Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations


Late on election night, the folks on PBS (Judy Woodruff, David Brooks, Mark Shields, and others), utterly flabbergasted and in desperate search for something to say, somehow got on the subject of “Whither the Republican Party?” Or something like that. I forget exactly how they got on the topic, but they got to talking about who might be waiting in the wings in the party — which is odd; it seems more like they’d have been asking that about the Democrats.

And maybe they did. My memory is cloudy because I was in shock, too. But here’s my point: Somehow the name that came up — and I think it was the first name, perhaps the only one — was that of Nikki Haley.

Which was… surprising. But national media have long thought a lot of her. As a young, presentable, female, nonwhite Republican, she plays well nationally, certainly in the Identity Politics sense. And she is very personable. She makes a great first, second and third impression. And her time in office has brought her greater poise, while she has moved somewhat away from the Tea Party fringe that elected her. And she truly became the leader of this state when she stepped out on the flag last year.

So now, after she had the good sense to distance herself from him during the primaries, she is Donald Trump’s choice to be U.N. ambassador. And it’s playing as a good decision in national coverage.

First let me say, I’m far happier with her as U.N. ambassador than I am with Donald Trump as president — no question. But let’s just say that’s not a high bar.

And… we can discuss this more later… I feel pretty good about Henry McMaster as governor. He was the best candidate for that office in the GOP primary in 2010, and the only thing I can think of to say against him is that he backed Trump in the primary.

But let’s discuss that later. Back to Nikki Haley…

I just have to say this, as a guy who cares deeply about this country’s dealings with the rest of the world: What qualifications does she have for the position? Aside from being as I said personable, which can be helpful in diplomacy, I cannot think of any at all.

Today, The Washington Post is saying:

Haley, a former Trump rival, is generally considered a mainstream Republican, with views on military and national security matters that fall within the GOP’s hawkish mainstream. She has little foreign policy experience.

First, let’s correct the second sentence — to my knowledge, she does not have ANY foreign policy experience. (And no, a few industrial recruitment trips selling South Carolina abroad do not count as foreign policy experience of the U.N. Security Council sort.)

As for the first experience — where are they getting that? Yeah, she has gravitated from a Tea Party candidate who couldn’t wait to make the Establishment miserable to a more neutral position (where I frankly think she is more comfortable). And bless her, she went with Rubio on the primary. But what “views on military and national security matters” are they referring to? Aside from being proud of her husband’s service in the National Guard, I cannot think of any that she has expressed. Not that she needed to; she’s never had a job that called upon her to do so.

(And is the GOP mainstream still hawkish? Are Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who well represent where the party has mostly been since 1945, still the gravitational center? We can discuss that another time, too.)

As U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley is a tabula rasa, as she was when she first ran for the House. The best thing that can be said is that she has no bad foreign policy habits to unlearn. If everyone in the GOP who knows anything about geopolitics had not run screaming from Donald Trump and all who sail in him, I suppose we could hope for her to be strenuously tutored — but who’s going to do it now? Trump?

And is U.N. ambassador actually the place where you go to get your feet wet in international relations? No. It does not come with training wheels, to the best of my knowledge. Of course, I’m a child of the Cold War, and grew up on such cultural references as “Failsafe” (and now, with Trump as president-elect, feel like I’m living in “Dr. Strangelove”). I see the U.N. Security Council as a deadly serious, high-stakes kind of thing, to say the least. Growing up with those references, I took what comfort I could from the notion that the people representing us around those conference tables in a crisis knew a lot more about this stuff than I did. And I wonder — back when Trump was asked about the nuclear triad and found wanting, how would our governor have answered the same question?

As y’all know, I’ve had frequent occasions to praise Gov. Haley in the last year or so; I’ve really felt that she was growing in the job, and I will always praise her to the skies for her leadership on getting the Confederate flag down. That was amazing, and wonderful, and stunning. It made her a heroine in my eyes.

But does any of that, or her calm, visible leadership during weather crises — for which I also honor her — qualify her for this?

Please tell me it does, and explain why, because I really want to feel better about this…

66 thoughts on “Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Of course, I couldn’t help thinking I know a lot more about international relations, and have a fairly well-established set of views — but I would never hire ME as ambassador to the U.N. Why? Because I don’t have any advanced degrees from Ivy League institutions in global affairs, or — far more importantly — decades of experience in the higher reaches of foreign policy-making. And plenty of people DO.

