Haley Barbour Talks About 2012 White House Hopes In South Carolina

Bookmark and Share Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour took what is clearly a step in the direction toward the starting line in the race to the White House. Today he conducted private meetings with Republican financial donors and Party activists in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Barry Wynn, a former state Republican Party chairman, tells The Spartanburg Herald Journal; He’s just coming through town to meet with a few people to test the waters, like a lot of other people are preparing to do,. Wynn added It’s very preliminary. He knows a lot of folks, and I think he’s trying to touch base with the people he knows and meet some new people. It’s that season.

Today’s meetings were set up by Chip Felkel, a Greenville, South Carolina Republican strategist and decades long friend of Governor Barbour and worked for the RNC when Barbour was a Mississippi Republican National Committeeman.

The recent meeting in Spartanburg was held in space occupied by the business owned by state GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd. Joel Sawyer, the spokesman for The South Carolina State GOP said that the Chairwoman will coordinate many meetings similar to the one with Barbour as the nominating process plays out.

Barbour has been keeping his foot in the door of the Southern Republican primaries for quite some time now. Not long ago he was the keynote speaker at the Florida State GOP dinner. And last March he was the main speaker at separate state and county Republican fundraiser in South Carolina.

With January coming to a close, many perspective candidates who have not yet made up their minds about 2012 are moving closer to a decision and it looks like Governor Barbour is no different.

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Will Haley Barbour’s Proposed Construction of a Civil Rights Museum Be Enough?

Bookmark and Share Being a white, Southern, Republican politician, wrongly but automatically conjures up stereotypes which normally require the need totake a defensive postureon race and civil rights. If Mississippis Governor Haley Barbour does take the plunge and dives into the national pool of candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination, he, probably more than others, will need to address his views and record on these issues. Indeed, the Governors critics recently helped to create doubts about the Governors commitment to civil rights and race relations, after he did interview in which he said that he doesnt remember things being so bad when he was a young man during the height of the civil struggle in the sixties. Barbour specifically meant that in the context of his own hometown in Mississippi, Yazoo City, but the remark led critics to lambaste the Governor and raise questions about how committed he is to civil rights.

If Governor Barbour does in fact run for President, the issue is one which he will certainly have to put to rest, especially since if he wins the Republican nomination, he will be opposing the man embraced as our first African-American President.

One argument that Barbour will be able to use to diffuse any dispute over his stance on civil rights will be his establishment of a commission that was charged with creating the plans for a civil rights museum. The idea had been tossed around by Mississippi legislators for years but in 2007, Barbour took the initiative to get the ball rolling and appointed former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson and former federal judge Charles Pickering to head the commission.

To date, the museum failed to move beyond the planning stage because of a dispute over where it should be built. But now, in his last State of the State address as Governor, Haley Barbour announced that Justice Anderson and former Governor William Winter, recommended a solution that he was proposing to the state legislature. Barbour said;

I’m presenting it tonight because this is the year to get this museum going. It is the 50 th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders and the 150 th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Governor Winter and Justice Anderson recommended we build the Civil Rights Museum adjacent to the proposed Mississippi History Museum at the existing site in downtown Jackson. I urge you to move this museum forward as an appropriate way to do justice to the Civil Rights Movement and to stand as a monument of remembrance and reconciliation.

Barbours proposal and his 2007 initiation of the planning commission to build a civil rights museum, will undoubtedly be viewed by critics as little more than a political ploy. For those who wish to promote civil rights by hypocritically promoting there own stereotypes, its a facts be damned situation for Governor Barbour. No matter what he says or does on the issue, they will do their best to insure that he is painted as a Southern, redneck, Republican racist.

The question is will Barbour be able to avoid phrasing any remarks on the issue in a way that can make them un-twistable by left leaning talking heads, like Rachel Maddow, who did her own hit piece on the Governor several weeks ago? And in addition to that which will be manufactured to question Barbours position on race, are longstanding rumors that date back to 1982 during his failed bid for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Senator John Stennis. According to a Boston Globe report, within earshot of the press, a campaign aide told Barbour that “coons” were going to be among the audience of their next campaign stop at the state fair. In front of reporters, Barbour allegedly warned the aide, that if the aide continued making racist remarks, he would be “reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks.” The remark has never quite been proven but be sure to hear it come up in any future Barbour campaign.

