Meme of the day: Haley Barbour in hot water over race comments

posted at 8:18 pm on December 20, 2010 by Allahpundit

Matt Yglesias was the first, I believe, to seize on the key passage from Barbour’s interview with the Weekly Standard, but the pipeline from lefty blogs to bigger media moves quickly and now they’re off to the races. The DNC’s already jumped on it too, making this a semi-official sneak preview of what an Obama/Barbour 2012 campaign will look like. If he’s the nominee, Democrats will spend six solid months shrieking about racism in order to deflect attention from Obama’s record.

Mitigating factor: That’s actually their game plan no matter who the nominee is.

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

He also copped to having spent most of his time at MLK’s speech checking out girls. One thing he’s being hammered for is the “I just don’t remember it as being that bad” line, but as I read it, that wasn’t his take on the injustice of discrimination but rather how Yazoo City specifically coped with racial tensions. No violence in school desegregation, no Klan welcome in town, and a mixed audience for King’s address: Relative to other southern hot spots, I take him as saying, the town made racial progress peacefully. The other thing he’s getting hit for is whitewashing the Citizens Councils, a.k.a. the White Citizens Councils, which were essentially pro-segregationist groups for people too “respectable” for the Klan. Again, the way I read his quote was that he was describing only the Yazoo City chapter, not the overall organization (a point stressed by Barbour’s spokesman to TPM). Maybe the local CC’s mission had become less toxic by the time Barbour was a teen, or maybe he was simply naive about what the group’s true purpose was, remembering his hometown through “rose-colored glasses,” as Geraghty says. No doubt reporters are dialing up local historians as we speak to find out whether Barbour could earnestly and honestly be mistaken.

Whatever the answer, though, I agree with DrewM at Ace’s site that for a would-be presidential candidate who’s universally recognized for his political savvy, Barbour’s handling of the subject here was oddly clumsy. As you’ll see below, he’s keenly aware that “fat rednecks” will be held to a higher standard on certain topics than other candidates; running head-to-head against the first black president, that standard will be stratospherically high, yet here he is seeming to shrug off the local Citizens Council. It reminds me of Mitch Daniels continuing to wonder aloud about a truce on social issues or a VAT (coupled with an income tax): Knowing what your opponents will do with that, why hand them the ammunition? Exit quotation from Dan McLaughlin: “Fact #1: Haley Barbour may be the best potential POTUS in GOP field. Fact #2: a white man his age from MS may not be electable, as such.”


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Comment pages: 1 2

The libs whine about the slightest criticism of Obama but they are the ones who launch into screaming, scorched earth rage about the most fake, trumped up bulls**t. Liberals are never honest about anything. They lie, cheat and steal at all times.

Django on December 21, 2010 at 12:50 AM

Run Haley, run. You have my vote.

GnuBreed on December 21, 2010 at 1:01 AM

The American regime approaches its ultimate destruction, but the stupid fvck at the Weekly Standard chose to focus the minds of readers on events of the 1950s and 1960s, and Haley Barbour went along. What was the point of these reminiscences?

Kralizec on December 21, 2010 at 1:15 AM

Democrats will spend six solid months shrieking about racism in order to deflect attention from Obama’s record.
Mitigating factor: That’s actually their game plan no matter who the nominee.

I guess they figure since it worked so well for them in 2008, why change a winning formula?

AZCoyote on December 21, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, and we had no parallel experiences/history to yours re race, but:

I’m so glad HotAir printed other people’s commentary along with Barbour’s comments. Because I didn’t understand what was “racist” about them on their own!

Actually, I still don’t. Sorry.

fivefeetoffury on December 21, 2010 at 6:33 AM

AZCoyote on December 21, 2010 at 3:19 AM

yepper…

cmsinaz on December 21, 2010 at 6:55 AM

tingles will be having a field day with this along with eugene robinson…eugene is already on a rampage on morning joe
—–
gettin’ real old…

cmsinaz on December 21, 2010 at 7:06 AM

It reminds me of Mitch Daniels continuing to wonder aloud about a truce on social issues or a VAT (coupled with an income tax):

Actually, that is not true. Daniels was wondering about a VAT, if you got rid of several other taxes and just concentrated on consumption taxes in an effort to increase savings. But he is not a strong supporter of tax increases, he is a strong supporter of balanced budgets. A look at his policies as Governor will make that plain enough.

But that is not the point.

As a person who grew up in the southwest, Oklahoma…I am so sick and tired of sanctimonious yankees yakking about southern whites and racial injustice. If I remember correctly, the state that was headquarters of the KKK for many years was Indiana, right here in the midwest…and the north had their Jim Crow laws. Or for that matter lets remember liberal Hollywood and such classics as Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind. Hypocrites.

No doubt, the left will play that race card again along with the class warfare card…but that is only to be expected. The rest of us don’t have to play that game.

Terrye on December 21, 2010 at 7:23 AM

No doubt, the left will play that race card again along with the class warfare card…but that is only to be expected. The rest of us don’t have to play that game.

Terrye on December 21, 2010 at 7:23 AM

but somehow we get sucked in

cmsinaz on December 21, 2010 at 7:26 AM

This is a tempest in a teapot. There’s nothing here. Yglesias et. al. are yapping chihuahuas.

If anything it’s to Haley’s advantage to have the racist card pulled so early over something so innocuous.

Just more proof of how much smarter this Mississippi redneck is than the millionaire moderate CEO that ran in California.

rcl on December 21, 2010 at 7:33 AM

Jindal gave a poorly received SOTU speech, and the LEft started comparing him to Kenenth the Page an dhe ducked and never reappared on national tv again.

promachus on December 20, 2010 at 11:46 PM

The unfortunate thing about the incident with Gov. Jindal and now Gov. Barbour is that the “friendly” media is running with it. Conservatives are never going to really lead until they stop letting the Left set (and move) the goal posts. It is ridiculous to let the people who want you to fail decide that a statement in an article or a poorly perceived optic during a speech is a career killer.

