It’s just not hip and edgy to criticize Nikki Haley any more. What am I going to do now?

Back in 2008 (when this was taken), before she reinvented herself and started running for offices for which she was completely unqualified, I used to write supportive things about Nikki Haley. Could I do so again?

I’m going to have to start sticking up for Nikki Haley. If I can possibly rationalize a way to do so.

The thing is, everybody — except the people on her staff who are paid to say otherwise — is criticizing her. Especially, of course, Republicans. Just as with Mark Sanford.

That makes criticizing Nikki Haley, well… popular. Like Reality TV. Like, you know, “The Situation.” This is disturbing. It is so uncool. So unhip.

More to the point, what’s the use of sitting down at a laptop to say critical things if everyone is doing it? It’s just… redundant. If you don’t have anything new or original to say, why write?

I mean, speaking of “The Situation,” look at this one:

  • The “Wide Chasm:” Kenny Bingham — the House Majority Leader, from Lexington County no less — got a standing ovation when he stood up to light into her in the House the other day, furious that GOP lawmakers had done what they thought she wanted, only to have her veto it. If senators had been there, they’d have applauded too. It’s taken Nikki WAY less time to alienate the State House than it took her predecessor.
  • The Departing SLED Chief: Reggie Lloyd says he totally blew off the gov’s effort to get him to refuse raises to hard-working, lower-ranking agents.
  • Michael Haley’s list: The SLED chief also said the “first man” presented him with a list of people he wanted Lloyd to hire as agents.
  • He can’t hold it back any more: After trying to hold it in for a year, Wesley Donehue has taken to expressing typical Republican frustration with the gov via Twitter: “Very proud of the SC General Assembly for overriding Gov Haley’s presidential primary veto today. Great work team!” And especially with her campaign manager… I mean, chief of staff: “This is what happens when your Chief of Staff isn’t from South Carolina. Everyone say THANK YOU TIM PEARSON!” Poor Wesley. He’s been trying to control himself for so long.

This creates a dilemma. Every once in a while, Nikki does something right. Should I just not mention her at all until those occasions arise?

Or maybe I should just try a little harder, and find ways to explain the problems with her leadership in original terms, ones that others aren’t thinking of. That could work…

32 thoughts on “It’s just not hip and edgy to criticize Nikki Haley any more. What am I going to do now?

  1. bud

    He can’t hold it back any more: After trying to hold it in for a year, Wesley Donehue has taken to expressing typical Republican frustration with the gov via Twitter: “Very proud of the SC General Assembly for overriding Gov Haley’s presidential primary veto today. Great work team!”

    Seriously, what the hell am I missing here. Republicans applauding the override of a veto to stop something that is clearly not an essential part of state government.

    At least the government is still functioning. In MN they just closed up shop. All the interstate rest areas are now closed along with a whole bunch of other services. Apparently the MN congressional body and the Dem governor couldn’t reconcile differences that included (on the govs part) a tax hike on millionaires. Seriously scary times we’re facing.

  2. Doug Ross

    Bobby Harrell and Hugh Leatherman are deserving of your attention. We’ve learned this week what we knew all along – they run the state.

  3. Phillip

    Until we have concrete evidence to the contrary (2014 election results perhaps), we must act on the assumption that a majority of South Carolinians like Nikki Haley. Until the opposite is affirmed, criticism of the Governor is still a minority position (edgy, if you will).

  4. Karen McLeod

    The problem with Ms. Haley’s leadership is that it isn’t. She’s a lone wolf, not a pack leader.

  5. Steven Davis

    I’ve never really understood why a rest area was a state’s responsibility. Is it really vital to the running of the state that people driving on the roads have a place to go to the bathroom? If they’re shut down, does it really affect how the state is run?

  6. Bart

    @ Doug

    You are dead bang on target, bullseye center, and your comments are truthful, not just accurate.

    Hugh Leatherman and Bobby Harrell are indeed running this state – period.

    Primaries funded by the state may be beneficial to the economy as expressed in the local paper’s editorial recently. The question still remains, will the primaries still be held if they are funded by the respective parties, not the state?

    Personally, I think they would continue without a hitch. Why should my tax dollars go to a once every 4 year event and not to supporting efforts to bring new business to SC that can bring jobs to a state with high unemployment?

    Damn, it would be great if they would get their priorities straight just long enough to address and actually do something positive about our real problems, not their personal battles within their own ranks.

  7. Brad

    A “once every 4 year event?”

    Hey, it’s an election, not the Winter Olympics.

    And don’t anybody start on how it’s a party thing, and not the real election. Where I live, the GOP primary is the real election (and in Richland County, you can say much the same about the Democratic primary). Don’t vote in that, and you don’t get to participate in this thing we call representative democracy.

