Nikki Haley: The new face of the South (Rick Perry/Nikki Haley 2012)
By Bernie Quigley
- For The Hill on 2/18/10
Think I’ll pack it in and buy a pickup . . . take it down to LA. Neil Young
The Democrats are experiencing “big truck envy.” Somebody call Dr. Freud. It’s all about trucks now. Big ones. The entire political culture has turned on one symbol: Scott Brown’s pickup truck. Now the rumor that John Cougar Mellencamp might be thinking of running for Senate likewise comes down to trucks. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years, Mellencamp is a pitch man for Chevy trucks and has probably logged more TV time in post-season football than Brett Favre.
We are undergoing a Jacksonian awakening. The heartland is rising up as it did in the 1830s and the lace curtain of Boston and Richmond are freaking out, as they did in the Colonial period. Now they are beginning to adapt, as they did then, by turning country. But this all started with a Democrat, the gun tottin’, tobacco-chewing Scotch-Irish Virginia war hero, Jim Webb, who went to the Senate in 2007. John McCain noticed and in a stroke of political genius unparallel in our time, borrowed karma and brought in Sarah Palin and her Big Dog, Big Truck husband Todd.
The sudden appearance of Real People in prominent position shocked the nation and the eloi retreated. Now they are coming out, getting off the porch to run with the big dogs, striving to be good ole boys themselves, barely more than a year after their fateful strategy of “whistling past Dixie” almost destroyed the Democratic party. Suggested reading: Noel Perrin’s “First Person Rural” will teach city folk what to look for in a used truck and how run a chain saw without cutting your leg off.
But red neck is only a base camp, like the one that came together this month in Nashville. The future of American politics lies with the elegant and the swift. Anyone looking for the new face should look to that most capable political operative, Jenny Sanford. She has already brought one candidate to the Governor’s office in South Carolina. Now she has brought her endorsement to another, Tea Party favorite, Nikki Haley, to replace her husband as governor.
"I think South Carolinians are ready for that," Sanford told a local South Carolina TV news outlet. "I don't know if our political system is ready for it, because it really is kind of a good ole boy club still."
“South Carolina and our nation are at a crossroads,” Haley says on her website. “The bailouts and stimulus packages are continuing to hurt job growth, weaken the value of our dollars, and increase debt for our children. I proudly stand in contrast – as the ONLY candidate for South Carolina governor who believed then, and still believes now, that taking the stimulus bailout was wrong for South Carolina.”
Like Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, Haley in the daughter of Indian immigrants. She might be considered the face of the new politics in the Tea Party Movement and the new face of the South. And as Governor of South Carolina she would be in perfect position to be Texas Governor Rick Perry’s running mate in 2012.
And RE Jenny Sanford. Never underestimate the fury of a woman scorned. Especially if she happens to be a vastly competent political operative as Jenny Sanford is said to be.