Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! The next new Morning Jolt will appear Monday, November 28. If you’re going to be driving on Interstate 95 North this afternoon, please stay out of the left lane.
Meet Your New Ambassador to the United Nations, America!
There you have it, magnanimous President-elect Trump:
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the first woman tapped for a top-level administration post during his transition to the White House.
Two sources familiar with the decision, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss it by name ahead of the announcement, also said that the ambassadorship will be a Cabinet-level position.
You aren’t misremembering; she was indeed a Trump critic during the primary. She initially preferred Marco Rubio and when he departed the race, she switched to Ted Cruz. And in several public remarks, Haley went right up to the line of suggesting that Trump’s rhetoric was dangerous:
Haley said divisive rhetoric — like that seen in the presidential campaign — drives violence like the Charleston mass slaying.
Hearing that rhetoric from Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, was “the reason I was vocal about it. I know what that rhetoric can do. I saw it happen” in Charleston, she said.
“Bad things can happen when you have rhetoric like that, and people can get hurt.”
Haley said she endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the GOP presidential contest “to show that that’s not all of who we are.”
“I don’t think that people who support Trump are haters. I don’t think that people who support Trump are racists. I think that’s a different kind of anger in that they’re upset with Washington, D.C. They’re upset that nothing got done. And that’s what this is about.”
But, Haley added, “the way that he (Trump) communicates that, I wish were different.”
Isaac Bailey, longtime political columnist in South Carolina, wrote on CNN’s website how Haley won him over — and how those scoffing that she doesn’t fit in the world of international diplomacy shouldn’t be so certain she can’t adapt to a new role:
It’s clear to me that those who dismiss Haley are making a serious mistake. I was there when Haley came through Myrtle Beach during her first run for governor and was being mocked then, too, by experts who said she had no shot in a state who had only elected white men for its highest office. Anyone paying attention to how she handled questions during press conferences way back then could see how clear it was that she was a force to be reckoned with. She was then dismissed again during her first term as she traded elbows with a Republican-controlled General Assembly not always allied with her — until she got the job done, again and again.
If you’re a Haley fan, there are a few lingering questions. How smoothly will she actually work with Trump and the not-yet-named secretary of state? How much will the public even see her in this role?
Here are the last nine non-acting U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations: Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Zalmay Khalizad, John Bolton, John Danforth, John Negroponte (the era of Johns), Richard Holbrooke, Bill Richardson, Madeline Albright . . . if you go further back, you can find some real stars and voices of influence, long after their tenure ended: Jeane Kirkpatrick, Andrew Young, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, George H. W. Bush. But you also see names largely forgotten to history. Is this a stepping stone for Haley, or the equivalent of putting her up on a shelf to get her out of the way?
Meet Your Next Governor, South Carolina!
A cabinet pick sets off a lot of falling dominoes. Pretty soon, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will head to Capitol Hill for some — presumably smooth — confirmation hearings, and depart the governor’s mansion in Columbia. That would mean Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster would become governor.
The 69-year-old lieutenant governor has a famous name in South Carolina politics; his father was attorney and former state representative John Gregg McMaster. He has pretty impeccable conservative credentials: U.S. Army JAG from 1969 to 1975, worked as a legislative assistant to Senator Strom Thurmond from 1973 to 1974, worked in private practice, and in 1981 he was the first U.S. attorney appointed by President Reagan. He served in this position until 1985. After four years as U.S. attorney for South Carolina. McMaster served eight years as attorney general of South Carolina.
McMaster ran for governor in 2010, and competed with Haley in the primary, and came in third. The two campaigns never got that heated against each other, and he endorsed her after the primary. In office since then, the pair were rarely at odds until this year, when they publicly disagreed about endorsing three longtime Republican state senators.
For a while, it appeared McMaster was interviewing for a role in the Trump administration as well:
McMaster said he has been speaking with the Trump transition team about becoming attorney general. McMaster was a U.S. attorney and the elected state attorney general before becoming lieutenant governor.
With the announcement of Sessions, McMaster won’t be getting that role. If McMaster also leaves his position to work in some other role in the Trump administration, there would be genuine uncertainty about who would become the next governor:
Senate President Pro Tempore Leatherman would rise to the governor’s office. If Leatherman took the post, there would be a Senate election for a new president pro tempore, who then would rise to lieutenant governor.
However, many say Leatherman holds more power now than he would as governor so he could resign to avoid becoming governor. That means senators would elect a new pro tempore to become governor and another to become lieutenant governor.
If McMaster stays, the next big question is who becomes the next lieutenant governor, a position that doesn’t seem to be all that appealing, unless you see it as a stepping stone to being governor:
Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman is next in line, but the 85-year-old Florence Republican could step down from the leadership role to remain the state’s most powerful lawmaker as chair of several finance panels.
The lieutenant governor has much less influence in a state where power lies in the Legislature.
State Sen. John Courson, R-Columbia, stepped down as Senate president pro tempore in 2014 to avoid becoming lieutenant governor after Glenn McConnell was hired as president of the College of Charleston. Leatherman took the Senate’s top spot after then-Sen. Yancey McGill, D-Kingstree, agreed to become lieutenant governor.
The 2018 South Carolina Republican gubernatorial primary could be a real free-for-all, with about a dozen lawmakers and public figures mentioned as possible candidates.
Oh, Hey, Refusing to Accept Election Results Is Totally Cool Now
Hey, remember this Huffington Post headline from October?
Yeah, never mind! Apparently it’s now totally fine to refuse to accept election results, and even harangue people to the point of harassment in an effort to overturn the outcome!
Though electors in several states report that they’re getting thousands of emails, letters and even telephone calls to ask them to switch their votes, they’re among the Republican Party’s most loyal members.
More than 4.5 million supporters have signed a Change.org petition advocating electors’ change of heart, but the desire is little more than a pipe dream, election experts said. Two Democratic electors in Colorado and Washington state, where Clinton won the electoral votes and electors are obligated under state law to vote for her, have launched their own movement that they’ve dubbed “Moral Electors” to achieve the same result — or more likely throw the decision to the House of Representatives as happened in 1824.
“This is a long shot. It’s a Hail Mary,” P. Bret Chiafalo of Everett, Wash., told Politico. “However, I do see situations where — when we’ve already had two or three (Republican) electors state publicly they didn’t want to vote for Trump. How many of them have real issues with Donald Trump in private?”
Where Chiafalo sees a Hail Mary play, some Trump electors consider the drama more as harassment.
“Hillary’s got a great campaign going,” said Sharon Geise, an elector from Mesa, Ariz., who estimates 8,000 emails have flooded her inbox. “It’s the same thing, pretty much. Basically: Vote for Hillary Clinton. It’s bizarre. I don’t dare answer my phone.”
How is it nobody has checked in with that Washington state elector who said he wouldn’t cast his vote for Hillary Clinton?
ADDENDA: Over on NRO’s home page, I point out that you don’t need the New York Times, or Vox, or The Atlantic, or anyone else to give you talking points to deal with your relatives at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You just need to appreciate them for who they are and what they bring into your life, warts and all.
I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, a safe and altercation-free Black Friday, a prosperous Small Business Saturday, and a good Whatever It Is We Call Sunday.