Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Nikki Haley is today's GOP Future Fifth Face on Mount Rushmore, and I guess I understand that, but I'm a bit baffled by the segue at the end of Jennifer Rubin's Commentary post "Nikki Fever":

Haley should be wary, but she also has the benefit of others' examples. The way for Haley to disarm the media and beat back the political attacks is, of course, to be at the top of her game. Although Chris Christie may be the un-Haley in outward appearance, his approach is the right one: be the happy warrior, apply conservative values, reject the entreaties to "get along" with the political establishment, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. It's harder than it sounds. But in the end, the media can't bring down a competent, likable politician -- nor, as we have learned in the last 17 months, can they keep afloat an incompetent, snippy one.

I know I'm repeating myself, but let me get this straight, Jennifer: this is your idea of "likable"? This is your idea of not "snippy"?

I hate to keep harping on Christie and his testy you-want-a-piece-of-me? attitude, but I'm just fascinated by the tone-deafness of Rubin and other righties in reference to him. I can't help thinking that, for the right, the idea of "likability" has become totally unmoored from, y'know, actual likability as normal human beings would define the term, and now means "sneering contempt for the people we hate, with Andrew Dice Clay comedy timing."

Nikki Haley has barely made an impression on me, but I don't think she's like Christie at all -- yet I suspect there's going to be pressure on her to become more like Christie. I don't think she can retain her GOP-rising-star status if she's gracious to political opponents at all.

Haley's most famous endorser, Sarah Palin, is, body mass index aside, essentially Chris Christie in a skirt -- thin-skinned, unwilling to let any insult roll off her back, always looking to get mad and get even. That's what the GOP faithful want. As a result, if Nikki Haley is personally decent and gracious, I suspect she's going to find herself becoming an also-ran in her party, no matter how successful she is as governor.

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