Is Haley Barbour Taking Sides In the Presidential Contest?

Bookmark and Share  Haley Barbour is one of the Republican Party’s most beneficial strategic leaders.  As the Governor of Mississippi, he also proved to be an effective and savvy executive leader.  As for his Party involvement, Barbour has been brilliant.  He led the G.O.P. as its Chairman when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1992, oversaw the successful election of a majority of Republican Governors in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is a prolific fundraiser, and has a network of connections in the Party and government that is unparalled.  All of this gives reason for some to still wonder if he might jump in and run for President , even though he opted out of run several monmths ago.

While that is unlikely, who Haley Barbour does support for the Republican presidential nomination will be almost as important as if he ran for President himself.

That is why his recent remarks on the Laura Ingraham Show have many people raising their heads.

Barbour described rising star Herman Cain  by saying,  “He is likable” .

He then went on to say;

“He [Herman Cain], does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin’ person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He’s not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.”

Barbour then went even further and said of Cain;

 “If Herman Cain is our nominee against Barack Obama, I think he’ll sweep the South.”

At another point he added that if the election wereheld today,  his wife would vote for Herman Cain.

As laid out in this Talking Point Memo by Benjy Sarlin , Barbour’s high praise of Cain is a significant contrast to his less then enthusiastic referrences and descriptions of Mitt Romney and even Rick Perry, two men Barbour worked closely with when he was Chairman of the RGA.  TPM even refers to a White House 2012 post and video in which Barbour states “Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans.”

None of this is good news for Romney, who could really use some help in the South, where Barbour has a great deal of influence, particulary in the state he governms, and nearby Georgia and Florida.  A Barbour endorsement of Romney, would be a hinderance to Rick Perry and give Romney much more of a fighting chance for wins in Southern primaries.  But based upon multiple comments Barbour has made, an endorsement of Romney before the GOP settles on a nominee, is probably not in the forecast.  It could go to Rick Perry, but even that is now questionable.

All of this helps to make it seem that with many Republicans not totally sold on Romney, and with Perry unable to yet get his footing after stumbling in his second debate appearance, even the establishment might be willing to back Herman Cain.  I recently went out on a limb suggesting that a surprise endorsement of Herman Cain from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could be possible.  If the two Haley’s  (Haley Barbour and Nikki Haley), happen to endorse Cain, it is quite possible that people will be talking about him being the presumptive nominee and not Mitt Romney.

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Haley Barbour Says Mitt Romney is “Less Conservative than Most Republicans”

 Bookmark and Share  In a recent forum discussing political strategy for Republicans and President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke about the need for the G.O.P. to make the election a referendum on President Obama’s employment and economic policies, while Democrats will have to try to portray the Republican Party as unacceptable or disqualified. Afterward, he answered questions from John Harris of Politico and the audience.

In one of those questions, Barbour was asked why Republicans seemed to be uninspired by the candidacy of  Mitt Romney despite the fact that he seems to be the most electable candidate in the general election, especially among independent voters.

In his response, Governor Barbour began by stating;

“Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans”

He went on to explain that many Republicans remember Ronald Reagan so, in his words;

“they (Republicans) don’t accept the idea that nominating a moderate is the pathway to victory”

Governor Barbour added that there are a lot of soft Republicans and independents who vote Republican and want a more moderate nominee.  He writes it off as a “process you just have to work through.”

Whether Barbour intended it or not, his opening statement will make for a perfect soundbite in a thirty-second commercial spot for any of Romney’s opponents such as Perry, Cain, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Specifically in the South, where Romney will have some of his toughest primary challenges and where Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi has significant influence.  This is particularly the case in the important early, delegate rich primary state of Florida, where Barbour has significant sway.

Barbour who was himself almost candidate for for President, had been endorsed by Ohio Governor John Kasich, eleven days before Barbour decided not run.  After that decision it was said that Barbour was prepared to join with Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in endorsing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for President.  But Daniels, a close friend of Barbour also declined to run for President.

Who Haley Barbour will endorse for the Republican presidential nomination now, is anyones guess.  For the time being, it would seem that he is remaining neutral.  But is Barbour’s description of Mitt Romney as “less conservative than most Republicans” a sign that Mitt is not on Haley’s short list?

If Mitt Romney hopes to avoid a long, drawn out nomination battle, he will need someone like Haley Barbour behind him.   Barbour’s support could help Romney do well in the South, or at least better than expected.  That is the only way to insure that none of his opponents come out of the Southern contests with enough steam and momentum to compete with Romney in the primaries and caucuses held outside of the South, where Romney should be the strongest.  The question now is, will Haley Barbour be willing to endorse a Republican who “is less conservative than most Republicans” for President?

One thing to consider is this.  If anyone has been listening to the candidates, not just reading the media’s interpretations of the candidates, they will find that Mitt Romney has not taken a single position that would indicate he is less conservative than any of the other candidates running.  It comes down to this  ……….. Is anyone listening and if they are, do they believe what Romney is saying?

