Is Haley Barbour Taking Sides In the Presidential Contest?

Bookmark and Share  Haley Barbour is one of the Republican Party’s most beneficial strategic leaders.  As the Governor of Mississippi, he also proved to be an effective and savvy executive leader.  As for his Party involvement, Barbour has been brilliant.  He led the G.O.P. as its Chairman when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1992, oversaw the successful election of a majority of Republican Governors in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is a prolific fundraiser, and has a network of connections in the Party and government that is unparalled.  All of this gives reason for some to still wonder if he might jump in and run for President , even though he opted out of run several monmths ago.

While that is unlikely, who Haley Barbour does support for the Republican presidential nomination will be almost as important as if he ran for President himself.

That is why his recent remarks on the Laura Ingraham Show have many people raising their heads.

Barbour described rising star Herman Cain  by saying,  “He is likable” .

He then went on to say;

“He [Herman Cain], does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin’ person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He’s not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.”

Barbour then went even further and said of Cain;

 “If Herman Cain is our nominee against Barack Obama, I think he’ll sweep the South.”

At another point he added that if the election wereheld today,  his wife would vote for Herman Cain.

As laid out in this Talking Point Memo by Benjy Sarlin , Barbour’s high praise of Cain is a significant contrast to his less then enthusiastic referrences and descriptions of Mitt Romney and even Rick Perry, two men Barbour worked closely with when he was Chairman of the RGA.  TPM even refers to a White House 2012 post and video in which Barbour states “Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans.”

None of this is good news for Romney, who could really use some help in the South, where Barbour has a great deal of influence, particulary in the state he governms, and nearby Georgia and Florida.  A Barbour endorsement of Romney, would be a hinderance to Rick Perry and give Romney much more of a fighting chance for wins in Southern primaries.  But based upon multiple comments Barbour has made, an endorsement of Romney before the GOP settles on a nominee, is probably not in the forecast.  It could go to Rick Perry, but even that is now questionable.

All of this helps to make it seem that with many Republicans not totally sold on Romney, and with Perry unable to yet get his footing after stumbling in his second debate appearance, even the establishment might be willing to back Herman Cain.  I recently went out on a limb suggesting that a surprise endorsement of Herman Cain from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could be possible.  If the two Haley’s  (Haley Barbour and Nikki Haley), happen to endorse Cain, it is quite possible that people will be talking about him being the presumptive nominee and not Mitt Romney.

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Haley Barbour Says Mitt Romney is “Less Conservative than Most Republicans”

 Bookmark and Share  In a recent forum discussing political strategy for Republicans and President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke about the need for the G.O.P. to make the election a referendum on President Obama’s employment and economic policies, while Democrats will have to try to portray the Republican Party as unacceptable or disqualified. Afterward, he answered questions from John Harris of Politico and the audience.

In one of those questions, Barbour was asked why Republicans seemed to be uninspired by the candidacy of  Mitt Romney despite the fact that he seems to be the most electable candidate in the general election, especially among independent voters.

In his response, Governor Barbour began by stating;

“Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans”

He went on to explain that many Republicans remember Ronald Reagan so, in his words;

“they (Republicans) don’t accept the idea that nominating a moderate is the pathway to victory”

Governor Barbour added that there are a lot of soft Republicans and independents who vote Republican and want a more moderate nominee.  He writes it off as a “process you just have to work through.”

Whether Barbour intended it or not, his opening statement will make for a perfect soundbite in a thirty-second commercial spot for any of Romney’s opponents such as Perry, Cain, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Specifically in the South, where Romney will have some of his toughest primary challenges and where Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi has significant influence.  This is particularly the case in the important early, delegate rich primary state of Florida, where Barbour has significant sway.

Barbour who was himself almost candidate for for President, had been endorsed by Ohio Governor John Kasich, eleven days before Barbour decided not run.  After that decision it was said that Barbour was prepared to join with Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in endorsing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for President.  But Daniels, a close friend of Barbour also declined to run for President.

Who Haley Barbour will endorse for the Republican presidential nomination now, is anyones guess.  For the time being, it would seem that he is remaining neutral.  But is Barbour’s description of Mitt Romney as “less conservative than most Republicans” a sign that Mitt is not on Haley’s short list?