    Of course, Doug and Bud and maybe Phillip are sufficiently appalled by some of my views on geopolitics that they may prefer a blank slate like Nikki. So there’s that. But in any case, as I say, I would be far down on my own list of choices for such a job. Because, you know, I believe in qualifications and experience…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Speaking of Phillip, he had this to say on Facebook:

      Ponder this list: Brown & Princeton; Yale; Princeton & Yale; Yale; American Univ. of Beirut & U. of Chicago (PhD); Stanford & Oxford (PhD); Yale & Harvard; Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Clemson. That is the educational background of US Ambassadors to the UN since 1999.

      Yeah. Personally, I’m not big into higher education snobbery — as a graduate of a little-regarded public university with only a bachelor’s degree, how could I be? But at the very least, the accounting degree doesn’t seem the BEST preparation for such a job.

      Far more important in my eyes is the utter lack of experience. Perhaps, late at night, Gov. Haley has done a lot of reading and deep thinking on her own about foreign affairs. Perhaps. But I’d still rather seem some years of experience acting in that arena…

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        I think Phillip (Peabody Conservatory, foreign affairs autodidact) would make a far better ambassador than my husband (Harvard, University of Chicago PhD) would. Does Nikki Haley read The Economist, one wonders?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m sure she does. Doesn’t everyone?

          Kidding aside, I miss my Economist, which I used to get delivered to the newspaper.

          Maybe I should ask for that for Christmas or something….

        2. Phillip

          Hey, my diploma says Johns Hopkins University on it (which I admit cracks me up every time I see it).

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            You actually got a diploma (LOL)?

            Frankly, a top conservatory education shows a level of commitment that is far more impressive than majoring in Glee Club at Harvard,,,,

      2. Juan Caruso

        Brad, you said you were looking for a certain quote. I will give you one some readers were hoping you would not find.

        As we know, the current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. is Samantha Power, former senior adviser to Senator Barack Obama until March 2008, when she resigned from his presidential campaign after apologizing for referring to then-Senator Hillary Clinton as “a monster”.

        Here was what our current U.N. Ambassador had said about the DNC’s latest nominee for POTUS in her March 6 interview with The Scotsman:

        ” We f[_ _ _ _ _] up in Ohio. In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win. She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything… if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive.” – Samantha Power

        I take it that some readers regard Power (Harvard Law ’93) as eminently more qualified than Gov. Nikki. For those see it that way, how do you square Power giving the above opinion of Hillary Clinton? Experienced U.S. Ambassadors do not speak publicly like that in interviews with foreign journalists. Very well, I take it that Power was INEXPERIENCED before becoming our U.N. Ambassador.

        Nikki is already better known and respected in the international community than Power is. Moreover, readers will not find an authentically sourced public quotation of Nikki’s that includes the F-bomb.

  2. Bill

    With an amateur as president, why should we be surprised by amateur hour at the UN? It could also be an indication of the low regard he has for the institution: “Aah, anybody can do that !”

  3. Mark Stewart

    I figured he would nominate a general for the UN post. Trump just wanted to clear the way for McMaster as governor. Plus, the visual optics will help; and it will be hard to open her mouth and posture for her next post-Trump position in DC.

    Kinda funny to see a girl from Bamberg and Lexington off to NYC. And to see the first dude up there, too.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Yes, I figured that clearing away Nikki was what Henry wanted, rather than a national the new city landlord accountability ordinances are in effect, he doesn’t want to leave town.

  4. Sally

    After campaigning against Washington, Trump’s not interested in anyone who actually has the kind of experience and expertise needed to do a credible job representing the country at the cabinet level. After all, he has no experience or expertise to be president. Actually, this is Henry McMaster’s reward for being an early Trump supporter. Now, McMaster becomes governor, his lifelong ambition. Also, Trump gains a woman and a minority (sort of) joining his cabinet. Has he chosen any other women?
    Yes, UN ambassador gives Haley a seat at the Cabinet table, as well as the UN Security Council. Trump’s done her no favors by dropping her off the deep end of the pool. She won’t realize that she’s way out of her depth until she is introduced to vastly experienced and ruthless world leaders.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Which is fine in and of itself,although I know nothing else about the person.

        Charter schools qua charter schools are fine by me. That’s a form of “school choice” I’ve always been for. I like the idea of having some public schools that are freed up to innovate. As laboratories, you see.

