We’ll keep this one relatively short and then head to the polls.
Gresham Barrett lost our vote back in October 2008 when he flip-flopped and ending up voting for the disastrous slush fund known as TARP after first voting against it. We called and emailed his office, begging and pleading him to use common sense and logic–as did thousands of others. He went against his constituency and voted against their desires and best interests.
It’s worse than just going against the people you are supposed to represent, though. With his reversal vote for the bailout, Barrett proved that he cannot handle a crisis. When all around him panicked, he too became a chicken without a head. He freaked out and lost all ability to lead (as he had been doing in initially opposing the bailout).
The position of South Carolina governor may indeed be a weak one, but we need someone that can maintain a level head should swift and sudden tragedy ever befall our state. Gresham Barrett has clearly demonstrated that he is not that man–and even Dick Cheney’s endorsement of him can’t overcome that.
[Ed. note: Also don’t believe the insinuation on Barrett’s mailers that he’s been endorsed by Jim DeMint. Sen. DeMint has endorsed nobody in the primary. Click here for more details.]
Andre Bauer exposed himself as an opportunist with his political game-playing during the Mark Sanford “crisis.” But he completely lost our vote in a few short minutes at the beginning of the last gubernatorial debate when he couldn’t stop breaking into a grin every time he mentioned the press frenzy caused by his consultant’s unsupported accusations against Haley. Watch as he can’t even look at Haley as he speaks to her. We want nothing to do with this despicable, gutter politics that’s making our state a laughingstock.
Henry McMaster, the current SC attorney general, earned bonus points on our scorecard when he became one of the first state officials to take action against the monstrosity of ObamaCare. He proved he can lead, because he didn’t wait around to see what everyone else would do–and he didn’t go all wobbly once he had taken a stand. Instead he looked to get others onboard.
Unfortunately, McMaster’s positions don’t always line up quite so well with ours. For instance, out of all four Republican candidates, he’s the only one that opposes offshore drilling. (This position may seem level-headed today while the TV runs non-stop live shots of the gusher still ongoing in the Gulf, but it’s an unreasonable position when you apply cool reflection. We don’t quit flying when there’s a plane crash, and being dependent on oil, we have to get it from somewhere. Why not learn from the Gulf accident and take control of our destiny and our fortunes.) With everyone declaring themselves a conservative in this silly season, McMaster comes across as the more moderate conservative of the bunch. Overall, McMaster earns a solid second place in our ranking.
That brings us to Nikki Haley. We had been calmly evaluating her performance as a representative in the legislature and her political background. We were liking much of what we saw, but had a few areas of concern. Plus we felt her early advertising was a bit weak and lacking in substance, mainly showing that she could attend a Tea Party without being booed like Gresham Barrett–and her website didn’t have as much detail as we would have liked.
Suddenly, though, mud began being thrown at Haley from all sides, and we felt pressure to pick a side. Do we believe Haley or the men readily admitting to low morals? How do you continue to objectively size up a political candidate through that mucky prism? You can’t.
Fortunately, we had done enough research to already determine that Haley was the probably best candidate on the issues.
Since the foul attacks began, Haley has handled the unsubstantiated charges with calm, dignity and strength. With nothing more than baseless accusations and racial slurs and under-the-breath questioning of her religion, Haley’s opponents are engaging in what Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post aptly calls “political rape.” Haley has unequivocally flat-out denied ever being unfaithful to her husband, and it’s rather despicable that these men would pretend to withhold any evidence they have to the contrary.
We’ve watched Haley closely throughout this trying time, and we come down on her side. Her ability to maintain a pleasant, firm demeanor throughout these trials and carry on with her campaign’s agenda clearly shows she can handle a crisis.
Therefore, she’s our man for the job, and that’s why the Charleston Reader endorses Nikki Haley in the Republican primary for South Carolina Governor.