Mike Kueber's Blog

April 23, 2012

Nikki Haley’s husband and John Wayne

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 4:57 pm
Tags: , , ,

A couple of weeks ago, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley was making the rounds on TV promoting her new book called Can’t Is Not an Option.  During an interview on Imus in the Morning, she dodged his question about the allegations of her extra-marital affairs by simply stating that scurrilous stories like that are unfortunately a part of political life in America.  Although Imus could have easily pressed her on the subject, and made her dodging more obvious, he accepted her answer and moved on because that is his style.

Later in the interview, while discussing her husband Michael, Haley stated that he was a captain in the Army National Guard and that he wore his uniform to work every day.  Boy, was she proud of him.

Call me cynical, but her odd phrasing about wearing uniform to work every day immediately sent warning flags to my journalistic, bullshit-detecting instincts.  It reminded me of the other Republican wunderkind Marco Rubio saying that he was the child of Cuban exiles.  When caught on this canard, Rubio refused to apologize and instead doubled down and rationalized. 

A little bit of research on Michael Haley soon revealed that Nikki Haley was carefully not lying about her husband wearing a uniform to work every day, just as Bill Clinton was arguably not lying when he said he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky.  But just as Clinton was trying to mislead people, so is Nikki Haley. 

Michael Haley is an officer in the Army National Guard, but that is a weekend warrior slot.  His full-time job is as a “federal technician” with the South Carolina National Guard.  The weird thing about a federal technician is that they are civilian employees who must also be weekend warriors.  Furthermore, they are instructed to wear their weekend-warrior uniform to work during the week even though they are civilian employees.

An acquaintance of mine in the National Guard in San Antonio told me that the state of Texas also utilizes federal technicians, but she couldn’t explain what the economic rationale for the position is.  She noted that, “They are GS government employees, but are required to be members of the National Guard as a condition of their employment.  They do wear the uniform, but get paid on a civilian pay scale.  Personally I dislike the program, since they wear the uniform but sometimes lack the discipline and commitment expected from a soldier. They can only work certain hours and must get paid overtime if they work extra.  They more closely resemble a union type of employee.”

My complaint with Nikki Haley’s claim is that she is embellishing her husband’s status for her political advantage; just as Marco Rubio is embellishing his parents’ status as Cuban refugees.  Is it asking too much to expect politicians to display some humility and be self-effacing?

As Ronald Reagan once said when describing how he keeps his moral compass pointing straight north, “When I’m unsure what to do, I ask myself, ‘What would John Wayne do?’”  Nikki and Marco should give that some thought.



  1. You’re just plain wrong with your opinion in this blog. Governor Haley’s answer was completely accurate. Yes, we are civilian employees but as National Guard technicians we must maintain our status with our military unit. Therefore, we are fully trained and deployable soldiers and airmen (I’m a technician and I’ve been deployed twice by the Air Force into slots that were filled by an Air Guard member because there was no active-duty Air Force officer available for the deployment). We complete all the training, maintain the physical standards, and be fully qualified to do our military jobs. We are different than “single-status” civilian employees in many ways. You need to do better next time.

    Comment by Les Carroll — May 3, 2012 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

    • Les, thanks for your comments. But are you deployable as a civilian employee or as a reservist/guard? Nikki isn’t satisfied claiming that her husband is in the Reserve/Guard. She suggests he is in the service full-time, which he is not, according to most people’s definition of “the service.”

      Comment by Mike Kueber — May 3, 2012 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

      • I’m deployable as a military reservist. But a technician is referred to as a dual-status guardsman, meaning we have the civilian job and the military position. But Governor Haley says all the time “my husband wears the uniform everyday,” and that’s true. If he was an M-day soldier (working a non-technician job), then she wouldn’t be able to say he wears the uniform everyday. But, we wear the uniform everyday.

        Comment by Les Carroll — May 4, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

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