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.