The Barbour of civility

posted at 6:12 pm on February 15, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

One of the more pleasant surprises for me at this year’s CPAC was the opportunity to take a closer look at Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a potential POTUS candidate for 2012. It’s far too easy to fall for conventional media caricatures of American politicians, particularly for a Yankee like myself thinking of a southerner. Barbour, however, doesn’t fit neatly into any preconceived mold.

My first introduction came at a small reception the Governor held for bloggers. He immediately won points with the crowd when he announced that he wasn’t going to make anyone sit through two of his speeches in less than 24 hours and delivered a few remarks about the importance of the advent of social media over the days of three network gatekeepers. He then said that, unlike some other politicians, he would give direct answers to any questions we might have in private, announced that the bar was open and the drinks were on him.

My opinion of the gentleman immediately went up another notch. (For the record, I later asked him what he stocked on the bar at home and he replied, “Makers Mark.” Not my brand, but a fine, high quality choice in case anyone was wondering.)

Barbour comes across in a very warm, cordial fashion while speaking with respectable authority on subjects ranging from energy policy and second amendment rights to debt, taxes and the economy. (We previously posted a video of the Governor discussing oil drilling and energy independence.)

He went on to give a barn-burner of a speech the next day which had the crowd up on their feet multiple times. (Watch the full speech here.) Barbour’s hat may not be officially in the ring yet, but he certainly sounded for all the world like a man with his eyes on the prize and plan to get there.

Of course, Haley faces an uphill climb as do most members of the crowded field jockeying for the inside rail in the 2012 horse race. His name recognition still lags behind some of the celebrity names under discussion, and he faces additional challenges which most of the other candidates don’t. One of the more vacuous ones, but worth keeping an eye on, is the meme that a “good old boy” with a southern accent won’t play well in the North or on the coasts.

It’s not that regional differences don’t exist among the electorate. I’ve already had conversations with some of my Northeastern RINO brethren who, upon hearing Barbour’s name, immediately invoke references to “Boss Hogg” and neo-confederate issues. But, as Guy Benson wrote last week at Town Hall, those types of attacks probably won’t hold much water for anyone seriously considering the issues.

Further, the Mississippi governor may also carry a few positive factors into the race which some of his competitors lack. With all of the focus on pressing fiscal concerns, some social conservatives are already expressing reservations as to whether or not they’re going to be left on the sidelines again like in the 2010 races. Barbour already sat down for an interview with Life News to make it clear that he was a champion for their cause and would not leave those concerns on the sidelines.

It’s too early to say exactly how well Haley Barbour will fare in the media wars as he works to establish his brand on a national level. Perception plays a huge role in success at the polls and he’s got some work to do in that area. But by the end of the weekend, I found myself agreeing with one woman I spoke with during the Governor’s Friday night reception. She said, “if every voter in America could spend five minutes in a small room talking to this guy, he’d probably carry 45 states.”

Time will tell.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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The Barbour of civility

Servility

darwin-t on February 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I hope he runs..:)

Dire Straits on February 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I’m sure he’s a great fellow, but most everything about his background says “insider” and “political deal-maker.” That’s not the popular flavor these days. It’s too easy for the other side to turn into a caricature. Is it fair? No. Is it a genuine concern? Yes.

RBMN on February 15, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Bring it on!!

The more the merrier.

chief on February 15, 2011 at 6:26 PM

That pun should have been strangled in it’s crib…

ronsfi on February 15, 2011 at 6:26 PM

I hope he runs..:)

Dire Straits on February 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Dire Straits:Yup,the more hats in da ring!:)

canopfor on February 15, 2011 at 6:27 PM

canopfor on February 15, 2011 at 6:27 PM

..:)

Dire Straits on February 15, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Barbour was a lobbyist for Mexico and sought a pathway to citizenship for illegals.

Thresher on February 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM

I later asked him what he stocked on the bar at home and he replied, “Makers Mark.”

Trendy. People say MM to impress others.

Bishop on February 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Barbour is, on *most* issues, among the most conservative of all the potential GOP candidates, and very likely the best administrator and leader of any of them.

You may not like his stance on X, and you may wish he were tougher on Y, but there is no perfect candidate and there never will be.

Get past your prejudice against southerners and look at the man.

greggriffith on February 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Trendy. People say MM to impress others.

Bishop on February 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Michelle Malkin?!?.. I agree Michelle Malkin is trendy!..:):)

Dire Straits on February 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Michelle Malkin?!?.. I agree Michelle Malkin is trendy!..:):)

Dire Straits on February 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Do you stock her on the bar at home?

steebo77 on February 15, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Markers mark trendy i dont think so. You mustnt be from Kentucky. It is the good old bourbon.

Ricki on February 15, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Do you stock her on the bar at home?

steebo77 on February 15, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Personally I’m a Beer drinker..But Michelle Malkin rules!..:)

Dire Straits on February 15, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Trendy. People say MM to impress others.

Bishop on February 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Huh? Who tries to impress anyone with a $22 bottle of bourbon?

I’ve been drinking Makers for years- it’s far better than the cheap stuff like Jim Beam, but not prohibitively expensive.

Hollowpoint on February 15, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Run Haley run! He’s a man of his word and is capable of making tough choices. We could do far worse than have him as our next President.

Besides, he sent me a Xmas card last year. Heh.

GnuBreed on February 15, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Get past your prejudice against southerners and look at the man.

greggriffith on February 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Look at who’s making the comments. I don’t think it’s an anti-southerner bias so much as the fact they’re devoted adherents of a particular cult leader who’s reportedly considering a run.

Hollowpoint on February 15, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Haley Barbour is the sort of guy who’s easy to underestimate and difficult beat in a straight-forward political campaign. Trouble is, he would never be in one of those in the general after the knee-jerk, Southerner-hating, Nick Gillespie/David Frum/Kathleen Parker/Allahpundit types got through with him in the primary.

