In case you missed it, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley made waves last week with some supposedly controversial comments regarding the Confederate Flag. We didn’t pay the scandal much mind, because we didn’t think Haley said anything particularly incendiary. In fact, we noted that she “did a pretty good job balancing” competing views regarding this divisive historical fabric pattern.
Of course like Haley’s previous gambit on the national stage, her flag comments drew decidedly mixed reviews.
What we found most interesting about the flap?
The news it drowned out …
According to reporter Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, Haley has decided against joining U.S. president Donald Trump on the 2020 Republican ticket – dealing a blow to the machinations of Trump family advisors Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who according to Sherman have been trying to “draft” Haley for the vice presidency.
Sherman reported last Tuesday that Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s effort to draft Haley to replace vice president Mike Pence “has fizzled.”
“During her book tour month, Haley stoked speculation that she was positioning herself to replace Pence when she torched Trump nemeses Rex Tillerson and John Kelly while lavishing praise on Trump,” Sherman wrote. “The thinking was that Haley appealed to suburban women, a crucial demographic Trump fares poorly with.”
It is not to be, though, apparently …
“Republicans close to the White House told me Haley had made the determination that joining the ticket, or even replacing Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, would be a net negative for her 2024 ambitions,” Sherman wrote.
He went on to quote a Haley advisor as saying “she wants to stay out of politics for the next several years and make some money while maintaining optionality for ‘24.”
Sherman further quoted a former White House advisor as saying Haley “is running in 2024 come hell or high water.”
Does this news surprise us? Not in the least …
(Click to view)
“We continue to see Haley eschewing the vice presidency,” we wrote back in June. “First, she does not need it to become a credible presidential contender in 2024. Deserving or not, she is already there.”
We added that “a big part of Haley’s appeal to female moderates is the fact she is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump,” and that being on the ticket with the president “has the potential to diminish the very appeal she is counting on to build her national brand down the road.”
Actually, Haley’s decision to cozy up to Trump during her book tour has already cost her some of that appeal. One of her most vocal supporters – Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post writers group – bluntly rebuked the future presidential candidate for attacking Tillerson and Kelly as a sop to Trump.
According to Parker, Haley “sandblasted her carefully crafted facade and, in a transparent act of virtue signaling, stabbed two of her former colleagues and fellow Cabinet members between the shoulder blades.”
Parker went on to say Haley “bought her own myth and sold it cheap,” calling the former South Carolina governor “a cartoonish fussbudget stumping for blue ribbons and bows rather than a whistleblower acting in the service of the greater good.”
Brutal … and yet brutally accurate.
Haley rarely missteps, though … and as her ambition has grown, so has her adeptness at exploiting openings provided to her.
As we recently noted …
Nikki Haley isn’t Frank Underwood – the fictitious South Carolina politician who seized the ring in the Netflix drama House of Cards. She is Underwood and his scheming better half, Clare Underwood. And their body man Doug Stamper. Cubed.
Or, as we noted over a year ago in assessing her growing stature on the national stage, she is Occam’s Razor. Defined.
Kushner and Ivanka Trump should have recognized that early on … but didn’t. And in passive-aggressively stoking the vice presidential speculation, Haley fed their fantasy – leading them to believe their effort to “draft” her had a chance.
Also, note the past tense employed by Sherman in discussing Haley’s calculation (i.e. she had made the determination).
Meaning she knew what she was doing a long time ago …
Could Haley’s calculus change? Possibly … but we doubt it. Especially not when you consider Trump’s own internal polls reportedly have him losing three of the key swing states that propelled him to victory in 2016 – a looming Electoral College deficit which even the addition of Haley to the ticket could be insufficient to correct.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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