I believe if Cruz wins the nomination, he should pick a VP who highlights his strengths and compliments or minimizes his weaknesses. I believe Nikki Haley would be the best person for that job.
Here are the reasons why:
-Where Cruz has fire and passion, she’s calm, and has a moderate tone that could win over independent voters, particularly women, and possibly convince moderate/establishment republicans to hold their nose and vote for Cruz over Hillary, since we all know those voters don’t like Cruz.
-Where Cruz tends to show little emotion (giving passionate speeches isn’t the same thing as emotion) and can often come off as rehearsed, Haley has shown she can have a soft touch and wear her heart on her sleeve. Watch her press conference after the Charleston shooting for proof of that. Then imagine contrasting that with the coldness and abrasive personality of Hillary Clinton. It’s the perfect contrast.
-Haley is a double bonus as a VP pick because she takes both the race and gender cards off the table. Republicans in general aren’t liked by single women, and Cruz particularly doesn’t do well with them. But if he put a woman on his ticket, especially one as likable as Haley, that would at the very least neutralize the inevitable war on women attacks that will be coming his way from Hillary and her surrogates.
Likewise, when the democrats try to say Cruz and the republicans don’t care about minorities and wanna take away their benefits, Haley can speak up for us and say that she knows that minorities can think for themselves, just like she has, and that they can see that all the major cities with large minority populations that have the highest crime and poverty rates are being run by democrats, not republicans.
-As far as I know, Haley doesn’t have any dirty laundry in terms of both her public and private life. She hasn’t made any controversial remarks, and although there have been a few allegations of cheating on her husband, those were never proven and appeared to be political hit jobs. Again, this is the perfect contrast to Hillary’s vast expanse of dirty laundry, corruption, and gaffes.
The ads practically write themselves: I can imagine one where Haley looks into the camera and says, “To all the women out there, if you want to vote for a woman, vote for one who doesn’t have a FBI investigation against her for endangering our national security. Vote for one who doesn’t tell the families of dead soldiers one thing and her own daughter another with regards to a terrorist attack that took the lives of their loved ones. If you wanna see a woman become VP for the first time, vote for one who has integrity and will fight for the issues you care about, and who will help unite our broken country instead of divide it further, as Hillary will do.”
-Haley is eloquent, but down to earth, a rare combination in politics. Once again this is the polar opposite of Hillary, who is both inarticulate and as cold and out of touch as a politician can be. Hillary is untrustworthy, whereas Haley will be seen as honest and trustworthy.
SOTU Response and the Divide within the GOP
In a related matter, I felt the need to include my thoughts on Haley’s SOTU response and the backlash to it among some on the right, particularly Trump supporters.
I think Nikki Haley gave the best SOTU response I’ve seen in my lifetime, or since the GOP started doing them. She was calm and collected, eloquent, and clearly comfortable in front of a camera.
The contrast between her, Rubio, and Jindal from years past was stunning. Rubio and Jindal are talented politicians and both brilliant men, but they clearly were nervous in front of a prime time audience, and it showed. Haley wasn’t, and I think it’s because she actually wrote the speech herself and prepared herself for it. Also, she’s comfortable in her own skin and isn’t trying to win over people.
She has a message she wants to get out, that was her goal, which took some pressure off of her cause she didn’t have to worry about pandering to any group of people.
I agree wholeheartedly with her message, which is that Republicans are to blame along with Democrats, because the GOP establishment hasn’t done what they promised they’d do, and our party hasn’t come up with our own solutions to the problems the country faces, at least not as a whole and in an organized and articulate way.
Furthermore, she’s right about the need to turn down the volume on the political debate in this country, and that the loudest voices aren’t necessarily the truest voices. I think it took courage to say what she said cause she had to know she’d get pushback from people like Limbaugh and others on the right who reflexively attack anyone who’s even remotely critical of Trump or his followers.
You can tell she has a thick skin, she doesn’t get easily offended or angry, and that’s exactly the kind of person we need in a leadership position in our party.
Her speech wasn’t perfect, she could’ve spent some time criticizing Hillary and the Democrats, and could’ve gone into more detail on the difference between conservative policies and the failed policies of the Obama admin.
But the core of her message was that as a party we have to take responsibility for our own mistakes and failures if we wanna gain the trust of the american people and lead this country again. We have to have a more civil and intellectual, policy-driven debate in the political arena, in other words, the opposite of the kind of debate Trump is driving.
This is basically what Rick Perry was trying to say, but he was an imperfect messenger in the wrong place at the wrong time, so he got ignored or drowned out by Trump’s noise. Haley is a better messenger because she isn’t running for president and so doesn’t have to worry about taking a hit in the polls for attacking Trump, and already won re-election for governor so doesn’t have to worry about an upcoming election either. Plus Trump isn’t gonna go after her has hard because she’s a woman.
Contrast how Trump responded to Perry and other men vs how he responded to Haley, it’s a huge difference. His response to Haley was about as soft as you’ll see Trump hit back against someone who’s attacked him, which shows he knows he can’t go too hard after someone who’s as likable and has as much potential as Haley does.
The central theme of the pushback against Haley from the right, mainly from Trump supporters, is that she’s an elitist establishment politician, in fact anyone who criticizes Trump is, and that a SOTU response shouldn’t be used to attack fellow conservatives.
There’s a few problems with this line of attack: a)Haley ran as a tea-party candidate for governor and was endorsed by Sarah Palin, the same Sarah Palin who is now basically backing Trump, so you could hardly accuse her of being an establishment sellout, and b)Haley did criticize Trump, but Trump isn’t a conservative, so she didn’t actually attack any conservatives in her speech.
Her goal was not just to show why Obama is a bad president and why we need a new one, it was to present a fresh and alternative face of the republican party to the nation, and portray the GOP in a positive light, and in my view she succeeded on both counts.
I think Haley understands a fundamental philosophical issue at play in our current political debate, which is that before the GOP can effectively debate the democrats and present an alternative choice to the nation on all of the most important issues we face, it has to decide what it stands for and what kind of tone and message it wants to use to define it.
For that to happen, we have to have this debate about what it means to be a conservative, and that involves standing up to Trump and showing why he doesn’t represent the Republican party or the conservative movement.
Haley used a national platform to further that debate, and I commend her for it. I just hope some of the candidates I’m willing to support will have as much courage and eloquence as she did in taking a stand for conservatives in the fight for the heart and soul of the conservative movement and the Republican party.