The Pomposity of the New York Times’ Nate Silver

Bookmark and Share Wow. I believe pompous arrogance would be the most fitting way to characterize Nate. Silvers recent analysis entitled On The Largely Irrelevant News About Haley Barbour Not Running for President.

First of all, for Mr. Silver to characterize Haley Barbours decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination as irrelevant, is mind numbingly ignorant. The Barbour decision is one of the most important decisions to have been made regarding the 2012 presidential election to date. As noted in White House 2012, Governor Barbours decision not to run, has freed up many supporters and much money. Furthermore; whether Silver wants to deny it or not, that decisions has increased the chances that one of the top tier Republican presidential contenders, Governor Mitch Daniels, will run. This is far from irrelevant.

But beyond this, Mr. Silver takes it upon himself to bestow great credit to himself for never having given much thought or ink to the possibility of a Haley Barbour presidential candidacy. This is not something which I believe he deserves either personal or public credit for. Perhaps part of the reason as to why Silver did not take the potential candidacy of Governor Haley Barbour seriously was because he is utterly blind to the art of political campaigning and its powerful ability to overcome some negative perceptions, and to accentuate positive ones. Perhaps another reason is because Mr. Silvers liberal biases do not allow his mind to be as open as he would have us believe.

Haley Barbour is conservative, a point that I am sure did not go unnoticed by the New York Times Nate Silver. And it is that point which more than likely accounted for his tendency to not take Barbours potential candidacy seriously.

The fact of the matter is that for Mr. Silver to give himself a Super Bowl ring for Monday morning quarterbacking a game that has not yet even begun, is a bit silly. For him to imply thepossesion ofsome greater political instinct or knowledge than others, including Jonathon Martin of Politic, simply because he had not given much ink to the possibility of a Barbour presidential candidacy, is utterly ridiculous.

Two days prior to Governor Barbours announcement, I made my own assessment here in White House 2012 and in it I questioned the certainty of a Barbour presidential campaign. The accuracy of that post did not give me license to arrogantly discount the opinions of others and claim or imply that I have shrewder political instincts than George Will, Charles Krauthammer or Jonathon Martin.

The truth is that Mr. Silver may not have wanted to advertise the possibilities that existed within a Barbour candidacy, but that didnt make him any more correct than those who refused to deny those possibilities. While Barbour had several obvious handicaps, most of which White House 2012 acknowledged, he also had the capacity to rise above them. His fundraising ability is almost unmatched, his organization reach and ability was endless, and his record, policies and vision were more than powerful enough to build a credible candidacy on. But Mr. Silver claims he never believed so, so he deserves credit.

Credit for what? Denying the potential that existed? I dont think so.

Although I tend to believe that Haley Barbour and his family, decided against a run for President because of the obstacles, I do not believe the decision was reached because they concluded that they could not overcome the obstacles. I believe they decided not to run because they did not know exactly how committed they were to insuring that they overcame those obstacles. It is that uncertainty of commitment that Haley Barbour cited as the reason for deciding not to run. Yet in his analysis, Nate Silver suggests that his colleagues would be best advised to not take what those they write about so literally. I suggest that Mr. Silver listen to what those he writes about have to say and instead of automatically discounting the truth in what they say, perhaps he should first be open to thepossibility of thetruth.

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Is a Barbour/Daniels Republican Presidential Ticket in the Works?

Mitch Daniels (left) & Haley Barbour (right)

Bookmark and Share Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels are friends whose bonds developed during the early stages of their political careers when they worked in the Reagan Administration. Through the years, their friendship grew in to one that was shared by their families as the wives and children vacationed together. The friendship is not a political one. It is a personal one and that distinction is quite an important one. It is a distinction which could prevent one of the two to forego a run for President in 2012.

Both Haley Barbour are spoken of as potentially powerful candidates for President and both men are considering a run. But in an article by Politico, Daniels told Jonathan Martin

My first inclination would be to help Haley,” and adding “It would be unusual [if we both ran]. On every past occasion, we’ve been teammates.”

