Recent decades have seen a post-State of the Union tradition as a prominent political figure from the party not holding the presidency presents their party’s perspectives on the issues of the day. The opposing party’s televised response is much shorter than the State of the Union, and, since it comes late at night, not as many people will watch it. However, parties not holding the presidency have frequently used this time as an opportunity to showcasing significant figures within their ranks who can, hopefully, effectively offer an alternative vision for the country’s future.
During the long seven years of the Obama Administration a number of Republicans have been called upon to offer the GOP response to Obama’s long-winded posturing in the House Chamber. A few years ago, Florida Senator Marco Rubio had this honor. Last year, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst presented an attractive rural midwestern and conservative perspective symbolizing the Senate just switching to GOP control.
This year the Republican congressional leadership wisely chose South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to deliver the response. Haley is clearly a rising star with substance and unlimited potential. The daughter of Asian Indian immigrants she has helped improve the Palmetto State’s economy with its workforce increasing from 2,160,450 at her inaugural in January 2011 to an estimated 2,261,406 in November 2015 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS statistics also inform us that South Carolina’s unemployment rate has fallen from 10.6% in January 2011 to 5.6% in November 2015. She has successfully brought a Boeing plant to locate near Charleston and is a vivacious and energetic promoter of her state. Haley has been elected and re-elected in a state with diverse geographic and cultural regions such as the Low Country, Peedee, Midlands, and Up Country in a state with a tradition of high-impact politics.
She is a firm principled conservative who can effectively relate to people from all walks of life. She proved to be a particularly effective and empathetic leader when an evil thug murdered a number of people at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME Church in June. Thanks to her leadership, the strong Christian faith inherent in many South Carolinians, and divine providence there were not riots in Charleston as there have been in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, MO. She was effective in having the obsolescent Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina state capitol while allowing individual South Carolinians who appreciate some aspects of historic symbolism to keep flying it at their homes or businesses if they wish. She also wisely appointed Tim Scott to be a U.S. Senator and he is on his way to a lengthy career in that chamber as an effective exemplar of conservative values and a clear sign that Republican values work best for people of all races. She has also strongly opposed Obamacare and the Obama Administration’s Syrian refugee relocation plans.
Haley’s response to the State of the Union has drawn mixed reviews. Some more strident female conservatives such as Ann Coulter (who unfortunately has become monomaniacally obsessed with Donald Trump) and Laura Ingraham thought it was too moderate sounding. Haley has also been criticized for saying Republicans share some of the blame with what’s going wrong in Washington.
I think Haley’s speech struck the right balance. Common sense dictates that if there is any political problem in this or any other country, that two or more political parties cause the problem. Many Republicans have not been assertive enough to vocally and effectively challenge Obama Administration policies and have failed to use the many legislative tools at their disposal to do so such as the constitutional power of the purse. There have also been some Republicans who have been to willing to excessively compromise to avoid getting rhetorically tarred with the label of obstructionist. However, Alinskyite whining is not a valid response to the problems confronting our country or the problems caused by the Obama presidency.
Haley also correctly pointed out that anger alone is not an effective response to the Obama Administration’s crimes and incompetence. We must offer positive and credible alternatives to the last seven years of omnipresent statism and leftist coercion. Our country is changing demographically and as Republicans we must accept that reality. No one is more derogatory toward group identity politics than I am. However, it is no longer possible for a conservative to win the White House based on white votes alone. We must make concerted and principled efforts to attack intelligent and moral voters of all races to our messages of economic opportunity, strong national defense, an assertive foreign policy, and moral virtue as critical components for a successful and enduring nation.
It is probable that within the next couple of decades, whites will no longer be a majority of the U.S. population. Republicans must demonstrate that we care about the aspirations of people of all races to advance economically and be independent of the need for governmental sustenance. The Obama Administration should have demonstrated to blacks that their economic condition has actually worsened on his watch. Hispanics should realize that Obama Administration policies are alien to their commitment to faith and family. Asian Americans should realize that their commitment to thrift, entrepreneurship, family, and honor are also injured by Obama Administration policies which have sought to divide Americans by class, gender, and race.
We need to reach out to these groups and politely but firmly tell them that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party wish to keep them in perpetual peonage through dependence on governmental largesse. We need to persuade them that they and their children can only reach their God-given potential by adopting Republican values of diligent and effective work, religious faith, self-discipline, thrift, and law-abiding lifestyle choices that do not place them in an adversarial relationship with the criminal justice system.
I believe that political figures like Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Mia Love, Susana Martinez can enhance the future of conservatism in the eyes of an increasingly demographically evolving electorate. Haley’s record merits consideration as a vice-presidential candidate. While South Carolina is a electoral lock for the GOP due to its conservative nature, if Haley is nominated as Vice-President, particularly with Rubio or Cruz as the presidential nominee, the American electorate will face a strong, youthful, energetic and substantive conservative alternative to the corrupt, disgraced, and exhausted alternatives of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and whatever malcontent leftist agitator they choose as their running mate.
Haley presents a compelling and credible alternative to Hillary Clinton and would appeal to many conservative women, individuals from a variety of ethnic groups and socio-economic classes and to many men due to her telegenic appearance, communication skills and proven administrative skills. Obviously, I believe Marco Rubio is the more electable and substantive choice for the Republicans to nominate as their presidential candidate than Cruz due to his incessant and sometimes petulant carping about the Washington cartel. This year is a wonderful chance for Republicans to show that we can produce a compelling, credible, and positive alternative to the scandal ridden Hillary Clinton and socialist demagogue Bernie Sanders. It’s possible that a Rubio-Haley ticket might be the way to restore the grievous damage done to our country, its constitutional fabric, and our international security during the Obama-Biden calamity.