Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

Nikki Haley: The Difference Between Governor Palin and Mitt Romney; Updated

Via Alexander Burns at the Politico:

MJ Lee gets an early look at Nikki Haley’s memoir, in which the South Carolina governor relates the difference in the way Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney handled allegations of infidelity that surfaced against Haley:

She describes Palin in her memoir as someone with whom she enjoyed an “instant rapport” and an immediate “kinship,” as they talked about everything from their children and shoes to the hardships of being on the campaign trail.

“She was very friendly and gregarious. She signed books and took pictures with people. There was not one thing about her that was high maintenance,” Haley says.

When allegations from Folks first surfaced, Haley remembers having Palin in her corner after just one phone call – a contrast to the way another supporter, Romney, had handled the news.

“Sarah goes with her gut, and I love her for that,” she writes. “Mitt’s team [said] they were going to have a ‘Nikki Haley meeting’ the next morning to decide what to do next.”

For those who don’t remember, both Mitt Romney and Governor Palin endorsed Nikki Haley’s candidacy for South Carolina Governor back in 2010; the Mittster in March and Governor Palin in May. Prior to Governor Palin’s endorsement, Haley was mired in 4th place in the polls and given no realistic chance of winning the Republican Primary.  That changed dramatically, of course, after Palin’s endorsement and Haley skyrocketed to the top of the polls as we chronicled here and here. Shortly after Haley’s new status as undisputed GOP frontrunner, one of the most bizarre stories of the 2010 mid-term elections began to unfold, as I explained in a June 3rd, 2010 post:

Following this dramatic reversal in fortune, an rather eclectic assortment of establishment politicians and bloggers in South Carolina have resorted to bizarre innuendo and outright lies to halt Haley’s surge.

Immediately after Haley took the lead, hitherto unknown blogger Will Folks, who plead guilty to domestic abuse, claimed to have had an affair with Haley. He was able to string the gullible mainstream media along for a few days until even they grew weary of his musings since there was simply no evidence to substantiate them. With the Folks kerfuffle fading, desperate South Carolina pols turned to another character, one Larry Marchant, who was recently charged with DUI. Until yesterday, Marchant was a campaign advisor to one of Haley’s rivals, Andre Bauer. What a coincidence.

After these "bombshell" charges by this Folks character, many of Haley’s supporters, most notably Mitt Romney, ran for the tall grass and were nowhere to be found in the critical days following the charge. I guess Mitt was having that ‘Nikki Haley meeting’ to which Governor Haley referred above.  Governor Palin, on the other hand, publicly and forthrightly reiterated her full support for Haley, both in television interviews and on her Facebook Page:

Well, whaddya know? South Carolina’s conservative candidate, Nikki Haley, recently zipped to the front of the line in her state’s race for governor; and lo and behold, now accusations of an affair surface.

Nikki categorically denies the accusation that was spewed out there by a political blogger who has the gall to throw the stone, but then quickly duck and hide and proclaim he would not comment further on the issue. Quite convenient.

When Nikki and I held her endorsement rally on the steps of the beautiful and historic South Carolina state house a few weeks ago, I warned her and her family that she would be targeted because she’s a threat to a corrupt political machine, and she would be put through some hell. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast in politics today – especially for conservative “underdog” candidates who surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up so government can be put back on the side of the people.

South Carolina: don’t let some blogger make any accusation against your Nikki if the guy doesn’t even have the guts or the integrity to speak further on such a significant claim. And don’t believe anything a liberal rag claims or suggests unless the reporter involved has the integrity and the facts to report to you so you can make up your own mind. For traditional media to rely on an accusation via some blog entry is almost laughable, but I know the seriousness of it because that’s exactly what my family and colleagues have had to put up with, every single day, for the past couple of years.

As I said to Nikki this morning, “Hang in there. I’ve been there. Any lies told about you will strengthen your resolve to clean up political and media corruption. You and your supporters will grow stronger through things like this.”

Reaching her from Wasilla, I then joked with Nikki that I was calling her from one of the many locations the lamestream media claims I moved to. (Let’s see, I think the last I heard I was living in the Hamptons, or was it Montana? No, supposedly L.A. is where they claim I moved when I “left Todd” in their idiotic reports.)

South Carolina friends, don’t let ‘em just make things up.

– Sarah Palin

Rather different profiles in courage, wouldn’t you say?  One goes out of her way to stand up for her candidate while the other hides in the shadows with his army of consultants until he believes the "crisis" has passed.  It’s nice to see Governor Haley acknowledge this in her memoir, even if she chose more diplomatic language than I did.  No thanks to Mitt Romney, Haley went on to win the primary by 27 points over her nearest GOP competitor, although she didn’t reach the magic 50% to avoid a runoff. However, in the runoff two weeks later, she managed to eke out a 30 point victory.

(Note: I understand Nikki Haley endorsed the Mittster in the 2012 South Carolina Primary. Though I found the endorsement odd, it’s not something I held against Haley since Governor Palin had indicated she was not running long before Haley’s endorsement of Mandate Mitt. That said, it’s also true that conservatives in South Carolina have not been particularly forgiving of Governor Haley for her Romney endorsement, nor did the endorsement help Mitt. But that’s not the point of this post.)

Update: In reading through the comments it appears some readers have missed the point of my post.  It’s not meant as an endorsement of Nikki Haley’s actions — or inactions (Tuscon,  for example) — whatever the case may be. Rather, it’s to highlight the difference between Governor Palin and Mitt Romney in terms of their courage and convictions (or lack thereof in Romney’s case), and to note that even one of Romney’s own 2012 surrogates, Nikki Haley, has highlighted this difference. I considered this newsworthy. Still do.

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