Better to ask questions about Nikki NOW than after it’s too late

The emergence of this small band of Republicans daring to ask the questions that every Republican — as well as every independent and Democrat — should be asking themselves about Nikki Haley (there’s little point of asking them of Nikki) is interesting.

On the one hand, it seems a spur-of-the-moment thing. “Conservatives for Truth in Politics” is sending out hurried press releases that are shot through with typos (here’s a somewhat cleaner version of the one they sent me via e-mail), and announcing a website that’s still under construction. The Facebook page had eight fans when I checked a few minutes ago, one of them being me — I had signed up to see if being a “fan” would get me more info.

But on the other hand, it may have been awhile in the making. Group Leader Cyndi Mosteller — former chair of the Charleston County GOP and sister of staunch Sanford ally Chip Campsen — wrote an op-ed piece that ran in The State Sept. 22, headlined “Haley puts GOP principles at risk.” An excerpt:

Since the June 2009 Sanford-Chapur expose, our state’s reputation has been tarnished by a leader compromised. A decade earlier, Congressman Mark Sanford stood for Bill Clinton’s resignation on the Lewinsky affair, declaring that “it would be much better for the country and for him personally” to resign. Unfortunately, a lack of shame is often the closest companion to lack of honor, and both leaders held tight their power of title, even after having lost the power of principle. With Nikki Haley, Republicans might be approaching that unfamiliar crossroads where victory of title and victory of principle are more perpendicular than parallel.

As former vice chairman of the state Republican Party, my political hemoglobin runs iron-strong red. I’m down the line for Republicans Alan Wilson, Mick Zais and Tim Scott — not just for their stands, but for their character. In contrast, facts and allegations regarding Mrs. Haley raise valid questions in many a Republican conscience.

Though running on a platform of transparency and accountability, Mrs. Haley has not paid her taxes by April 15 for the past five years, and has not even filed them by the end of her extension in three of those years — years she served in our General Assembly. And Mrs. Haley’s company, where she was the accountant, incurred three liens for withholding and income taxes not paid until 19 months past due. Yet Mrs. Haley continues to campaign on such statements as: “I know I’m the right person to go into this next position because I’m an accountant, who knows what it means to stretch a dollar.”

And what of the sexual allegations? They are so removed from core Republican values that if it weren’t for Mark Sanford, we could never imagine them possibly being true — nor imagine that any candidate would consider himself or herself worthy of governing if they were. When former Sanford press secretary Will Folks asserted “an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki,” released more than 60 damage-control texts made to Haley’s campaign and published a detailed log of late night-calls with Mrs. Haley, she called them “categorically and totally false” and insisted, “I have been 100 percent faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage.” That denial drew an unequivocal “that is not true” from Republican lobbyist Larry Marchant, who said he had sex with Mrs. Haley and “I know in my heart it happened, and she knows in her heart it happened.”

But what do We the People know?

Ms. Mosteller was a county co-chair for Henry McMaster. Henry, a big believer in traditional GOP lockstep loyalty, has dutifully lined up behind the Haley insurgency, while Cyndi isn’t going so meekly into that dark night.

Yesterday we saw Henry’s successors as party chair, Katon Dawson and Karen Floyd, doing their duty by standing up to denounce the Mosteller group as being unrepresentative of Republicans. That will no doubt keep most of the rank and file in line.

But among your more knowledgeable Republicans, I suspect that there are a lot who are privately thinking what Ms. Mosteller is saying out loud. That’s one reason, I suspect, why Henry McMaster is the only one of Nikki’s primary opponents who is visibly supporting her, which is a fairly radical departure from the norm in this state.

Others, if they’re thinking at all, have to be wondering what else they will learn about Nikki after they elect her governor. Thus far, every rock that has been turned over in her general vicinity has had something troubling crawl out from under it.

Better to ask the questions now, rather than when it’s too late.

26 thoughts on “Better to ask questions about Nikki NOW than after it’s too late

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Haley supporters are sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “la la la.” I just don’t get it!

  2. Brad

    Absolutely. But I don’t understand the reference. Are you suggesting there’s something we didn’t know about Obama in 2008 (when, as I’m sure you know, I endorsed John McCain) that we found out after the election?

    I can’t think of anything.

    So what, precisely, is your point in asking that?

  3. j day

    BRAD! Why is most of this posting from someone else already published elsewhere?
    And why do you use these people’s first names?
    This is all very weird.

  4. jfx

    Brad, we didn’t know Obama was a secret Muslim Kenyan radical socialist terrorist who hates America and wants to eat our babies before we elected him in 2008. That was “Mike’s America”‘s point. It’s Tea Time!!! Break out the party hats!!!

  5. Mark Stewart

    I had an interesting conversation this afternoon with a state agency head who lives in Lexington County. The gist was that the State (all of us, not just administrators) should not have to suffer through four more years of fruitless antagonism with the legislature and a general inability to demonstrate sustained leadership – what Haley will bring.

