Nikki Haley competently delivered her response to Obama’s State of the Union address, and made it as clear as possible that she lines up with the anti-Trump side of the party. Noah Millman sums this up in his latest post:
[T]he official Republican response echoed the President’s themes of inclusion, comity and not giving in to fear far more than it indicted the President’s record or his policy prescriptions. Governor Haley’s official response to the State of the Union on behalf of her party was all-but explicitly structured as a plea to Republicans, and Americans, not to embrace the response to the Obama years that Donald Trump has been making daily for months.
That will boost Haley with party elites that loathe both Trump and Cruz, and it will almost certainly make her less popular with the many Republicans that support those two candidates. For all the talk of Haley as a possible VP candidate, it is hard to see either Trump or Cruz selecting her as a running mate. Haley publicly declared her opposition to both the style and substance of the two leading candidates for the nomination, and I suspect both of them noticed and will remember it.
One thing that Haley unfortunately had in common with Trump and Cruz is opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. She understandably had almost nothing to say about foreign policy in her response, but she did say this about how foreign policy would be different under a Republican president:
We would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.
This doesn’t make any sense, not least since Israel rarely participates in multilateral diplomacy. Besides, the point of negotiating disputed issues with adversaries is to settle them for the mutual benefit of all parties. If Iran didn’t have something to celebrate in the nuclear deal, the deal and the benefits the U.S. and its allies receive from it wouldn’t have happened. More to the point, it shouldn’t matter whether Israel protests or celebrates an agreement so long as the agreement advances U.S. interests. It should be good enough that the nuclear deal was supported and welcomed by some of our oldest and most important European allies. Haley is implicitly dismissing the importance of those allies for the sake of a very tired bit of “pro-Israel” boilerplate. It was just one line thrown in near the end, but it still managed to convey so much of what is deeply wrong with Republican thinking on foreign policy.