Two Conservative Ladies Show Us What True ‘Tough Guys’ Really Look Like

Written by Steve Pauwels on March 20, 2018

Just in case you’re laboring under the misimpression modern feminism has penetrated even to the heart of Palestinian culture, a recent incident involving top diplomat Saeb Erekat will clear things up. Confronting American ambassador to the United Nations Nkiki Haley regarding frank criticisms she’d leveled at the Palestinian Authority’s policy toward Israel, the sixty-two-year-old PA official chided her “impudence” and crassly scolded, “Nikki Haley needs to shut up.”

Hoo-boy. (Cue the shower-scene music from Psycho.)

I’m gathering Erekat missed the memo about never “shushing” a woman and, at all costs, avoiding anything close to dismissing her input, telling her to “Calm down!” or implying she is being “emotional” or “hysterical”. I suppose we should be thankful he didn’t uncork a “Silence, woman!”, for good measure.

To her undying credit, the lovely Ms. Haley wasn’t hushed up in any way; neither did she respond with anything like a bout of “womanly” vapors. Firmly, but with a dignity one would hope would be de rigueur for someone in her internationally visible berth, Haley retorted, “”I will decline the advice I was recently given by [PA President Mahmoud Abbas’] top negotiator Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”

“Hard truths”? Put forth “respectfully”? What a prospect! Worthy of headline news nowadays.

Yup, Nikki Haley is one stalwart dame — but she’s not a shrieking mi-mi; nor a fulminating wrecking ball. Classy? Check. Forceful? No doubt. Out of control? Never for a moment. In 2018’s domestic and global political turbulences, that’s refreshing. Some might have forgotten it’s possible any longer. South
Carolina’s former governor resolutely reaffirms: It is.

Please note: Ms. Haley made no allusions to Erekat’s being “a loser” or “failure”. She didn’t stylize her rejoinders with the derisive modifier “little” (Y’know, as far as I’m concerned, Little Saeb can take his advice and …). Neither were superfluous shots taken at his physical appearance.

Further absent? Any curse words, tossed into the proceedings to entertainingly pepper things up a tad: Listen to me you loud-mouthed son of a b*tch …. Or: Me shut up? No, YOU shut the h*ll up!

For a Westerner of the distaff sex to skewer a male, Middle-Eastern, Muslim bigfoot with that level of vitriol? It would have been easy, tempting, scalding, seismic. Doubtless, multitudes of my fellow “conservatives” would have giggled amusedly over the whole scene. (You might have noticed, rhetorical bloodsport is suddenly all the rage among our ranks — the more savage the better.)

For a characteristically refined individual like Nikki Haley, however? Such an eruption would have been unexpected; and particularly low-rent.

Instead, in the wake of Erekat’s oafish attack this accomplished and unbending lady showcased fortitude in a charming manner utterly out of reach of the man-haters crowding the Left; (I’m confident the option of donning a “p*ssy hat” never crossed her mind.) Unfortunately, it looks like Haley’s type of grace-under-fire is increasingly beyond not a few denizens of the political and cultural Right, as well.

Time was, while the precincts of Liberalism churned with vulgarity and viciousness, conservatives could be counted on to uphold at least a modicum of dignity in the battle for Constitutional fealty, limited government, controlled spending, a muscular military, the importance of faith and traditional family values. We understood: there are not only important facts and wisdom to be communicated; the proper way of communicating them matters, as well. Today, in lashing out at the purveyors of secular progressivism, not a few conservatives are hasteningly becoming just like them. As Richard Brookhiser recently framed it, “Sometimes fighting them is joining them.”

Yet, despite the demeanor of too many of our current leaders and their shock-troop loyalists raging on social and other media, Nikki Haley reminds us that’s not how it has to be: steeliness doesn’t require slobbiness; bluntness doesn’t have to translate into bullying; determination needs not scuttle at least a smidgeon of decorum.

And Ambassador Haley isn’t the only member of the XX-chromosome set lately demonstrating unflinching conservative spokesmen (or women) can additionally maintain basic manners. Mona Charen, long one of my favorite opinionators, just underscored that petty vindictiveness and boorishness needn’t be standard equipment for those boosting our Founders’ philosophy.

At February’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) gathering, she committed an unpardonable breach: suggesting — with tight reasoning and unimpeachably measured tones — Republicans ought not be automatically exempt from scrutiny when accused of sexual improprieties. Stepping in it deeper still, she then questioned why a dubious character like Marion Maréchal-Le Pen was hosted by this premier conservative confab.

This, regrettably but predictably, earned her hoots and jeers from many in attendance. Maintaining her composure, Ms. Charen sat serenely through the heckling: no purple rages, no spitting insults at her detractors; she barely even raised her volume. Reportedly, as the sixty-one-year old pundit attempted to leave the auditorium, security had to escort her through the mob-like crowd.

Hmmm — intolerant, rancorous throngs: the stuff of #BlackLivesMatter; #OccupyWallStreet; #TheResistance. And now: #21stCenturyConservatives?

Nothing but courage can account for Mona Charen’s outspokenness in that setting. She knew she was entering the lion’s den but made her mind known, regardless; with candor and civility.

Agree or disagree with her message, that is impressive.

When it comes to “tough guys”? It seems Mona Charen and Nikki Haley are the genuine articles. So, where are the actual male conservatives coming forward to follow suit?

photo credit: Excerpted from: DHuiz Nikki Haley via photopin (license); and: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.