Still haven’t heard from anyone who attended Nikki’s meeting today to shore up her business relations, but The Greenville News took a stab at finding out what happened at a similar meeting up their way.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley has met privately at least twice with Greenville business leaders and assured them she would seek a better relationship with lawmakers than Gov. Mark Sanford, her political ally, and would champion economic development more fully than he has.Haley arranged the meetings – including one here Tuesday and a similar one in Columbia today – at a time when some business leaders, long disappointed with Sanford, are considering whether to take a cue from the state Chamber of Commerce and rally behind Haley’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.The first question for Haley at Tuesday’s meeting at The Loft at Soby’s was whether she would govern as Sanford has, said Lewis Gossett, president of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.Haley “basically made the point that she would be her own person,” said Gossett, who lives and works in Columbia but stopped by the meeting while in Greenville for a personal appointment.Gossett said members of the manufacturers’ alliance have been “frustrated” with Sanford and “want to know are we going to see a spirit of cooperation in Columbia?” He said some of the alliance’s members support Haley and some Sheheen.Trav Robertson, spokesman for the Sheheen campaign, said Haley would indeed govern like Sanford, who Robertson said tried to derail plans for Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research when he first took office in 2003.“Who carried Sanford’s water in the Legislature? It was Nikki Haley,” Robertson said. “Who was the first person Nikki Haley thanked when she won the nomination? Mark Sanford. So make no mistake. It’s one and the same.”Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said business people in the Upstate were interested in meeting Haley and it was natural for her to meet with them.
On the one hand, I’m almost inclined to excuse these secret meetings on the grounds that a lot of business people won’t show and say what they really think in a public forum.
But then I think, NAAAHHHH. No way should Ms. Transparency get away with this, and here’s why: According to this story, she’s telling these business people how normal and cooperative and constructive she’ll be in working with lawmakers, unlike her mentor Mark Sanford. She’s saying things sufficiently reassuring that some are coming away deciding to back her.
For her to say things that would be persuasive to sensible, pragmatic business people (who are fed up with that ideological firebrand Gov. Sangfroid), it seems to me that she would have to say things that are pretty different from what she says in front of her Tea Party fans. With them, she definitely doesn’t say, “No way I’ll be like Mark Sanford.”
But doing it in private allows her to get away with that.