It may not be enough to convince South Carolinians to go blue in this fall’s presidential election, but President Barack Obama’s administration is boosting federal funding to expand the shipping capabilities of the Port of Charleston.
Part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” jobs initiative, the Army Corps of Engineers is accelerating seven U.S. ports projects — including the deepening of the Charleston port — by at least nine months.
While Gov. Nikki Haley usually wastes no time in criticizing every Obama decision she can get her hands on, this time she praised the president for supporting infrastructure projects like Charleston’s. It’s obvious this is only because the money is coming to the Palmetto State, but nevertheless the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein noted the irony of one of the Republican Party’s rising stars actually cheering an Obama jobs initiative:
“This is a huge win for Charleston and for all of South Carolina,” Haley said. “Back in February, I stressed to the president how important deepening Charleston’s port was and how frustrating the Army Corps’ timetable was, and I’m thrilled to see the administration has sped up our project.”
This is a very small sliver of the We Can’t Wait initiative. And it would be hard to find Republicans who oppose the concept on principle.
But it is still rare for a prominent GOP governor to praise the administration. And even rarer for someone who is thrown, occasionally, into the conversation of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential options — suggesting, perhaps, that Haley recognizes her prospects are slim.
Yes, you read that right. Despite working directly against the Charleston port by selling the state’s interests to Georgia, Gov. Haley is giving herself some of the credit for President Obama accelerating the dredging schedule in Charleston. Haley went to Washington in February to ask Obama to increase federal funding for the Charleston project, and it appears she got it — even after skipping a White House dinner to hobnob with her DC friends.
Even so, taking credit for an increase in federal dollars for South Carolina projects represents a remarkable about-face from Gov. Haley’s trademark skepticism of the need for federal spending. “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.
Still, we’re glad Gov. Haley matured regarding the fruitfulness of public investment in infrastructure, and how it can boost job growth in a state that’s badly in need of it. Perhaps the same will hold true for her opinion of federal health and education spending!
But don’t hold your breath…