If Mitt Romney hopes to avoid a long, drawn out nomination battle, he will need someone like Haley Barbour behind him.   Barbour’s support could help Romney do well in the South, or at least better than expected.  That is the only way to insure that none of his opponents come out of the Southern contests with enough steam and momentum to compete with Romney in the primaries and caucuses held outside of the South, where Romney should be the strongest.  The question now is, will Haley Barbour be willing to endorse a Republican who “is less conservative than most Republicans” for President?

One thing to consider is this.  If anyone has been listening to the candidates, not just reading the media’s interpretations of the candidates, they will find that Mitt Romney has not taken a single position that would indicate he is less conservative than any of the other candidates running.  It comes down to this  ……….. Is anyone listening and if they are, do they believe what Romney is saying?

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AP Gets Early Start on Nov 2nd, 2012 Headlines

A Perfect GOP Candidate Is Hard To Find. Yes, that is the unbiased AP headline of a story published today by AP writer Phillip Elliot. Elliot then presents us with an expose on exactly why every potential Republican candidate in the 2012 primary season is unworthy of Republican votes.

John Huntsman worked as an ambassador for Obama. Mitt Romney implemented Romneycare in Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich had two affairs and two failed marriages. Sarah Palin has had “countless impolitical moments”.

An infamous premature headline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For every potential candidate, Elliot has a reason why they should lose.

Santorum is no good, he lost a Senate election in 2006. I wonder if Elliot knows that Abraham Lincoln lost the 1858 Senate race to Stephen Douglas, before defeating that same Stephen Douglas two years later in the Presidential race.

Tim Pawlenty apparently is too much into green energy. And of course, Haley Barbour is a racist, southern hick.

Of course, no freshman Republican is even considered in this article. After all, anyone can tell you that two years as a Senator does not give someone enough experience to run for President. Not if you are a Republican, that is.

I don’t remember the article about finding the perfect Democrat candidate in 2012. If Barbour has to defend his statements on segregation, should Obama defend his anti-white statements in his books? What about Obama’s church affiliation? How about his many “impolitical moments”?

Beyond mere gaffs and embarrassing associations, Obama brought us the failed stimulus plan that increased our debt over a trillion dollars with nothing to show for it. He gave us the unconstitutional Obamacare law and is currently in contempt of court for his executive order banning oil drilling in parts of the gulf. Obama’s attorney general has refused to follow through with voter intimidation prosecutions, refused to uphold more than one federal law on the books, and has betrayed his own racist leanings. Obama has now plunged us into a conflict with Libya where no one seems to know what the goals or end game is and where the only objective seems to be to blow stuff up but ensure that we are not responsible for winning.

But it’s not just Republicans who have reasons to not re-elect Obama. After promising to walk the picket lines wherever union rights are being denied, Obama was absent in the union showdown of our generation in Wisconsin. Obama has reversed his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, and continues to push back the date to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Obama’s legacy in Afghanistan is a surge strategy headed up by General David Petreaus. While Republicans are frustrated by the incompetent handling of the attacks on Libya, Democrats (if they are consistent) should be upset that we are getting involved at all. Obama is turning out to be more of a war hawk than his predecessor. He went back on his campaign promise to avoid an insurance mandate, skipped single payer, and extended the Bush tax cuts.

Where is the AP story about how hard it is to find a perfect Democrat candidate for 2012? The story of the 2012 election is not written yet. That is up to the voters. Do we want four more years of President Barack Obama?

Rookie Republican Governors May Shape 2012 Debate

Governor Rick Scott will not be a candidate in 2012. But his actions in the first two months of his governorship will help mold the 2012 debate. In fact, success among conservative governors like him could spell doom for establishment candidates in 2012. Governor Scott is already facing opposition from establishment Republicans in Florida over his hot-off-the-presses budget.

Scott is cutting spending by $5 billion in Florida. This includes pension reform for government workers, merit pay for teachers, firing bad teachers, cutting non-essential services and streamlining government. It also includes eliminating Florida’s business tax by 2018 and cutting property taxes. Every special interest group and person who collects a state paycheck hates him right now.

Rick Scott is emblematic of the new Conservative outsider paradigm

Scott is following a path laid down by Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia. And he is joined by many freshmen GOP governors who are rejecting the Keynesian model of stimulus debt spending and returning to the conservative model of cutting government spending and giving the money back to businesses and individuals who actually produce growth.