Knott Buyinit on February 15, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Knott Buyinit on February 15, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Gillespie and the entire Reason bunch always seems to return to the legalize drugs/prostitution argument, as if all their other arguments are only to enforce those two.

Kermit on February 15, 2011 at 7:08 PM

It’s far too easy to fall for conventional media caricatures of American Conservative politicians

But conservatives do it all the time. Even knowing that the MSM is a spin machine many on our side unwittingly allow the journolists to control the trajectory of the narrative.

Look how many times we have linked to Politco only later to find out that the story had no merit.

We analyze PPP polls as if they were established fact.

Ever wonder why Academia, Journalism, Teh Blogosphere, Hollywood and popular culture are all dominated by Lib GroupThink memes?

Because all too often we morph into sheeple and get corralled into slaughter.

Geochelone on February 15, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Get lost.

If ever there was a man unsuited to the times…

rrpjr on February 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM

We definitely need another 50/60 something old white Republican guy that’s been a career politician with all kinds of political baggage to take on “the establishment” and a billion dollar messianic Wrecking ball running for re-election in 2012.

Bring on the old white guys!!!!

VICTORY 2012 (for the Wrecking Ball)

PappyD61 on February 15, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Get past your prejudice against southerners and look at the man.

greggriffith on February 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

No prejudice against southerners, they’re probably the only ones left who can save the country.

But I am prejudiced against stupid, and Barbour’s amnesty sympathies are s t u p i d, and would wreck this country overnight.

Remember this line from another Southerner? “Stupid is as stupid does…” ?

rightwingyahooo on February 15, 2011 at 7:30 PM

every day, its Paul, or Barbour or Pawlenty. at some point you’ve got to get serious. McCain or Bob Dole ring a bell? we’re not going to “win the future” with an elderly, overweight bubba with a slow southern drawl. and don’t flame me, Haley is a fine man and I don’t dislike him at all. I’m just saying that the optics are not good. we’re severely disadvantaged so we really have to bring the goods this time.

exceller on February 15, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Get past your prejudice against southerners and look at the man.

greggriffith on February 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Actually, I wish he’d had acted more Southern: quit talking “truce” in social issues and no mini-amnesty.

I love Southern GOP candidates, but not when they are nanny-staters like Huck or “trucers” like Barbour. They are not typical of the South, they sound more like NEers. Oh, and I’m a northern midwestener born and raised.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on February 15, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Get past your prejudice against southerners and look at the man.

greggriffith on February 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

I have no prejudice against Southerners. The best congressmen are from the south (Jeff Sessions, Coburn, DeMint, Inhoffe). Supporting a pathway to citizenship is a deal breaker because the result will be that there will never be financially conservative legislation passed at the federal level again. Illegal aliens who become voters will vote for more entitlements.

Thresher on February 15, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Within practical parameters, I’m about as hawkish on immigration as it gets, so don’t think I’m making an apologia for Barbour’s lobbying for a path to citizenship.

My point is much more pragmatic: Look at the rest of the field… Where you don’t have basket cases like Huckabee, yawners like Pawlenty, crackpots like Paul or people who polarize the base and probably can’t win the general *cough*Palin*cough*, you have to stop looking for a candidate who pleases everybody (because there is no such candidate) and zero in one the one whose values and policies line up the best, with the most, to paraphrase another Mississippian.

Yeah, Barbour is an insider, and yeah, it looks like he may be weak on immigration, but he’s a fiscal conservative, a superb administrator and a hell of a chief executive.

As i said above, on *most* issues, he lines up the strongest among the widest band of conservatives, among potential candidates at the top of the administrative/leadership chain. For those reasons, he deserves better from thinking conservates than Foghorn Leghorn jokes and blanket dismissals.

greggriffith on February 15, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I think 28 comments are more than enough for this guy. Next…

rightwingyahooo on February 15, 2011 at 9:23 PM

It’s funny though, how the hardcore fans of each GOP candidate play the victim when challenged on the issues….

If you resist them, no matter how capitulationist to the left their position on any issue whatever is….

oppose Huck, you’re an Anti-Christian bigot
oppose Palin, you’re a misogynist or Kossack
oppose Mittens, you’re anti-mormon
oppose Guiliani, you’re anti-Italian (I actually got called this)
oppose Barbour, you’re you’re an arrogant Yankee
oppose Bush, you’re a pathetic plebe.

I’m tired of this. Prove to us you intend to safeguard OUR interests, rather than those of Mexico, or the political class in DC, or the lefty interest groups, or the progressive Republican caucus, or the Chamber of Commerce, or MALDEF, and you won’t have to go begging for votes among the disinterested…..

You’ll win.

but, you’ll never do it, will you Republicans? No, you won’t, so be it.

rightwingyahooo on February 15, 2011 at 9:33 PM

As a Mississippian – I can tell you this … you don’t want “President Barbor”.

And you wouldn’t get him anyway – he won’t win the nomination and if he did – Obama would vaporize him.

HondaV65 on February 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Who knew you could buy favor with bloggers for a few free drinks and knowledge of liquor brand names.

Done That on February 16, 2011 at 6:16 AM

Bring on the old white guys!!!!

VICTORY 2012 (for the Wrecking Ball)

PappyD61 on February 15, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Thanks for your reasoned, well thought out remarks.

Run Forrest Pappy, run!

Squiggy on February 16, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I heard Barbour speak at a Federalist Society convention a few years ago and he was, by far, the best speaker in a group which included President Bush and Chief Justice Roberts.

I am excited that he is exploring his options for 2012.

molonlabe28 on February 16, 2011 at 12:58 PM