I didn't like it when I saw it. There's just something about it that really rubbed me the wrong way. On Friday of last week, former UN ambassador-turned-Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley posted this to X:
Let me preface my concerns by acknowledging a desire I have always held. I always wanted the Republican party to be the first to nominate and elect a black man to the White House. This is not because I believe skin color has anything to do with a person's relative effectiveness or fitness for the highest office in the land. No, call me crazy, but I think that Dr. King was right about judging people by the content of their character instead.
The reason that I always wanted that was because I thought it would be just desserts served to a Democrat party that constantly poses as the party of minority advancement. How funny would it be if the party constantly tagged by Democrats as racist against blacks actually beat the Democrats in putting a black man in the White House? But alas, the Democrats found a senator with a silver tongue who has now laid claim to that designation.
I have felt similarly about the first woman president being a Republican since the Democrats play similar gender games. How funny would it be if the party constantly tagged by Democrats as misogynistic or sexist actually beat the Democrats in putting a woman in the White House?
So why then am I uncomfortable with Haley's post? It's because she doesn't seem to be mocking the stupid notion of gender as a presidential qualification. She isn't deriding and poking fun at identity politics. Instead, she's actually promoting and citing them as justification and motivation for her own candidacy.
To be blunt, I don't understand why she feels the need to employ the Hillary Clinton strategy. She's far more impressive than Clinton.
She is a highly accomplished professional, with abundant foreign policy gravitas (more in my estimation than either of her two significant Republican rivals, including her former boss), not to mention strong executive experience as well. She has faced down corrupt dictators in the UN, and powerfully denounced the sham of its supposed "human rights" mission. She may be fielding criticism from many on the Right for her perceived acquiescence to the "Republican establishment," but there is simply no denying that Haley is a formable and qualified candidate in her own right.
So why diminish those realities? Why undercut your own legitimate talents and skills, trotting out weak sauce chromosome appeals?
The introduction of this identity-based method of evaluation into the Republican party is a gross distortion of the argument so many of us on the Right have been making for years. The argument that says competence and character matter; everything else is a distraction.
Worse, Haley's post not only lends credence, but actually intimates that Democrat accusations of historic Republican racial and sex discrimination have validity. Haley is doing herself, her party, and her movement no favors setting up a scenario whereby if she wins or loses the nomination, it's only because she's a woman.