By: Anna Kate Baygents
During the 2010 midterm elections, Governor Haley Barbour first mentioned running for President. Before then, I had never considered our Governor as a possible candidate for our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. Barbour has been great for Mississippi and handled Hurricane Katrina in 2005 almost flawlessly. So sure, he’s completely capable of it. His capability, however, is not the issue–his candidacy is. Barbour’s running would not provide a Republican win, but increase President Obama’s chances of re-election.
Most people have a strong opinion on Barbour, regardless of their party. Barbour’s running would split the Republican vote and lose the majority of the independent vote, which is going to play a huge role in this upcoming election. As a former tobacco lobbyist, Barbour seems to be what most of “middle America,” mostly Independents, thinks the Republican party is: too white, too male, and too conservative–opposite of Obama in every way. This is not what the GOP needs to put against our first African American President to end with a victory.
As ridiculous as it seems to say, Barbour doesn’t have the look nor the voice to win. After speaking on the Republican House sweep, critics from almost every news outlet had something negative to say about his Mississippi accent. Although everything Barbour was saying was accurate and well put, reporters couldn’t get past his southern-drawl and his not necessarily attractive appearance. These trivial things shouldn’t play a part in politics or help determine who will be the most powerful leader in the world, but we all know they do. Barbour running against our current charismatic leader, even if that is the only thing Obama has going for him, may end much like the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election.
But the number one reason Haley Barbour shouldn’t run for President: there’s no one good enough to play him on Saturday Night Live. Fred Armisen is spot on as Barack Obama and may be the only good thing in the four years of Obama’s Presidency, but no one currently on cast could portray Barbour as accurately as needed. So before you purchase that Barbour 2012 bumper sticker, consider SNL. Because really, who wants to suffer through four years of bad Barbour skits?
By: Kent McCarty, Editor
Think for a second about the ideal picture of a Presidential candidate. Chances are, the image that’s developed probably looks nothing like current Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Despite lacking the “presidential look,” however, Barbour’s lifelong background in politics and law and his strong sense of leadership make him more than fit to run for the nation’s top office.
Unlike many prospective Presidential candidates, Barbour has political experience that nearly spans his entire life. At the ripe old age of 22, Barbour made his first foray into the political world as director of the 1970 Mississippi census. Following his time with the census, Barbour entered law school at Ole Miss, and, upon graduation, practiced law in Yazoo City. Barbour later worked as an aide for the Reagan administration in the late ‘80s and was a key part to George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign. What first put Barbour on the national radar, however, was the work he did as chairman of the Republican National Convention. As chairman, Barbour orchestrated the Republican’s 1994 sweep of Congressional elections, marking the first time Republicans had controlled Congress in over 40 years. Barbour raised funds for the Republican Party at an unparalleled rate during the 1994 campaign; and he knew exactly to which candidates the money should go.
As the Governor of Mississippi, Barbour turned around Mississippi’s massive budget deficit only two years after taking office. In fact, the 2006 fiscal year budget, designed by Barbour and Mississippi’s largely Democratic state Congress, was the first balanced budget the state had seen in decades; a stark contrast from the $709 million deficit that was in place when Barbour won the election in 2003. By implementing his Operation: Streamline plan, Barbour cut spending across the board, and still managed to fully fund MEAP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program) for the first time since its inception in 1997; and he managed to do all of this without raising taxes once. Barbour is unafraid to make tough, necessary cuts, which is exactly what the American government needs to get its runaway spending under control.
Barbour’s long-spanning political track record shows that he’d be a more than capable Commander-in-Chief, and exactly what America needs to turn Washington around.