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Haley Barbour, 2012 GOP Nominee?

Haley Barbour, 2012 GOP Nominee?
September 06
10:00 2010

A while back, I made some waves on this site by promoting former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for President in 2012.  As I predicted at the time, nostalgia for the Bush years is growing quickly.  You may have seen the recent poll in Ohio that showed voters there prefering President Bush to President Obama by a 50-42% margin.  Unfortunately, Jeb Bush has made it very clear that he does not plan to run for President in 2012 (though he could reconsider).

I still like that post very much and think my thoughts on 2012 have held up well.  I continue to believe that what the general electorate will want and what the Tea Party will want are not the same.  Fresh off dramatic victories this year, Tea Party activists are going to want a GOP Presidental candidate who explicitly promises to close several cabinet departments, gut entitlement spending, etc.  They will view their success this year as a broad mandate for their views, when in reality many people will simply be casting a vote against the President because the economy is bad.  In contrast to the Tea Party, the general public is really going to want competence.  The public already just wants the grownups to be in charge again.  Ordinary people will largely see their mistake in 2008 not as “Obama was too liberal” but instead as “Obama was too inexperienced and untested.”  Like the election of 1920, the public will embrace a “return to normalcy” in the wake of the “progressive” excesses of the previous four years.

So, while I personally would love to see multiple cabinet agencies eliminated, I don’t think that the general public is going to want a candidate running on those issues.  I also don’t think that the public will want someone unproven nationally on the public stage.  I’m therefore suggesting that, for conservatives like myself, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour may be our best candidate.

Haley has been talked about as a candidate for a while (I mentioned him in the earlier post back in February), but this interview convinced me.  In contrast to the pseudo-intellectual elitism that defines the Obamas, the best word to describe Haley is authentic.  He grew up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and he raised his kids there.  As he says in the interview, “what you see is what you get.”

You may remember that President George H.W. Bush was caricatured as elitist and was widely ridiculed for an episode in which he was falsely portrayed as being unfamiliar with supermarket scanners in a checkout line.  Bill Clinton, by contrast, seemed authentic, and people really believed that he could “feel their pain.”   With much of America believing that President Obama is a Muslim, foreign-born, etc., what better contrast than with a country boy from Mississippi?  They don’t eat arugula there.

Haley Barbour has been remarkably effective as governor of Mississippi.  His leadership during Hurricane Katrina was a stark contrast the ineffective hand-wringing that we got from Governor Blanco.  He’s balanced the budget by cutting spending, passed the strictest tort reform in the country (which has encouraged business development), and currently enjoys a 70% approval rating in his state.  Of course, Haley has effectively led on the national stage as well, as the RNC Chairman who put together the 1994 GOP landslide.  He’s also the de facto leader of the Republican Party right now, and his leadership is making him a lot of friends.

Of course, Haley is the ultimate GOP insider, the exact opposite of what the Tea Party wants, but he’s also very conservative and has pushed the party consistently to the right.  There’s a lot of uncertainty about who will be running in 2012, but what we can be sure about is that Haley’s candidacy (assuming he runs) will be a serious challenge for the nomination.  I’m not the first to predict Haley Barbour as the nominee, but I won’t be the last.

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20 Comments

  1. george
    george September 06, 15:55

    We don't need Haley Barbour as a candidate. We've had enough of the insiders like Bush, Dole, McCain, Romney, Huckelberry, etc. as candidates who bring nothing to the country but more big government and trying to look good to the MSM. It's time for an outsider to come in and clean house. Barbour means more of the same old same old with debts owed to other politicians.

    • Ryan Booth
      Ryan Booth September 06, 16:49

      Haley Barbour doesn't owe any debts to other politicians, but lots and lots of politicians owe debts to him.

  2. george
    george September 06, 10:55

    We don't need Haley Barbour as a candidate. We've had enough of the insiders like Bush, Dole, McCain, Romney, Huckelberry, etc. as candidates who bring nothing to the country but more big government and trying to look good to the MSM. It's time for an outsider to come in and clean house. Barbour means more of the same old same old with debts owed to other politicians.

    • Ryan Booth
      Ryan Booth September 06, 11:49

      Haley Barbour doesn't owe any debts to other politicians, but lots and lots of politicians owe debts to him.

  3. macaoidh
    macaoidh September 06, 16:01

    Barbour is a lot more likely choice than Jeb Bush was, and there are a good many reasons why he's an interesting candidate.

    1. Barbour has a lot of Bill Clinton in him, in that he's a governor of a small Southern state who's fairly well known within party circles but considered an "outsider" and "something new" compared to what's in Washington.

    2. The public will be looking for an "anti-Obama" in as many ways as possible by 2012, and Barbour is about as "anti" as you can get – southern white guy, man's man, speaks with a heavy drawl, a record of actually running things and doing it well, brings some humility to the table, a gentleman, politically conservative and patriotic. That heavy drawl would be a negative in most elections. In 2012 it'll be a positive – particularly if he speaks without a teleprompter.

