Trip To The Barbour's Shop

By Robert A. George
|  Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009  |  Updated 10:21 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Presidential GOP Hopefuls for 2012

Getty Images

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour speaks during a news conference on healthcare reform with congressional Republicans Tuesday in Washington, DC.

advertisement
Photos and Videos
More Photos and Videos

Now batting for Team GOP 2012, Gov. Haley Barbour

The bubbly and portly chief executive of Mississippi has now moved into the "Land of Mention"-- as in being mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for 2012. In the coming days, with visits to Virginia, New Hampshire and Iowa, he will be laying out some possible chits that could be cashed in three years from now.  On Tuesday, he even joined congressional Republicans to denounce federal government-run health insurance.

As a former lobbyist, with a thick Southern drawl, Barbour doesn't come across as a likely national figure. However, one can't underestimate his stature across the party.   

For one thing, he gets respect from conservatives and moderates alike because of his successful tenure as chairman of the RNC in the mid-'90s.  He won important off-year elections in New Jersey, Virginia and New York City. 

Second, of the states affected the most by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Mississippi came out looking not too bad -- especially in contrast to Louisiana.  Barbour kept his wits about him and managed the emergency in a fairly organized fashion

More recently, though a conservative who had disagreements with the economic stimulus package, Barbour didn't turn the entire thing into a soap opera in the way that South Carolina's Mark Sanford and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal did.

In short, Barbour seems like a competent conservative -- who can also appeal to the moderate elements in the party. 

But now that the spotlight is beginning to show on Barbour, will he be able to survive what seems like the "curse" of being mentioned in the 2012 sweepstakes?  No sooner was Jindal "mentioned," than he gave a response to Obama's national speech -- and promptly bombed.  Sanford's star was rising -- until this M.I.A. story this week upset his momentum.  Three weeks ago, Nevada's John Ensign was touring Iowa; now he's caught in a burgeoning sex scandal

Maybe not being mentioned for president is the best thing for one's political career?

No wonder Barbour's trying to downplay the speculation.

Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out