The last few years have been vital and creative in conservative terms, but the mainstream has barely noticed, waiting instead for someone named Bush to appear. But not Mitt Romney. He is a creative thinker who looks to see what works and uses it, as he did at Bain. The most creative awakenings came with Ron Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano, who integrated traditional libertarian themes and Austrian economics with mainstream conservative thinking. So did Rick Perry and the early Tea Party favorite who is now governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.

Said here, to establish his new shop, Romney will not pick the predictable mainstream guesses for VP (Bush proxies Christie, Daniels, Rubio). Possibly the dynamic Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE, but my guess is he will want to accommodate the new thinking as much as it fits. That would suggest Perry, whose book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington, fits the times, or Nikki Haley.

Haley is an appealing choice. Her work ethic equals Romney’s. But is the most appealing governor of South Carolina the one? Charlie Speight, a seasoned political watcher in South Carolina who runs a blog called The Garnet Spy, has been there from the first with Haley. He has some thoughts in an entry titled “Not Nikki.”

“Governor Haley is reviled by the South Carolina GOP establishment. Why that is so is not clear. I’ve talked to many prominent Republicans in the state and they either don’t want to say or don’t really know. The easy answer is her gender. South Carolina still clings to some old and ridiculous traditions and having a female governor might well be something traditionalists can’t abide. But I know too many of these men and women and gender alone is not something that would elicit the vitriol Haley has endured since she took the lead in the party primary in the summer of 2010.

“Some believe she has abandoned conservative ideals and there is evidence to that. Although anyone in a decision-making role should be given leeway to make the right executive choices, to many, Haley has outdistanced that leeway and has violated both those ideals and her own campaign promises.

“Nikki Haley has also been under a constant barrage of charges regarding potential ethics violations preceding her tenure as governor and while she was in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Most of the allegations have been abandoned or legally dismissed, but the state Democrat party and other detractors constantly add new ones to the pile.

“Governor Haley would also have to defend her state’s historic poor performance in employment, education, overall health, public services and more. Nikki Haley isn’t responsible for these long-standing problems, but neither has she been able to correct them. She may not be the blame, but as the ‘Face of the New South’ and, more importantly, the Face of South Carolina, she has to answer for it.

“As someone who strongly supported Nikki Haley in her run for the Governor’s office, I can’t believe she would be an asset to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. In fact, she would likely be a devastating liability.”

But so is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal the face of the New South. What about him?