The Unseen Angle in Nikki Haley’s Civil War Response

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Race relations can be a difficult topic for those of us from the South. We Southerners have a painful memory of racism in our region’s history, from slavery to the Jim Crow period. There’s always a leftist who is eager to bring it up.

I have never been in office, but I imagine that questions about race relations or history would be “gotcha” for politicians from the South – especially conservatives. Nikki Haley may have thought of this when a question about history was asked at a New Hampshire town hall earlier in the week.

Haley was asked by a voter, “What caused the Civil War in the United States?” Haley should have been able to answer the question quickly and move on. She gave the most bizarre answer possible.

She began her quip with “Well, you don’t have an easy question.” “I think that the Civil War was a result of how the government would run, freedoms, and what people were allowed to do.”

She then asked the man who had asked the question what he believed caused the Civil War. This part of the conversation was not audible in the town hall video, but it allowed Haley to go deeper into her bizarre answers.

She continued, “I think it’s always about the role of the government and the rights of people.” “And I — I will always be firm in my belief that government is intended to protect the rights and liberties of the people. It was never intended to be everything to everyone.”

Haley strayed even further from the Civil War by launching an admirable argument that the government was intrusive, but still did not answer the question.

She said, “The government does not need to tell me how I should live my life. They don’t have to tell you how you should live your life. They don’t have to be part of your daily life. They must ensure that you are free. We need capitalism, we need economic freedom. We must do everything to ensure that people have the freedoms they need, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the freedom to do whatever they choose to do without the government interfering.”

Haley was called out by the questioner for not mentioning slavery in her answer to the question about the causes of the Civil War.

What do you want to know about slavery? She shrugged. “Next question.”

Haley appeared on New Hampshire local radio on Thursday, to discuss the controversy. She told Jack Heath, “Of Course, the Civil War is about slavery. That’s the easy bit.” “Yes, it was slavery,” she said. “I am from the South.” She said that the person who asked the question was “definitely a Democrat.”

Haley’s answer is bizarre. It’s also true that the Civil War was caused by more than just slavery. Economic factors, state’s rights, and a centralized federal government played a role.

Why ignore slavery as the root cause? Haley could have easily said, “Slavery is the immediate cause of war, but other factors were involved.” She chose to use political jargon and said what she believed the audience would want to hear. In doing so, the woman insulted the intelligence of her audience.

Jeffrey Blehar writes in National Review that “the real gaffe Haley made on Wednesday was when she went into her factory settings to answer a question which wasn’t anticipated. Her answers showed such contempt for her voters.” Nikki, we can all be adults and accept that the Civil War was fought over slavery.

Blehar says that “this small gaffe, no matter how minor, reveals something memorable about Haley. We rarely get such an accidental insight into just how little politicians care for their voters.”

She sounded like a politician, rather than answer the question concisely and move on. Haley’s nonresponse to the Civil War question was disappointing because she said some positive things about the government and our lives, but then said nothing.

It’s a pity because I had high expectations for Haley’s campaign for a very long time. It was not surprising that a Southerner, who, like Winston Churchill, said “the most beautiful voice of the world is the voice of an educated Southern Woman,” advocated for an alternative to the Biden Administration. Haley has made gaffe after gaffe since the summer. I wonder if she is not ready for primetime.