This is something the GOP majority is struggling with in the fog of Washington politics. While abstractly they have a plan to cut spending by $2.5 trillion over ten years, the House struggled to find $32 billion to cut in this year’s budget.

If the bold, conservative governors who stormed our state capitals in 2008 and 2010 are successful in fixing their state budgets and creating a stark contrast with other more liberal states, the GOP candidate for President will likely be one who can credibly claim to come from the same mold. This will favor potential candidates like Christie, Jindal, and Barbour. If he makes the right moves, Romney may also be able to attach his name to the outsider, conservative governor genre. It may not be good news for potential Senators and House members whose good ideas will be frustrated by Democrat leaders and Republican moderates.

Wait a Little Longer

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Barbour Bides His Time

We all knew that Haley Barbour was not going to announce any intention to run for President before this recent election. Now that it is over, don’t get your hopes up for an early announcement. While Gov. Barbour is riding high after helping secure key victories in Governor races across the country, the tough task of governing and redistricting still remains. That means Barbour is likely going to wait well into the new year before making any announcement.

Mississippi, like all States, faces a difficult budget year. Unlike some States, it has to have a balanced budget which means tough decisions have to be made. Also if the budget starts to run in the red during the year, the Governor is constitutionally required to make cuts to bring it back into balance. Barbour knows that he is needed to do his job at least for the next several months in order to secure sound government for his State. He also knows that once he announces an intention to run for President, every issue in Mississippi will become a national one as his actions are scrutinized by opponents in an effort to weaken his candidacy.

Barbour can stand up to the criticism. That isn’t the issue. The issue is doing what is right for the people of Mississippi. If the Democrats or even Republicans allied with another potential candidate see an opportunity to play politics at Gov. Barbour’s expense, the real losers will be the people. They will be the ones who have to live with poor decisions made based on personal political feuding rather than solving problems. Barbour isn’t going to let his political aspirations become a burden for the people.

Expect Barbour to be making a lot more trips around the country solidifying support behind the scenes for the next several months. Unless a number of other potential candidates start making early announcements that force Barbour to either get in or stay out, it is likely that Barbour will refrain from making an announcement until at least early summer. Even then, it may only be in the form of an ‘exploratory committee’ until fall. That would give Barbour time to deal with State issues and see how the new composition of government in Washington is playing out before making any commitments.

Right now it is hard to guess whether the drive to 2012 will be accelerated because of the recent election results (which is the initial impulse) or whether the 2012 winds will calm a bit while the fight gets played out in Washington. Any candidate who comes out early will be forced to take stands on legislation in Congress – much of which will fail or be modified into garbage before passed (which is often the result of a split Congress). Tying your name to that carries big risks in the 2012 primary and then general election. Barbour, as a Governor, is particularly best served by staying away from Congress or being forced to take sides on cobbled together legislation. Once he starts getting tied to Washington bureaucracy, he loses some of his ability to champion his successes in Mississippi as a contrast to the failures of Washington.

All this is, of course, subject to what others do. If only light-weights or previous candidates (like Palin or Romney) are announced, he can delay an announcement until the perfect moment. If other contenders start to announce, Barbour will have to be careful not to wait too long as Fred Thompson did in the last cycle. If things go Barbour’s way, the 2012 fever will go down a little and he’ll get a year longer to govern, work behind the scenes and watch what happens in Washington. If, on the other hand, the recent election only fuels the passion for further change, Barbour will have a tough decision to make. If he joins the fray early, he risks losing the ability to campaign on his record as Governor as strongly as he could; but if he waits, the public may already be committed to particular choices. For Barbour, a little calm before the next storm is a better climate.

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Pawlenty Announces Book Release Date

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Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s upcoming book has a release date set as Jan. 11, a week after he leaves the governor’s mansion. The Governor has been seen recently in Iowa, spending time stumping for state GOP candidates and at the Iowa State Fair in a meet and greet campaign mode in what can be seen as an attempt to get his name into the mainstream in Iowa ahead of the 2012 caucus.

Is the January release date to coincide with a Presidential announcement? That is yet to be seen but an aide says it’ll come with a national book tour, which has become a sort of proto-campaign for many candidates. The book “will focus on his life, his experience as a conservative governor in a liberal state, and his vision for America,” the aide said. It may also answer questions as to the Governor’s intentions towards running for the highest office in the land.

