Is our governor politically clueless, or does she know EXACTLY what she’s doing?

Either way, it’s not good for South Carolina.

If you expect her to be mindful of the opinions of South Carolinians, you have to be puzzled by this behavior:

Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday that a sales tax exemption Gov. Mark Sanford’s administration promised to Amazon, if granted, would destroy her economic development message.

While speaking in Charleston at the Free Enterprise Foundation awards luncheon, Haley addressed the Internet retailer’s decision to cancel a planned distribution center in Lexington County after the S.C. House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected the promised sales tax exemption.

The planned facility would have brought about 1,250 jobs to the Midlands.

Haley described the tax break that her predecessor promised as a “distraction” and said it is dangerous. She drew a distinction between the retail-related jobs Amazon would have brought and manufacturing jobs such as those Boeing Co. is bringing.

When talking to companies about coming to South Carolina, Haley said she tells them, “We are going to give you a fair, competitive marketplace to do business, and we are always going to take care of the businesses we already have.”…

So you ask yourself, why would she bother coming out and saying thing like this NOW, when the debate is over? When the issue was in doubt, she studiously avoided taking responsibility for any position. (She made it clear she didn’t LIKE the incentive, but promised to do nothing to stop it — while standing by as her Commerce secretary lobbied for it.) She didn’t want her fingerprints on whatever happened in any way.

So why make a speech about it NOW, when it’s moot? After all, the people who wanted Amazon to get the break are really unhappy now — as I can attest, having had to explain my own position to some of them the last couple of days. Why further antagonize them? Why not be quiet, or just say it’s a shame it didn’t work out, without going on about how jobs that aren’t manufacturing jobs are no good? (“Retail by nature is a lower-priced job. And retail by nature is not solid and invested. It is not a Boeing. It is not a BMW. Manufacturing, high technology is very different.”)

The only explanation I can see is that Nikki Haley has never been about trying to get things done here in South Carolina. She’s always been about appealing to what she sees as a potential national constituency — the kind of ideologues elsewhere who couldn’t care less about jobs in SC, but who DO have a marked prejudice against economic incentives. With them, badmouthing the Amazon proposal is win-win. She was, after all, speaking to the Free Enterprise Foundation.

Which do you think it is? Is she clueless? Is she, as David Woodward suggested, just that much of an amateur? Or is it all on-message calculation — a calculation that leaves us in SC out completely?

16 thoughts on “Is our governor politically clueless, or does she know EXACTLY what she’s doing?

  1. Murdo

    She has a message? Who knew? Huh.

    I admit I’m not as savvy as many of you on here are, but it seems we could have gone ahead and bitten the bullet (if they think that’s what it is) with Amazon and then passed a law (if too late this year then next) to spell out just what can and can not be done with new industry.

    I hate to send over a 1000 jobs away in this economy as well as hurt SC’s credibility.

    Can’t believe I’m actually worried about that, though. Our credibility is in the crapper already in so many ways, sadly.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    I actually read the Darla Moore emails story in The State. My money is on amateur, which doesn’t mean she doesn’t have dreams of Broadway….

  3. Barry

    Haley is the type of politician that has her political belief and no fact or anything else is going to get in the way of that belief – even if it ends up hurting her efforts, or hurting the state.

  4. Doug T

    Why is it dismmissed the fact that big company activity creates small businesses?

    Why are our politicians afraid of the Tea Partiers? Nevermind. I know the answer.

  5. Ralph Hightower

    SC Governot Nikki Haley demonstrated cowardice from the beginnings of the sales tax exemption extension for distribution centers. She said that she was opposed to the tax break, but that she would not veto the legislation should it reach her desk. She also said that she would not sign the legislation. She said that she would let it become law by letting sit on her desk.

    I hope legislation in the General Assembly is sent to her desk. It says legislation reaching the governor’s desk requires approval or a veto.

    I agree with Governot Haley on one point: Amazon is not a value-added business. The distribution center is not a manufacturing operation or development center. It is like the UPS hub at the Columbia airport: stuff goes in and gets shipped out elsewhere.

    SC Governot Nikki Haley is clearly an amateur! She is stealing pages for Alaska’s quitter governot, Sarah Palin, by appointing her hubby to different positions and charging expenses for Freedom of Information requests.

    She has already been caught lying about removing Darla Moore from the USC Board of Trustees. The FOI emails and documents from The State already stated that she planned this long before she concocted the story in response to the firestorm of her dimissal. WSPA, in a interview with SC Governot Haley, on video said “There is no password. The password is the name of the high school I went to” in regards to her online application to Lexington Medical Center position that was crafted for her where she stated her income at Exotica, her parent’s business, was $100,000, which disagrees with her 1040 Income Tax return.

    My only hope is that SC Governot Nikki Haley does a “Sarah Palin” and quits halfway through her term. “Gosh darn! Governing is hard!”

  6. Lynn T

    I don’t think your options are mutually exclusive. Haley seems to be pursuing an intentional strategy directed toward grandiose national ambitions, with little or no concern for SC, or for what anyone in SC thinks. However, I believe she and her staff are also dangerously inexperienced and limited.

    Haley’s behavior suggests that narcissism has evolved into classical hubris. Hubris is an interesting concept, combining extreme ambition and abusive and dismissive behavior towards others with serious miscalculation. There is good reason that hubris was a criminal offense in ancient Athens.

  7. Nick Nielsen

    @Lynn T

    If nothing else, hubris of the type exhibited, first by Sarah Palin, and now by Nikki Haley, is almost always politically fatal.

  8. Cicero

    Oh, she’s completely 100 percent on message. I’m just not sure she knows what that message is. The little cabal within the governor’s office isn’t sure, either. They just keep uncrumpling tossed-away pages from the Sarah Palin playbook, hoping something will work out.

    Unfortunately, on the whole, most folks don’t seem to care. If she’s got an “R” by her name, she must be okay, they seem to be saying.

    So it’s off the cliff we go. But if it’s a Republican telling us to march forward, well, she wouldn’t mislead us, would she? I mean, it’s not like she’d put her own political interests before the good of the state, would she?

  9. Barry

    “If she’s got an “R” by her name, she must be okay, they seem to be saying.”

    Sadly, I think that’s true.

    A “D” beside your name doesn’t hurt either – as we found out with Alvin “Look at my computer” Greene.

    But in South Carolina, we simply have more than are willing to blindly support the breathing candidate with the “R” beside their name.

  10. Barry


    I think we need a new topic from you.

    How about this Wal-Mart annoucement? Does that not seem odd to you? How many times in the past have you heard Wal-Mart announce new stores before? They’ve been building stores in SC for 25-30 + years.

    Odd stuff.

  11. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    and 4000 Walmart jobs paying half or less what the 2,500 Amazon and two other companies’jobs would pay == a bad deal….

    and I just went on Amazon and bought the best CD deal going–a set of 22 Bach Sacred Music CDs for $52….nobody locally probably even has one Bach CD that doesn’t also have bird calls or running water super-imposed…..

  12. Brad

    Actually, Barry, that would be the same OLD topic.

    Pretty weird that Nikki welcomes THESE jobs, and sneered at the Amazone ones….

  13. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    But Brad-just trot down to your Main Street Walmart–it’s next to the Best Buy and Target.

    Maybe Walmart is going to actually open a store downtown.


  14. Barry

    yep – i went back and reread the comments Nikki made about retail jobs not being desired- that she made last week in Charleston.

    Then this week she’s welcoming Wal-Mart.

    I also found it funny that Wal-Mart opening 4 stores in SC last year- with no fanfare, no press conferences, etc..

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