February 21, 2023 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
The nice idea driving Nikki Haley’s campaign is nice
To the GOP, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the libs, the media and a Republican candidate born Nimarata Randhawa.
It’s a nice idea. Really. History is littered with nice ideas. Presidential campaigns are littered with nice ideas. In the end, though, they’re litter.
The nice idea is the Republican Party picking a nonwhite women to be its 2024 presidential nominee. This idea is nice, but also powerful. Lots of women in America would like to see that glass ceiling shattered forever.
The nice idea is driving Nikki Haley’s presidential bid. It’s driving its coverage. That’s thanks to the ghost of Hillary Clinton’s murdered campaign. Reporters said they had nothing to do with it. They said Hillary Clinton was always too prepared, always too perfect, always too. If a woman can be president, it wouldn’t be her. If a woman can be president, she has to be a Republican.
Thus said some reporters to themselves and their Twitter followers. Being a woman was a liability, they seemed to say, but it can be overcome, they seemed to say. It can overcome, they seemed to say, by being a Republican.
What they did say without seeming to say: In America, a woman is weak. In America, a Democratic woman is double-weak. In America, a double-weak Democratic woman as president would be surrender. A GOP woman, though she may have been born Nimarata Randhawa, can overcome that in America.
Left unsaid is that she’s still a woman.
Still Nimarata Randhawa.
Back where we started
Before I go on, let me remind you of something the Editorial Board’s Jason Sattler said. Donald Trump’s midterm nominees failed. He’s the 2024 millstone around the Republican Party’s neck. But these mean nothing.
Remember, Jason said, that Trump’s midterm endorsements won nearly all of the Republican primaries. (His kings died but he still made them.) If they can win midterm primaries, Trump can win the presidential primary, Jason said.
As usually, Jason is right. Debating Nikki Haley’s future, or the future of “Ron DeSanctimonious,” for that matter, is therefore an academic exercise more than anything. Academic exercises can be useful, though, and an examination of the debate over Nikki Haley’s chances can tell us a lot about our politics.
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First, it tells us that a woman who is thought to be overcoming the liability of being a woman by being a Republican is overcoming nothing. It’s just a way for a sexist press corps to deflect from the fact of being any such thing while also doing what a sexist press corps can reasonably be expected to do.
Second, and stemming from the first, is that her actual positions are meaningless. In terms of policy, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Haley and Trump. She wants to punish the same people he wants to punish for the crime of having been born the way they are and will become.
The difference is Haley gives sadism a feminine touch.
Which brings us back where we started.
Anyway, if trumpery is your thing, “just pick Trump.”
The former South Carolina governor “was against Trump; then she was for him and served in his administration,” the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser told “This Week” host Martha Raddatz. “Then she was briefly against him after January 6th. Then she said, ‘I’ll never – I won’t run against him.’ And now, of course, she’s running against him. And I think that’s the problem.”
Trump remains the front-runner in the Republican field. And, you know, if there’s Trump versus, sort of, Trump-ists, why not just pick Trump?”
Sue Halpern, also of the New Yorker, talked to Sarah Longwell, the pollster and cofounder of The Bulwark. Longwell said Haley hits all of the bliss points in “normie” conservatives, meaning “conservatives who espouse limited government and free markets, who consider John McCain a hero and Russia a mortal enemy.” Problem is, as Soviet Russia has moved on, so has the GOP.
The night before Haley’s announcement, she convened a focus group of people who twice voted for Trump. “They said that they don’t want to go backward,” Longwell noted. “They like the direction Trump has taken the Party. They don’t think it has to be Trump, but they do think it has to be somebody in Trump’s mold, and they view Nikki Haley as establishment, as part of the Republican Party that they’ve left behind.”
Longwell thinks Haley isn’t running for president. She said she’s auditioning to be the next Republican vice presidential candidate. She’s probably right. Lots of people who say they want to be the next president know they will never be, but find something important or practical in making the attempt.
But then Longwell said something I just don’t know why.
“Republican voters don’t care if you’re a woman,” Longwell said. “They don’t care if you’re Indian or a minority. They care if you can make the libs cry.”
They care about it.
It’s all they care about.
Back in the good old days, when someone like Nikki Haley is said would’ve been seen as a viable candidate, conservatives were not talking about “limited government” and the “communiss” living among us when they were talking about “limited government” and the “communiss” living among us.
They were talking about things they always talk about, which was members of the outgroup – eg, “Indian women” – trying to move members of the ingroup – ie, white Christian men – out of the center of American politics.
That’s not supposed to happen. God said so. So when it does, its evil is so obvious that members of the ingroup searched for reasonsreasons why, and as you know, when people search for reasonsreasons why, they find them.
“Republican voters don’t care if you’re a woman”? Ha!
“They don’t care if you’re Indian or a minority”? Howlolol!
Yes, they care about making the libs cry, but Nikki Haley can’t make libs cry. It’s not possible, nor can she be hated by the press corps. To these “normie conservatives” there’s a not dime’s worth of difference between the libs, America’s newspeople and a Republican woman born Nimarata Randhawa.
Only a man can make the libs cry, a white man, one of the boys.
Which brings us back where we started.
Another nice idea
It’s a nice idea. Really. History is littered with nice ideas.
They’re still litter, though.
Only Nikki Haley knows why she’s running. The rest of us don’t have to wait for the results. We already know. Nor do we have to believe the ex post facto posturings of a press corps complicit in murdering the campaign of the last, and so far only, viable female nominee. We should already know the truth.
The Republican Party is not going to pick a woman. It’s not going to pick a woman of color. A woman of color is not a white Christian man. And no, the cross-party solidarity of sisterhood won’t carry her over. That’s more litter.
That’s another nice idea.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.
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