        It’s good I’ve long held that position, since two of my grandchildren now attend one — a Chinese immersion school.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          It’s okay to advocate for charter schools, but not in lieu of quality public education for all.

          1. Doug Ross

            Qualit public education for all is impossible unless we start making the children of unqualified parents wards of the state. Anyone can get a quality education if they are in a supportive home environment. You can’t fix broken homes.

              1. Doug Ross

                No, you can’t. The schools reflect the community. The parents are unqualified, the administrators are incompetent, and many of the teachers are unmotivated. Only fix is for poor uneducated young women to stop having children.

                1. Scout

                  I know I will never change your mind, but those are not my observations of the Title I schools I’ve been in, including working in one for 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of administrators and teachers come and go.

                  Not that there aren’t problem administrators and unmotivated teachers out there – but on the whole, that is not my experience.

                  The parents you have a problem with are a product of their environment and upbringing and innate skills. I see them as people doing the best they can with the resources available to them and doing things the only way they’ve ever been exposed to to know how to do them. It would be nice to break that cycle, but I don’t know how to do that. In the meantime, blaming them and taking it out on their kids is not helpful or productive.

                  We can’t fix broken homes but we can supplement them. We can make sure kids have exposure to quality teaching and the opportunity to form meaningful, stable, consistent, and caring relationships with adults.

                  The nature of the challenges that this population faces are such that they will likely not show the same level of growth that other populations do from the same amount of attention. They are still catching up. They are soaking up the adult attention and catching up on developing social emotional, self regulation, and vocabulary skills so that they can get to a place where they can even begin to be ready to learn. A place that their middle class peers come to school already in. So they are always behind. They are responding and progressing but they are always behind. Because they started school behind.

                  So they will likely never get to the level they ‘should’ be at on time despite the extra money and attention given in Title I schools. I get that this is the only statistic that matters to you. This does not mean that the extra attention is wasted though. It is helping them, just not on the measures that you personally pay attention to. And it is very hard for them to ever really catch up to be on the level you want them to be at for their age. If you start late you are going to arrive late. But people like you just keep excoriating schools based on statistics that say kids are not where they should be for their level, with out any acknowledgement of where they started or how far they’ve come. As a result, teachers and kids both feel demoralized; many teachers quit and many kids drop out.

                  Yes we do have problems. But demoralizing teachers and students is not helpful.

                  Neither is abandoning kids, which seems to be your position.

                  What teachers and schools with Title I funding are doing does make a difference even if the graduation rate never gets as high as you would like. It is beyond me why you cannot acknowledge the progress that does happen and why things like improving the quality of life of a child by providing the opportunity for stable relationships that may be missing in their broken home does not appear to have value to you.

                2. Doug Ross

                  My position is to educate children at the earliest age that having kids when you are poor is a recipe for disaster and to provide incentives to young women to delay having children until they are capable of raising them on their own. All the rest of the things you advocate would be greatly reduced if we cut the birthrate of poor uneducated women. You treat the symptoms, I want address the cause. Because until we do that, the cycle will continue.

                  I also favor vouchers because I believe those who truly ARE interested in providing for their kids will benefit from them. But the public education crowd is truly scared that vouchers might work. There is no harm in trying them for the worst districts. They are doomed as things .

                3. Doug Ross

                  And I have a spouse who has worked in public education fit as long as you have, the last three years directly with three of the worst districts in SC. The level of incompetence in the administration of those districts is staggering. Can’t follow simple instructions, corruption, laziness. Unless you have a plan to fire all of them, you’re wasting your time and our tax dollars.

                4. Scout

                  My concern with vouchers is not that they might work. I would be happy if they worked for the right kids. None of the plans ever proposed in SC have had controls in place that would get help to the kids truly in need and prevent abuse by those that don’t need them but just don’t want their kids in school with certain types of people.

                  Show me a plan that is only open to kids who are not meeting standard (i.e kids being failed by the school – if you are passing you are not eligible) and that then holds the private/charter school accountable to the same standard/testing for the kid, in order to keep the voucher, and also solves the problem for rural kids in areas where there are no private options and kids with disabilities who private schools aren’t equipped to or don’t want to educate. Then we can talk.

                5. Doug Ross

                  I don’t want the same accountability for schools that received vouchers as the public schools. Obviously that accountability doesn’t work. Nobody is actually accountable — we’ve had two decades of PACT/PASS testing that was supposed to do SOMETHING to improve education and the results are simply not there. We don’t fire bad teachers or principals unless they basically commit crimes. The best accountability is trying to get parents to use their vouchers because they believe their children are getting a good education. I’ll trust engaged parents over government bureaucrats who do nothing any day.

