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As GOP diversifies, South Carolina is rising


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Washington Post:

The libretto of this operatic election season, understandably promoted by Democrats and unsurprisingly sung by many in the media, is that Republicans have sown the seeds of November disappointments by nominating candidates other than those the party's supposedly wiser establishment prefers. This theory is inconvenienced by two facts: South Carolina's Nikki Haley and Tim Scott.

"I am a policy girl," Haley, 38, says demurely. But she is a savvy politician who in 2004 won a state legislature seat by defeating the longest-serving incumbent. Although the state's Republican establishment opposed her nomination for governor, she won because for two years she has been traveling around the state asking this question: Does anyone think it odd that in 2007 only 8 percent of the decisions by the state House, and only 1 percent of the state Senate's decisions, were made by recorded votes?

The political class and its parasitic lobbyists preferred government conducted in private. Haley, whose early campaign strategy was exuberantly indiscriminate ("go anywhere and talk to anybody") won the gubernatorial nomination by defeating the state's lieutenant governor, its attorney general and a congressman.

She and her state have come a long way since, at about age 5, in her home town of Bamberg, she and her sister entered the Little Miss Bamberg pageant. It usually crowned a white and a black queen. The flummoxed judges disqualified both Randhawa girls.

If elected, Haley will be the second Indian American Republican governor in Dixie, joining Louisiana's Bobby Jindal. She, unlike him, does not look like someone from the subcontinent; her faintly olive complexion could be Mediterranean. Tunku Varadarajan of Stanford's Hoover Institution and New York University's Stern School of Business suggests why they have risen in the Republican Party while no Indian American has comparably risen in the Democratic Party:

"Could it be that because Democrats put more of an emphasis on identity politics, an Indian American Democrat would have to contend with other ethnic constituencies that might think that it's 'their turn' first? And once you go down the 'identity' route, your success as a politician tends to rest more on the weight of numbers -- the size of your ethnic constituency, or your racial voting bloc -- than on the weight of your ideas."

It didn't hurt Haley that she ran against morons. But for all their vaunted "Diversity," the Democrats are still the ones who look at people like her as a group rather than as individuals.
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