The notion of Barbour as a serious presidential candidate seems improbable, but think about the dynamics of most presidential elections. Whenever there is a “change” election, people don’t vote for moderate change, they vote for radical change. And they generally look to someone who is the opposite of the resident of the White House at the time. Hence, George W. Bush creates the possibility of Barack Obama—just as Johnson begat Nixon, Nixon/Ford begat Carter, Carter begat Reagan, and Bush begat Clinton. In each of these cases, voters wanted the polar opposite of the man who was in office…

Under these circumstances, voters would likely experience some serious buyer’s remorse about Obama and look for a very different candidate. And could there be anybody more different from Obama than Barbour? An old (not young), white (not black), rotund (not skinny), former lobbyist (not former community organizer) from the Deep South, Mississippi (not the far north, Chicago).

And while most laughed at the idea of someone of Barbour’s background being elected governor, even in Mississippi, both his election and tenure since have been impressive. He balanced budgets without any tax increases after inheriting a budget deficit of $720 million; helped establish a 27.8 percent increase in per capita personal income; enacted comprehensive tort reform; and passed significant funding increases for education. Barbour was elected in 2003 with the largest voter turnout in Mississippi gubernatorial history, and he was re-elected in 2007 with 58.2 percent of the vote. He is the second governor since Reconstruction to be elected to a second consecutive term.