No matter what, the issue of racism will be a haunting one for Barbour, especially if he is the Republican nominee for President. But Barbour is not without respect and support from some African-Americans. In response to an article about a potential run for President in the Clarion Ledger, Scott Smith writes I am a black Democrat but I would vote for Mr. Barbour any day. Barbour is also not without his own defense in the face of accusations. Highlighting the construction of a civil rights museum during his last State of the State address will be just one of them.

In the end, the left will accuse any Republican of racism. Being one from the South just makes it easier to fit the stereotype. In recent history, it is the left and African-Americans who are usually the first to play the racecard and I suspect that the same will hold true in 2012.But will the issue have much of an impact on the way African-Americans vote with Barack Obama running for reelection? In 2008, the black vote came out for President Obama in an almost monolithic percentage that approached 97%. Or more. Does anyone expect the percentage of their vote for him to sharply decrease? The total number of black voters may be down, but the percentage of their vote for President Obama won’t be.

If race is going to again play a big role in the 2012 election, the biggest culprit will most likely be reverse racism and the proliferation of hypocritical, stereotypical portrayals of Southerners.

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Governor Barbour Warns House Republicans To Avoid Becoming Cocky

Bookmark and Share Haley Barbour addressed House Republicans at their annual winter retreat at which strategy and message is discussed.

The Governor advised Representatives to avoid becoming arrogant and believing that they run government and to focus voter frustration with the economy on the Democrats in control of White House and Senate.

As an example, Barbour used the takeover of Congress that as the Chairman of the RNC, he helped orchestrate. He suggests that was as early as 1995 when some elected Republicans became cocky and acted as though President Bill Clinton was not a factor and didnt matter. According to Barbour, that attitude helped Clinton rehabilitate his standing in the polls and ultimately get reelected President in 1996.

According to Governor Barbour;

“There was a time in 1995 when a lot of people in America seemed to think that we were running the government. In fact, there were some Republicans in Congress who seemed to think we were running the government. I can remember the statement somebody made that Bill Clinton was irrelevant. Well, the Democrats control the Senate. They control the presidency. So we’re not running the government. … But we can try to stop bad things.”

The point was not lost on Majority Leader Eric Cantor who earlier stated “We as Republicans do not control this federal government. The other party does,”

Clearly, Barbour understands that the GOP is most successful when it reinforces its anti-establishmentarian, anti-government posture. He knows that the best position for the Party to be in if it wants to make gains in the House and Senate and take back the White House in 2012, they need to make sure that they do not let power go to their heads and take advantage of the political system. Instead they must be the Party that points out the faults in the system and reform it.

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Does Haley Barbour’s Presidential Ambition Get a Boost from the Election of a New Republican Party Chairman?

New GOP Chairman Reince Priebus

Bookmark and Share The Republican National Committee has elected a new chairman. Reince Priebus (pronounced rains pre-bus), the Chairman of the Wisconsin State GOP will now take the reins and as he stated in his acceptance speech, restructure financial operations, hire top notch staff and make the GOP a truly conservative Party that elects conservative candidates.

But behind the story is a sub plot that has had many talking the influence of 2012 presidential politics in the process of electing a new Party chairman.

Priebus was elected with the aggressive support and involvement of Henry Barbour, the nephew of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a man who himself is a highly successful former Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

For his part Henry Barbour has stated that his uncle has played no role in his involvement in the process. He tells reporters that he is happy doing his own thing and is also not trying to be like his uncle. Henry states, Theres only one Haley, and Im not trying to be Haley.

Governor Barbour has also denied playing a role in Henrys activity. But even if this was a Barbour family conspiracy, it would do little to help Haley Barbour get the inside track on route to the Republican presidential nomination, if he seeks it.

The National Committee is not allowed to favor one candidate over the other during the primary and caucus process that leads up to the nominating convention. And as Chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus would not be allowed to use the Party apparatus or his position to favor Haley Barbour or any of the other candidates.

Of course good relations with the man charge of the Republican National Committee behoove all involved, so the fact that Haley Barbours nephew played a part in electing Reince Priebus will not hurt Haley Barbour, it will also provide little to no advantage as the presidential nomination process plays out.

And truth be told, Haley Barbour probably has better connections and fundraising capabilities than even the new Chairman has. Haley Barbours tenure as RNC in the 90s, when Republicans took control of Congress for the first time in forty years, earned him a multitude of gratitude from countless political players, players who feel a certain sense of indebtedness to. On top of that, Haleys position of Chairman of the Republican Governors Association has increased the amount of thanks and favors owed to him. During the past election cycle, through Governor Barbours effort, the RGA raised record amounts of money and played an important part in the election of many new Republican governors.