                  I want to see some educational choices that are not burdened by government regulation. Let’s see what happens. It can’t be worse than what those in the worst districts are getting now. I would think teachers would love to have some freedom to actually try new approaches.

              2. Harry Harris

                Blanket statements about school reform are generally wrong – including this one. Reform claims usually remind me of the blind men and the elephant story with each claim-maker limited to his own experience (and biases). On education, those with the least experience, especially recent, relevant experience seem to talk loudest and repeat their ideas most often. My limited experience (40 plus years as an insider and outsider) has informed me of some things, but I still don’t find any quick, easy answers. On charters and private education, I’ve found a severe homogenization and definite “creaming” in student selection. Neither supports arguments for better performance. If private schools traded staff with most “underperforming” public schools, those who didn’t quit in a few months would need vast re-training and likely wouldn’t make any notable progress.
                The accountability movements (I’ve observed three) have produced mixed results – most good research shows almost none. Most have focused on teacher and school accountability and done almost nothing on the student side – nothing on the parent front. Educators are whipsawed by political forces and legislators (policy makers) by political and popular cultural winds. There is good, strong evidence that the best solutions involve student incentives, collaborative faculties, and commitment at all levels. We’ve not learned enough about developing all three, especially when we’ve baited administrators and teachers with ill-conceived pay schemes, threatened them with morale-killing sanctions, and let students and parents off the hook. We are poor problem-solvers as a society. We want a quick vote on a short-term simplistic solution to everything when research has shown that the best answers to hard questions are usually held by a minority with some expertise (that’s why they are hard). The best solutions are most often collaborative and are hard work that takes commitment. Are we there? Are we even headed there?

                1. Doug Ross

                  My experience is based on three kids who spent their entire educational career in SC public schools K-12, a wife who has worked in public schools for nearly 20 years (the last three directly with three of the worst districts in SC), a two year stint as a PTO President, and a run for school board where I spent a lot of time looking at things like accountability, digging deeply into the PACT test data. I’ve seen the performance of Richland School District 2 drift downward despite mountains of testing data, incentive programs for teachers, excessive spending on technology, and half a billion dollars spent on infrastructure via bonds. And through it all, there are only a couple variables that matter: parent involvement, student discipline, and good teachers. The buildings don’t matter, the laptops don’t matter, the testing doesn’t matter.

                  Teachers hate to admit that some of their peers are not very good at their jobs — either due to inexperience, incompetence, or general burnout. It’s not logical to believe that in a school of 100+ teachers, none of them are below average at what they do. And yet there really isn’t any accountability when that condition exists.

                  And let’s not get started on one of the biggest factors affecting classroom performance: student discipline. We are now seeing parent groups in Richland 2 asking for a different set of policies for black students. Why should that even be necessary unless we are willing to say that the teachers and administrators are racists?

        2. Bill

          First of all, the originators of the charter school concept have disowned what’s being done under that name nowadays. The concept, as originally envisioned by educators, was to set up a school-within-a-(public)school that could experiment with various instructional innovations, then apply the ones that worked to the school as a whole. Their aim definitely was not to set up a parallel network of independent schools that could cherry-pick their students, as is often the case now.

          And let’s not be naïve, “school choice” can be just another word for “privatization.”

      2. Scout

        I’m a bit worried about Education, personally. This is his education plan according to his first 100 day plan:

        “School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.”

        “redirects education dollars” from where – Title I, special education ???? Those are the two biggest areas of federal education spending I think. Which means diverting money from poor and disabled kids to school choice, which often times is just code for white wealthy private schools.

        At other times, he has talked about completely abolishing the department of education and sending education back to the States. This might not be terrible except I’m not sure I trust SC to take care of disabled students, especially without any money. Before IDEA (Federal special ed law), disabled kids were sent home or just stuck in a separate room with coloring sheets. I guess that’s when America was great, maybe?

        And IDEA will most likely come up for reauthorization in the next 4 years. We just gave the man that mocks people with disabilities a veto pen.

        I guess I’m a little cynical. It might not be terrible, but lately nothing seems impossible. So I’m a bit worried.

        Mostly for special education kids.

      3. Harry Harris

        Big on private school vouchers as well. More steps on the way to a third-world educational system and class-based stratification.

