Gambler or Prophet?

There are, to me, some curiosities about the Sarah Palin endorsement of South Carolina State Representative Nikki Haley for governor.

It’s certainly a natural and understandable move – both are tough, very conservative women who have bucked their respective systems.  So, philosophically, it makes perfect sense and I don’t think anyone was surprised that, of the four candidates, Palin selected Haley to endorse. 

But the strategic reasoning and the mechanics of it are … interesting.

There is chatter that Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Henry McMaster sought Palin’s endorsement several months ago.  It’s on the record that it was the one endorsement McMaster really wanted. (He got John McCain’s, but that may not have been much of a plus.)  Apparently, Palin’s camp inquired about Haley, also several months ago, but Ms. Haley’s campaign heard nothing more about it until the night before the former Alaska governor came to Columbia last week.

So, what happened?  If he did, in fact, seek Palin’s support, not only did McMaster miss out on what is likely the biggest endorsement possible in Republican politics today, but he actually got rejected.  On the other side, from what I gather via several sources, Haley didn’t lobby for the endorsement.  So, it’s not like there was an appeal from two sides from which Palin could choose. In fact, she didn’t have to choose anybody.  Palin has been very selective – and frugal – with her candidate endorsements this year – and she can afford to be.  And what of Bauer and Barrett?  Were they contacted?  Did they solicit?

There had been word that Palin wasn’t gonna endorse anyone for South Carolina governor until AFTER the Republican primary winner was decided.  That makes sense and is plausible if she intends to run for president in 2012.  She would want to align herself with the winner in order to get his/her endorsement for the South Carolina Republican primary that year.  Given that political reality, one would expect her to bet on a sure thing.

Why, then, would Palin pick an underdog?  Some have tried the argument that it was a “woman thing,” that Sarah Palin endorsed Nikki Haley because of her gender.  But that doesn’t work for me.   She’s endorsed Tom Emmer for Governor of Minnesota and Rand Paul for Senator in Kentucky, so, clearly, gender isn’t a litmus test for Palin’s endorsements.  Besides, if this is to be taken as a purely political choice, winning trumps chromosomes.

What does Palin know?  She and her advisers all smart people – they know how to read the tea leaves of a campaign.  The professionals don’t get distracted by news articles or perceptions of debate performances (and they sure as Hell don’t pay attention to bloggers!).  Is this a gamble by Palin, thinking her star power will propel Haley to a runoff and, ultimately, a win in November?  That, too, is reasonable though politics is hardly prone to reason.

It does seem that Sarah Palin chose to endorse Nikki Haley on philosophical principles rather than political expediency.  That’s admirable and certainly the kind of action we want in our politicians.

The primary is three weeks away.  That’s a millenium in campaign time.  We’ll find out then if Sarah Palin is a gambler or a prophet.



9 thoughts on “Gambler or Prophet?

  1. I always felt like if Sarah Palin was ever going to endorse anyone in the primary, it was going to be Haley or no one.

    But there is one other interesting dynamic to this endorsement that I think people are missing: Haley has also been endorsed by Mitt Romney. Palin and Romney: the two who sit on the top of speculation for the 2012 GOP primary. One could even realistically imagine Palin wins Iowa, Romney wins NH, and it comes down to SC.

    So what does this mean?

    Well for one, if Barrett, McMaster, or Bauer is governor in 2012 at the time of the SC presidential primary, then neither of them owes payback to Mitt Romney in the form of an early or automatic endorsement. So Palin doesn’t lose in the sense that she’s endorsing the same candidate than Romney did. However, if Haley is elected governor, she is no longer expected to automatically repay Romney with an endorsement. Haley’s loyalties will be divided, but there will also be a groundswell of opinion that Haley get on board the campaign of th anti-establishment female reformer whose endorsement arguably meant more to her winning the governorship that that of Romney.

    Another way to look at it is that Palin just upstaged Romney in a major way on Friday should Haley go on to win.


  2. ” PALIN IS THE REAL DEAL”, says Joe the Plumber. He is correct!
    ” HALEY IS THE REAL DEAL”, SAYS THE American patriot!
    We are both right. They have stood up for the rights and opinions of us “Joe the plumbers”, “Jack the Carpenters”, “Jill the soccer moms”, and “Jim and Juliet the tax payer”!
    Another nail in some political coffins.


