Monday, March 26, 2012

Haley ignores education questions, promotes book

A huge thank-you to Paul Bowers of the Charleston City Paper for catching Governor Nikki Haley's book-promotion gimmick on Facebook yesterday and documenting the interaction. If such things happen again, we should share the word as quickly as possible, to get as many interested South Carolinians as possible involved in asking questions.

That is, the ones who are Haley's Facebook friends.

Here are some highlights from Bowers's report:

Gov. Nikki Haley opened the floodgates on her Facebook page Sunday afternoon, announcing that she would be riding in the car for a while and would be available to answer people's questions and comments.

Predictably, some of the questions were rhetorical in nature, and there was a rush of back-patting from her fans.

This is reportedly the only sort of interaction allowed by Haley on her Facebook page. Offer critique, and you're unfriended.

Haley also worked in a pitch for her upcoming memoir, Can't Is Not an Option, which is set for release April 3 (and by the way, if you're interested, she will be signing copies of the book on April 9 at 6 p.m. at Blue Bicycle Books).

Great head's-up to all those in the Charleston area who may want to organize themselves for the purpose of exercising free speech rights and communicating some messages to the state's chief executive. That's Blue Bicycle Books, April 9, 6 p.m.

But some of the legitimate questions got illuminating answers. Here are a few of the questions, followed by Haley's responses:

Do you have interest to become a GOP senator in the future? I have no desire right now to run for US Senate. I am perfectly happy being Governor of the best state in the country!

Notice the qualifier "right now." Ugh. Guess that means Lindsey's terms are numbered.

But also notice the generic "best state in the country." Not the "state where children are treated best, and domestic violence is non-existent, and rural communities thrive, and public education is best supported," because, unfortunately, none of those qualifiers would be true. Good that she went with "best state in the country."

Carolina or Clemson? Go Tigers!

It seems almost daily here in SC where a parent or person is being arrested for child abuse. What can be done to make longer sentences for child abusers? Contact your legislators to push for tougher standards on child abuse.

Ah, the old "contact your legislators" dodge.

I'm the governor, here. Passing laws against child abuse is not part of governor-ing. And why bring up child abuse in a Facebook chat anyway? Don't be such a downer. Geez. I'm trying to sell a book, for Pete's sake.

How's the SC tax reform coming along? The House did not include our tax reform in their budget. Please contact the Senate and remind them that it is your money.

Ooh, good one. Beat up on the House for not kowtowing to the Queen, and the Senate for not acting fast enough. Classy.

Governor Haley, serious question: How do you think other states should improve to be more competitive for jobs? Right to work state's [sic] and fair and balanced tax structures are the key to job growth and retention.

Anytime [sic] has to appear in text, it's not a good sign. But look at her, selling the old "right-to-work-for-less" ideology like its ice cream: Poor people, be happy with the meager pittances you get for your hard work; ignore your hunger by imagining the taste of ripe strawberries in your mouth!

What can we do to bring good clean prosperous industry to Williamsburg Co? The way we help Winnsboro is the way we help every other part of our state, we have to seriously reform our tax code, increase educational options, strengthen our workforce training so that we match those unemployed with companies that need jobs, and continue to reduce regulations on businesses. all of the things we work on everyday [sic]. thanks!

Did Haley really mean to suggest that Winnsboro is in Williamsburg County? I just re-read the question, and the question definitely asked how industry could be brought to Williamsburg County, yet Haley's response was about Winnsboro, in Fairfield County, a full 111 miles northwest of Williamsburg's county seat.

It must be a right-wing-governor thing. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin didn't know that the head of government in Great Britain is the prime minister, either, or that "the Fed" refers to the Federal Reserve System, which regulates American monetary policy. Here in South Carolina, our governor doesn't know Winnsboro from Williamsburg County.

That's our governor!

Just want to know...have you and the kids seen The Hunger Games??? We have not seen The Hunger Games but can't wait!

I haven't seen the film either, but according to the synopses readily available on the internet, the Haley family needn't wait to see "The Hunger Games," or even go to a theater to see it. They can see the film's basic themes played out just by taking a leisurely drive through their city and state.

I live in NC and am very impressed with your jobs creation. Do you have any plans to meet with Pat McCrory when he is the new NC governor to discuss how SC is bringing jobs to the Southeast? I have already been campaigning some with Pat McCrory and look forward to partnering with him to better the Carolinas.

So in addition to flitting about various northeastern states to campaign for her favored presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and in addition to meeting Georgia's governor in secret in Augusta to discuss their plans for the port at Savannah, Haley has also found time to cross our northern border and meddle in the affairs of North Carolina.

Hopefully, while she's in North Carolina, she might ask questions about how that state achieved and has maintained a respectable education budget during the past forty years, even paying its teachers at the national average -- way better than the tired old "$300 above the Southeastern average."

What are your thoughts on open carry? I believe SC is one of 6 states that doesnt allow it. As a CWP holder myself, I have and would support open carry laws in SC.

Why is unemployment so broken, I have had people steal from us and then get benefits. Why can't SC at least drug test people that want or need assistance? I support drug testing FTP receive unemployment benefits.

Saints be praised. I wonder how long our governor has been packing heat?

This is why the rest of Western civilization stares at us with their mouths open. It's not awe, it's disbelief.

The questions that Haley chose not to answer were also noteworthy. Here are a few of the queries she left hanging:

• You're doing a great job Nikki! One comment though: our son has special needs (verbal apraxia) and we've recently set up our education plan with our Greenville County School District. They could not provide a special ed classroom for him because of the high criteria, even though he is non-verbal and cannot communicate with the students and staff at his private preschool. There is a gap for children with only communication needs that needs to be filled, and soon!

• What can you do to help the FIRST robotics teams of the state...existing and up and their season. Nick Zais actually did show up at our competition this weekend and got to see what we do with our kids first hand. The problem is teams are struggling from lack of funding. This is too good of a program to let slip away.

• Are you a supporter of TFA [Teach For America] and other programs like it, seeking to get the best teachers/leaders in front of ALL classrooms, no matter the ZIP code?

• Why does your budget call for more cuts in spending for education? I'm an educator and with all these cuts on top of local and federal bureaucracy it is making it harder and harder to want to stay teaching.

• Do you have any plans to be more supportive of the teachers and the law enforcement in our state? The retirement bill that is being passed doesn't appear to be showing any support. Taking more money, lowering the benefits and extending the time to work. We haven't gotten any pay raises in a quite a while and the government is talking about taking more from us. The pay raises that were talked about a month ago won't amount to anything if this retirement bill passes. What is your explanation for this?


So let's review the highlights.

Talking about her upcoming book? Great.

Leaving the state to campaign for wingnuts elsewhere? Great.

Supporting Clemson? Great.

Promoting a new film about killing the children of the 99 percent for the entertainment of the one percent? Great.

Burnishing her chick-with-a-gun credentials? Great.

Denigrating poor people who rely on our social safety net for subsistence? Great.

Tightening penalties for child abuse? Ugh: Pass the buck to lawmakers.

Tax relief? Great AND pass the buck to lawmakers -- a two-fer!

South Carolina geography? Ugh: Pivot to the talking points. Who cares that Winnsboro isn't near Williamsburg County? Both start with Dubya!

But anything having to do with addressing parents' concerns about public education, and service for their children, and protecting innovative school programs, and supporting teachers and other public employees?


Which is precisely what many of us are saying about Haley's place in the line of South Carolina's governors.

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