        1. Scout

          And also, Harry, remember when you said there is little in the way of job opportunities for the rural white middle class outside of government jobs or family connected businesses. Well a big chunk of those rural government jobs come from IDEA and Title I funding in the schools. If they do defund Title I and IDEA in order to fund his school choice plan, it will devastate rural schools and could have a considerable impact on those rural whites that voted for him in such numbers.

          1. Mark Stewart

            The same with Obamacare; the ones who most benefit from that program as it’s structured are most often the same people who voted for Trump.

            Now Trump is about to appoint the bankruptcy king of the dead industrial sectors as Commerce Secretary. Yes, Wilbur Ross did restructure and save some manufacturing jobs – but he did it by terminating millions of pensions, tax obligations and the like.

            The basic fact of life in America is that one must constantly evolve and retool to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving economy. That means entire towns, counties and regions will fade away no matter what anyone says about it.

            Trump isn’t going to have a single way to give his voters what they expect to receive. Except by playing semantics with race and class to keep them riled up.

      4. Brad Warthen Post author

        You know, I’m feeling a little bad I didn’t take the Education nomination as seriously as y’all did.

        Probably because I don’t think there should be a federal Department of Education to begin with. Since it’s properly a state function.

        But I guess that’s just me living in my fantasy world based on the way things SHOULD be.

        It’s nice here. You should visit sometime. John Kasich is president-elect…

        1. Doug Ross

          On this we agree 100%. Education should be the function of the states and local governments. We don’t need national standards – they haven’t proven to accomplish anything except waste tax dollars. We also don’t need federal oversight of what foods are served in school cafeterias. Our local high school had to stop bake sales including sale of food by the culinary students because they weren’t approved. Stupid bureaucracy. Some doofus in a building in D.C. think removing soda machines from schools is going to alter the eating habits of students. What they need is mandatory walking every day…

          1. Scout

            If the Department of Education went away – what would happen to Special Education? Just curious what y’all would envision in your ideal scenario. Would it go back to the States as well and become a hodge podge of different expectations for support, if any, from State to State? Or would there continue to be Federal oversight for Special Education only?

            If it went back to the States, what do you think South Carolina would do or not do to support kids with disabilities?

            1. Doug Ross

              That’s always the first thing that comes up when anyone suggests getting rid of the Department of Education at the federal level.
              Fine, keep it and put its function under Health and Human Services.

              Now can we get rid of everything else they (don’t) do?

              1. Doug Ross

                Why don’t we ever measure the federal government on performance to determine if it is actually working? Can anyone prove that children are better educated today than they were 50 years ago? 20 years ago? Did No Child Left Behind actually do anything significant? There must have been some metric that was used to measure effectiveness of that program, right?

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    Here are some encouraging words from one Democrat:

    But Haley earned some warm praise from another Democrat: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the party’s vice-presidential nominee this year who also sits on the Foreign Relations panel. “As a former governor, I believe that Governor Haley’s executive experience would serve her well in the challenging role of negotiating with all United Nations member states and representing the United States on the Security Council,” Kaine said in a statement Wednesday….

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      My wife tells me that someone who held a similar post in the Clinton administration said something today similar to what Kaine said — essentially, that while it would be a steep learning curve, someone who has been a governor should have the basic skills.

      She doesn’t remember the name of the person, though, and I can’t find a quote like that. I just know it’s out there somewhere.

      I’d like to know what else that person said, because I’m very open to encouraging words. I want to think Nikki will do OK…

      1. Scout

        I think I heard that too. It was on NPR. I remember those words – that any governor would have the skills and that it would be a learning curve. But I don’t remember who said it either. Sorry.

      2. Scout

        There also is this, from Politico, quote from Thomas Pickering:

        “Former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who held the role during the George H. W. Bush era, urged Haley to hire professional staff with strong expertise in the United Nations to help her wend her way through the system. Her experience as a governor may be more useful than she realizes, he said in an interview.

        “A lot of the work at the U.N. is like working with a state legislature or a national legislature. You’re always counting votes,” Pickering said of dealing with U.N. member states. “A lot of the things depend on how you muster the votes for the subject you’re dealing with.”

        But that is not what I heard on the radio. There still is someone else who has said something similar.

  6. Karen Pearson

    She should do at least as well as some of the others. One thing, though, Trump keeps backing off of the extreme stands he took during the campaign. Of course, he lied so often during the campaign, there’s no reason to think that he should tell the truth now.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      He’s a narcissist, who has a much bigger mirror now. He wants to be popular, and the Presidency is not a Trump rally.

