Earlier this year, after Nikki Haley swapped an anti-Trump posture for the opposite position, National Review's Philip Klein described the Republican as "a human chameleon. She thinks we're too dumb to notice."
The description came to mind yesterday, as Haley took aim at President Biden's policies in Afghanistan.
Nikki Haley insulted the intelligence of her fellow Americans on Wednesday and once again found herself soaking in her own hypocrisy. On Wednesday, the former ambassador to the United Nations under then-President Donald Trump attacked the Biden administration's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan ― and especially, the administration negotiations with the Taliban, which Haley compared to "dealing with the devil."
Yes, that was her criticism of the Biden administration. "Negotiating with the Taliban," Haley wrote, "is like dealing with the devil."
To be sure, I'm mindful of the circumstances. The conditions surrounding the president's withdrawal from the war is highly controversial; Haley is eyeing a national campaign; and she's eager to exploit developments in Afghanistan with cheap shots that might resonate with her party's base.
But this is an instance in which Haley couldn't possibly believe her own rhetoric.
We know this with some certainty because the Trump administration's foreign policy team -- of which Haley was a prominent part -- negotiated with the Taliban. Indeed, Taliban negotiations were an integral part of the former president's policy in Afghanistan. Team Trump even pressed for imprisoned officials such as Taliban cofounder Mullah Baradar to be freed precisely so the Republican administration could negotiate with him.
The Republican National Committee used to celebrate Trump's negotiations with the Taliban. Haley herself used to boast about the efficacy of the administration's Taliban talks. The former president even wanted Taliban leaders to visit Camp David around the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, for goodness' sake.
It's not as if Haley can claim the negotiations with the Taliban began after she stepped down from the then-president's cabinet -- because that's clearly not the case.
And yet, there was the former ambassador to the United Nations marveling at the Biden administration's willingness to rely on Taliban talks -- a scenario Haley characterized as "unbelievable."
This doesn't make sense. Haley must know that this doesn't make sense. She also must know that we know it doesn't make sense. She just doesn't appear to care.