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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nikki Haley Lied About Race On Voter Registration Form? SC's 1st Non-White Governor! (Tea Party Hypocrisy))

Indian Nikki Haley Says She Is White

For the children of immigrants, the road to acceptance in America can be a bumpy one. There will be pain. There will be embarrassment. There will be relentless, cruel accusations from your brethren that you are assimilating at the expense of your true cultural heritage. And the stories of the children of immigrants who rise to positions of influence and power are especially inspiring given the challenges before them.

Not so inspiring?

Lying about where you're from, like South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), the American-born child of Indian parents, might have done.

The Associated Press reports that in 2001, Haley listed her race as "white" on her voter registration form.

State Democrats accuse her of being a fake-race opportunist in a state that is, according to the US Census poll, about 66% white (and just a tick over 1% Asian). From the South Carolina Post and Courier:

The state Democratic Party, which first obtained [Haley's voter registraton information], is calling Haley out on the matter and challenging whether her inconsistency on the card might have made her ineligible to voter under the state's new Voter ID law.

Dick Harpootlian, the party chairman, said whether Haley listed her race as white or not doesn’t really matter to him, but the issue is that the governor has shown a pattern of such actions.

"Haley has been appearing on television interviews where she calls herself a minority—when it suits her," Harpootlian said. "When she registers to vote she says she is white. She has developed a pattern of saying whatever is beneficial to her at the moment."

For Haley, voter fraud is a big deal.

She recently signed a new law requiring that voters present photo identification at the polls that, she says, will "improve South Carolina in terms of integrity, accountability and transparency." Voter ID laws, of course, don't actually decrease voter fraud (which is virtually nonexistent). Instead, they mostly keep Democratic voters away from the polls.

Haley hasn't yet responded to the South Carolina Democrats' accusations. But even though she didn't exactly commit voter fraud, her self-race-mis-classification seems to undermine her credibilty as someone who wants to prevent people from lying on their way to the voting booth.

Nikki Haley's Heritage & Background

Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, Sikh-turned-Methodist Republican, was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010.

Ms. Haley is the first woman and racial minority elected governor of South Carolina, one of the nation's most conservative states.

After running a primary campaign so underfinanced that it had to sell yard signs at $5 apiece, Ms. Haley became one of the brightest rising stars in the Republican Party, a Tea Party favorite, a Sarah Palin endorsee and the subject of national attention. During her campaign she held rallies across the state, linking her opponent to President Obama and bringing in big-name supporters like Mitt Romney.

For most of her first six months in office, Ms. Haley managed to keep a congenial, if tense, working relationship with the Legislature. At least, it was much improved from the bitter relationship between lawmakers and her predecessor, Mark Sanford.

In June 2011, Ms. Haley found herself at the center of a legislative standoff after she ordered a rebellious State Senate to get back to work to consider four measures that would restructure parts of the state government, including a new department enabling her to manage day-to-day operations. The Senate leadership responded by successfully asking the State Supreme Court for an injunction. In 3-to-2 vote, the court ruled that the executive order violated the Legislature’s ability to set its own schedule.

Ms. Haley, whose office filed a response to the suit with the support of several Republicans, argued that forcing lawmakers back to finish state business was not unprecedented.

The battle, however, is not over. The governor could still force the Legislature to take up her agenda later, and the entire incident is likely to have a lasting impact on the relationship between the governor and the House and Senate.


In terms of her personal upbringing, Ms. Haley, who was born in 1972, is without precedent for South Carolina. The state has the lowest percentage of women elected to office of any state in America, and Ms. Haley is the only Indian-American elected official.

But ideologically, she is hardly a novelty in South Carolina.

Ms. Haley became part of a small cadre of small-government advocates who are ideologically aligned with Mr. Sanford and at odds with the rest of the state's Republican establishment, whom they accuse of abandoning conservative principles. Like the former governor, she has repeatedly taken her case to the public, sometimes embarrassing legislative leaders and helping her develop a loyal following.

Ms. Haley grew up in Bamberg, S.C., and her parents were the first Indian immigrants the small, working-class town had ever seen. Ms. Haley — born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa and always called Nikki, which means "little one," by her family — said that growing up in Bamberg was at times tough. Her father wears a turban and, though male Sikhs are not supposed to cut their hair, her brothers' was trimmed after teasing at school grew vicious.

Her father, Ajit Randhawa, was a biology professor at Voorhees College in nearby Denmark, S.C.; her mother, Raj, started Exotica International as a gift shop. From early on, Ms. Haley was involved in her family's clothing business, which sells gowns, suits and jewelry — taking over the bookkeeping at age 13.

Before she ran for office, Ms. Haley got an accounting degree at Clemson University, where she met her husband, who works for the Army and also serves as an officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard. She worked for FCR, a waste management and recycling company, and then returned to Exotica as chief financial officer and helped the company grow into a multimillion-dollar business.

NAACP calls out SC's minority governor on flag

The NAACP's top officer called on South Carolina's "first governor of color" to bring down the Confederate flag that flies a stone's throw from Gov. Nikki Haley's Statehouse office.

NAACP president Benjamin Jealous Monday pointed out a longstanding fight with South Carolina over the Confederate flag on Monday during his keynote speech for the civil rights organization's annual convention in Los Angeles.

"Perhaps one of the most perplexing examples of the contradictions of this moment in history is that Nikki Haley, South Carolina's first governor of color, continues to fly the Confederate Flag in front of her state's capitol," Jealous said. Haley is the first governor in the state born of parents who immigrated from India.

"Given the similarities between our struggles to end slavery and segregation and her ancestors' struggle to end British colonialism and oppression in India, my question to Governor Haley is one that Dr. King often asked himself: 'What would Gandhi do?'"

The NAACP launched an economic boycott of the state in 1999 about the banner that flew atop the Statehouse dome and in the chambers of the House and Senate. A compromise in 2000 moved the flag to a monument outside the Statehouse.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said the issue was long ago resolved by white and black South Carolinians.

"Many people were uncomfortable with that compromise, but it addressed a sensitive subject in a way that South Carolina as a whole could accept," Godfrey said. "We don't expect people from outside of the state to understand that dynamic, but revisiting that issue is not part of the governor's agenda."

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Sources: AP, Mother Jones, NY Times, The State, USA Today, Youtube, Google Maps

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