On Wednesday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a darling of the GOP establishment, must have shocked them by ripping into establishment favorite Marco Rubio.
Speaking of her response to Barack Obama’s SOTU, Haley told Greta Van Susteren of the Fox News Channel:
I talked about Marco Rubio. You know, I’m against his Gang of Eight bill. He is not for amnesty, but I was against his Gang of Eight bill. Governor Bush, he supported Common Core, certainly didn’t pass it, but supported it. All those things you bring up because you’re never going to agree with everyone. And you’re not going to agree on all things. But what we want to do is say, look, let’s talk about the issues that matter, and at the end who’s that right person that can step up on most of the issues that we can all agree on?”
Later, Haley backtracked a little, allowing, “What I said was that I didn’t agree with him. I meant what I didn’t agree with him was on the Gang of Eight bill.”
Why would Haley rip Rubio? It is becoming clearer that Haley has vice-presidential aspirations, and up until recently Rubio was the hope of the establishment for the top spot for 2016. Yet one recent poll showed Jeb Bush, the original establishment favorite, polling third nationally behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, possibly stoking hopes among the GOP establishment of a Bush resurgence, which would put Rubio’s head on the chopping block.
Haley’s sudden dismissal of Rubio smacks of establishment figures abandoning him as they reorient to Bush.