As the not-Trump Republican candidates for President stagger through campaigns that have yet to answer the question “Why should I vote for you instead of Donald Trump?” each of them has intentionally or inadvertently defined themselves.
Chris Christie is the proud standard-bearer of the #NeverTrump bitter enders, Vivek Ramaswamy seems to have carved-out the proto-libertarian lane, Ron DeSantis has a solid base among movement conservatives, and Nikki Haley, although she would like to hide it, is the candidate of the Bush wing of the Republican establishment.
It is now largely forgotten but back in 2010 Haley received crucial campaign help from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, an “old friend” she said played a big part in her winning the job in 2010, and Jeb Bush was there for her again in 2014 as talk about his own low energy presidential campaign revved up.
Haley later stiffed Jeb by endorsing Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary, and Governor Haley’s entrees with the Bush political family have been largely off the radar of the DC establishment conservative media, but there’s a longstanding mutual admiration society there, with Bush consiglieri Karl Rove and Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney among the principals.
So, it should have surprised no one when Governor Haley showed up in Connecticut to give the keynote speech at the Prescott Bush Award Dinner.
And recently, a new super PAC led by George W. Bush’s cousin Jonathan Bush was formed to try to swing independent voters in favor of Nikki Haley. Jonathan Bush, co-founder of the Independents Move the Needle super PAC, is working to pull together what’s left of the old Bush coalition of neocons on foreign policy and moderates on social and cultural issues and get them behind Nikki Haley.
However, the latest “tell” that former Governor and UN Ambassador Haley’s campaign is being kept alive by Bush revanchists is the endorsement of New Hampshire’s Bush-aligned Governor Chris Sununu.
Gov. Sununu, who passed on running for president himself, pledged in his endorsement to go “all-in” for Haley. An unabashed GOP “moderate,” if that’s not an oxymoron, Sununu is a son of former New Hampshire governor and Bush White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, and a younger brother of former U.S. representative and senator John E. Sununu.
New Hampshire is where George H.W. Bush regained “the Big Mo” and with Sununu family backing pulled ahead in the 1988 Republican Primary, and the alliance has held steady ever since.
While the Sununus themselves have prospered as “moderates” in New Hampshire by abandoning traditional Granite State conservatism, the state’s Republican Party has steadily lost ground under their content-free leadership.
And, while we hold to CHQ Chairman Richard A Viguerie’s aphorism that “Who you walk with tells me who you are,” Nikki Haley’s support from the Bush wing of the GOP is based on more than just having the right friends.
Governor Haley’s credibility as a presidential candidate rests largely on her fusion of a content-free governorship and her foreign policy “experience” as President Donald Trump’s UN ambassador.
However, as Glenn Greenwald explained in a lengthy column, rather than embracing the Trump foreign policy she was supposed to defend at the UN, on the 2024 campaign trail Haley has been vintage Bush on the foreign policy front:
The requirement for being seen as a serious national security expert in the eyes of the corporate press is clear and obvious: you must cheer U.S. wars every time one is proposed, and certainly every time one is being fought. By that metric, there is no greater foreign policy sage in the United States than Nikki Haley, with the possible exception of Lindsey Graham. That’s why the U.S. media adored John McCain so much: he cheered every U.S. war. Last night, Haley let her warmongering and neocon colors fly more proudly than ever and that’s why she got such universally high marks from the GOP establishment and the corporate media that ordinarily has nothing but scorn to keep on Republican candidates. They want Nikki Haley to be the nominee for Americans to have no choice on foreign policy when they go to the polls next year to vote: two candidates, two parties that represent the warmongering neocon ideology.
The bottom line on Nikki Haley? We have to agree with Mark Levin, Nikki Haley is George W. Bush in a dress. Eight years in South Carolina, she’s not running on her record because she doesn’t have much of a record. DeSantis runs on his record. And Nikki Haley runs attacking Trump. She took a job from Trump as the UN’s ambassador. She appreciated that. Mike Pompeo writes in his book, effectively and essentially, that she was a political climber, not a team player, and you can see that.
As Levin said, “She is the establishment’s candidate. That’s who they have now rallied around. She’s the candidate of many of these RINO billionaires in the Republican Party. That’s who they’re rallying behind because they love the Bush dynasty.”
2024 Republican presidential race