So despite Henry Barbours support for Reince Priebus, the only way Haley Barbour can really benefit would be by the new chairmans ability to strengthen the Party apparatus by reinvigorating and coordinating the grassroots, sharpening the Republican Partys message and doing as he saidrestructuring the financial operations of the Party. If Priebus can do that, we will all benefit.

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Haley Barbour Set To Meet With House Republicans

From Associated Press – January 13, 2011 4:54 PM ET

Barbour speaking at US House Republican retreat

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will be dispensing political advice to congressional Republicans this weekend during their private retreat in Baltimore.

Barbour spokesman Dan Turner says the governor flew Thursday from Mississippi to Washington, where he’ll have a variety of meetings – some for state business, some for politics.

Barbour and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among the potential 2012 presidential candidates meeting with U.S. House Republicans as part of the retreat.

Turner says the governor is skipping the Republican National Committee meeting Friday in Washington, where a new chairman is being chosen.

Barbour went to South Carolina Wednesday for the inauguration of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

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Haley is sure making his rounds

Daniels Outshines Barbour in Comparison of State of the State Addresses

Bookmark and Share While all the Governors of all the states are gearing up for their State of the State addresses or have already given them, few such speeches had or will have the type of pressure and drama around them than do those of Indianas Governor Mitch Daniels and Mississippis Governor Haley Barbour.

Barbour and Daniels are both second term Governors who are in their last year in office. Both men remain popular within their states and have some of the highest favorable ratings from their voters then do the Governors of all other states. And both men have performed their jobs and led their states so well that they are often mentioned as potential candidates for President. For these reasons, perhaps more than most other State of the State addresses, the ones issued by Daniels and Barbour deserve special attention.

If either man is considering a run for President, their State of the State addresses offered them the opportunity to set the stage for that campaign. It provided them a chance to define their previous seven years of leadership and set a tone for their future leadership. On Tuesday, both men set that stage.

While both men, to one extent or another, responsibly addressed the specific problems of their respective states, with very different styles, Barbour and Daniels struck strikingly similar tones on matters of their state budgets, rainy day funds, jobs, taxes, education and fiscal responsibility. Both men boasted the importance of balanced budgets, the need for education reforms, more charter schools, job creation, and the promise of no new taxes, especially in the middle of a national economic downturn. Barbour and Daniels also made sure to point out how much more fiscally responsible and how much better off their states are than are other states during this historically sluggish national economy. But it was the performance of Mitch Daniels that put Haley Barbour to shame.

Mitch Daniels delivered a speech that outshined Haley Barbour both in style and substance. Daniels address was articulate, upbeat, creative, detailed, organized, easy flowing and laced with humor and memorable quotes that drove home the impression of an accomplished man who was confident, in control and possessing great leadership skill and vision. Daniels speech subtly created the impression of a state that he governed to a point where it now leads the nation in fiscal responsibility, government reform and accountability. But even better for Daniels is the fact that his state is actually a leader in all those areas.

Without taking the credit, Governor Daniels pointed these facts out as he ticked off a list of proud accomplishments such as building one of the best job climates in the country, breaking the all-time record for new job commitments, and adding new jobs at twice the national average. .

We Hoosiers don’t like to wait, when we can act. If we cannot overcome a nationwide job hemorrhage, we can fight back better than others. Again in 2010, we broke all records for road building and bridge building, for the fourth year in a row, and put thousands to work doing so, said Daniels.

Daniels also touted a 2008 property tax cut that took effectand till this dayprovided home and business owners an additional $600 million still in their bank accounts and made Indianas property taxes the lowest anywhere in America.

Daniels described his handling of the budget as the clearest example of Hoosier resolve and explained the state handled a two billion dollar drop in state revenues as any family would, as any small business would. We decided what is most important, separated the must dos from the nice to dos, and matched spending to income.

He added Across the country, state spending, despite the recession, is still up sharply the last six years. But here, it is virtually flat, one-third the rate of inflation. Elsewhere, state government payrolls have grown, but here, we have the nation’s fewest state employees per capita, fewer than we did in 1978. During this terrible recession, at least 35 states raised taxes, but Indiana cut them. Since ’04, the other 49 states added to their debt, by 40 percent; we paid ours down, by 40 percent. Many states exhausted any reserves they may have had, and plunged into the red, but our savings account remains strong, and our credit AAA.

