Does Barbour Have the Bug?
04-19-2010
It looks like all of the media mentions may have finally given Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour the presidential bug. You may have seen this article late last week reporting that Barbour was convening a group of close advisors to consider the pros and cons of a possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.  Almost a year ago, I predicted that Barbour would not be the Republican nominee for president in 2012, and I stick by that earlier post.
 
In fairness to Barbour, he typically plays well with conservative groups, would be a prodigious fundraiser, and seems to be one of the party’s few poobahs who can move freely between institutional elites and movement conservatives. But all of this really speaks to his potential for competing in Republican caucuses and primaries, not necessarily his ability to win a general election. My earlier prediction on Barbour dealt with the issue of viability (or electability) in the latter. As I said in the earlier post – for a national party that may want to persuade voters that it is not becoming a regional political organ of the South, nominating an older white male from Mississippi is probably not the best means of accomplishing that goal.
 
I saw some subsequent reporting earlier today on the outcome of meeting, which suggested that Barbour has decided to wait until after the 2010 midterms to give the possibility of a run any further consideration. But it is starting to seem like he’s got the itch to go. My guess is that in the end Republican primary voters will look for someone they think can compete in November 2012, and I don’t think it will be him.


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