Website Review:

It’s a little unsettling to watch the arch-conservative Republican governor of Louisiana railing against the federal government one moment and pleading for massive help with the oil spill the next. If the insincerity seems familiar, I don’t want to think it’s because Gov. “Bobby” Jindall (real first name: Piyush) reminds me of conversations I’ve had with call center workers in his ancestral homeland of India.

“I hope you are well today,” will say the self-described “Eric” in a studied American accent during a pause in the call. “How about those …” he hesitates as he consults a reference to my hometown near Charlotte ” … local sporting team Carolina Panthers?”

We have another Indian-American of questionable sincerity running for governor of South Carolina. You may have heard of “Nikki” “Haley” (real name: Nimrata Randwaha). She’s the Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate in Tuesday’s Republican primary who twice now has been accused of marital infidelity. While it might be reassuring on some level to hear of a female politician who reportedly can’t keep it in her pants (or out of her pants, I guess), it simply doesn’t sound genuine when she mouths right-wing platitudes to her base.

“I hold a concealed weapons permit myself,” she tells the gun-rights advocates from her website. “We need to make the rules that govern carrying far more simple.”

I’ve been to south Asia a half-dozen times, and that sure doesn’t sound like anybody I met.

I wanted to learn more about Nikki Haley and her effort to unseat Gov. Mark Sanford as the leader of tawdry South Carolina politicians, so I’m visiting for this week’s Website Review.

The home page features a rotating array of the prominent Republicans — Palin, Mitt Romney, Jenny Sanford (spurned wife of the disgraced governor) — whose endorsements have rocketed Haley to the top of the polls. There’s also a graphic of a crescent moon, seemingly confirming her status as what a rival Republican called a “raghead”, though further consideration reveals that it’s part of the state flag. Like the Muslim world, South Carolina recognizes there are phases of the moon. Interesting.

The “Meet Nikki” pulldown offers a brief biography of this improbable daughter of the South. She was born in Bamberg, S.C., her parents are Indian immigrants who ran a clothing store, she studied accounting at Clemson, married an Army National Guard husband, had two children, and was elected to the state legislature in 2004. And, as we’ll see later that she can’t stress this enough, she’s a Christian.

In the “Issues” section, she’s predictably in favor of things like economic development, good government and education, which to her means “taking advantage of our tech schools and skilling the workers our employers need.” She likes the concept of healthcare, not the “unconstitutional takeover” by Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. She’s grossed out by illegal immigrants and abortion — “my husband was adopted” — and thinks the Second Amendment is cool.

The “News” portion of the site confronts the allegations of infidelity made by a former Sanford speechwriter who claimed to have had an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley, and by a Republican lobbyist who claimed a one-night stand with the admittedly MILF-errific Haley. “I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage,” she writes in a press release. “It is sad,” not that she’s married to a full-time federal government employee, but that “this disgraceful smear has taken form less than a week removed from a poll showing our campaign with a significant lead.”

Something called the “Action Center” (not what you think) is the place for campaign volunteers to sign up and help Haley reclaim possibly the most Republican state in the union for her particular fringe. There’s a handy checklist of actions you can enlist for, though sadly they include only things like assembling yard signs, hosting a house party and “sign waving,” not quickies at a Utah school choice conference as the lobbyist alleged. However, there is a box for “whatever’s needed.” Interesting.

The “Endorsements” section lists others less prominent than Palin and Romney who are supporting Haley’s run. Along with no-names like Nathan Ballentine, Ted Pitts and Joey Millwood, there’s the Myrtle Beach Tea Party, one of the least fun beach parties on earth. In a link to a newspaper article about that group’s announcement, tea party president Luke Towery said that he didn’t believe the infidelity charges, calling them “fallacious.” I can’t imagine an upstanding, raven-haired, obviously well-toned, Republican woman performing fallacious, at least as long as she’s wearing that royal blue business suit.

Finally, I’m going to cite a part at the bottom of the home page titled “Truth in Facts.” This is where Haley addresses some of the other rumors and charges that have dogged her campaign so far.

Did she support South Carolina taking stimulus dollars?

No. She voted against forcing Sanford to take federal money to save teaching jobs and other social services.

Does she support mandatory HPV vaccines for middle-school girls?

No. Well, yes. Well, maybe, but probably not. “I was a cosponsor of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Act,” she writes, until she realized it would strip parents of the right to choose an increased likelihood of fatal disease for their daughters.

What is the real story about Nikki’s trip to China?

Asked by a reporter what class she flew in on the excursion to the World Economic Forum in 2007, she wasn’t sure whether it was business or first class, so she declined to answer. When it turned out to be that East-Coast-liberal-elitist business class, she blamed the state commerce department for the shameful upgrade from coach. She also notes that “what the media chose not to report” was that, when offered a private hotel room for the entire trip, she insisted on instead sharing a room with a female member of the governor’s staff. Very interesting.

Is Nikki a Christian?

Though her parents were Sikhs and she reportedly has been seen occasionally attending whatever kind of patently heretical services those weirdos conduct, “my faith in Christ has a profound impact on my daily life and I look to Him for guidance with every decision I make. My faith in the Lord gives me great strength on a daily basis. Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day.”

I came out of my study of this website actually hoping that Haley is elected our next governor. It might be stereotyping, but every Indian-American I’ve ever encountered was conscientious, competent, intelligent, and made a palak paneer that you’d absolutely die for. Plus, she’ll be extremely entertaining as she tries to navigate the path between right-wing lunacy and more conventionally reactionary Republican politics, all while looking pretty hot for a 37-year-old. There’s even talk already that she could become a force in national politics, as sort of a cross between Bobby Jindall and Sarah Palin.

Rest assured, however, that rumors of such an encounter are entirely fallacious, and that you can’t get pregnant from fallacious.

"Nicky" "Haley"


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2 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. fakename2 Says:

    With respect to the infidelity/rumors of infidelity department, yesterday in the NY Times, Gail Collins asked (more or less) whether South Carolina could just take a seat for a minute and give some other state a chance.

  2. Julio Denis Says:

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I have been looking around on yahoo for info. You are a greatblogger keep up the great work.

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