On Rush Limbaugh's Show today, Rush tried to paint Nikki Haley as a GOP Establishment tool and sell out over her using the official response to Obama's "State of the Union" speech to, metaphorically, take Donald Trump to the woodshed.
But, boy, last night her response? I think it's proof and it's an example of so much. For one thing, it's almost absolute proof of what I have been saying for last couple years now, that the Republican Party's trying to drive conservatives out of the party. But I think it's more than that. It's certainly that, but her speech last night sort of expanded the theme of who is and who isn't qualified to be a Republican, and the Republican Party is still anti-conservative.
While that isn't anything new, what we learned last night is that they are very comfortable identifying themselves as elites and members of a club and that you can't get in just by being who you are and doing what you want to do as a Republican and pursuing what you believe in. Going after Trump last night the way she did... She wasn't going after Trump the same way the party goes after the conservative base, or as Jeb Bush said, famously, that his objective was to win the Republican nomination without the support of the Republican Party base.
I have a huge amount of respect for Rush, but the fact is that Donald Trump is NOT a conservative and the establishment is saying that if they can't get one of their guys nominated they can live with Trump. He is right that they are trying conservatives out of the party, but that doesn't apply to Trump. For reasons that I don't really understand, Limbaugh is pushing Trump. He is pushing him in such a way that one is finding it easier to see Limbaugh endorsing Trump than walking back his effusive praise.
CNN asked Haley about this today:
HALEY: There's some there's something that other presidential candidates have said, too, and when I see something wrong I'll say it.
CNN TOAD: Is Ted Cruz one of those angriest voices?
HALEY: You know, I haven't heard Ted say anything in terms of the religion, if he did I would say something about that. But I have disagreements with other presidential candidates. You know, Jeb Bush passed Common Core and Marco Rubio believed in amnesty, which I don't. There's lots of things, but I will say tone matters; message matters; and responsibility matters. And so I think as we go forward I think we need to be responsible and our message.
(Note: The Hill renders it as Marco Rubio "believes" but I think she says "believed.)
It is interesting that Trump hasn't gone after Haley on Twitter.
Anyway, I think Rush's take on this is simply wrong. I don't agree with Haley using the GOP response to go after Trump when Hillary is still galumping about the countryside, curdling milk and frightening livestock, but I think the heat she has drawn is way off base.
There was one other thing in the transcript that was intriguing:
And it's interesting that Trump goes after Cruz and Cruz goes after Trump, and so did Nikki Haley.
Indeed. And Cruz, alone of the candidates did not receive criticism from Haley here while Rubio and Bush drew two of the most emotionally laden attacks in the GOP today. Will Haley endorse Cruz in the South Carolina primary? Is a Cruz/Haley ticket in the making?
UPDATE via POLITICO:
Nikki Haley said late Wednesday that she had misspoken when she said that Marco Rubio was for "amnesty" and that Jeb Bush had passed Common Core, the controversial educational standards.
The South Carolina governor had to do some damage control on Fox News’ “On the Record" Wednesday after hitting two candidates many speculate could pick her as a running mate, blaming her statements on a "long couple of days."
“I talked about Marco Rubio — you know, I’m against his Gang of Eight bill. He is not for amnesty, but I was against his Gang of Eight bill,” she told host Greta van Susteren. “Governor Bush, he supported Common Core, certainly didn’t pass it but supported it.”
Bush has indeed been a vocal supporter of the Common Core, but the standards were not unveiled until June 2009, more than two years after his tenure as Florida governor had ended.
This is a minor walk back. As I said in my original, I think she clearly says Rubio "believed", past tense, in amnesty. And the fact that Bush was out of office when Florida adopted Common Core (Rubio opposed Common Core in Florida).