  8. Brad

    Oh, and if y’all keep saying that Bobby and Sen. Leatherman run the state, you’re going to hurt Glenn McConnell’s feelings.

  9. `Kathryn Fenner

    Brad, hon, you were never “edgy”–that’s what the Shop Tart does, in a good way, and FITS News in a bad way.

    You are classic, solid news analysis with a fillip of silliness. Sort of like how you dress–very classic except for some rather outre ties….

    @ Steven–really–you don’t think rest areas are an appropriate function of government. [shakes head]

    @ Phillip–she had a bare majority before she did a lot stupid things. It’s unfortunately like President Obama–he won by a considerably greater margin than Haley did, but has lost a lot of popularity since then. Not that governing should be a popularity contest, of course….

  10. Brad

    Let Phillip try to make me feel better about it if wants to…

    He has a point in that elections are the only polls that count.

    Of course, that “bare majority” you speak of. Back in November she barely won an election, and that was probably her peak. But her winning that election didn’t indicate all that much as to what the voters thought of HER. She was the Republican, the Tea Party Republican, and it was Anno Domini 2010.

    Plain ol’ generic Republicans — people the SC electorate knew little or nothing about — won with 58 or 60 percent of the vote. Nikki squeaked by with 51 point something.

    What that indicates was that while she was the flavor of the month in June 2010, five months later they were willing to barely tolerate her, based on her being the Republican — at the peak of a Republican wave.

    So these polls you hear about that show her popularity below 50… I’m not sure they reflect all that much of a change in the electorate’s attitude. Just a few points in a continuing trend.

    But what matters is 2014. If she manages to stay in office that long.

  11. bud

    I’m with the Winter Olympics crowd.

    Since the GOP doesn’t in any way, shape or form represent anything I believe in or want to do it’s a slap in the face that I should be asked to financially contribute to their juvenile primary. Since it doesn’t matter to me which of the nincompoop candidates wins in the primary I’m certainly not going to vote. I’ll just write in someones name in the general or not vote at all. This is one of the biggest waste of taxpayers money ever conconcted. It’s insulting to the intelligence that something as distructive as the South Carolina Republican Party should be subsidized by my hard-earned tax dollar.

  12. Brad

    No, it’s not subsidizing a party. It’s paying for an election — your only chance to have an impact on the presidential election in 2012. If you don’t want to vote in it, that’s your lookout.

    As long as you and I are allowed to vote in it, it most assuredly is not a party thing. Which is why I’ll continue to fight the moves by partisans to close the primaries. THEY want it to be a party thing. For the sake of representative democracy, we need to keep the primaries from becoming that.

    It’s bad enough that we have to choose one primary and not vote in the other. We should be able to vote in both. Each and every voter has a huge stake in who ends up on the ballot in November.

    And don’t give me any distractions about “third parties” and such. I’ll pay attention to that when one of them wins an election in South Carolina. Either the Democrat or the Republican is going to win. So I have a huge stake as a voter in helping determine which of them make it to the general election ballot.

  13. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – Nope, I could travel cross country and not miss rest areas. If you travel interstates there are gas stations and restaurants and hotels within bladder distance.

    Travel Secret – If you have major business to do and need a rest stop, stop and use the lobby rest rooms of larger hotel chains.

  14. Steven Davis

    @bud – Will you feel the same way in 4 years when the topic turns to a Democratic primary?

  15. bud

    Either the Democrat or the Republican is going to win.

    No, no, no. A REPUBLICAN is almost certainly going to win for any major office in SC and will certainly win the POTUS vote. So to extend your logic we should just have a Republican primary paid for by the taxpayers.

  16. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – FITS News may be bad, but I bet nearly everyone here reads it. Even if 50% of what he writes is true, it’s still amazing that he has access to this much dirt.

  17. Brad

    Bud, it would be fine with me if everyone ran as a Republican. I’ve said that for years (starting with a column about a decade ago). It would be equally fine if everyone ran as a Democrat (as they did in SC, years ago).

    Just erase the nonsense of people using party label as an excuse to vote for or against someone.

    There are benefits to this that I would think you could recognize: For instance, there’s no question that, if Nikki and Vincent had both had the same party label, he would have won.

    By the way, I made this suggestion to a prominent local Democrat — I want to say it was James Smith, but it might have been someone else. Anyway, I said: “Y’all should all just run as Republicans… of course, some of them would do what they do to other Republicans — call you a RINO.”

    Yes, they would, he agreed: “And they’d be right!”

    Anyway, it would be great if everyone were one or the other brand, whether in name only or not. Then, voters (at least, those who CARE, as opposed to the sort that voted for Alvin Greene) would be forced to pay attention to the actual qualities of the individual candidate…

  18. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Steven I don’t feel right using the rest room of a business I haven’t bought something from, and I don’t want to buy something from a lot of businesses every time I need to go. I will use a national chain’s one if I buy from them otherwise, although actually the individual franchisee pays, I believe.

