Disconnected

Since Nikki Haley announced her candidacy for governor, I’ve written nearly 30 posts promoting her candidacy and advocating for what I believe she can do for the state.  I’ve also been a defender of her integrity against some pretty vile charges – charges I continue to believe to be manufactured political hits.

So pronounced have I been in my support, this has been labeled by some as a “Pro-Haley Blog” and me a “NikkiBot.”  I don’t particularly cotton to such labels, but I can see why the “Anti-Haley Forces” would want to marginalize anything positive written about her.

So, no doubt those “haters” will get a good bit of enjoyment over this post.

Since her primary win in June – nine months ago – there have been serious concerns among the Haley faithful throughout the state about the treatment of “those who got her where she is” – from old friends and colleagues to hard-working volunteers, campaign donors and former constituents. Calls, emails and text messages have gone unanswered (ignored?) and what few replies there have been were/are all too brief and smack of a hurried and disinterested staffer response.

A pause here to recognize that the Governor has a very busy schedule and the demands on her time (and her ear and her computer and her phone) are crushing.  It is not possible for her to have the same level and volume of communications she had before becoming the state’s chief executive. Add to that the high national profile her particular situation has become, and the constraints become even more substantial.

Given that understanding, the Governor’s Office – be that the staff or the Governor herself or both – have alienated and continue to alienate too many good people whose hearts and votes (and checkbooks) are responsible for putting her in office.  This isn’t about any particular policy approach or piece of legislation, but rather an unease about the conduct of the Office itself.  Nor is it about people expecting to be able to get Nikki Haley on the phone at their leisure because they knew her “back when” or because they contributed to her campaign (or posted nearly 30 positive articles about her).  Rather, this addresses a fundamental error in institutional judgment.

“Who is Nikki Haley listening to?”  “Has she gotten the big head” because of the national attention her candidacy and election have gotten?   “Does she think she doesn’t need us any more?”  Apparently, many of her previous acquaintances are asking because of some decisions, appearances, statements or appointments she’s made.  They think some of her actions have been uncharacteristic and don’t believe they can be written off as the usual political compromises or the vagaries of executive decision-making.  Some believe she’s being “controlled.”

Two instances – though minor in the general scheme of governance – have this large group of the disconnected scratching their heads; Governor Haley’s appearance on “Army Wives” and talking about writing her “memoirs.”  For each, the phrase of the day was “What the Hell was she thinking?”

The (increasingly angry) fingers of criticism point to her staff since most people say “this is not the Nikki I know.”  It would be too easy to make the staff the scapegoat and absolve the Governor of responsibility when the source of the problem is known (or should be) only to those within that office.  But for whomever is responsible for assuring the Governor’s image is a positive one, please take note:  You aren’t doing your job.

For those who relish my posting something negative about Governor Haley, don’t waste your time or mine with comments of “I told you so” or suggest I’ve had some sort of epiphany or change of heart.  I still believe in the positive effect her administration can have and I continue to defend her against the malicious attacks.  It’s because of that belief that I’m airing these concerns.

Nikki Haley has been in office for only two months. There is much to learn about many things.  There are scores of people and organizations that must be accommodated and schedules and appointments can (and do) shift quickly and frequently.  A time of adjustment and education is warranted and necessary.  So let’s consider this a head’s up – a friendly bit of advise to the Governor;

Don’t let this stuff become endemic to your administration.  Make time to dance with the ones who brung you.

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13 thoughts on “Disconnected

  1. I enjoy your posts and appreciate your objectivity. I will defend the Governor for appearing on the TV program Army Wives. As exhibit one, I cite my own wife, whom I love dearly. Linda is a highly intelligent professional woman – who generally does not share my passion for politics. It is not that she disagrees with me, or even that she holds strong views whether liberal or conservative. She is simply disinterested in politics most of the time. Her total focus in on career, family, and ballroom dancing; not necessarily in that order on Saturday nights.