    Was striking as it came up out of the blue and even before the agency head had stopped to enquire who I might support. Finally, the confession was that the person is a Republican, but not for this race.

  6. Brad

    Yeah, I’ve run into that with some Lexington County elected officials — they are adamantly opposed to Nikki.

    That’s the case with pretty much anyone in a leadership position, regardless of party affiliation. If you’re actually involved in trying to make South Carolina a better place, you know she’s trouble. It’s mostly only the masses of people out there who will never actually have to deal with Nikki, and pull the “R” lever without thinking, who support her.

    But that’s way more than enough for her to win. As the Alvin Greene nomination reminded us, you don’t have to have a clue to vote in South Carolina. And that’s the horrible thing about this. Everything we learn about her sets off alarms, but people who just don’t pay attention are immune to that. They don’t know, and don’t care. But they vote.

  7. Ralph Hightower

    If only her problems were know before the primary, then perhaps, she wouldn’t be the Golden Girl, the darling of magazine covers that don’t do investigative work.

  8. Matt

    Cyndi Mosteller is about to find out how insignificant her opinion is to the South Carolina political world. Just like certain bloggers will undoubtedly be finding out the same thing about their own opinions. You know the ones that I mean…the bloggers that you would think would offer some critical analysis of South Carolina politics–but whose blog posts often boil down to nothing more than “Vincent Sheheen is awesome. Nikki Haley is horrible. Anyone who doesn’t vote for Vincent Sheheen obviously hates South Carolina and is a stupid-head!”

  9. Pricey Flak

    Keep asking Brad, no one else is… Vote for integrity and character. And keep looking under those rocks. It is obscene what is happening…

  10. Erick Brockway

    Just curious, Brad, why go to war with the chosen GOP candidate now, after the primary? Are you a Republican, Independent, or Democrat?
    If you’re GOP, then why shoot the party candidate so close to the finish line? Is the Democrat candidate better, or preferred?

  11. Doug Ross

    What has Nikki Haley or Mark Sanforf done to stop these people from “trying to make South Carolina a better place”? Let’s hear some specifics from these officials. Or are they scared to admit that they haven’t done anything to meet that objective?

  12. bud

    It’s time for all good liberals to defend President Obama. He’s done some very good things for our country but unfortunately folks like Mike, with their myopic view of the world will never understand. Too bad.

    First, Obama has restored some semblance of integrity to the White House. Unlike his predecesor he’s mostly kept his campaign promises. Remember, Bush campaigned as a compassionate concervative and a unitor. He turned out to be nothing but big-business conservative who created the largest income gap since at least 1939. Meanwhile Obama pushes for a tax system that will help middle and working class Americans.

    The result? The stock market continues to recover from the Bush crash. Economic growth continues at a slow but steady pace. Economic armegedon was avoided in spite of 18th reactionaries like Jim DeMint.

    In foreign affairs we’ve restored much of the lost respect that took place during Mr. Bush’s tenure. The troops are slowly but surely coming home from Iraq. And basically the world is moving toward a peaceful existance.

    It will take time and perseverance to undo the damage done by Bush and his conservative cronies. Sadly time may have run out as the conservative smear maching of Limbaugh and Beck continue to misconstrue the state of the nation. And gullible folks like Mike will continue to buy into the nonsense peddled by right. The result is likely to be a continued decline in our standard of living compared to other industrial nations. Too bad because Obama has is right.

  13. jfx

    Doug, knowing what you know now, would you hire Nikki Haley as your accountant?

    I sure as hell wouldn’t.

    Can’t understand, then, why some of us are planning to hire her as our governor.

    And yes, knowing what I know now, I would consider hiring Vincent for legal work. If you Haley-heads have some dirt on Sheheen that demonstrates vocational incompetence of the sort we’ve seen from Haley, then please, by all means, shine a light on it. If you don’t have such dirt, stop whining about anti-Haley coverage.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    Hear, hear, bud!

    Doonesbury has it right–we seem to want emoting, rather than thinking. Obama inherited a bad situation and has been slowly, but perhaps as fast as possible, digging us out.

  15. Kathryn Fenner

    and jfx– Sheheen doesn’t trumpet his vocational competence as the core reason to vote for him either–although his effectiveness as a lawyer is far greater than merely his “connections.” He’s an excellent advocate!

  16. Liana Orr


    You were right about our press release. We had some typos. Cyndi and Dr. Woodard talked the first of last week and decided to form the group. Cyndi called me late Monday afternoon to ask if I would help with getting organized for a press conference on Thursday. I was glad to help even though I had several things on my calendar for last week.

    We have had limited resources, and I was fending off an attack from my fellow YRs. Dr. Woodard and Cyndi were getting pressured once the party establishment learned of their plans. These two people are for real and are very concerned about the issues they have outlined. All of the issues except one surfaced after Nikki had already won the primary.

    But you were right, and we had some typos. We will try to do better next time!


    Liana Orr

    PS: We would love to have you volunteer to help with the grammar and punctuation! We are open to Independents, too!

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