Governor Daniels again referred to taxes as he began to discuss the future state budget that he will be proposing. He assured legislators that he will welcome amendments and improvements, but only if they lived up to four principles, one being no tax increases to which he added Can I get an amen to that?. The other three principles included the requirement that the state stay in the black at all times, with a prudent budget excess in reserve. Two, annual revenues must exceed annual spending, with no need for any use of the state savings account. And three, no gimmicks such as raiding teacher pension funds and shifting state deficit funds to schools and universities by making them wait until the state had cash to pay them.

Daniels also proposed what he called lasting spending discipline by enacting an automatic taxpayer refund. When the day comes again when state reserves exceed 10 percent of annual needs, it will be time to stop collecting taxes and leave them with the people they belong to.” said Daniels.

He added Remember what the Hoosier philosopher said: It’s tainted money. Taint yours, and taint mine. Beyond some point, it is far better to leave dollars in the pockets of those who earned them than to let them burn a hole, as they always do, in the pockets of government.

Daniels speech also addressed the Issue of reform, reform of government, the criminal justice system and education. He spoke of the need to reform outdated forms of local government and end the conflicts of interest seen when double-dipping government workers simultaneously sit on city or county councils, interrogating their own supervisors and deciding their own salaries and putting a stop to the nepotism that leads to one in four township employees sharing a last name with the politician who hired them.

In addition to his good government reform initiatives, Governor Daniels called upon to legislators to see that lawbreakers are incarcerated in a smarter way, one that matches their place of punishment to their true danger to society. He noted We can be tougher on the worst offenders, and protect Hoosiers more securely, while saving a billion dollars the next few years. Let’s seize this opportunity, without waiting.

On the issue of education. In setting that up as an item on the agenda of the upcoming legislative session, Daniels said When we are courting a new business, right behind taxes, the cost of energy, reasonable regulation, and transportation facilities comes schools. What kind of school will my children, and our workers children attend? is a question were always asked. Sometimes, in some places, it costs us jobs today. There is no time to wait. Some of the initiatives he laid out included raising the quality of those teaching in Indiana by putting an end to tenure based upon seniority and age and placing the emphasis on quality and achievement. He also called upon the legislator to peel away unnecessary requirements that consume time and money without really contributing to learning by repealing mandates that should be left to local control and by insuring that collective bargaining stop micromanaging school leaders and handcuffing them in a way that makes it impossible for them to meet higher expectations.

Daniels final plea on education was to increase competition in education and increase the number of charter schools in the state. He called upon legislators to honor the parents of Indiana. and to trust and respect them enough, to decide when, where, and how their children can receive the best education, and therefore the best chance in life.

In its entirety, Daniels speech helped solidify his credentials as a fiscal conservative who knows how to actually make government curb spending and balance budgets. He also demonstrated himself to be a man of ideas and an effective communicator who unlike President Obama, has the ability to appeal to voters with more substance than flash.

On the other hand, Barbour delivered a speech that had just about as much substance but lacked the conviction that Mitch Daniels offered. Barbour did however put a greater emphasis on job creation and highlighted something that Daniels did not.energy.

Barbour committed himself to making job creation his top priority, adding I think it should be the countrys top priority too. Governor Barbour pointed out that Mississippis efforts in jobs skills training has helped raise the states per capita income by 27%, one of the larger increases in the country. He pointed to the implementation of innovative energy technologies that are providing jobs and giving Mississippi Power customer’s stable, affordable base-load electric rates for decades to come and creating the first commercial-scale example of carbon capture and energy sequestration in America. The Governor stated Both improving the skills of our workforce and being a reliable energy state are critical to job creation in Mississippi now and for many years to come.

More people working means more income for those families who were personally hit by this global recession. It means more revenue for our small and middle sized businesses, the backbone of our economy, and of the nation’s economy, too. And here in state government, job creation means more taxpayers with more taxable income. Indeed, most of the difficult budget issues facing us this session and for another year or two after that, directly result from job losses and the recession that led to them. said Barbour.

Much of the rest of Barbours State of the State of the address focused in on the need for a balanced budget and the budget cuts that will be required to get there. The Governor warned that with federal stimulus dollars drying up, the state budget will become even harder to balance and as such he addressed the need for a change in state laws that makes it impossible for the governor to cut any agencies budget by more than 5%. Governor Barbour asked for that limit to be raised to at least 10%.

