Nikki Haley’s Time for Choosing

In Nikki Haley’s Time for Choosing Politico writer Tim Alberta discusses not only Haley's opinions of Trump, but Haley's future as well.

"The 2024 hopeful can’t decide who she wants to be—the leader of a post-Trump GOP or a “friend” to the president who tried to sabotage democracy.

The article is fascinating, but very long and to many will be tiring. Let's tune into the key sections.

The Question 

Since last fall, I’ve spent nearly six hours talking with Haley on-the-record. I’ve also spoken with nearly 70 people who know her: friends, associates, donors, staffers, former colleagues. From those conversations, two things are clear. First, Nikki Haley is going to run for president in 2024. Second, she doesn’t know which Nikki Haley will be on the ballot. Will it be the Haley who has proven so adaptive and so canny that she might accommodate herself to the dark realities of a Trump-dominated party? Will it be the Haley who is combative and confrontational and had a history of giving no quarter to xenophobes? Or will it be the Haley who refuses to choose between these characters, believing she can be everything to everyone?

The Answer

Writer Alberta does not see the answer, perhaps because his article is too long with too many details, but here it is. 

“He’s not going to run for federal office again,” Haley said. 

But what if he does? Or at least, what if he spends the next four years threatening to? Can the Republican Party heal with Trump in the picture?

“I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”

This was the most certainty I’d heard from any Republican in the aftermath of January 6. And Haley wasn’t done.

We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

Politically speaking that is a clean break. But Alberta continues  ...

She is still trying to have it both ways. To argue that Trump only spent two months pummeling our institutional norms—instead of four years—is to refuse admitting any culpability for the party, and the country, going off the rails. But to state that millions of people followed him into a dead-end of social and political violence is to acknowledge that something is very wrong—something that was wrong before January 6, and something that was wrong before 2016.

OK, Haley is somewhat cautious. But there is no need to infuriate the base still seething over Biden's win.

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Alberta clearly wanted Haley to come out with a rip-roaring blast of the man she served under. 

But how does pissing off the base serve her future aspirations? She pushed things as far as she could, right now.

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Haley has done the near impossible. She cleanly broke with Trump without being vilified for it. 

That is a good start for her 2024 presidential campaign.

Mish

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