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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Can't Is Not an Option
My American Story
by Gov. Nikki Haley

(Click for Amazon book review)

OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:

This book is Nikki Haley's political autobiography, written during her first term as governor of South Carolina. Some say she's a likely contender for Vice President in 2016 or so, and this autobiography establishes her credentials. If she gets onto the V.P. "short list" at some point in the future, this book will become instantly important.

Born Nimrata Randhawa, the governor's parents are Sikh immigrants from India; she converted to Christianity when she got married. One of this book's central themes is that South Carolina is no longer racist: "My story is proof of that" (p. 13). However, she details numerous racist incidents from her childhood (her father wears a turban, p. 12, and they were the first Sikh family ever in their small town, pp. 4-5). While it's true that her popular election demonstrates that racism has become low enough that she can win a majority of votes, her numerous stories of racism, extending well into her adulthood (she was labeled a "raghead" during her gubernatorial run, p.161 & p.173), indicate that perhaps her "proof" is a "vision statement" for the future more than a statement of present fact.

Haley ran for governor on a platform of fighting the Good Ol' Boys (the same concept that got Sarah Palin elected in Alaska). In Haley's case, she fought for years in the state legislature to replace "voice votes" (where the legislators just anonymously shout "yea" or "nay") with on-the-record votes for each legislator. She fought the establishment leadership of both parties for years while in the legislature, and made it the centerpiece of her gubernatorial campaign, as a sign of government accountability. Ultimately, she succeeded; one of her early acts as Governor was to sign her own bill into law.

Haley's biggest supporter in her gubernatorial run was the incumbent governor at the time, Mark Sanford. During the course of Haley's campaign, Sanford fell from a well-regarded likely candidate for president (and hence a huge boost for her campaign) to facing impeachment for a sex scandal (and hence the biggest drag on her election chances). You'll recall his scandal: he claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail when, in fact, he was visiting his South American sweetheart while his wife stayed at home in the Governor's mansion. Sanford got caught by a reporter while getting off the plane from Argentina and confessed; Haley's book provides a complete chronology of Sanford's scandal and his refusal to resign.

South Carolina is not a particularly important state politically. But neither was Arkansas before Bill Clinton used his governorship there to launch a presidential bid. Perhaps Haley will do the same. This book certainly portrays her as a fighter and as a politician with a long future ahead.

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Oct. 2012

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
    Nikki Haley: I'm pro-life because someone saved my husband's life.
Budget & Economy
    Barack Obama: OpEd: Each bailout revealed more of Washington's inside game.
    Gresham Barrett: OpEd: Lost election due to vote for TARP bailout.
    Mark Sanford: 2004: Vetoed 106 pork projects; overridden on 105.
    Mark Sanford: 2009: Reject stimulus funds; reject Washington bailouts.
    Nikki Haley: Trained as bookkeeper for family business at age 12.
    Nikki Haley: 2009: Reject stimulus funds because it creates new costs.
    Nikki Haley: S.C. budget was perfect example of unaccountable government.
    Nikki Haley: Stimulus funds come with too many strings attached.
    Nikki Haley: It's the people's money; government has no prior claim.
    Nikki Haley: No debt-ceiling increase without spending cuts & caps.
    Rick Perry: No debt-ceiling increase without spending cuts & caps.
Civil Rights
    Nikki Haley: Accused of lack of diversity in gubernatorial cabinet.
    Nikki Haley: Minority & women groups are just special interest groups.
    Nikki Haley: Government makes it harder for struggling small business.
    Nikki Haley: OpEd: Business-friendliness starts with competitive taxes.
    Nikki Haley: Government creates conditions; entrepreneurs create jobs.
    Nikki Haley: Re-open Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste.
Government Reform
    Mark Sanford: Get legislative "voice votes" on the record.
    Nikki Haley: Legislative mission: get "voice votes" on the record.
    Nikki Haley: Real-time online check registers for government spending.
    Nikki Haley: Term limits force real change in leadership.
    Nikki Haley: Fought S.C. House leadership for roll-call voting.
    Nikki Haley: Weakened governorship today set up in Reconstruction.
    Nikki Haley: Good old work replaces pork-barrel politics.
    Nikki Haley: Voter ID is a no-brainer to protect election integrity.
    Tea Party: Get state legislative "voice votes" on the record.
Health Care
    Barack Obama: OpEd: ObamaCare passed by constitutionally suspect tactics.
    Mitt Romney: OpEd: RomneyCare courageous but not for every state.
    Nikki Haley: Dead set against ObamaCare: We can't split the cow.
    Nikki Haley: ObamaCare is wrongheaded and unconstitutional.
    Nikki Haley: ObamaCare opt-out rules disallow state opt-out.
    Tea Party: OpEd: ObamaCare & bailouts both just throw money at problem.
    Tim Scott: Fight the billion-dollar mandate of ObamaCare.
    Nikki Haley: Audit businesses to see if using E-Verify.
    Nikki Haley: It's not a racial issue; it's about the rule of law.
    Nikki Haley: Right-to-work helps Boeing deliver jets despite strikes.
Principles & Values
    Mark Sanford: OpEd: presidential aspirations gone when he went missing.
    Mark Sanford: Refused to step down after scandal was revealed.
    Mark Sanford: Calls for his impeachment for inappropriate travel expenses.
    Nikki Haley: My Sikh dad proudly wears turban over uncut hair.
    Nikki Haley: First Indian family in small town of Bamberg SC in 1960s.
    Nikki Haley: Converted to Christianity to marry Michael & raise children.
    Nikki Haley: Removing religion from public discourse is entirely wrong.
    Nikki Haley: 2005: Unseated longest-serving legislator in SC history.
    Nikki Haley: RedState Moneybomb: $50,000 in four days.
    Nikki Haley: First gubernatorial campaign TV ad: "Join the Movement".
    Nikki Haley: OpEd: Accused of affair with Gov. Mark Sanford.
    Nikki Haley: OpEd: Accused of affair with well-known state lobbyist.
    Nikki Haley: Calling me a "raghead" reinforces S.C.'s worst stereotypes.
    Nikki Haley: Not Republican government but conservative government.
    Tea Party: Conservative Congress more important than GOP Congress.
Social Security
    Nikki Haley: Social Security reduced rampant poverty among elderly.

The above quotations are from Can't Is Not an Option
My American Story
by Gov. Nikki Haley.

All material copyright 1999-2022
by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

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Page last edited: Feb 19, 2019