But for his part, Haley Barbour, a man who is truly more of a political animal than Daniels, has a bit of different spin. He shrewdly holds up his friendship with Daniels as one so strong that politics could never weaken it. When asked if his personal friendship with Mitch Daniels would make a difference in his decision to run for president or not, Barbour told Politico;

“If I thought we would have some falling out, it would, but I really don’t think we would have a falling out,”. He added “I think too much of him.”

Barbour also revealed that he suggested Mitch Daniels run for president even if he does too.

But while I do believe Barbour would easily run against his friend in a Republican primary for president, I do not believe Mitch Daniels would.

Mitch Daniels knows that Haley Barbour has the ability to consolidate the political and financial resources that Daniels would try to tap in to. For while the career paths of Daniels and Barbour have crossed, they took somewhat different directions. While Daniels immersed himself in policy and legislation, Barbour spent a significant amount of time building the Republican political machine, a machine that could now start working for him if he chose to run for President.

All things considered, the underlying dynamics of the Barbour – Daniels personal relationship could actually be the impetus behind a script that is slowly unfolding before our eyes. Could it be that these two friends whom Daniels once defined as teammates already know where theyre headed?

One school of thought is that Barbour will in fact seek the presidency and that Mitch Daniels will eventually join him, but as Vice President on Barbours G.O.P. ticket. This scenario would fit in to the current storyline quite well. While both Barbour and Daniels are increasing their out of state political presence and beginning to accept speaking engagements that normally precede a run for President, it is Haley Barbour who is calling some of the most prolific Republican fundraisers and bundlers and telling them to not commit to any of the potential Republican presidential candidates until he has made up his own on whether or not he will run. For his part, beyond a speaking engagements, Mitch Daniels has not as of yet conducted any discernable activities that would lead one to believe that he is preparing for a decision to actually run. At least none that are as aggressive as Barbour.

Yet Mitch Daniels has refused to say that he is definitely not running. He claims that he will make that decision sometime after the Indiana state legislative session ends in April. In the meantime, speculation about a Daniels run gains fuel. Not only are there draft Daniels for President movements popping up, a recent straw poll of Washington state Republican leaders gave Daniels a strong first place showing.

All of this only helps to raise the stature of Mitch Daniels and letting it play itself out could provide a boost for Barbour if in the end, he wins the Republican presidential nomination and then taps his trusted and popular friend to be his Vice President.

Vice Presidential nominees are not usually the determining factor in a presidential election. In 1992, Al Gore did not even deliver his home state of Tennessee to Bill Clinton. But in 2008 many suggest that John McCains selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, helped to fire up the Republican base which up till then, was not very enthusiastic. But in 2012, a Barbour-Daniels ticket could prove to be the winning ticket.

While Haley Barbour should be able to corral support from the South of which he is a son of, Mitch Daniels can certainly be a net gain for Republicans in the important Midwest. Daniels could force President Obama to invest more time and money into Illinois, his home state and the neighboring state to Daniels Indiana. Mitch Daniels could also help the Republican ticket to run strong in Ohio and most certainly deliver Indiana for the G.O.P.. In 2008, Indiana went Democratic in the presidential election for the first time since 1964.

Between a solid South for the G.O.P., and reclaiming Indiana and Ohio. All a Barbour-Daniels ticket would need to reach 270 electoral votes is Colorado. But a combination of New Mexico and Nevada could also make winning possible. Of course if the G.O.P. keeps a solid South and can take Indiana and Ohio, just winning Illinois would provide them with the magic number needed to take back the White House.

For now, to discuss who will be the nominee for Vice President when we have no idea who the nominee for President will be, is, to say the least, a stretch. But a look at the underlying political forces that involve the political math and the personal relationship of Barbour and Daniels, and what you have is a very plausible scenario. For me the only real question regarding this scenario is whether or not I would personally prefer a Daniels-Barbour ticket to a Barbour-Daniels ticket?

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