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Nikki’s National Star: On The Wane?




S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s 2010 campaign and her first year in office may have been unmitigated disasters, but the “Tea Party” governor did an excellent job positioning herself on the national stage as a “rising star” in the Republican Party.

Haley was on the cover of Newsweek. She struck a pose in Vogue. She was feted on a daily basis by “conservative” blogs. She was placed on all sorts of presidential and vice-presidential watch lists. Haley even lined up a gig speaking at the 2012 Republican National Convention … (albeit at great cost to her home state).

And unlike our founding editor she found time to write a book …

Buzz about Haley was everywhere – and national Republicans and their big money donors appeared ready to make her a major player on the national stage (cashing in on her status as a female minority).

Then things just sort of … well, fizzled.

In early 2013, national media articles about Haley started waking up to the chronic dysfunction of her administration. Then there was Haley’s disastrous 2014 reelection announcement – in which she invited three sitting GOP governors to an event that failed to draw much in the way of a crowd.

In recent months, talk about Haley as a presidential or vice presidential prospect has almost completely evaporated. In fact it’s gotten to the point national political reporters who pass through South Carolina are wondering aloud what happened to the Palmetto State’s formerly ubiquitous chief executive (who once famously referred to herself as the “flavor of the month“).

Don’t get us wrong: Haley certainly still seems to be a shoo-in for reelection in November – despite the emergence of a potentially credible libertarian candidate as well as an unexpected GOP primary challenge.

But her national star is clearly on the wane …

South Carolina Democrats are reveling in Haley’s diminished stature.

“Nikki Haley has proven to be wholly incompetent as governor and it’s no wonder her national profile is dropping as people around the country see what a disaster she’s been for South Carolina,” S.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie said. “From covering up the hacking of 3.5 million people’s Social Security numbers for sixteen days, to her standing by as children die because her administration is more focused on meeting quotas than child safety, Nikki Haley has failed at leading this state time and again – that’s why she is so deeply unpopular in-state. South Carolinians deserve honest leadership and real accountability. It’s time for a change.”

Haley has focused on building her national brand at the expense of the state she governs. That strategy paid dividends initially, but now her failure to do her job has caused the national ink to run dry.

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