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Republicans don’t need this third-rate Talleyrand
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Republicans don’t need this third-rate Talleyrand

As the South Carolina presidential primary approaches, voters should be mindful of Nikki Haley’s treachery and incompetence.

We need a return from Elba, not another Talleyrand.

Napoleon Bonaparte brought stability and hope to the French people who had been mired in terror, chaos, and confusion for a decade. Certainly, his own foibles played a part in his ouster. But in the end, it was the betrayal of his foreign minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, that drove Napoleon out of power and into exile on the small island of Elba.

As governor, Nikki Haley handed out tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to foreign corporations and stabbed us in the back by supporting tax hikes.

Moreover, it was Talleyrand’s treachery that sold out the French people into the hands of foreign powers and an establishment in France that was looking for revenge. If all this is starting to sound somewhat familiar to our current political landscape, well, it should.

It’s possible my analogy isn’t perfect. For one, I am reluctant to attribute to Nikki Haley the same level of cunning and competency that Talleyrand possessed. According to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his memoir of the Trump administration, Haley’s competence was sorely lacking during her tenure at the United Nations.

But much like France during the first Bourbon restoration, we are facing enemies on all fronts and an administration in power that seems preoccupied with its own private agendas rather than the well-being of the American people.

When Napoleon managed to escape Elba and return to the shores of Southern France, he only had a few loyal men standing with him. But he counted on the frustration of the French people with the restored Bourbons, and he was right. The people of France needed help and a reprieve from their numerous depredations. By the time Napoleon arrived in Paris, he was accompanied by an army, swollen with disaffected soldiers, sailors, and common people. He took the capital in short order without firing a shot.

I think that’s where we’re headed in the 2024 South Carolina presidential primary on February 24. All of us, even those who would not admit it publicly, know that America’s economic and international circumstances were significantly better during the Trump administration than where we stand today.

I believe Donald Trump has learned from his experience dealing with the swamp and will take a Vivek Ramaswamy-style approach to cleaning it out. More than that, I believe that Trump — unlike Napoleon — will not use the presidency simply as a means of personal revenge but as a means of righting the ship of state.

Even after the Bourbon sycophants were sent scurrying out of power, there was still rampant discord in the Chamber of Representatives as foreign armies marched on the borders of France. Napoleon urged the representatives not to imitate the Greeks of the Byzantine Empire who debated subtle discussions while enemies battered their gates. Those of us who have disagreements with points of strategy in the first Trump administration would do well to remember that the gates have been battered down and millions are passing through them every year.

But back to Nikki Haley. I’ve been involved in South Carolina politics for nearly two decades. During that time, I’ve personally seen her perfidiousness and double dealing. She was elected to the state House of Representatives as a reformer and limited-government conservative. But as governor, she handed out tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to foreign corporations and stabbed us in the back by supporting tax hikes after years of saying that we didn’t need them. Then, after declaring publicly that she would not run for president against her former boss, she conveniently changed her mind when the money and offers started flowing in.

I hope that my fellow South Carolinians will recognize the stark choice that’s before us on February 24. We can choose a return to prosperity with mean tweets or put our hope in an off-brand Talleyrand: an opportunist with a penchant for betrayal. I’ll take the mean tweets and prosperity, thank you very much. I’ve got enough knives in my back already.

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