Gov. Nikki Haley has made no secret about her disdain for federal funding for South Carolina, but the Republican governor did an about-face on Monday when she personally asked President Obama to increase federal port spending.
Specifically, Haley said she asked the president to allocate more money to dredge the port of Charleston — a project which Obama has already devoted $3.5 million toward expanding, according to McClatchy Newspapers’ James Rosen. This comes a day after the governor skipped a White House dinner to meet some friends in Washington Sunday night, so I wouldn’t count on the president doing Haley any favors.
The governor’s presumptuous request also came the same day state representatives voted 111-1 to overturn her veto of a measure blocking the Haley-appointed Department of Health and Environmental Control board from allowing Georgia to dredge its own port, which would effectively shut Charleston out of the international shipping business. Funny how after spending so much time working for Georgia’s interests, the governor suddenly claims to be an advocate of South Carolina’s ports after being so resoundingly rebuked by the legislature.
Gov. Haley’s about-face is a departure from her longtime skepticism of the need for federal spending. In June 2011, the tea party governor and her Republican Superintendent of Education refused over $150 million in federal education money intended to save teachers’ jobs. In September, Haley refused to accept millions more which would help the state set up its health care exchange.
“All government money, borrowed or not, comes from the taxpayers, and it’s those taxpayers who will be left to pay when the bill comes due,” Haley wrote in a July 2011 op-ed with fellow tea party governor Rick Perry.
But that apparently wasn’t an issue when Gov. Haley approved her Department of Transportation’s request for a $52 million federal bailout after the department spent so much it couldn’t pay its contractors. And it certainly isn’t the case now, as Haley again turns to the feds for earmarks to help.
Just so we’re all clear, the governor wouldn’t accept federal money bound for South Carolina’s education and health care systems. But when the money is being used to fix political foul-ups that Haley’s own administration helped cause, the governor has no problem begging for those Obama-bucks.
When it comes down to it, it’s not about ports, highways, schools or hospitals — and certainly not about the people of South Carolina,. For Gov. Haley, it’s all about her.