The book, entitled “Courage to Stand” is slated to give more of an auto-biographical view of the Governor rather than have any real substance of what he would do as President of the United States. Given his 1% showing in a recent Iowa poll, that may be the exact strategy he needs to raise his profile to a public enthralled with the mainstream, easily recognizable names such as Romney, Palin and Gingrich. Although it will probably not be tearing up the New York Times Best Seller List it will afford Pawlenty the opportunity to reach a much more diverse audience much quicker than he could by hitting the stump. It also may personalize the Governor in an age in which media soundbites and social networks rule the roost.

Will the book lead to a Presidential run in 2012? It may be too early to tell but the timing, and the story are exactly what an unknown Governor needs to get his name in the national spotlight.

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From Sea To Shining Sea (or Iowa to New Hampshire)

Bookmark and Share    After spending time in the early caucus state of Iowa, shaking hands and kissing babies at the state fair, former PA Senator Rick Santorum has made his way to the first primary state of New Hampshire as he continues to test the waters as the only candidate to ‘officially’ throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.

The possible GOP presidential candidate will attend a fundraising event Saturday for a New Hampshire Republican state senate candidate and will serve as the keynote speaker at the Manchester Republicans Candidate Fair, according to a spokeswoman for Santorum’s political action committee. “I sort of feel in some respects I’m being pulled along in this,” Santorum told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. “I’m still seriously going through this process. And at this point I’m very encouraged by everything that’s happening.” Santorum added that “there seems to be support on the ground at least to consider this. The response has been surprisingly positive.”

The former Senator told a Pittsburgh television station last week that he was testing the waters for a Presidential run. After making his announcement, the candidate made the trip to Iowa, his third, to campaign for state candidates and hang with potential voters at the Iowa State Fair in order to get his name out in order to compete against the possible candidates in 2012 that have national name recognition such as Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. In a somewhat predictable progression, Santorum left Iowa and headed for the early primary state of New Hampshire.

For the former Senator to make a serious run he is doing what may be his only option. Getting out amongst the voters to heighten his profile. He is sure to face better funded and more recognizable names should he dive head first into the process to garner the GOP nomination in 2012. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll released last week indicated that Santorum was the pick of two percent of Republican voters when it comes to their choice for their party’s next presidential nominee. Santorum was last among a list of potential GOP White House hopefuls listed in the survey.

It may be a long road ahead in the political career of Rick Santorum. A road that he seems, at least now, to be ready to travel down.

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Libs Divided Over Barbour

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Bad Joke or Serious Threat?

Most of the liberal commentators roll their eyes when they hear about Haley Barbour.  Alex Pareene at Salon wrote yesterday, “I can’t believe people are seriously talking up a corrupt, corpulent tobacco lobbyist’s chances at winning the presidency.”  A similar theme echoed from The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky, “But Barbour is as southern-fried as they come. And deeply reactionary, and an old tobacco lobbyist, and porcine, and governor of a state that’s 49th or 50th in everything and perfectly happy about that, and just the kind of guy you can picture being most at home hanging around in a corporate hospitality tent at Augusta National during Masters week.”  Even Politico‘s piece which Tomasky called a “puff piece” was critical of Barbour in the same vein.  It’s authors wrote, “A portly Southern conservative who represented tobacco firms and made millions building a lobbying firm isn’t the ideal profile for a Republican nominee in this or any political environment.”

The Politico piece did however cover some of the good points of Haley Barbour.  It was probably because it wasn’t all negative that it was derided as a puff piece.  The strengths Barbour possesses were the focus of Susan Estrich’s piece at newsmax.com.  Unlike the grade-schoolers at Salon and The Guardian, Estrich skipped the name calling and focused on Barbour’s long history in politics and his record in Mississippi.  The result was a piece that looked at Barbour as a potential candidate rather than a caricature.  Estrich summed up writing that, “If I had to pick a Republican I wouldn’t want to run against, it would be him.”

So which version of Haley Barbour is the real one?  The answer to that question can be found by looking at the writers of these articles.  Alex Pareene is gossip writer who knows about as much about politics as she hears on “The Daily Show”.  Tomasky doesn’t have any real political knowledge or experience either, but he probably gets his views from MSNBC.  Politico‘s writers are a little more experienced with Jim VandeHei having experience in the White House press corps and married to a former political staffer, Ken Vogel staffed House Committees, but Andy Barr pretty much just hangs out on liberal TV shows.  Susan Estrich clerked for the Supreme Court and was the campaign manager for the 1988 Michael Dukakis Presidential campaign.  Hmmm, which of these actually knows anything about Presidential campaigns and insider politics?

