upon her concerns…

  17. Tracy

    It is very clear to me, and I am a life long republican, that Haley has not done her job in the seat that she is in. Look at her voting record!!! She only voted on 30% of the bills that were presented last year. Where was she and what was she doing? Her personal life and finances are in shambles. Brad, I agree, who cares about the national issues when we are so reduced in this state? Why not introduce a bill like was passed in Fremont, Nebraska where you have to prove citizenship before you can even rent a place to live? Illegals can be managed on a local and state level if we had politicians who wanted to address this. This can be thwarted under the radar without drawing national controversy. Haley will never do this because of her own kind that are here illegally.

  18. Brad

    Ummm… not sure what to make of that last crack there, Tracy.

    To my knowledge, everyone in Nikki’s family is here legally. And I can think of no legitimate reason to question that… And since folks can’t exactly walk across the border here from India, I suspect that’s true of MOST immigrants from that part of the world.

    “Her own kind…?” That sounds a bit reminiscent of Jake’s “raghead” outburst…

  19. Barry

    I can’t help but think that Nikki’s gameplan is to talk about Obama and Washington as much as possible – all while running for the seat of Governor in South Carolina. It’s a good deflection and a lot of folks in South Carolina eat it up. Why anyone wants another 4 years of Mark Sanford I’ll never understand.

  20. Joanne

    I just found your blog, Brad. Glad to see you are still stirring the pot.

    I can tell you all right now that Vincent Sheheen is a sincere person who possesses a great deal of integrity. I taught Vincent and know his family well.

    We all would be well-served if he were to be elected governor, which would be a change from the kind of “service” we’ve had.

    It’s actually not in Vincent’s nature to be negative. He is a positive person. This is what bothers me about what politics has become.

  21. Doug Ross


    Have you got your check from the Sheheen campaign yet? How much was it for? This is supposed to be public information and yet there is no record of the campaign paying you for their advertisements. Does Sheheen have a problem with filing his legally required campaign forms?

  22. Karen McLeod

    Tracy, by “her own kind” do you mean the human race? I don’t think she’s an extra-terrestrial alien. I do believe that she is a United States citizen, not to mention a human being, which makes her “our kind.” Having said that, I do think that Sheheen should be out there talking about the need for the Govenor and the Legislature to work together to bring jobs into this state and to improve the community. He needs to be specific. If he wishes to enforce laws concerning illegal workers that up to him. But Ms. Haley is weakest in her relationsip to the legislature. He is much stronger there, and he needs to help people see that continued wrangling between those two branches of government does nothing but ensure continued high unemployment.

  23. bud

    Sorry Doug, you just don’t come across as rational here. It was HALEY that started this whole transparency business and it’s HALEY that is completely, utterly, thouroughly NON-TRANSPARENT. It does reflect badly on her. This is really not that complicated.

  24. bud

    And by the way, whether most voters care about her taxes or e-mails is irrelevant to me. I decide what’s important and what isn’t. I don’t give a damn about the whole immigration issue. If it were up to me I’d just eliminate the border crossing regulations and let anyone in who wants to come. Problem solved.

  25. robert

    Why does anyone want another four years of Sanford? That’s easy.

    Because Haley’s a Republican.

    That’s all that the woodenhead electorate of this state need know, when not engaged in bilious discussions (spoon-fed to them via Glenn Beck) about the bildenbergers, anti-semitism, the lost cause, and the president’s antecedents.

    You need look no further than the political evisceration of Bob Inglis (perhaps the last sensible man in the Republican Party) to see what I mean.

    And as long as the young voters remain on the couch to twitter and tweet, and the benighted African American community remain apathetic to their own predicament, we will continue to exist in this netherworld of a quasi-banana republic.

    Of course she’s a cipher who has ensued onto the political stage with her opulence of twaddle and her penury of sense.

    Of course Sheheen is thrashing her on every issue of substance and will continue to do so.

    Of course he is truly the best person for the job.

    And of course, in the dysfunctional political miasma to which this state has descended, he will lose.

    How can he not? with every MSM in the nation believing that she’s the “New South”, he hasn’t a chance. For we’ve come to believe our own caricatures I think.

    And the more outlandish or lurid the tale, the more the people of this state seem to enjoy their otherness.

    So you keep calling the BS, if you choose.

    Me, I think I’ll look for employment in Oregon.

  26. Ralph Hightower

    If one is going to run for Governor, then they should focus on the state and issues inside the state that they can change.

    If they are more focused on national politics, then DON’T RUN FOR GOVERNOR! Run for the U.S. House or U.S. Senate; you’ll be one of the pack trying to get your voice heard.

  27. bud

    Let me just offer a slightly different perspective on this. It’s true that a governor’s first responsibility is to push for changes in state laws and procedures that directly affect the residents of his/her state. And they perform the critical mission of leading the state whenever a crisis strikes just as the governor (Campbell?) did after Hugo.

    But to look at this in a comprehensive manner it must be recognized that the welfare of a state’s citizenry is affected by national and even world events. Hence governors take trips abroad to secure business ventures (BMW) that lead to jobs.

    It is therefore important to the governor’s job to be ever mindful of activities at the national level that affect his ability to improve the lives of the state’s residents. By working with like-minded public officials at the national level I believe a case can be made that it is within the governor’s job responsibilities to try and have an impact on national policies. Not his primary responsibility but nevertheless I think a good case can be made that it’s a significant secondary duty.

  28. Kathryn Fenner

    Whoa, bud–y’mean after implementing the legislature’s laws and running the state well, attracting new businesses, whether from out of the state or encouraging new ones within the state, and managing crises—I’d say that’s a pretty full plate in a state like SC!

  29. Doug Ross

    If a Federal law imposes unfunded mandates on a state (No Child Left Behind, ObamaCare, etc.), any governor worth his paycheck had better be VERY involved in understanding the impact on the state and responding accordingly.

    Illegal immigration IS a state issue no matter how you cut it. If state funds are used in any way to support illegal immigrants or enforce the laws, the governor SHOULD have an opinion on the topic.

  30. Brad

    Doug, we could argue all day about the relevance of those two issues to being governor of SC and never agree; we’d just be charging down a rat hole.

    But the main thing is that this is not actually ABOUT those two issues. It’s about Obama, the Tea Party’s boogey man. It’s about mentioning him and trying to get everyone to hold up crucifixes and hang garlands around their necks. It’s about the absolutely bizarre cult of demonization that the extreme corners of the GOP have built up around this rather calm, rational, most non-radical man ever since he became president.

    It is clearly, CLEARLY nothing but trying to tar Vincent Sheheen with association with this fantasy Obama they’ve invented. And there simply is no question that to do that is to change the subject away from which of these two people is better suited — by Nikki’s own stated standards — to be the governor of this state. No question whatsoever.

  31. Phillip

    Haley’s invoking Obama makes understandable political sense, but the more she plays that card, the easier it is for Sheheen to portray her as one who is using this election to further her national political ambitions (he should flip the “darling of the elite national media” label, usually invoked against liberals, onto her instead…see Newsweek cover etc.) while he is the candidate who “just cares about South Carolina, SC issues, and South Carolinians.” Really, it’s just Politics 101.


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