Conservatives realized a long time ago that, if universal suffrage can’t be reversed, the electorate needs to be tended year in and year out, 24/7. Elections aren’t won on election day if the ground, and the candidates aren’t properly prepared–supporters need to be energized and the opposition needs to be discouraged. Critical to that endeavor is the selection and grooming of a strong bench, charismatic candidates that appeal to the fan base and turn thinking people off. In the current South Carolina Governor’s selection process, Nikki Haley seems to fit the bill, though some members of the GOP are asking fresh questions of their party’s nominee.

Whether the recurring focus on private relationships involves the right questions is another matter. From my perspective, Ms. Haley’s grooming for public office as a representative of the health care provider industry seems more illuminating. As The State reports:

How Haley achieved financial health
Hospital created fundraising job for her

….the foundation arm of Lexington Medical Center, which State Rep. Haley had supported in its fight to open a heart surgery center, came to Haley’s financial rescue.

By 2009, Haley was pulling down more than $100,000 at a fundraising job for the Lexington Medical Center Foundation….

she was paid 63 percent more than fundraisers at similarly sized charities, according to records obtained by The State and an industry group that studies nonprofit salaries.

Those records also show that in paying Haley, Lexington Medical Center Foundation spent seven times more in salaries and overhead than the much-larger foundation at Palmetto Health Richland. Of every $10 the Lexington foundation raised, more than $2 went to pay Haley’s salary.

….the Lexington Medical Center Foundation raised money from businesses, including payday lenders, that Haley regulated as a legislator.

“It’s not unusual,” said campaign spokesman Godfrey. “The point of hiring someone to grow the impact and reach of a foundation is to bring new partners to the table and make sure that any industry that wanted to get involved in the South Carolina community saw (Lexington Medical Center) as a viable option.

“Nikki worked extremely hard for the foundation and is extremely proud of the foundation and her work.”

How prescient of the health care delivery industry. Now that much of the funding of health care continues to flow through middlemen (private insurance companies), under the supervision of state agencies, it will be nice to have a knowledgeable and well primed advocate in the Governor’s seat. One can clearly see the wisdom and benefit of small government control. A smaller number of office holders in a relatively small state (a population about half the size of the number who call New York City home) is obviously easier to manipulate by the privileged class, than that gaggle of crooks up in Washington.

In a sense, it’s all in the family. In responding about donations from a couple of pay-day lenders to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation,

Lexington Medical spokesman Wilson, the daughter-in-law of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, said neither company had donated to the hospital’s foundation before.

Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson is, of course, the poster boy for how being “involved in the South Carolina community” paves the road to political advancement. Even newcomers can do it by marrying into the right family. And those “family values” do resonate. Getting something for nothing.

The question she always was trying to answer, Haley said, was: “What can we get donated? What do we not have to pay?”

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."