Right now, liberals are trying to salvage their self-esteem.  They got everything they wanted and things are worse than they were before.  The people are angry.  The Democrats’ approval ratings stink.  About the only thing liberal writers can do is call people names and hope that they can make the Republicans look even worse than the Democrats already do.  Some writers, like Estrich and part of the Politico team are looking beyond the current disaster the Democrats face.  They’re considering the 2012 election from the perspective of all the problems the Democrats will still face when that time comes.

No one can know who will win the nominations in 2012 or the general election.  Will the economy be better, worse or the same?  What will our foreign affairs situation look like?  What other issues could become important to the voters?  It is far too early to know the answers to those key questions that will greatly impact the outcome of the election.  A writer with some common sense, let alone experience, will recognize that fact and focus on potential candidates’ ability to adapt to changing political landscapes, weather criticism and maintain a solid network.  While those things don’t guarantee victory, they certainly have a lot more to do with it than whether or not Chris Matthews gets a tingle up his leg.

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Come On T-Paw. Just Say It Already.

Bookmark and Share    Although he contends he is not making an official decision until 2011, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is making the rounds at the Iowa State Fair and the talk is turning to the struggling economy. Seen by most political experts as a prelude to a primary run, a trip to Iowa for a man that was a finalist to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008 is definitely a soap box from which to get put his message. The Democrats have no clue how to spur the economy.

On why he believes Democrats have struggled creating jobs: “It’s pretty tough to be pro-job and anti-business. That’s like being pro-egg and anti-chicken. It doesn’t work so well.”, the Governor said when questioned about the struggling job market in what the President himself has labeled “The Summer of Recovery”. A summer which has seen a slow recovery turn into what may be a backward slide with the most recent job numbers shocking most analysts who expected a minor down tick and instead received an increase in applications for benefits. The Governor also spoke out regarding President Obama’s handling of the economy, “First of all he is clueless on a number of key issues on our time, including our economy,” Pawlenty said of the president on Fox News’ “Hannity” program on Monday. “We need to be growing this economy, lightening the burden for…the people that can get the economy going. Instead he is layering on burdens. And then, No. 2, he doesn’t have the depth of experience to run a large complex organization particularly in a time of crisis and its getting away from him.”

For a Governor who is ‘unsure’ of his political intentions for 2012, a direct verbal jab at the President of the United States would seem to be an indicator of things to come. With trips under his belt to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina who does T-Paw think he’s kidding? Get a jump on the crowd Governor. Hit while the hittin’s good. Headed into the mid-term elections at a time where the opposition party is highly unpopular and the administration losing poll points like the Detroit Lions lose football games, go ahead and get the ball rolling. Announce your intentions and ride the wave through to 2012. As a lesser known candidate on a national stage getting the drop on the growing unpopularity of Democrat policies and the failure of the stimulus to create the “Summer of Recovery” would be a major coup. Getting into the fray after a major national player such as Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin would only appear as a tag-along and not as taking the lead. Grab the bull by the horns and let the world know who Tim Pawlenty is.

Come on T-Paw……just say it already. “I, Tim Pawlenty, hereby declare my candidacy for President of The United States.”

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Barbour Has Cooties

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Running a Twitter search is like listening in on hundreds of conversations all at once. You get a snippet of what people are saying about current news stories. It isn’t empirical research. It isn’t representative of the population in any statistical way. It does however often let us see the extremes of public opinion and the level of interest quickly. After Haley Barbour was discussed on ‘Morning Joe’, I checked the Twitter feeds to see the reaction.

Ok, he is fat, but so what?

There were two main types of posts. One type spoke to Barbour’s success as Governor of Mississippi. The other type called him a fat racist. It isn’t exactly the height of political discourse, but it does highlight the current political climate. If politics had its own version of freshman orientation, it would have a presentation entitled: “Welcome to being a Republican candidate, here’s your racist label.”

Calling conservatives racists is the adult equivalent of grade schoolers chanting that Suzie has cooties. It comes from the same motivations. It has the same level of veracity. And frankly, it hurts. It hurts because we know what it means for someone to truly be racist. To think that anyone would actually think you hold those views is painful. At the same time, to minimize the reality of racism by throwing the accusation around randomly is also painful, especially to those who have suffered from it or worked hard to see it come to an end.