    • Samantha: I looked at that website and it DOES NOT show or “prove” that Nikki Haley is “lying about being a Christian.”

      Nikki Haley is a Methodist. It’s on the “Meet Nikki” portion of her campaign blog. There is just as much about her religious affiliation as there is for Henry McMaster (Presbyterian) on his web site, Andre Bauer (Methodist) on his web site and MORE than Gresham Barrett has on his website.

      I’ve heard her on the stump say she is a Christian. You’re working too hard to find something that doesn’t exist.

      For other readers, the website Samantha suggested is a Far Left anti-Sarah Palin website. It even includes a page just for slamming Palin’s daughter, Bristol.

      Hardly “Christ-like.”


  3. Charlie, thanks for taking the time to comment on my website. Yes, I read the narrative on Ms Haley’s site. Written in the 3rd person, it does say that she attends a Methodist church, with her husband. I would imagine that attending a Christian church is a good idea for someone with political aspirations, no? However, when Ms Haley speaks for herself, on the record in her own website, her quote doesn’t say that, does it?

    If reading closely/critically is ‘working too hard’ for you, I am sorry for you; careful reading is not ‘work’ to me though, it’s how I read! To me, the wording on the Haley website, added to the fact that my question was deleted from her FB page rather than answered gives me pause for thought! Why delete the question and ban me, unless she doesn’t want it ‘out there’? That is why is wrote the blogpost.

    Now, if for example, President Obama had been raised a Muslim, by 2 Muslim parents, married a Christian woman and attended a Christian church, then when asked, responded that he believed in ‘an almighthy God’ (as Christians, Muslims, Jews and Sikhs do) would his non-supporters consider him a Christian? Fact is, even though he was raised a Christian, he has said ON THE RECORD many times that he is a Christian, and yet ……… hardly a day goes by (or an hour, really) that he isn’t called a ‘Muslim’ by a Palinbot!


    AS FOR BRISTOL: It’s a matter of record, in Alaska, that last fall a company registered to do PR work and Political Consultancy work was registered in Bristol’s name, by her mother’s attorney, T. Van Flein. I didn’t make that up, it’s verifiable information. I did write a blogpost about how improbable it was that a girl her age, barely out of High School, could possible own such a company!! If you think I am ‘slamming’ Bristol by writing about this, I suggest that it’s because you yourself think it’s a bit on the ‘shady side’ and not quite ‘believable’ … but don’t blame the messenger! I deal in facts.

    AS FOR MY WEBSITE: the focus of my site is Palin’s supporters, and I rarely discuss politics other than through that prism….. far left or otherwise. Nor have I ever presented myself to be ‘Christ-like’ ……. only factual! If you find any statements on my site that don’t pass the ‘fact test’ I will gladly review them!



    • I think I can see why your comments were deleted from Nikki’s website, if, in fact they were. It’s because this whole thing about not being specifically told by someone, in their own words, that they are a Christian somehow suggests they are not is tin foil hat, cat lady insane.

      But, since you’ve never TOLD me you don’t tell lies, I can only assume you do.

      As for Barack Obama saying “on the record” that he’s a Christian, why do you not consider THAT political expediency? Obama has been so very truthful and honest, never breaking a campaign promise, why would anyone doubt him?

      Peddle your nonsense as you wish, but here, it’s recognized as nonsense.


      • President Obama was not raised in another faith though, so there is a very large difference. He was raised in a Christian environment. He didn’t ‘change’ from one faith to another in order to polish up his resume.

        As for my comment being deleted, it wasn’t the question that was specific. I am not the one who brought it up, it was on the site. No other questions were deleted. Why so touchy about this, when it was already on her site?

        Personally, I don’t care what religion someone pratices, I really don’t. However, if someone is going to make an issue of it and it appears to be a bullet-point on the resume, then it is open to examination.

        As I said, I am a critical reader, and the wording interested me… and the reaction interested me MORE! 🙂

        I’m just sayin’ 😉


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