  7. Bart

    When ambassadors are appointed by the president, exactly what qualifications are necessary other than the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time?

    Haley has demonstrated the ability to learn and grow while in office. Her leadership, whether one agrees or not, has been above average and if Kaine has praise for her, I think his credentials are worthwhile.

    IMHO, she will do well representing the United States at the UN and it may be the springboard for a higher office later on. Of all the choices available, Trump made the right one when he picked Nikki Haley.

    At least we will have someone who is basically a centrist, not a Bolton type.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Is that what she is, a centrist? See, we KNOW Bolton’s a hard-liner, because he has a long record in diplomacy. I’m not sure we can characterize Nikki one way or the other, since she has taken zero positions on such matters…

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        I guess by centrist, he means, “not a Nazi”….

        She’s not an idealogue. She’s moderated her positions since she’s been in office (remember that godawful video where she got schooled by the Sons of Confederate Veterans?)

  8. Phillip

    Bart, it’s not the same as a regular Ambassadorship to another country, this is a more serious position. Having said that, Haley has two things going for her, she seems reasonably intelligent and she doesn’t have a record of foreign policy lunacy (see Bolton, John). Let’s not forget she still has confirmation hearings ahead of her; here’s hoping she doesn’t have a Gary Johnson moment at those.

    1. Bart


      I do understand it is a more serious position but exactly what would be in your estimation qualifications to be UN Ambassador for the US? I am actually asking a legitimate question because I do respect your opinion on matters and they do give me pause to think when yours is different than mine. I was being facetious about ambassadors since the usual practice is for the newly elected president to hand out ambassadorships as political favors or to remove a potential threat at home. When Obama appointed Jon Huntsman to an ambassador’s post, he removed him from the public eye for almost 4 years and once removed, reintroduction is difficult at best.

      I do believe Haley is a centrist but in SC, if you are one, winning an election will be an uphill battle.

      1. Brad Warthen

        I’d like to see Huntsman as SecState, but Romney would be reassuring as well.

        From Trump’s point of view, Huntsman would be more attractive because unlike Romney, he didn’t say all those nasty (and true) things about him…

    2. Brad Warthen

      Yes, “it’s not the same as a regular Ambassadorship to another country.”

      I first heard about this getting dressed this morning, when my wife said, “Nikki Haley’s going to be ambassador to…,” and I thought she was going to say “Canada” or something, and I thought in that split second that that sounded fine. David Wilkins did OK in that job, and I thought Nikki probably would, too.

      And then she said, “… to the UN.”

      And that’s where I started worrying… but maybe it’ll still be OK. Right?…

      1. Norm Ivey

        Yes, Brad, it’s going to be OK. Don’t you worry about it now. Everything is going the be juuust fine…

  9. Doug Ross

    Just occurred to me that the sign language interpreter who handed the hurricane press conferences is going to have a heck of a time working for Henry McMaster. Gonna be a lot of shrugging and signing of the letters W-T-F?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Henry will be fine.

      But the sign language guy — THAT’S who should be U.N. ambassador. He’s awesome! He would just blow them all away in Security Council debates. They might not know what he’s saying, but they’d all be impressed…

  10. Harry Harris

    The thing Haley lacks least is ambition. She will study hard to learn the job and rely heavily on her staff. She will likely look good prepared to the undisciplined showman who appointed her. She will also tow the line set by the foreign policy staff, which is pretty much the ambassador’s job. I don’t think she will be relied-on at all to shape policy. Trouble is, she will be led by a scarily arrogant bunch of bully-minded men. Haley will likely be in for a rocky ride, but she has been good at playing her parts and her cards.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      She’s shown herself to not be complete toe-er of lines. She is a hard worker, I think, and yes, she will, fortunately, rely on the underlings who actually know what they are doing. She’s not Mark Sanford, thank God!

      1. Harry Harris

        Yes, but she will be reporting to a bunch of bomb-throwers. I don’t see her affecting policy much. I also doubt she will buck anybody she thinks can further her career – until it becomes very safe to do so, like in an impeachment scenario. Then she will back what she sees as the winning side.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      That’s a fairly common thing around here–maybe parts somewhat more west of Columbia. Holly Hunter, from Atlanta, sort of does it, but while also talking out of the side of her mouth. People from my hometown of Aiken do it.

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