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AP Gets Early Start on Nov 2nd, 2012 Headlines

A Perfect GOP Candidate Is Hard To Find. Yes, that is the unbiased AP headline of a story published today by AP writer Phillip Elliot. Elliot then presents us with an expose on exactly why every potential Republican candidate in the 2012 primary season is unworthy of Republican votes.

John Huntsman worked as an ambassador for Obama. Mitt Romney implemented Romneycare in Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich had two affairs and two failed marriages. Sarah Palin has had “countless impolitical moments”.

An infamous premature headline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For every potential candidate, Elliot has a reason why they should lose.

Santorum is no good, he lost a Senate election in 2006. I wonder if Elliot knows that Abraham Lincoln lost the 1858 Senate race to Stephen Douglas, before defeating that same Stephen Douglas two years later in the Presidential race.

Tim Pawlenty apparently is too much into green energy. And of course, Haley Barbour is a racist, southern hick.

Of course, no freshman Republican is even considered in this article. After all, anyone can tell you that two years as a Senator does not give someone enough experience to run for President. Not if you are a Republican, that is.

I don’t remember the article about finding the perfect Democrat candidate in 2012. If Barbour has to defend his statements on segregation, should Obama defend his anti-white statements in his books? What about Obama’s church affiliation? How about his many “impolitical moments”?

Beyond mere gaffs and embarrassing associations, Obama brought us the failed stimulus plan that increased our debt over a trillion dollars with nothing to show for it. He gave us the unconstitutional Obamacare law and is currently in contempt of court for his executive order banning oil drilling in parts of the gulf. Obama’s attorney general has refused to follow through with voter intimidation prosecutions, refused to uphold more than one federal law on the books, and has betrayed his own racist leanings. Obama has now plunged us into a conflict with Libya where no one seems to know what the goals or end game is and where the only objective seems to be to blow stuff up but ensure that we are not responsible for winning.

But it’s not just Republicans who have reasons to not re-elect Obama. After promising to walk the picket lines wherever union rights are being denied, Obama was absent in the union showdown of our generation in Wisconsin. Obama has reversed his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, and continues to push back the date to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Obama’s legacy in Afghanistan is a surge strategy headed up by General David Petreaus. While Republicans are frustrated by the incompetent handling of the attacks on Libya, Democrats (if they are consistent) should be upset that we are getting involved at all. Obama is turning out to be more of a war hawk than his predecessor. He went back on his campaign promise to avoid an insurance mandate, skipped single payer, and extended the Bush tax cuts.

Where is the AP story about how hard it is to find a perfect Democrat candidate for 2012? The story of the 2012 election is not written yet. That is up to the voters. Do we want four more years of President Barack Obama?

Rookie Republican Governors May Shape 2012 Debate

Governor Rick Scott will not be a candidate in 2012. But his actions in the first two months of his governorship will help mold the 2012 debate. In fact, success among conservative governors like him could spell doom for establishment candidates in 2012. Governor Scott is already facing opposition from establishment Republicans in Florida over his hot-off-the-presses budget.

Scott is cutting spending by $5 billion in Florida. This includes pension reform for government workers, merit pay for teachers, firing bad teachers, cutting non-essential services and streamlining government. It also includes eliminating Florida’s business tax by 2018 and cutting property taxes. Every special interest group and person who collects a state paycheck hates him right now.

Rick Scott is emblematic of the new Conservative outsider paradigm

Scott is following a path laid down by Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia. And he is joined by many freshmen GOP governors who are rejecting the Keynesian model of stimulus debt spending and returning to the conservative model of cutting government spending and giving the money back to businesses and individuals who actually produce growth.

This is something the GOP majority is struggling with in the fog of Washington politics. While abstractly they have a plan to cut spending by $2.5 trillion over ten years, the House struggled to find $32 billion to cut in this year’s budget.

If the bold, conservative governors who stormed our state capitals in 2008 and 2010 are successful in fixing their state budgets and creating a stark contrast with other more liberal states, the GOP candidate for President will likely be one who can credibly claim to come from the same mold. This will favor potential candidates like Christie, Jindal, and Barbour. If he makes the right moves, Romney may also be able to attach his name to the outsider, conservative governor genre. It may not be good news for potential Senators and House members whose good ideas will be frustrated by Democrat leaders and Republican moderates.

Wait a Little Longer

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Barbour Bides His Time

We all knew that Haley Barbour was not going to announce any intention to run for President before this recent election. Now that it is over, don’t get your hopes up for an early announcement. While Gov. Barbour is riding high after helping secure key victories in Governor races across the country, the tough task of governing and redistricting still remains. That means Barbour is likely going to wait well into the new year before making any announcement.

Mississippi, like all States, faces a difficult budget year. Unlike some States, it has to have a balanced budget which means tough decisions have to be made. Also if the budget starts to run in the red during the year, the Governor is constitutionally required to make cuts to bring it back into balance. Barbour knows that he is needed to do his job at least for the next several months in order to secure sound government for his State. He also knows that once he announces an intention to run for President, every issue in Mississippi will become a national one as his actions are scrutinized by opponents in an effort to weaken his candidacy.

