There was a very “funny” interview with Nikki Haley yesterday on MSNBC. The reporter asked her if Mike Pence would make a good president. It was a brilliant question. Her answer was basically –
“Mike Pence was a very good congressman, a very good governor and a very good vice-president. He would be very good at whatever he did.”
If anyone had any doubt that she wants to run for president, there is the laughingly obvious proof. Avoiding saying that the sitting vice president would specifically make a good president, despite specifically naming all the other things he has previously been so accomplished at is as close to throwing her hat in the ring as one could get without putting up bunting in her campaign office and passing out campaign buttons. Indeed, she did everything she could to avoid saying he’d make a good president which could be used against her when she runs. (The people in-studio after the clip ran said the same thing.)
But her comment seems to go further and undercuts Pence in the immediacy, as well. Consider Steve Schmidt's interesting comment on Morning Joe -–
"I think Mike Pence is probably hanging out back there, thinking, ‘Hey, I got 1 in 365 chance at picking the day that Trump’s going to dump me from the ticket and put her on some time in the next year. She wants to be vice president. She wants to be vice president on the Republican ticket in 2020. And I think there’s an overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence to put Nikki Haley on the ticket because he has an enormous problem with women. Suburban women, particularly."
This doesn’t make it so, but it’s certainly nice to see all the infighting in the party and at such a high level.
Also, IF it’s what she wants -- and casting doubt on Mike Pence's future to lead the Republican Party suggests her thinking on the subject -- it carries huge risk, given that Trump is going to be impeached. Running as vice president and winning is a major thing – but losing with an impeached president during what could be a blow-out that crushes the GOP likely ends your political career. Staying out of that and running in 2024 is safer, though if Trump wins then Pence is likely the nominee in 2024. The foundation to the question is – how comfortable are you that Trump will win in 2020?
Would she help with women if she’s on the 2020 ticket? Perhaps. But the VP usually has zero impact on how people vote. The only time I can think of where it made a difference was with Sarah Palin – and that was negative, scaring people off from voting for McCain. People will most likely see the race as between the Democratic presidential nominee and “Do I want Trump to be president for four more years?” I suspect that most Republican and Independent women voters who aren’t voting GOP are doing so because they HATE Trump, not because he doesn’t have a woman on the ticket with him.
That said, it isn’t Republican officials who have to be stupid enough to think suburban women would vote for Trump if Haley is on the ticket – Trump has to be stupid enough to think that. And who knows? That’s a toss of the coin. I don’t get the sense that he has much respect for Pence. But I also think a) he doesn't have much respect for anyone other than himself and a few family members, and b) he probably feels he doesn’t want it to be seen like he couldn’t win unless he had a woman on the ticket. Who knows??
In the end, the fact that it's simply a question at all shows their concern about the race. But ultimately, any concern should not be focused on who will run as vice president. In 2020, probably more than almost any other presidential race the only name on the GOP ticket that makes any difference is just Trump.
For good or ill.
Impeachment hearings start today. And as they do, the weight of the world is leaning towards ill.
11/13/2019 10:05:29 am
I also question whether Trump wants to add her to the ticket. She has a streak of independence which would worry him, and she's clearly ambitious and, thus, he will question her loyalty. And, from her perspective, she should want to stay out of it. Spending the next year campaigning and having to defend him and praise him won't be good for her standing ultimately. And if he wins re-election, she has to spend the next 4 years abasing herself like Pence has done. Finally, what does Pence do or say to hurt Trump's candidacy if he's pushed out?
11/13/2019 10:28:25 am
While I agree that I don't think Trump will drop Pence and add Haley, I do sense she'd be okay with it. Clearly, she's put her marker in the sand to defend Trump, which she's been doing pretty strongly for the past few months and in her book and subsequent interviews. So, I don't think she sees that as a problem for her.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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