From the moment she announced her candidacy for the presidency of the United States, I’ve made it a point not to participate in the conservative drubbing of Nikki Haley.
My coverage of Haley’s opening 2024 gambit was markedly middle-of-the-road compared to the searing evisceration she received from many in the conservative press. Those writers seem to genuinely hate her … as, apparently, do many GOP voters reading their stuff.
Me? I’ve been there, done that. As it pertains to both Haley and the hate.
Over the years, I’ve evolved from someone who was perhaps a tad over-emotionally invested in her comeuppance into a scribe who feels something akin to analytical indifference regarding her national ascendency (or lack thereof).
I may be uniquely positioned as a subject matter expert on Haley’s hypocrisy and duplicity … but why bring it up when so many others are already reaching the right conclusions regarding my home state’s former governor?
That would be unsporting …
Also, whatever I/ others think/ write about Haley’s calculated contortions, my job as a journalist in a pivotal presidential state is to …
1) Let each 2024 aspirant stake out specific (and hopefully substantive) views.
2) Provide context for – and reaction to – these views.
3) Honestly assess each candidate and their positions.
In other words, every 2024 candidate begins with as blank a slate as possible … with the primum mobile of my media outlet being the maintenance of a marketplace of ideas amidst all the “First in the South” machinating.
Are most presidential aspirants (in both parties) totally full of it? Absolutely. And I am not lacking in the necessary compunction to call them out on that. Is Haley more full of it than most presidential aspirants? You better believe it. But repetitively exposing her on a daily basis is not (and not going to be) my bag … because let’s be honest: Vendettas get boring.
Also … there are signs Haley’s relevance is Hindenburging less than a month after her big announcement. Meaning there is really nothing there to immolate.
Take a look …
In fairness to the former United Nations ambassador (and war party favorite), the gathering she attended over the weekend – the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – isn’t the party it once was. Even former U.S. president Donald Trump failed to fill its rented Washington, D.C. ballroom during his keynote address on Saturday.
So take the jeers directed at Haley – and the withering coverage of her poor performance in CPAC’s presidential straw poll – with a grain of salt.
Speaking of that performance, Haley pulled an anemic 3 percent in the conference’s presidential balloting – putting her behind Trump (62 percent), Florida governor Ron DeSantis (20 percent) and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson (5 percent). Even worse for Haley? She fared only modestly better in the conference’s poll for vice president – the office many think she is really angling for.
Among CPAC straw poll voters for vice president, Haley received 10 percent support – putting her in third place behind Kari Lake (20 percent) and DeSantis (14 percent).
So … can Haley be written off nationally? No … never. Aside from the obvious identitypolitik, she’s far too cunning and calculating – and has far too much institutional neoconservative money invested in her ascendency.
But one thing is clear: Making her “happen” as a national candidate appears to be a heavier lift than any of those institutional allies ever imagined it would be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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