The liberal who cries racist is becoming synonymous with the boy who cried wolf. Right now, it still sends people running excitedly, but for how much longer? Several years ago, the accusation of racism would have resulted in the party throwing whoever was accused under the bus. Then it shifted to providing a detailed defense of the person highlighting all the work they did for minorities and trotting out minority people to speak on their behalf. Now, the accusations are just ignored by the right because they have become so frequent and are nearly always baseless. Even many on the left are turning a deaf ear to the accusations and treating them with as much attention as accusations of cooties.

The attacks on Haley Barbour are just the latest example of this problem. Unable to find substantive issues on which to criticize him, his detractors just drag out the racist label. Showing that even they don’t take the accusation seriously, they’ve paired it with calling him fat. Yep, it is just like grade school again. Fatty has cooties.

Is this really the debate we want to have in this country? Are you telling me that we can’t find a single real issue to debate? Has it come down to calling someone fat and thinking that is meaningful? Come on. Really?

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Home and Abroad

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Last week Gov. Haley Barbour was visiting neighboring Alabama and received the unofficial endorsement of Gov. Bob Riley.  That effectively removed a potential challenger from the 2012 field.  It wasn’t headline news.  Out of Alabama or Mississippi, it wasn’t news at all – except perhaps here.  Here we look at more than the spotlight grabbing stories that make mediocre candidates temporarily look like contenders.  We look at the things that hint at what’s going on under the surface of the real contenders.  Haley Barbour is one of those.

Haley Barbour is the front-runner, even though most Americans don’t yet know who he is and he is polling in the single digits.  It will be awhile before he officially enters the race and makes his record known to the voting public.  The only overt action he’s taken recently was the mailer to Republicans in Iowa.  In the mean time, he’s building momentum behind the scenes.  It is that effort that will build into the kind of real support that wins elections.

The major media is not covering the announcement of an “understanding” Gov. Barbour worked out with the Panama Canal Authority.  Barbour and members of the Mississippi State Port Authority traveled to Panama and worked out an agreement that would bring more shipping to the Port of Gulfport.  This agreement is more than just a good news story for Gulfport or Mississippi.  It tells much about the forward thinking, follow through and savvy of Haley Barbour.

Barbour plans ahead rather than just reacts to the present

Barbour has taken some criticism for spending $600 million of Hurricane Katrina relief money as part of a $1.6 billion expansion of the Port of Gulfport.  The expansion wasn’t needed then and that money could have been used to rebuild other things.  Barbour isn’t a reactive thinker.  He didn’t look to only put back what was lost, but rather to turn disaster into opportunity.  He knew that the Panama Canal would be expanded in a few years to accommodate larger ships.  He knew that the Port of Gulfport would need to be expanded in order to handle the traffic of an expanded Panama Canal.  So rather than build to the past, he built for the future and then did the work to ensure that future became a reality.

It would have been easier for Barbour to do as his critics suggested and simply put the money into subsidized insurance for gulf coast housing.  After all, he’ll be out of office long before the benefits of his efforts pay dividends.  Had he simply handed the money out to people, he could have gained popularity and praise right now.  He didn’t do that.  He knows that pouring money into insurance subsidies doesn’t fix the underlying problem nor does it do anything to make people self-sufficient.  Bringing in more jobs and a stronger economy will do more to solve problems than subsidizing them.  It doesn’t matter that the benefits will come after he has left office.  He’s doing the right thing rather than the politically expedient thing.  That’s real leadership.

It is stories like this of what Barbour has done and is doing that explain why he is so successful.  It is this kind of thinking and leadership that gains the praise and support of the people and networks necessary to run a successful campaign and, more importantly, a successful administration after winning the campaign.  That network is growing based on the sensible and forward thinking policies of Haley Barbour.

It was announced at the end of last week that Gov. Barbour will be the key note speaker at the Florida GOP “Victory Dinner” in September.  The major media picked that story up because Florida is a consequential State in the 2012 electoral math.  That was the focus of their reporting.  That may be important in 2012, but it isn’t the story today in 2010.  The story is that the Florida GOP tapped Barbour when they needed a key note speaker who would bring in the big donors and energize the party prior to entering the home stretch of the 2010 campaign season.  Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and other Florida GOP figures are going to be lined up behind Barbour and many will owe Barbour some thanks after he helps get them funded and on to victory.  The State’s electoral votes may be important in 2012, but equally important is sidelining any potential challengers from Florida and locking out current challengers from gaining the support of that State’s party machinery.

