By the time you read this, the United States of America may be entering its second week of a government "shutdown" as Congress continues to hash out the ongoing drama between a small-yet-vocal group dedicated to stopping the Affordable Care Act and their colleagues who wish the first group would just grow up. On the other hand, you might be reading this at a time when a continuing resolution was passed that reopened America's national parks, including our very own Forts Sumter and Moultrie. Either way, we are all living through yet another plot twist in an increasingly micromanaged political drama brought to you by the public relations geniuses who control the political-industrial complex in modern-day America.
Resolved or not, the partial shutdown of the federal government gave our own Gov. Nikki Haley the opportunity to speak out on an issue about which she has next to no business whatsoever opining about.
In a post on her Facebook propaganda page, Haley said, "We are seeing a complete lack of leadership. A leader should never let it get to the point of a shutdown in govt. You call in both sides, bring them in a room for the good of the people you serve and resolve the issue. No governor of a state would let this happen. It is inexcusable for the president to allow this to happen in our country." What is inexcusable is that the media largely repeated the governor's facile words verbatim without calling to attention several glaring problems with Haley's latest hyperbolic outburst.
Perhaps, like another darling of the increasingly incomprehensible and irrelevant Tea Party (and/or "libertarian" wing of the GOP, depending on whom you ask), Gov. Haley does not actually read "all the papers" or even any newspapers. If she had, perhaps she would have run across an article in the previous day's Washington Post, "State governments shut down, too," in which the Post's state and local policy blogger Niraj Chokshi lists numerous, and recent, examples of state governments doing exactly what Gov. Haley says no governor would ever do. She also might have read Dylan Matthews' piece in the same paper detailing the 17 previous federal shutdowns, some on the watch of the Great Communicator himself. Instead, Haley shows how laughably ignorant she is of recent history, at both the national and state level.
Haley's inattentiveness to the facts might easily be laughed off as just more of her mindless maneuvering for a possible presidential bid in 2016, but the real problem here is her apparent inattentiveness to her own failures since becoming governor in 2011.
Despite running a campaign promising moves toward openness and transparency in government, Haley and her staffers began her first year in office by deleting emails from their official state accounts. She followed that up the next year by paying an ethics fine for misuse of state aircraft to take her and her propaganda PR team to campaign events. This year alone, Haley has failed in her handling of the Department of Revenue hacking scandal (not to mention failing in her oversight of the department in the first place) and, perhaps worse, by defending the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control, which withheld information about a tuberculosis outbreak in an Upstate public school. To top it all off, the City Paper's own Corey Hutchins recently wrote about the governor's failure to fill over 600 positions on a variety of the state's commissions and boards.
Throughout her term, Nikki Haley has been quick to take credit for her "successes" in job creation, even as some have pointed out that many of those successes were the result of the work of previous administrations. She is even quicker to shift blame for her failures onto everyone else, or worse — as in the case of the TB case — define her failures as something else. That is not leadership, Gov. Haley; that is political posturing. It might pay off one day in the form of a job as a Fox News pundit, but it does not serve the people of this state.
In short, Gov. Nikki Haley's decision to criticize anyone's leadership is the height of audaciousness. Yet it is exactly what her team thinks will position her for re-election, if not a possible run at the White House. Unfortunately for the hacks running her campaign, they fail to understand they are letting their candidate write checks that her accomplishments as governor cannot cash. It may work to get her fundraising machine running at full steam, but it will fall far short of getting her out of South Carolina, which is clearly not where her head is right now anyway.