In the final analysis, if one were to judge the chances of a successful presidential strategy based upon the substance and style of the two State of the State addresses, Mitch Daniels comes out far ahead of Haley Barbour. In his speech, Daniels displayed the character and content that would best counter President Obama. Mitch Daniels strongly struck the chords that President Obama is the weakest on, such as the economy and fiscal responsibility. But contrary to Daniels, in his State of the State address, Barbour did little to impress anyone. He did not distinguish himself as a leader excelling in any specific area or on any specific issue. And as for his style, Mitch Daniels has never been known for having an overwhelmingly appealing personality, but next to Barbour, Daniels came across like a rock star.

A comparison of the two speeches led me to conclude that if Mitch Daniels decides not to run for President after the Indian legislative session is over in April, not only will I be disappointed, Haley Barbour would be wise to hire Mitchs speech writers for his own campaign. After listening to the speech just written by his existing staff, it is easy to see whose is more savvy than the others.

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Haley Barbour’s State of the State Address

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Mitch Daniels’ State of the State Address

Government for the People

Bookmark and Share Many potential Presidential hopefuls are criss-crossing the early primary States trying to get a witty sound bite played on the evening news.  Many are also booked on radio and TV programs answering questions with sound bite answers.  It is a tried and proven strategy in campaigns that connects a given politician to a single easily understood idea that has polled well with likely voters.  Yet with so many contenders all doing the same thing and making almost identical statements, one can’t help but feel that those who seek to lead us are just cheering on our lead.

Haley Barbour is one of the few candidates taking a different path.  In a series of short videos, he goes beyond sound bites and explains in clear and honest terms the issues facing us.  He doesn’t condescend or pander.  He doesn’t dumb down or try to sound superior.  He simply explains the problems we face in much the same way millions of Americans discuss them around the dinner table with their family.  The videos may not leave you with a sound bite you can tack on to Haley Barbour’s name, but they do something more.  They leave you with the feeling that someone in government understands your concerns and isn’t trying to spin them into something else.

America is looking for a leader who doesn’t just tell them what they want to hear.  America is looking for a leader who doesn’t try to use high sounding language to try to convince them that something they know is bad is instead good.  America is looking for a leader.  A few of the Presidential hopefuls have grasped that simple concept.  They are connecting with the people with honest, direct and unequivocal statements.  They are speaking from the heart based on fundamental beliefs rather than crafting a message to fit polling numbers.  If the Republican Party is going to regain the trust of the American people and be victorious not just in a time of anger with incumbents but also in years to come, it needs to embrace such efforts.

If the primary contests this year have taught us anything, it is that the American people are sick and tired of politicians who talk and talk, but don’t say anything.  They want leaders, not politicians.  They want people who speak from the heart and take direct stands that the people can either agree with or oppose.  They respect that and have voted for candidates who act in that way, even if there is not complete agreement on the issues.  Politicians should beware.  It appears that the people can tell the difference between someone who speaks openly, honestly and directly on the issues and another who dances around issues with couching, spinning and equivocation.  They are no longer rewarding the candidate who can best spin a sound bite; they are rewarding the one who takes a stand and then stands by it.

Haley Barbour has been doing that for many years.  He has proven it works.  He has also proven that it strips away all the packaging candidates are often wrapped in and simply presents a candidate honestly.  You can’t spin a open, honest and direct statement on an issue into something else if that position turns out to be wrong.  Haley Barbour has put his core beliefs on the table openly, honestly and directly.  He has taken heat for them and stood by them when it looked as though he was wrong on an issue, then worked harder and was proven right in the end.

We need leaders.  Leaders believe in something and act on it.  They don’t just flit from position to position on issue after issue based on popular opinion.  When a candidate is open, honest and direct about his beliefs, the people can either support or reject that candidate on fundamentals.  The future is unknown and the people know that.  They know we need leaders who can do the right thing in the future based on their core beliefs.  Anyone can say the right thing about an issue today, but if they present no sound core from which that position was taken, we have no idea what they might do in the future.  All people have core principles.  This President certainly does, but he hid them while running for office and built a wall of spin to hide behind.  Now he acts on his core and is driving this country down the path to ruin.  The people will not be fooled again.

Haley Barbour is the one candidate who has always spoken and continues to speak openly, honestly and directly with the people.  There will be a few issues on which he may not represent the majority of voters, but at least they will know that and can decide for themselves if those few issues should outweigh all the others on which they do agree.  He isn’t afraid to let the people make that choice.  That’s a person you can trust; and you have to be trusted to be able to lead.

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