    Linda was very excited tonight when she informed me “Your friend, Governor Nikki Haley made a guest appearance on Army Wives.” This is one of Linda’s favorite programs. I am generally disinterested in TV programming similar to, and including, Army Wives. I had not seen the show. Obviously, I do not know what Governor Haley did or said on the program, and therefore don’t know if any portion of her appearance might have been inappropriate, or even simply ill advised.

    With that caveat and admission, I am very impressed that Governor Haley was able, at least briefly, to connect with folks just like my wife. Good people who just usually do not follow political issues and are therefore less than optimally informed. I see this as a sort of outreach by the Governor; an attempt to communicate with the ordinary citizen who is not part of the political chattering class that usually hangs on the Governor’s every word and nuance.

    The Governor is reaching out to ordinary South Carolinians and causing them to, ever so briefly, be aware of the great issues of the day that the Governor must confront. I tend to see that as a good thing.

    As for writing her Memoirs, that’s clearly premature. I am a good bit older than our Governor and I have not started my own yet.

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  2. Dear Allen, I don’t watch hardly and t.v. except N.C.I.S. and I really could care less if Nikki is writing her memoirs or not. We were at Nikki’s town hall on Monday night and she did a great job explaining what is going on with her and our state. She also answered questions for about an hour. To all that think she is ignoring them (boo hoo) she has a job to do… and she seemed to be the same old Nikki to me.

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  3. I’ve got to admit that I was worried about Nikki not staying in close contact with her Lexington County friends and supporters but I cut her some slack due to the overwhelming nature of the job at hand and ahead.

    The people I know are solely concerned with the mission of returning the government to the citizens of this state and advancing that cause as much as possible. Her crusade on transparency and on-the-record voting are critical first steps.

    Returning the focus to core services (one of the most vital being the protection of citizens from criminal elements) is the only rational and reasonable way to get out of this economic and corrupt mess that the General Assembly has mired us in. The General Assembly has to be hobbled at least in its continuing to give away tax dollars as corporate welfare. That means Nikki is going to have to stop being friends with the ringleaders of that corruption and start bringing the power of the people into the equation in fighting the crooks in charge of the legislative branch.

    We really, really want to see her stay on task and keep away from politics as usual. It’s been a mixed bag so far but her town hall meeting was very reassuring and I hope she follows through. She also really needs to be wary of and stay away from scummy people who will use and abuse her for political purposes–such as Lindsey Graham has been attempting to do.

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  4. Good post Garnet Spy. Governor Haley needs 100% focus on the people of South Carolina and our problems such as jobs, deficit spending and restructuring government. Interviewing with the NY Times and writing her memoirs are distractions that may promote Nicki Haley; but, the time spent on those endeavors does nothing to move our state forward. We need her total commitment to being Governor.

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  5. Gov. Haley is doing a great job but no matter what she does there will be be judging her whether good or bad sadly this is the nature of people.

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  6. I helped out on Nikki’s campaign in the beginning, when she was far down the list of candidates for Governor. I volunteered and I made campaign contributions. In the beginning I knew all the campaign personnel by name and they knew me, as we met frequently. I sat in the Williams-Brice parking lot with her and several campaign workers, for about 2 hours, while the 2009 Clemson-USC football game was in progress. I did that because I believed in her and I believed what she said she could do for me and the citizens of this state. She’s doing that. She thanked me and everyone that helped out every time we participated. Everything changed after Sara Palin appeared at the statehouse and endorsed her candidacy. Campaign staff turned over, her staff became larger. And then I didn’t know anyone on her staff. I recognized and understood that as the way of things in the life of a campaign. Having said that, I don’t expect any phone calls, job offers, a “shout out” or anything else. She’s met my expectations, doing what she said she was going to do and I’m proud to say she’s the Governor of the State of SC. I don’t regret one minute of time I spent with her or her campaign staff in getting her elected. For those whining about not receiving some sort of recompense for their efforts, what did you expect? She got elected. That was our objective. Thats what we worked so hard for. We did it. Are your egos that fragile? We should be proud of the end result. Now she’s a rock star on the national political scene. So what. Get over it….

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  7. Jim:

    I don’t think there’s anyone wanting any sort of recompense. For example, I have not and will not apply for an appointment/job etc. myself and neither has, nor will, Charlie, I’m sure.

