Monday, May 17, 2010

Nikki Haley-The Face of a new and better South Carolina


BY:Keith H. Seymour

I recently attended one of many many meet and greets for gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, and like many other people, I also attended the recent rally at the state house, where former vice-presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska, Sara Palin endorsed Representative Haley in her Republican Primary bid for governor of South Carolina. This appearance by

Now, over almost a a twenty year period, I have attended so many of these events as a journalist, public relations person, and private citizen and voter, that I am rarely impressed by the speeches made, and much less by the candidates themselves. In all honesty, I find most to be run of the mill necessary evils, I need to attend to stay informed. Therefore, Governor Palin's appearance, although impressive and a definite boost for Haley, is not what caused me to see Haley as a more viable candidate. Quite honestly, I thought Governor Palin was an effective cheerleader, who rattled off a bunch of crowd pleasing cliche's. Whereas, Representative Haley in my opinion gave the crowd the straight talk that they needed. I originally saw Representative Haley as the definitive “dark horse candidate.” The fact that she was willing to against more visible opponents such as Lieutenant Governor Bauer, and Attorney General McMaster, not only caused me to believe her elevator not gone all the way to the top floor, it caused me to wonder if had ever even even been installed at the basement level! Needless to say, my opinion has since severely changed!

Origunally, it was between Bauer, (who my mother taught in middle school, and whom I have always respected as good person, since high school) stood up for me against a bunch of bullies, in high school), and McMaster, who I have known since he was my precinct captain, during part of my time tI living in “Five Points.” I consider both friends, and believe both would do a wonderful job as governor. However, I also believe Nikki Haley would do an even better job, and would bring a refreshing and much needed change to both the South Carolina Republican Party, and the state in general. She is younger, and will not be seen as part of the “old guard/ “Good Ole' Boy, Good Gal” system that has often made South Carolina the laughing stock of this country. While Attorney General McMaster is competent and experienced, he does risk being seen seen as a member of the “old guard.”

Representative Haley has already proven she will not be part of this system, by standing up for transparency legislation that resulted in members of her own party retaliating against her, and forcing her off every committee, possible. 'Lieutenant Governor Bauer does not have this problem, and will be like Haley, a governor who is more active within the constituency, and less of an office administrator. Lieutenant Governor Bauer has consistently proven this in every office that he has held. Even in non-election years, unless he is needed for legislative business, he is traveling around the state meeting constituents, and attending town hall meetings. However, the lieutenant governor does have an image problem, that has resulted from a condition many in political life contract. It is called “foot in mouth disease.” While Bauer has several great ideas, instead of initially saying what he means, he has taken to playing to the crowd. While I Bauer and McMaster would be my second and third choices, respectively, I would definitely choose Representative Haley as my first choice. o Let's look at why.

First, Haley is for mandatory term limits, to my knowledge none of the other candidates have pledged to get a term limits law passed. Secondly, Haley believes that the governor and lieutenant governor should run on the same ticket. Bauer has explicitly stated he feel the current two ticket system should remain. This is one of the few although important disagreements, I have had with Lieutenant Governor Bauer since he was Representative Bauer and we first discussed this topic at our ten year high school reunion, in 1997. While I understand Bauer's reasoning, our current two ticket executive office system has often turned out to be a disaster! Not only was it a disaster , when we had a governor and lieutenant governor were in separate political parties, but during the Sanford and Bauer Administrations. It is no secret that our current governor and lieutenant governor have had the most personally and politically adversarial relationship, than probably any governor and lieutenant governor belonging to the same political party, in South Carolina's recent history. Third, while both Bauer and Haley are business people and will run our state as a business, both are grass roots oriented individuals who believe our systems of generational welfare dependency. Haley, will just come out and say what she means, and take the consequences, instead of playing to an audience by using would have been an appropriate “analogy,” if had either been immediately explained or more completely phrased. In other words, Haley is what Bauer was four or five years ago, and what he has the potential to become again. However, this state does not have time to wait for that to happen, unless he instead of Haley ends up in what will inevitably be a run-off in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

I know a lot of people have their doubts about Representative Haley, because she is a female, and has not been in office as long as the others. So let's deal with these issues. First, I\if Haley had the same platform and she was a man, would you have reservations? If the answer is no, then why do you have reservations now? Secondly, while it is true that Haley has only been an elected official for six years,that is the same amount of time it took Lieutenant Governor Bauer to go from private citizen to his current elected position. Let's face it,Lieutenant Governor Bauer had made more positive contributions to this state in his first four years, than Governor Sanford has made during his entire time in office! This is why he is my second choice.

I do not generally make public endorsements. As a matter of fact, I have a general rule that because journalists (including freelance journalists) need to remain impartial and impersonal on such matters, they should refrain from making political endorsements. However, because I believe this candidate to be exceptional in every way, I am publicly stating that Nikki Haley should be every Republican and every South Carolinians choice for governor.