Op-Ed: Is Nikki Haley the Kamala Harris of the GOP?
Nikki Haley is a junkie for identity politics.
This addiction goes all the way back to her time as governor of South Carolina. In 2015, Haley opened the door to an era marked by relentless attacks on historic American symbols by giving the left its first taste of blood.
After a tragic shooting in Charleston, the coastal media establishment began demanding South Carolina stop flying the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia over a memorial to Confederate war dead near the state capitol building.
Despite the fact that most Americans consistently identified the flag as a symbol of Southern pride and over the objections of some black Southerners, Haley governed like a proconsul of the media and spearheaded efforts to take down the battle flag. Just days after the media had demanded the flag come down, Haley signed a bill to permanently remove it from capitol grounds.
Although it may not have been apparent at the time, this was a watershed moment in American culture and politics. It signaled that American leaders were unwilling to defend their own symbols, and it precipitated later attacks on figures like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. It also indicated that there would be favorable (or at least less harsh) coverage of Republicans desperate for media kudos.
Haley proved to be the most kudos-hungry. In subsequent years, while The New York Times et al. were declaring Donald Trump a treasonous traitor, Haley was getting fawning rags-to-riches headlines about her climb from being a daughter of immigrants to a UN ambassador.
Accordingly, any time there is racial conflict, the former governor is the first to score brownie points with the left-wing editorial boards. Haley’s Twitter resembles the monologue of your average campus communist girl with blue hair and 4,000 piercings. She never misses an opportunity to tell you how righteously offended she is on behalf of [insert minority group].
When George Floyd died, Haley tweeted that in order for the nation to "heal," his death must be “personal and painful for everyone.” Does that include the pregnant mother Floyd held up at gunpoint? Haley never explained.
After NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace claimed a noose was placed in his garage -- which turned out to be a door-pull -- Haley again ran to Twitter to be offended on his behalf. Before all the facts could be known, she tweeted, “We should all stand with [Bubba Wallace] today against the cowards who secretly put the noose in his garage stall. Watch your back cowards. Bubba has a bigger army than you do. #HateWontWin #WeStandWithBubba." Thanks, Nikki. It is great to know you immediately believe anything fed to you by the media.
In her 2019 book "With All Due Respect," Haley expanded her horizons by adopting neo-feminist gender politics as well. Multiple chapters include anecdotes about her sobbing about various parts of her job. It felt like she was saying, "Behold! I can govern like a man but I can cry like a girl, and this is somehow valuable!" The whole thing reads like carefully choreographed vulnerability, specially designed to tug on your heartstrings.
In a recent spat with CNN’s Don Lemon, Haley was quick to call the anchor “sexist” after he reversed her implied criticism of President Joe Biden being "past his prime" and declared that Haley is past hers. Haley fixated on this tiff for days, and her obsession was characteristically asinine. Even if Lemon was being sexist, remarking that a gay man doesn’t like girls is not an original observation.
Further, by crying sexist, Haley is emulating Hillary Clinton more than Margaret Thatcher (whom Haley paid homage to in the title of her most recent book, "If You Want Something Done"). If Haley were clever, she would have avoided whining and hit back by asking if a CNN hack’s comments make a sound if no viewers are around to hear it.
During her announcement speech, Haley fused her various forms of identity politics. Referring to her childhood, she confusingly called herself “a brown girl in a black-and-white world.”
Does Haley think she was the first person in South Carolina with a tan? The state is inhabited by numerous Indian tribes and during most of Haley's formative years, the Hispanic population was growing as well.
Lacking any self-awareness, Haley at a later point in her speech declared her complete opposition to identity politics. The irony was apparently lost on her.
At one point, Haley said that Americans should shake up Washington by sending a “tough-as-nails woman to the White House” -- which can only be reasonably interpreted as an early endorsement of Kari Lake.
Haley is substituting identity politics for a record, probably because she has no major policy achievements of her own. The only memorable thing she did as Trump’s ambassador to the UN was threaten to cut funding to states that voted against the U.S. and Israel in the General Assembly.
A Haley-friendly PR rep may try to spin this as an achievement, but does anyone actually believe that a candidate who pledged further support for Ukraine in her announcement speech is serious about reining in countries that take American dollars and subvert our interests? Certainly, Ukraine's fight to defend its borders is admirable, but America is almost out of ammo.
Already, American voters are rightly rejecting her. Haley’s poll numbers are in Jeb Bush territory -- 4 percent. It appears her fan base may really be limited to subscribers of The New York Times.
If Haley wants any chance at the nomination or a potential VP slot, she must break her addiction to identity politics. Nikki Haley must be less Kamala Harris and more Margaret Thatcher.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.