Nikki Haley’s Foreign Vacations
By Paul Gable
You have to give Gov. Nikki Haley credit. By the end of this week and in less than two years in office, she will have visited three of the world’s great cities. Even better for her, Haley’s foreign vacations are being paid for with taxpayer dollars.
These three trips, London, Paris and Tokyo, are billed under that great government boondoggle category “economic development.” No big surprise there, it’s the category always used when the real intent is ‘We want to use public dollars to advance private agendas.’
In Haley’s case, however, I believe her private agenda is political more than personal. Remember, this is a governor with two paid staffers (taxpayer dollars) to advance her image and profile.
At least since the last quarter of the Twentieth Century, the trip abroad by politicians has been seen as a necessary ticket to be punched on the way to national recognition.
Presidential candidates, especially governors with no foreign policy experience, use trips abroad to build the resume.
Jimmy Carter made several trips abroad as governor of Georgia. Bill Clinton made trade mission trips to Japan, Taiwan and other East Asian nations as well as Western Europe and the Soviet Union. George W. Bush made a Middle East trip while governor of Texas including meetings with the Egyptian president and Israeli prime minister.
It’s not just governors either. Barack Obama visited Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, France, Britain and Germany in 2008 while John McCain had a Latin American adventure.
Does Nikki really see herself as a future presidential candidate? Or are these trips being used to help promote Nikki’s resume for appointment to a significant position in a Romney administration should he win in two months?
Probably both in her mind and it’s all the better that she doesn’t have to foot the bill herself. Of course, neither did any of the others listed above.
“Economic development” covers such a myriad of sins with public dollars for private gain.
But, let Nikki have her fun. I’ve never been to Tokyo, but, in my experience, Paris is worth one visit and London many. I would also recommend a Strauss/Mozart Christmas week concert in Vienna if she can swing it before the end of the year.