    3. Barbour will have to overcome some questions about his relationship with China as RNC chair. There are those who says he's been a bit too cozy with the Chicoms in the past.

    more below…

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh September 06, 16:02

      4. One thing Barbour would bring to the table – he won't be outspent. The guy flat-out knows how to raise money.

      5. A Barbour presidency would likely see a movement to devolve power back to the states, being as though he's a governor and given his role as the RGA president. The country desperately needs some decentralization.

      Ironically, Bobby Jindal's former chief of staff Timmy Teepell is working with Barbour at the RGA now, working campaigns across the country. One imagines Teepell might have a role in a Barbour campaign or administration. That would make for an interesting bit of discussion in Louisiana.

    • Ryan Booth
      Ryan Booth September 06, 17:01

      Over at Intrade, the betting markets are giving Barbour an 8% chance right now at the nomination. Interestingly, Jeb Bush is still getting 5%. (Of course, Gov. Jindal is still getting 5% as well, and I wouldn't bet at 20 to 1 that he would run for President in 2012, much less win the nomination.)

  4. macaoidh
    macaoidh September 06, 11:01

    Barbour is a lot more likely choice than Jeb Bush was, and there are a good many reasons why he's an interesting candidate.

    1. Barbour has a lot of Bill Clinton in him, in that he's a governor of a small Southern state who's fairly well known within party circles but considered an "outsider" and "something new" compared to what's in Washington.

    2. The public will be looking for an "anti-Obama" in as many ways as possible by 2012, and Barbour is about as "anti" as you can get – southern white guy, man's man, speaks with a heavy drawl, a record of actually running things and doing it well, brings some humility to the table, a gentleman, politically conservative and patriotic. That heavy drawl would be a negative in most elections. In 2012 it'll be a positive – particularly if he speaks without a teleprompter.

    3. Barbour will have to overcome some questions about his relationship with China as RNC chair. There are those who says he's been a bit too cozy with the Chicoms in the past.

    more below…

    • macaoidh
      macaoidh September 06, 11:02

      4. One thing Barbour would bring to the table – he won't be outspent. The guy flat-out knows how to raise money.

      5. A Barbour presidency would likely see a movement to devolve power back to the states, being as though he's a governor and given his role as the RGA president. The country desperately needs some decentralization.

      Ironically, Bobby Jindal's former chief of staff Timmy Teepell is working with Barbour at the RGA now, working campaigns across the country. One imagines Teepell might have a role in a Barbour campaign or administration. That would make for an interesting bit of discussion in Louisiana.

    • Ryan Booth
      Ryan Booth September 06, 12:01

      Over at Intrade, the betting markets are giving Barbour an 8% chance right now at the nomination. Interestingly, Jeb Bush is still getting 5%. (Of course, Gov. Jindal is still getting 5% as well, and I wouldn't bet at 20 to 1 that he would run for President in 2012, much less win the nomination.)

  5. Mark
    Mark September 06, 23:53

    Jeb!??? Hell, NO!!! Just like his daddy and his brother before him, he is NO conservative. I re-registered as an Independent when the GOP ran Bush I, and they haven't fielded a conservative candidate since then.

  6. Mark
    Mark September 06, 18:53

    Jeb!??? Hell, NO!!! Just like his daddy and his brother before him, he is NO conservative. I re-registered as an Independent when the GOP ran Bush I, and they haven't fielded a conservative candidate since then.

  7. Kermit_H
    Kermit_H September 07, 14:00

    I began paying attention to Barbour pre-Katrina when he vetoed ethanol subsidy funding. He has the ability to cook complicated discussions down into terms which anyone can understand. That takes real intelligence. A pure outsider has no chance at all at being a game changer in DC. It will take someone who really knows the ropes but with outside support. Only Barbour has that ability, among the field of potential candidates.

    I'm not to happy about the way he has spoken about Zero regarding the Macondo spill. Maybe I will get over it.

    Rob Long and Peter Robinson have really been pushing for Barbour via Ricochet.com for several months now.

    • Ryan Booth
      Ryan Booth September 07, 17:02

      I need to get over to Ricochet more. I listened to one of their podcasts and it was awesome.

  8. Kermit_H
    Kermit_H September 07, 09:00

    I began paying attention to Barbour pre-Katrina when he vetoed ethanol subsidy funding. He has the ability to cook complicated discussions down into terms which anyone can understand. That takes real intelligence. A pure outsider has no chance at all at being a game changer in DC. It will take someone who really knows the ropes but with outside support. Only Barbour has that ability, among the field of potential candidates.

    I'm not to happy about the way he has spoken about Zero regarding the Macondo spill. Maybe I will get over it.

    Rob Long and Peter Robinson have really been pushing for Barbour via Ricochet.com for several months now.

    • Ryan Booth
      Ryan Booth September 07, 12:02

      I need to get over to Ricochet more. I listened to one of their podcasts and it was awesome.

  9. Kermit_H
    Kermit_H September 07, 18:21

    The podcasts were great with Mark Steyn. When he stays away for a while it really drifts to RINO in a big way.

  10. Kermit_H
    Kermit_H September 07, 13:21

    The podcasts were great with Mark Steyn. When he stays away for a while it really drifts to RINO in a big way.

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