    The only worry any of us have had is wanting to keep the grass roots lines of communication fully flowing. Reform is what we want and we have a lot of great ideas on how to keep pushing for it. We can also help her in that arena. It’s the mission, we’re concerned with.

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  8. From ‘The Prince’:
    “…you cannot keep as friends those who have put you there
    because you cannot satisfy them in the mode they had presumed
    and because you cannot use strong medicines against them,
    since you are obligated to them.”

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    • I must say that those whom I may have helped
      in the past have returned the favor many times
      over – loyal and true friends.

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  9. When Nikki Haley first decided to run as Governor I was not her biggest supporter not because I didn’t believe in her but because I didn’t want to loose her in the House of Representatives and I was so afraid that she would get lost in the system and stop fighting for what she believed in. She fought hard for the grass roots conservatives in Lexington County. She listened to the people and took those words to the state house every day fighting for less government and fighting against all that was wrong in Columbia. What I see now is an office that is being run by a group of inexperienced staff that think this is an Episode of some “DC Drama” and they are the actors. Even her security staff think they are movie stars. You should never even know a security person is there. They should be like the invisable shield protecting the Governor and her family. Not the goofy guy standing next to her in the photos. Some one needs to take some good advise and find a Parent or a Teacher to run the kindergarten – they need reeling in. No one more than me wants to see this Administration be a success but unless someone with some maturity doesn’t pull in the ropes soon the entire Republican Party is going to hang themselves.

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  10. Charlie, you may not want any “I told you so’s” and this isn’t one exactly, but…remember when you chastised me for writing to Nikki publicly? Sorry, but that is how one gets the attention of public figures. It worked then and it will work again. Unless one is part of the “kitchen cabinet” you are just one of the 4 million, not that special. But when you put your concerns in public, like you just did, then you get the public figure’s attention. Congratulations! You will now see some response . If not, poor Nikki has a huge, huge problem. But I don’t think she does and I predict a serious response, not to you personally – (When I publicly chastised her for abandoning the Executive Budget, Nikki never contacted me and told me I was right, but her policy changed within the week and that was my goal). Here is my current public message to Nikki and it is complimentary this time: I support her replacement of Darla Moore on the USC Board of Trustees. It may have been positively unwise to have allowed such a big donor a place on the Board, and while Sanford did not appoint her, as you can see, NOT reappointing her was a difficult decision. Nikki, as a woman, may have felt that at least she could not be accused of sexism, and it would have been wise of her to have appointed someone who did not give so much money to her campaign (for PR reasons), however, in principle, replacing Darla Moore was wise. I can imagine someone with Moore’s financial clout having a disproproportionate influence on others on the Board, disproportionate to the value of her advice. IOW, her ideas may have been given more credence than they would have otherwise gotten out of fear of losing her contributions. After all, part of the job of a BOT member is to raise money. Here you put the members of the Board in a very awkward position. Not a good model for board governance. I do not think Nikki should be so harshly criticized for this decision. In fact, if the new appointee turns out to be wise and thoughtful, as she surely expects, she may end up being congratulated for it. For her next USC appointment, I recommend Frances Fawcett, the widow of the late Dean whose leadership was so crucial to making the School of Business successful and whose name and legacy have been almost completely obliterated because of political correctness. He was a known conservative. Frances loves USC; she has endowed scholarships and mentors the students who get them. Although a self-made woman, she has the kind of native intelligence and wisdom that a Board of Trustees needs. I throw my support to Frances Morris Fawcett, nee King from Lake City, South Carolina. I think Darla might be from the same town, but they are as different as two women can be and that’s what elections are all about!

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  11. Christina Jeffrey on March 17, 2011 at 7:26 AM said:
    ” . . . [I]n principle, replacing Darla Moore was wise.”

    Christina:
    I was thinking along the same lines. My response to people questioning that move was to state that I didn’t think Mrs. Moore meant to purchase a seat on the board with her money and certainly shouldn’t mind giving it up after a while. So far, Nikki has been consistent in replacing people and it must be admitted that this state’s political structure is in dire need of a good flushing.

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