Just as he did with rebuilding after Katrina and negotiating with the Panama Canal Authority, Barbour is sowing the seeds that will grow into tomorrow’s harvest by his efforts in Florida this year.  He has already done so in Alabama, New Jersey and Virginia just to name a few.  He’s not looking at getting into the spotlight today.  He’s not even looking at the delegate or electoral math of 2012.  He’s looking at having the support in place to be able to effectively govern after a 2012 victory.  I say that not to imply that Barbour is taking anything for granted nor that he thinks he’s got the election in the bag.  I say it because it shows how Barbour is different and why that difference will win the election.

Haley Barbour is a leader who plans ahead.  He has learned that preparing to govern effectively is more important than focusing on winning.  It requires building coalitions of support that tend to not only be there for the future, but also help in the present.  People recognize a real leader.  When the people of the United States get the chance to meet Haley Barbour, they’ll recognize the leader in him.  They’ll recognize it by not only what he says but also by the fact that so many people they have grown to trust and lead will be working with him.  In the end, that will make the difference.  The major media is missing that story and completely missing what makes Haley Barbour so different and why he has been and will continue to be so successful.

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Riley Backs Barbour

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At a fund raising dinner for GOP candidates in Alabama on Tuesday evening, Gov. Bob Riley drew applause from the crowd when he plugged Haley Barbour for President. “It would be great to have a President who talks like we do,” said Riley. Earlier, Gov. Barbour spoke highly of Gov. Riley and the partnership they had as neighboring governors.

As of yet, neither man has officially announced an intention to run for President. There is little doubt that Barbour plans to run. The off-hand endorsement of Barbour by Riley signals that Riley doesn’t intend to run. That’s good news for Barbour and demonstrates the level of support he has gained from potential rivals. Other Governors and members of Congress who relied on support from Barbour through the Republican Governors Association and his original lobbying firm are likely to stand with him rather than run against him.

The typical watching of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina may not be meaningful when tracking Barbour’s plans. He’s expected to run. By the time we see an official announcement or even serious effort in those States, I’d expect Barbour to have done much behind the scenes. The winning over of potential rivals and the building of a coalition of support is far more practical for him than jumping into the fray like your average Presidential hopeful.

Chances are that Haley Barbour will be deservedly confident of victory before he ever makes an announcement. Statements of support like those made by Riley may seem like minor remarks, but they hint at the network of support Barbour has built and continues to build that will win him the nomination. Watching who he helps will tell more about his chances than watching where he campaigns. If he helps enough people, he won’t need to campaign.

A true leader sees many moves ahead and Haley Barbour is a true leader.

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Hi from Haley

Bookmark and Share    Haley Barbour came under the spotlight for a 2012 run in 2009 when he traveled to both Iowa and New Hampshire. Left-wing writers went crazy and spewed forth accusations that basically attempt to say that Barbour makes Cheney look like a Democrat. It seems the left felt it was necessary to knock Barbour down hard and hope he never got back up. Rather than defend himself, Barbour moved on to more important tasks.

The fall from grace of Mark Sanford of South Carolina put Gov. Barbour into the position as head of the Governor’s Association. From that position and through his original lobbying firm, he worked the same magic he used to engineer the Republican Revolution of 1994 when he was RNC Chairman. Some of the popular names in the Republican Party right now owe a great deal of their success to Gov. Barbour’s help in their elections. Both Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie benefited from Barbour’s efforts and have gone on to demonstrate the way the GOP can not only save itself, but the nation as well. Barbour demonstrated that when it comes to leading the GOP to victory, he’s the one who can do it.

Now Barbour is back in Iowa, sort of. Barbour introduced himself to the Republicans of Iowa in a new mailing. The mail piece is part of his efforts to repeat in 2010’s election cycle the same magic he worked in 2009 and to rebuild the victory he orchestrated in 1994. But while the mailer targets the 2010 cycle, it clearly makes the case also for Barbour himself. Why would the Republicans of Iowa need to know the successful record of the Governor of Mississippi? There is only one reason.

