From the 2.15 edition of “The Conversation“, co-authored by N.Y. Times columnist Gail Collins and Bret Stephens:

Bret: “From a political standpoint, Nikki Haley has played her cards pretty astutely. She might be the only potential GOP candidate who can unite the party. She’s smart, charismatic, has a great personal story, did the right thing as governor of South Carolina by getting rid of the Confederate flag from the State House soon after the Charleston church slaughter, and was effective as U.N. ambassador. If she wins the nomination she’d be a formidable challenger to the Democratic nominee, whoever that winds up being.”

Gail: “Wow, Kamala vs. Nikki.”

Bret: “Interesting that Kamala ’24 already seems like a foregone conclusion. Shades of Hillary ’08? Haley’s dodges and maneuvers are a bit too transparent. And her brand of mainstream Republican conservatism is just out of step for a party that is increasingly out of its mind.”

Gail: “Still, you’ve got me obsessing about an all-female presidential race.”

Bret: “About time.”

HE reaction: Stephens is probably right. Republicans don’t want to nominate a classic conservative as much as a lunatic — Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, somebody who might capture the nut fringe. The only thing that worries me about Kamala is her speech-giving voice — shaky timbre, uninspired phrasing. I’d be just as happy with Gretchen Whitmer. And I’d be extra-delighted if Pete Buttigieg runs again.