Cindy Munford on December 21, 2010 at 7:41 AM

Matt Yglesias was the first

I’m supposed to read past this line? Really, what was that that this prime member of The Dumbest Generation is trying to get me outrageously outraged about? I really couldn’t figure it out.

Really, you Democrat leftist trash out there. And I know you’re out there. It is so much easier in life, having a world view and belief that you’re proud of sharing. That don’t make you run like a pussy named “Yglesias.” Try it sometime.

MNHawk on December 21, 2010 at 7:53 AM

Barbour was right. It wasn’t bad in the South compared to the North. I was a small kid living near Newark New Jersey during the riots of ’67 and ’68. I seem to remember lots of blacks shooting at firemen trying to save their neighborhoods. I remember a tank rolling down the streets of Newark. I don’t think it was quite like that in Mississippi.

This election, neither color nor class will matter. It will all be about the economy as the Marxist drives us further down the Socialist rabbit-hole. It’s never been about race. It has always been about culture…

adamsmith on December 21, 2010 at 7:53 AM

What do you do when you’re Toad Away?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKKxhGu3A8

Del Dolemonte on December 20, 2010 at 9:45 PM

I’m a long-time Firesign fan. I used to have “Dear Friends” and remember Toad Away quite well.

“You haven’t seen the last of me!”

chumpThreads on December 21, 2010 at 8:09 AM

Was there any real doubt that this would be his achilles heel?

AnninCA on December 21, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Other than Palin, Republicans seem afraid to confront the racist & hate filled left when they attack. If anyone wants to see racism in action, then they only need to watch a video of a Rev. Wright sermon…pay close attention to the racist reactions of the TUCC audience. Obama spent over 20 years supporting that kind of racism and hatred, and Democrats need to be reminded of it over and over again.

Karmi on December 21, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Barbour’s handling of the subject here was oddly clumsy.

I suppose he should have lied and said things were actually terrible in his hometown when he was a kid, and everything is much better now that we have a black president.

SD on December 21, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Two great Americans came from Yazoo City: Haley Barbour and Jerry Clower. Both are/were great storytellers and not a speck of racism in either one. God bless ‘em both.

Mr. Grump on December 21, 2010 at 9:37 AM

My God, this whole thing is stupid! I grew up in the South and my life was great. Sure there were bad things happening to Blacks and others too but I was a kid and not part of that world. Barbour did not say anything racist or stupid in his comments. Were you a crusader for human rights when you were a kid? This is so left wing to use someones past to justify crushing them today. I would imagine a lot of the youth in Hitler’s Germany remember life as pretty good up until the war started because they were removed from much of the misery of others. BUT, and that’s a BIG BUT why do conservatives allow any reporter to go into their personal lives and ask questions that no liberal will ever get asked? Why do they allow them to get away from the big problems that face us today? This is one area where Palin is a master since she was so badly treated by the MSM. As a group ALL of the Republican candidates in the ’12 primary should refuse to go on a left wing forum. Not because they are cowards but because the questions will be such that there are no good answers.

inspectorudy on December 21, 2010 at 9:59 AM

rcl on December 21, 2010 at 7:33 AM

Well said!

MJBrutus on December 21, 2010 at 10:02 AM

I don’t think ol Haley is going to be “Trent Lotted” He has too much spine!

kens on December 21, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Let’s compare this to a few of the OOTD’s. It pales in comparison…. but there is the double standard of course.

Merry Christmas!!

ultracon on December 21, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Fact #1: Haley Barbour may be the best potential POTUS in GOP field. Fact #2: a white man his age from MS may not be electable, as such.”

Dont ya just adore those non bigotted, non racist, non sexist, non ageist liberal minded people…

canditaylor68 on December 21, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Let’s compare this to a few of the OOTD’s. It pales in comparison…. but there is the double standard of course.

Merry Christmas!!

ultracon on December 21, 2010 at 10:07 AM

It pales in comparison for him to answer a question honestly all because he knows that there’s a double standard applied to Southern Republicans? It’s all fine for people to applaud Carter even though he fought a black school opening too close to a white one, but if a Republican presents a rose-colored view of his childhood, he’s toast.

And of course you realize (but are too much of a tool to acknowledge this) that the OOTD is specifically aimed only at the president. Not even Biden is included in this though his missteps are often significantly worse than his boss’s. But hey, keep up the trolling!

Esthier on December 21, 2010 at 11:14 AM

ultracon on December 21, 2010 at 10:07 AM

I just read your comment again and realize I could be reading you wrong. If so, I very sincerely apologize. If not, I should probably still apologize just because I don’t know you.

Esthier on December 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Go watch his interview that was replayed on Big Hollywood… the Democrats would be ashamed of how much they’ve gone after Barbour, considering some of the people and actions he’s performed in the past.

But hey, per Democrats it doesn’t matter.. Southern white Republican = racist.. .no matter how far the truth it is.

That being said, as stated… you think Christie fires back with gusto.. you ain’t seen nothing til Haley fires back on you and he’ll have you apologizing for him fire back.

DaSaintFan on December 21, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Mickey Mouse Conservatives, please do the right thing and step away from the ghetto, gutter candidates that stick it to the media. Support candidates that actually have been able to maneuver and shape policy in government bodies that are antagonistic towards Conservative policy. This shows leadership and the ability to lead our country in the right direction. We NEED a quarterback NOT a cheerleader

conservador on December 21, 2010 at 2:48 PM

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