Barbour is in the 7th year of his governorship of Mississippi. He’s busy working through the Governor’s Association to win key gubernatorial elections in 2010, the offices key to the redistricting that will influence a decade of elections. The day after the 2010 election will be the first day of the 2012 election season. Haley Barbour has told the Republicans in Iowa that he’ll be stopping by shortly.

A year has passed since the left sought to trash him and he’s come out on top after 2009 election victories he helped create. The left will trot out their accusations again now that Barbour has stepped back into the election spotlight. The upcoming Republican victories he’s again helped to build will once again drown out their voices. When the 2012 election really begins and Barbour is officially in the race, all the muck will have been raked-over twice and be old news. All that will matter will be his successful tenure as governor and his successful leadership in the recent elections.

Barbour knows how to manage the news cycle. He may be a folksy grandpa figure, but he’s a policy and tactical powerhouse. His timing in and method of saying hi to the Republicans of Iowa is perfect. It gains exposure now and links him to the upcoming election victories while simultaneously limiting negative attacks as the larger story of the 2010 election will drown those out. Without campaigning directly, he’s out-campaigned his Republican rivals. Both sides will scramble to react.

Hi from Haley.

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Barbour: The New Thompson

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In the 2008 Republican Presidential Primary there was one man many wanted to see in the race. When he finally threw his hat officially into the ring, Fred Thompson sat at or near the top of the heap in various polls. By January, however, Thompson’s campaign had faltered and he dropped out of the race. The important thing to note is that it was a failure of the campaign (both strategy and the candidate’s physical limitations) that brought it down, not Thompson’s stands on the issues.

Thompson isn’t going to run again. His time has passed. Yet there is much we can gain in insight to the 2012 primary by looking at the numbers from 2008. When it comes to the issues and the personality style, Haley Barbour is about as close to Fred Thompson as we’re going to get.

In a crowded field, Thompson had polled in individual State polls averaged by region at 24% in the South, 21% in the West, 16.5 in the Midwest and 10 in the Northeast (not bad given that both Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney were Northeastern candidates) in September 2007 when his campaign really began. In red States, he averaged 21% and was at 12% in blue States. Taken overall, his numbers ranged from 15-26.5% in national polling, with the majority of polls putting him over 20% at a time when there were six contenders.

Thompson’s laid back Southern manner was appealing to many Americans, but a little too similar to the George W. Bush aw shucks Texan facade. Rather than help him, it painted him as one with the Bush group even though that mantle more rightly belonged on McCain. The split field of conservatives also hurt Thompson’s run. His failure in South Carolina meant that staying in the race would likely only result in McCain’s victory by dividing the conservative vote. He left, but Huckabee stayed in to gain more personal glory and the end result was a split conservative base allowing a McCain nomination. But this isn’t 2008 anymore. The Democrats have spoiled the good will they had with moderates and those voters who liked Reagan and Clinton will be looking for someone on the right (being the party out of power) who channels that aura of confident leadership and down to earth common sense. Barbour won’t suffer the stigma of his accent in the 2012 climate the way that Thompson did. If anything, it will be a strong contrast to the Obama sound of which the people will have grown quite tired.

Looking ahead then at 2012, I predict Palin will be the Giuliani of the cycle and be all hype, but no victories. She may have a lot of early popularity and some rabid supporters, but when people think of someone who can win the general election, she’ll lose her luster. Some second tier candidate will win Iowa, but wash out by the February contests. Romney will take New Hampshire and the early momentum. Barbour will win South Carolina and a solid South (provided Huckabee decides to keep his lucrative TV job and stay out of the race). That gives Barbour an edge over Romney and Romney has to win the Midwest and West to win. If Barbour’s popularity can be measured by Thompson’s, then he has a good chance of at least splitting the Midwest and West with Romney. That’s all he needs in order to win if he brings a solid South with him.

There is, of course, the possibility that another big government Republican similar to McCain could hang around the primaries and capitalize on a conservative split between Romney and Barbour. If that starts to happen, those two men better strike a deal and join forces to prevent another Republican disaster.

My bet is on Barbour to win in 2012. If he wants to win it big, he needs to rob Romney of New Hampshire and then take South Carolina. If he can do that, then the party could save its money and energy for the general election. Barbour-Romney sounds like a winning ticket to me.

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