Clint Brewer: The Super Donors Are Not Going to Go with Nikki Haley

Feb 16, 2023

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed public affairs specialist Clint Brewer in studio to discuss the candidacy of GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

Leahy: Back in the saddle again Clint! It looks like all the little gremlins out there, all the little Chinese balloon problems, have been cleared up.

Brewer: I think so. Maybe smoke on the water. (Leahy laughs) I’m not sure.

Leahy: Clint, it’s so much fun having you in here every Thursday at 6:00 a.m. Clint, let’s shift gears. Nikki Haley announced her candidacy for president yesterday, and she’ll be in Dallas County, Iowa on Monday. We’re going to be there. The Iowa Star will be there.

Brewer: Nice!

Leahy: By the way, I don’t know if you noticed. We launched The Iowa Star.

Brewer: Congratulations. It’s fabulous.

Leahy: We broke some news about Kari Lake when she was out there.

Brewer: Saw that.

Leahy: And it turns out that there was a crazy man out there who wanted to drive his Jeep into the venue. There was a police report on that.

Brewer: I saw that. Interesting.

Leahy: And by the way, the road to the 2024 GOP nomination goes through The Iowa Star. Because obviously, Vivek Ramaswamy is clearly going to be out there. We’re going to be with him, and we’ll be at the Dallas County event in suburban Des Moines.

On Monday, Matt Kittle will be there interviewing Nikki Haley. Your take. Now, we have two announced candidates. Donald J. Trump and Nikki Haley. Now, I’ve seen some people describe Nikki Haley as George Bush in heels.

Brewer: Oh, I don’t think that’s fair.

Leahy: It’s not fair to George Bush?

Brewer: No. (Leahy laughs) It’s not fair to George Bush. She was somebody whose star was pretty high towards the end of the Trump administration.

Leahy: She was the governor of South Carolina.

Brewer: She’s been off the scene.

Leahy: And when she was the U.S. ambassador before she resigned early, her star was up. She did a good job in her speeches there.

Brewer: She did.

Leahy: I thought.

Brewer: I thought she did a good job as ambassador.

Leahy: But she had no foreign policy experience until Donald J. Trump gave her that job, in essence. So that gave her the foreign policy cred. In 2021, she said, I will not run for president if Donald J. Trump is running for president. Well, Donald J. Trump is running for president, and this will shock you. Shock you. She’s a politician. Did she break her word or change her mind? How would you describe it?

Brewer: I think Trump’s cachet has diminished significantly, so maybe the calculus isn’t the same there. She’s not pledging not to run against the same guy she was when she made the pledge. He’s a very different political commodity.

Leahy: He’s the same guy. It’s going to hurt her. I will say this.

Brewer: Look, I don’t know that she’s she is not, I mean, there a lot would have to happen in the world, and a lot would have to happen in politics for her to be a top three candidate.

For her to be a competitive candidate, she’s going to have to catch fire in a primary in a state like Iowa or South Carolina. Of course, it’s her home state. She’s going to have to place.  Her path is to overperform in a primary in a key state.

Leahy: A caucus like in Iowa.

Brewer: A caucus and come in second or third.

Leahy: Did I mention that the road to the GOP nomination goes through The Iowa Star?

Brewer: The Iowa Star. Absolutely. Maybe she gets the endorsement of The Iowa Star, I don’t know.

Leahy: We will not be endorsing anybody. But we will take all their advertising dollars.

Brewer: My point is, she’s going to have to have she’s going to have to create for herself a moment, and it’s going to have to be through real retail politics because she’s not going to have the donors. She’s not going to have the super donors are not going to go with her. She’s not going to have that kind of money. So can she catch fire?

It’s kind of like what Huckabee did that first time he ran. And so she’s going to have to do that. I think she positions herself for a vice presidential slot, maybe, although Kari Lake or somebody like that might be or Kristi Noem, might be more in that role and bring more to a ticket. Maybe she’s jockeying for a cabinet member position I’m sure if you ask.

Leahy: I’m told Chris Christie aspires to be Secretary of Commerce.  That’s a very low objective.

Brewer: I’m sure if you asked the former governor, she’d say, no, I’m in it to win it because that’s what they have to say. But I think she’s trying to bring her political career back.

Leahy: Speaking of bringing political careers back. So, Donald J. Trump, we say it’s Trump, DeSantis, and the Munchkins. DeSantis has not yet announced. I have to say, as many mistakes as the former president has made in his post-presidency, he’s still actually performing fairly well in the polls. Relatively. I’m surprised at how well he’s performing. I think he’s going to be in this game to the very end. Your thoughts on Donald J. Trump?

Brewer: No, I think he is, too. I think he’s going to take it to the edge of the cliff. (Leahy laughs) I think he’ll run it out. That’s what he is. That’s what he does. We don’t know the field yet. There’s a lot that needs to happen. You’ve got Governor Youngkin in Virginia out there. You’ve got Senator Tim Scott in South Carolina.

Leahy: Now there is a name that I think, if I had to guess, the political person from South Carolina who would go further in this race than Nikki Haley is Tim Scott. I think Tim Scott will play better with GOP voters than Nikki Haley if Tim Scott runs. And I’m hearing that he’s thinking of running.

Brewer: Yes, same. I think he’s a compelling choice for Republican primary voters. He’s done very well for himself in his time in the Senate.

Leahy: He’s an extremely very nice fellow.

Brewer: People love him.

Leahy: People like him a lot. But does he have the policy chops? Does he have the leadership chops?

Brewer: None of these guys do or ladies do before they get there. Being President of the United States is the biggest on-the-job training experience in history. No one’s really prepared for it. If you look at the pedigrees and the resumes of people who’ve done it, there are only a handful in history who were truly prepared, and they didn’t even necessarily do a good job.

Leahy: Who would there be?

Brewer: I think probably if you just look at the pedigree of George W. Bush, he was really well prepared to be President of the United States.

Leahy: And even his dad, George H. W.

Brewer: Well, that’s what I meant, George. I didn’t mean to say W. I meant to say H. W. I think you’re right. First, Bush, I mean, he’d been director of the CIA.

Leahy: And he was a below-average president.

Brewer: But he had been director of the CIA. Being a senator. He’d been an ambassador to China. So, I mean, you don’t get more prepared for that than that. Nixon was pretty well prepared. You just look at that and you go, well, okay, so you have all this policy experience. You get in there, and you’re not a very good president.

Leahy: Boom.

Brewer: And Nixon was good until he was corrupt.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Nikki Haley” by Nikki Haley.