Yeah, So Nikki Haley Has Pretty Much Always Sucked

Yeah, So Nikki Haley Has Pretty Much Always Sucked

Future Republican primary loser Nikki Haley launched her presidential campaign Tuesday, and so far, it's off to a wonderful start if you're in the making fun of Nikki Haley business.

Wednesday, Haley had a kick-off rally with special guest villain John Hagee, a televangelist and founder of a Christian Zionist group. This bigot suggested that Hurricane Katrina was divine retribution against queer people. He predicted that the anti-Christ would be gay. He's also made disturbing comments about Catholics and Hitler. This information was all readily available at Haley's nearest Google, so I presume she supports or at least isn't overly offended by his remarks.

Haley swooned during her rally speech, "To Pastor Hagee, I still say I want to be you when I grow up." That's a weird statement to make given the Republican Party's anti-trans obsession. Potential voters might take that literally.


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Some celebrity bloopers featuring Haley have also resurfaced from her time as South Carolina governor. The video arguably proves Whoopi Goldberg wrong when she said Tuesday on "The View" that Haley used to "actually have some sanity and knew right from wrong. And then [she lost her] mind and went in some new direction." No, Haley's direction hasn't altered. Her moral compass has always pointed her toward the nearest feet of anyone she believed could advance her ambitions.

Some quick background: Black church groups and other sensible people had boycotted South Carolina in 2009 because the Confederate flag was prominently displayed on state capitol grounds. While running for governor, Haley had said, “There were a lot of hurt feelings” on both sides of the Confederate flag issue. Yes, enslavement feels just like getting snubbed for an Academy Award.

The next year, Haley groveled before the Sons of (losing) Confederate Veterans. It was like a creepy induction into some secret racist society. She reassured them that if "those groups that come in and say they have issues" with the flag, she'd "talk to them about the heritage and how this is not something that is racist." Look, Haley and I are both South Carolina natives, but it's my family that has lived in the state since my ancestors were just numbers in a ledger. Very few Black Southerners need a lecture on the Confederate flag's "heritage." My parents were there when Confederate battle flags were deliberately raised in defiance of the civil rights movement.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans pushed Haley further, now asking her if she'd support a "Confederate History Month." The self-proclaimed slayer of bullies paused briefly as her soul seeped from her body. She answered, "The same as you have Black History Month, and you have Confederate History Month and all of those, as long as it’s done in a positive way and not a negative way and doesn't go to harm anyone. And [it focuses] on the traditions of the people that have wanted to celebrate it, I think it's fine.”

The entire "tradition" of the Confederacy is preserving slavery, which is pretty damn harmful. Besides, this is America. We don't need a separate white supremacist month when they pretty much have the rest of the year and all the cops.

Next she was asked why she thought the Civil War was fought. Don't say slavery! Don't say slavery!

“I think you had one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition and another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change,” she said. “At the end of the day, I think what we need to remember is everyone is supposed to have their rights, everyone is supposed to be free, everyone is supposed to have the same freedoms as anyone else, so I think it was tradition versus change is the way that I see it.”

See, it's just history! (And that's how you teach "civil war" if your idea of history is making sure there are statues of Confederate generals as far as the eye can see, while outlawing any version of history that might make some people feel like their great granddads were on the wrong side.) Was there a meaning in there? Which side was "change" and which was "tradition"? Was the "change" ending slavery, or was it seceding from the nation so you could keep slavery? History, boy, I don't know!

Fortunately, Ms. Haley, I have Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens right here (dang, is he not happy about my marital state).

The new [Confederate] Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions — African slavery as it exists among us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization ... Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Then the sons of known traitors asked Haley if states had the right to secede. Barack Obama was currently president, so you might imagine this was a very loaded question, to which Haley more or less shrugged and said, "Sure, why not?"

Actually, she said, “I think that they do, I mean, the Constitution says that." (The Constitution makes no provision on secession.) She assured these charming gentlemen that it would never get to that point again, not with conservative governors like her standing up to Washington DC (where the Black president lived).

This entire conversation was like the lead-up to the Civil War in microcosm. Every "compromise" and "concession" made to the enslaver states was met with further aggression. When pushed about the ongoing boycott by those "loonies" (you know, Black people), she seemingly agreed to her own Fugitive Slave Act.

“I’m the perfect person to deal with the boycott because as a minority female I’m going to go and talk to [corporations and businesses], and I'm going to go and let them know that every state has their traditions.”

Haley literally is not Black nor is she descended from enslaved Black people. If the sons of the Confederacy wanted a governor who'll trade on their own heritage to defend white supremacist symbols, they should've at least hired a Black person. Tim Scott was available.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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