    True about the hotels, though. I also figure you could score breakfast at many by just wandering around the conference areas at break time….

    Why read something if you only suspect half of it is true, but you don’t know which half?

  19. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – Interesting, you don’t buy anything from the business and don’t use their restrooms, but you use a free state funded restroom without buying anything from them. So buy a pack of gum or a drink… a 99 cent Coke at a McDonalds costs them about 6 cents, so consider it a 93 cent flush.

    I read it for the same reason everyone else does, because 50% is true. Kind of a glass half-full, half-empty kind of thing. Why is it he has access to this information and every other blogger doesn’t have a clue?

  20. bud

    Brad I know we will never agree on this but their seems to be a great deal of nuance in this whole party identity thing that you’re missing. The two parties are not simply two sides of the same coin the differences are pretty stark ideologically speaking. The GOP has transformed into a real force for enriching the wealthiest among us. It’s main objective is not to benefit the country as a whole but rather it is to direct the resources of the nation in such a way as to bring about a seismic shift in income distrubution. They have a propaganda machine devoted to convincing folks to vote against their best interests. In effect it’s a tyranical force that needs to be defeated at every turn.

    And the only force that is capable of defeating this evil empire is the Democratic party. The Democrats may not be perfect but they do at least have the best interests of the average American at heart. The battle has been largely lost in South Carolina. The working class has long ago become nothing much more than a bunch of indentured servants working for elitists rich at a level of wages that has remained stagnant for decades. Nationally the GOP has made inroads as well and what we’re seeing in places like Wisconsin and New Jersey is alarming. Hopefully in places like that there is some hope for the future. The people are catching on to this GOP game and maybe we’ll see a seismic shift back to sanity come 2012. But as long as journalists are duped into this fantasy that the two parties are both irresponsible then we’ll continue to see the American way of life vanish into the wind. Eventually even the rich will lose. But by then they will have reaped their ill-gotten gains. Too bad regular folks can’t see the forest for the trees. Too bad the GOP is able to get away with it.

  21. Wesley Donehue

    I haven’t been holding my frustration. I’ve had very little frustration up to this point. Besides the Darla Moore debacle, I have agreed with nearly everything she has said and done. However, this was just wrong.

  22. Ralph Hightower

    SC Governot Nikki Haley has a serious credibility problem. I hope voters remember that she is loonier than Mark Stanford.

  23. Scout

    I watched a bit of the Senate when they were discussing the primary vetoes. One Senator (couldn’t tell you who) stood up and said he had looked into the details and it actually pays for more than just the republican primary – there are other elections and election commission things it covers, apparently, according to him. Just so you know.

    And I don’t read FITS.

  24. Lynn T

    Well, Brad, you can still claim to be edgy. The New York Times has published a piece on Haley that reads as if Haley wrote it herself. I looked up the author, Erin Severson, and found that she is a food writer that the NYTimes has put in charge of their Atlanta Bureau (

    Severson was fed a lot of whipped cream and she ate it up, uncritically. You’ve explained in the past that Haley makes a good first impression. Apparently Severson made no effort to get beyond that. My guess is that she let Haley and her staff gently guide her towards selected members of the General Assembly to interview, to produce the verdict that she is a “refreshing” change from her predecessor. Severson certainly didn’t talk to Kenny Bingham or Glenn McConnell to get that assessment.

  25. bud

    Interesting take by Cindi in today’s State (the Monday, July 3, 2011 edition). She aimed a great deal of criticism at the governor for backing out of an agreement with GOP legislators over the ETV veto. This criticism is well warranted but what caught my attention was how she seemed to give the GOP legislators a pass. I found it appauling that they would try to hide the ETV budget in a bill for education. That is just totally unacceptable. Either vote for ETV or not but do so openly and honestly without all these silly legislative games. I applaud Vince Sheheen for bringing this charade to light and if it makes the governor look bad then great. But it should also reflect poorly on our general assembly. Shame on them for this kind of nonsense.

  26. `Kathryn Fenner

    @Wesley–Besides the Darla Moore debacle….–other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

  27. Mab

    Steven Davis: “I read it [FITS]”

    Scout: “… I don’t read FITS.”

    You are the same person so which is it?

    I hate the internet.

  28. Brad

    Mab, Steve and Scout are about as different as two commenters could be.

    “Scout” is named for Miss Jean Louise Finch, daughter of Atticus — and writes more or less from the perspective you’d expect that character to write from.

    Steven most decidedly does not.

  29. Lynn

    Interstate potty breaks and Governess Haley’s leadership abilities. Now there’s a cosmic link here somewhere….Maybe we just need to do these more frequently.


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