Barbour Shop Redux
11-19-2010
An article in The New York Times yesterday makes the interesting suggestion that, more than any other politician with presidential ambitions, it is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour who stands to reap the greatest electoral benefit from Republican midterm election victories. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Barbour has banked the loyalty and gratitude of the newly-elected governors who will soon be running a significant number of additional statehouses under Republican control. The author, Matt Bai, argues that Barbour is now perfectly positioned to leverage the fundraising and grassroots organizational potential of these new relationships in key primary and caucus states should he settle on a presidential bid in 2012.
 
Regular readers know that I have previously stated that Barbour has no chance of being the Republican nominee for president in 2012. I very comfortably stand by that earlier prediction. The drawbacks to Barbour’s reputation as the consummate Washington insider/lobbyist aside, to put it bluntly, he just doesn’t fit the suit. I don’t intend this to be a flippant comment about his relative girth, but the reality is that so much of running for president nowadays is tied up in visual imagery, and the ability to project a vigorous persona to the broader electorate. I think the contrast in 2008 between candidates Obama and McCain in this respect only further underscores the difficulty facing Barbour.
 
As I wrote in the earlier post, for a party often criticized as being too old, white, male, and Southern, picking a nominee like Barbour who is old (65 in 2012), white, male, and Southern isn’t a winning strategy. Look at the successful presidential candidates of the past twenty years – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – all three were much younger, charismatic, and telegenic at the time of their victories. Not surprisingly, Bai is forced to concede this huge hurdle for Barbour by the end of his article. In the 2012 election, Barbour may be a political kingmaker and a key presidential advisor, but he won’t likely be the Republican nominee.

Comments:


Posted On: 11-22-2010 09:24:49 by Jim Splaine
"No chance..." because compared with Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama who were "...much younger, charismatic, and telegenic at the time of their victories?" What about Bob Dole and John McCain? They didn't get elected President but certainly got the nominations. Saying "no chance" reminds me of when I said last June -- at a time most commentators were predicting NH Dems would hold on or be close -- I was projecting the Republicans would have 250 House members and 16 members in the Senate. I was criticized across the board to being wild in my projections. And who could have believed that a very young, unknown, one-year U.S. Senator could defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Presidential nomination of 2008? "No chance" is a dangerous term to use in politics!


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