Monday, June 28, 2010

Barbour in 2012?

There's been quite a buzz in southern political circles that not only is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour considering a run at the White House in 2012, he's all but certain to go all in.  The former lobbyist, Republican National Committee Chairman and current governor of a dyed-in-the-wool Red State has the national political connections and fundraising apparatus to make a serious run in 2012.

A story ran in Politico last week, touching on how he's been constructing a political machine that rivals anything assembled by other potential 2012 GOP hopefuls:

His apparatus, which has socked away hundreds of thousands of dollars this year alone, will get a major boost — as will the Barbour 2012 buzz — when the governor takes some time away from the Gulf oil spill threatening his home region’s shorelines to attend a big fundraiser Thursday for one of his three political action committees.

Barbour's political instincts are as keen as a well-honed Mississippi Buck Knife.  During a June 6 interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News' Sunday, Barbour was asked about Barack Obama's performance in dealing with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Barbour famously replied:
“The American people will make their own judgements… Like Napoleon said, ‘Never interfere with your enemy when he’s in the process of destroying himself.’”
While the other two Republican Governors--Jindal in Louisiana and Riley here in Alabama--have pulled no punches in criticizing the federal response to the oil spill, Barbour has stayed above the fray.  The quote above aside, he has not been as vocal as his colleagues in blasting the Obama regime for its ineptitude.  Instead, he's presented a level-headed "let's work together and solve this problem" approach. 

Remember also that Barbour was elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee in January 1993.  He is credited by many observers on both sides of the aisle as being one of the chief architects of the 1994 Republican Revolution that swept Democrat majorities from both houses of Congress.  Barbour sensed blood in the water 16 years ago, and is credited with organizing a party-wide feeding frenzy that nationalized Congressional elections for the first time in the post-war era.  In his 2003 campaign for Governor of Mississippi, Barbour beat a conservative blue dog Democrat in a campaign that the Jackson Clarion-Ledger called "relentlessly well organized."  The incumbent, Ronny Musgrove, was pro-life, anti-gay rights and wrote a letter in praise of the Alabama "Ten Commandments Judge," Roy Moore.  Musgrove would have made conservative Republicans in other states blush, but he was beaten by a machine he simply couldn't compete with in, terms of fundraising, organization or message management.

If Governor Barbour makes a run at the White House in 2012, then he's doing so because it's a battle he thinks he can win. His reputation as a "super-lobbyist" is sure to make him a target, but he's overcome that in the past with a record of getting sh__t done.  Should he make a run, he'll make a formidable opponent simply because he out-raises, out-organizes and out-works his opponents.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.