South Carolina GOP gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley was interviewed by Human Events editor Jason Mattera over the weekend at the RedState Gathering in Austin, Tex. Here are the highlights from the interview:
Human Events: What economic policies pursued by Democrats do you find most threatening to the people of South Carolina?
Nikki Haley: It’s really the federal intrusion, whether we’re talking about the healthcare mandate that’s going to cost each individual $700 or 2% of their income, whichever is greater; whether it’s how they are not allowing states to handle their own illegal immigration issues, that’s offensive; whether we’re talking about bailouts and stimulus packages where they’re forcing us to spend dollars we may not necessarily want to have. That’s the biggest economic burden right now—is the one the federal government is just imposing down on us.
HE: There’s talk now of the GOP possibly compromising on the tax cut issue with allowing most of the tax cuts to be reinstated, but allowing the top-tier one to go back to pre-President Bush levels. How would you handle that?
Haley: I think that’s unfortunate. I’m very disappointed because we know our economy turns when you reward people for being successful; when you reward businesses for being successful. To sit there and not reinstate those cuts is really slowing down what could be a great economic turn if we allow that to happen. If they even cut off one slight part of that, we’re not going to see improvements. They need to install those totally. I was disappointed to see that they’re compromising on that. I don’t think that’s an issue we should be compromising on.
HE: So if you have the vote and what was before you was a portion of the tax cuts get reinstated, you would be a no; they have to be all or nothing?
Haley: No, I think they’ve got to get back to the table; that’s not an option. I’m one of those “don’t say can’t,” say “how do we get this done?” It needs to be all. And they need to keep fighting until they get all. If we make it to November, I think we’re going to have majorities where we need to have them and if it means delaying it until we get exactly what we want, we need to do that. But you can’t just say we’re going to do part of the cuts and not all of the cuts. So yes, I do want them to give cuts to as many people as they can, I just don’t want them to settle and say they’re going to compromise and throw their hands up. They’ve got some more fighting to do.
HE: With Obamacare, with the stimulus package, and all these other proposed programs from Washington, it really handicaps the states. They’re forced to pay for a lot of these measures. The citizens have to buy health insurance now mandated by a government bureaucrat. Is there ever going to be a point in the near future where you see governors of states and legislatures say, “Sorry, no thanks. You may have mandated this but we’re not going to follow”?
Haley: What you are going to see me do is get a coalition of governors, and in the case of healthcare, say rather than mandating healthcare on our citizens, we would rather you allow our states to offer incentives to small businesses to offer healthcare. Allow us to pass tort reform like Texas did where OB/GYN’s and neurosurgeons are flocking to the state. Allow us to reform our Medicaid programs. And what we need the federal government to do is allow insurance companies to cross state lines so it’s competitive and affordable.
So, we need to be able to say “no, we don’t need you to do this; but the solution is this.” So, it’s not just no, it’s what the solution is. When we show the federal government that states can handle these issues on their own, we need to let them know they need to stay out of the way. Let us do what we can. When we need their help, we will ask. Otherwise, less government is better.
HE: What’s the most disturbing thing about the Obama Administration thus far?
Haley: That it’s trying to be all things to all people. And that’s a dangerous, dangerous philosophy. Government tends to mess up more than it fixes. We need to remember that the private sector does everything best. We need to remember we need to reward people for being successful because they will want to be. We need to remember that when the federal government thinks that money will solve all problems, all that does is run up the credit card debt and it’s left on the tax payers to pick up the bill.
HE: Lastly, the GOP has had a pretty weak outreach to minorities for a while now. How do you envision reaching out to minorities with the conservative message? How do we target that demographic that seems to be locked into Democrat control?
Haley: We talk to them. We open up the conversation. You can’t just say they should be with us. You have to talk to them on “why?” We will have conversations with minorities. I certainly will, as a minority female, to say if you think money is better spent in your wallet than when it’s in the hands of government, you need to be with us.
If you want government to stay out of the way and allow you to have the freedoms and rights this country offers, then you need to stay with us. If you think things are better handled by the private sector as opposed to a government mandate, then you need to stay with us. And show them why we need to have that conversation. Then they will start to come over.
What we’ve seen in South Carolina is we’re picking up minorities. But we’re picking up minorities based on a message. Not saying where they should or shouldn’t be; what that label should or shouldn’t be. It’s having that conversation. We need to stop looking at quotas and start having conversations.