Is Nikki Haley racist enough to be governor of South Carolina?

People want to know:

Mrs. Haley chose her words carefully in talking about the causes of the Civil War.

“You had one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition, and I think you had another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change,” she said. She did not use the word “slavery” but hinted at it, saying that “everyone is supposed to be free.”

Well, I think it’s fair to say she’s at least hit the “McDonnell Standard.”

But, is South Carolina too racist for Nikki Haley?

When Mrs. Haley first ran for the legislature in 2004, one of her campaign brochures said she was “proudly raised with her Indian traditions.” Still, her campaign has been sensitive to questions of race, and has chastised reporters for using the candidate’s full name, Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley.

Jerry Young, a Haley supporter who leads a social-services charity in Charleston, said he believed Mrs. Haley’s personal history was an advantage for her, politically. “With people being sick of politics-as-usual, I think that opened up a door that probably wouldn’t have been there before” he said. This year, Mrs. Haley’s biography gives her “a better chance than somebody that may look like a South Carolina politician.”

But even Mr. Young, who heads the Charleston Leadership Foundation, said he had felt the need to ask Mrs. Haley about rumors that she was a Buddhist. He invited Mrs. Haley to his home, and his wife asked over dinner: ” ‘Is it true?’ ” Mr. Young recalled. “She said, ‘Absolutely not. I’m a Christian.’ “

At least she’s Christian and not some kind of secret Muslim.

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