Barbour can stand up to the criticism. That isn’t the issue. The issue is doing what is right for the people of Mississippi. If the Democrats or even Republicans allied with another potential candidate see an opportunity to play politics at Gov. Barbour’s expense, the real losers will be the people. They will be the ones who have to live with poor decisions made based on personal political feuding rather than solving problems. Barbour isn’t going to let his political aspirations become a burden for the people.

Expect Barbour to be making a lot more trips around the country solidifying support behind the scenes for the next several months. Unless a number of other potential candidates start making early announcements that force Barbour to either get in or stay out, it is likely that Barbour will refrain from making an announcement until at least early summer. Even then, it may only be in the form of an ‘exploratory committee’ until fall. That would give Barbour time to deal with State issues and see how the new composition of government in Washington is playing out before making any commitments.

Right now it is hard to guess whether the drive to 2012 will be accelerated because of the recent election results (which is the initial impulse) or whether the 2012 winds will calm a bit while the fight gets played out in Washington. Any candidate who comes out early will be forced to take stands on legislation in Congress – much of which will fail or be modified into garbage before passed (which is often the result of a split Congress). Tying your name to that carries big risks in the 2012 primary and then general election. Barbour, as a Governor, is particularly best served by staying away from Congress or being forced to take sides on cobbled together legislation. Once he starts getting tied to Washington bureaucracy, he loses some of his ability to champion his successes in Mississippi as a contrast to the failures of Washington.

All this is, of course, subject to what others do. If only light-weights or previous candidates (like Palin or Romney) are announced, he can delay an announcement until the perfect moment. If other contenders start to announce, Barbour will have to be careful not to wait too long as Fred Thompson did in the last cycle. If things go Barbour’s way, the 2012 fever will go down a little and he’ll get a year longer to govern, work behind the scenes and watch what happens in Washington. If, on the other hand, the recent election only fuels the passion for further change, Barbour will have a tough decision to make. If he joins the fray early, he risks losing the ability to campaign on his record as Governor as strongly as he could; but if he waits, the public may already be committed to particular choices. For Barbour, a little calm before the next storm is a better climate.

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Pawlenty Announces Book Release Date

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Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s upcoming book has a release date set as Jan. 11, a week after he leaves the governor’s mansion. The Governor has been seen recently in Iowa, spending time stumping for state GOP candidates and at the Iowa State Fair in a meet and greet campaign mode in what can be seen as an attempt to get his name into the mainstream in Iowa ahead of the 2012 caucus.

Is the January release date to coincide with a Presidential announcement? That is yet to be seen but an aide says it’ll come with a national book tour, which has become a sort of proto-campaign for many candidates. The book “will focus on his life, his experience as a conservative governor in a liberal state, and his vision for America,” the aide said. It may also answer questions as to the Governor’s intentions towards running for the highest office in the land.

The book, entitled “Courage to Stand” is slated to give more of an auto-biographical view of the Governor rather than have any real substance of what he would do as President of the United States. Given his 1% showing in a recent Iowa poll, that may be the exact strategy he needs to raise his profile to a public enthralled with the mainstream, easily recognizable names such as Romney, Palin and Gingrich. Although it will probably not be tearing up the New York Times Best Seller List it will afford Pawlenty the opportunity to reach a much more diverse audience much quicker than he could by hitting the stump. It also may personalize the Governor in an age in which media soundbites and social networks rule the roost.

Will the book lead to a Presidential run in 2012? It may be too early to tell but the timing, and the story are exactly what an unknown Governor needs to get his name in the national spotlight.

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From Sea To Shining Sea (or Iowa to New Hampshire)

Bookmark and Share    After spending time in the early caucus state of Iowa, shaking hands and kissing babies at the state fair, former PA Senator Rick Santorum has made his way to the first primary state of New Hampshire as he continues to test the waters as the only candidate to ‘officially’ throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.

The possible GOP presidential candidate will attend a fundraising event Saturday for a New Hampshire Republican state senate candidate and will serve as the keynote speaker at the Manchester Republicans Candidate Fair, according to a spokeswoman for Santorum’s political action committee. “I sort of feel in some respects I’m being pulled along in this,” Santorum told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. “I’m still seriously going through this process. And at this point I’m very encouraged by everything that’s happening.” Santorum added that “there seems to be support on the ground at least to consider this. The response has been surprisingly positive.”

The former Senator told a Pittsburgh television station last week that he was testing the waters for a Presidential run. After making his announcement, the candidate made the trip to Iowa, his third, to campaign for state candidates and hang with potential voters at the Iowa State Fair in order to get his name out in order to compete against the possible candidates in 2012 that have national name recognition such as Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. In a somewhat predictable progression, Santorum left Iowa and headed for the early primary state of New Hampshire.

For the former Senator to make a serious run he is doing what may be his only option. Getting out amongst the voters to heighten his profile. He is sure to face better funded and more recognizable names should he dive head first into the process to garner the GOP nomination in 2012. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll released last week indicated that Santorum was the pick of two percent of Republican voters when it comes to their choice for their party’s next presidential nominee. Santorum was last among a list of potential GOP White House hopefuls listed in the survey.

It may be a long road ahead in the political career of Rick Santorum. A road that he seems, at least now, to be ready to travel down.

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