Interesting profile of him from the New York Times yesterday:
Personally, I don’t see it happening. Let’s face it, politics these days is as much about image as anything else, regardless of how much we would like to pretend otherwise. And some guy who looks and sounds like Boss Hogg will never gain much traction with the electorate, even in today’s GOP.
Still, though, even if by some miracle he did manage to wrangle the nomination, his background as a corporate lobbyist and checkered racial history will come back to haunt him in a big way.
Haley Barbour is a legit candidate, and I think he’s going to be your next POTUS. He’s got the stroke within the party, he’s got the charisma–not a lot, but enough, and he’s got street cred in crisis management after Katrina. Don’t underestimate the man. He’s a lot smarter than he looks. Liberals and yankees tend to discount Southern intellect, thinking that because we talk slow, we must think slow–that is not the case.
I’m not denigrating the guy’s smarts. You don’t become a well-regarded corporate lobbyist by being an illiterate rube.
I’m just saying that the guy embodies pretty much every negative GOP stereotype there is these days - former corporate lobbyist, who was in bed with the tobacco industry, portly looking, political insider, worked for Nixon’s campaign back in the day, made a number of questionable remarks about race.
I’m sure the guy is plenty smart, but in today’s cutthroat, image-driven political environment all those things I mentioned are going to present major hurdles if this guy plans to wage a serious campaign.
He’s too fat. He’s been trying to drop weight fast for the election (which shows that he is running) but he doesn’t have the “look” of a president and that matters.
Throw in his tobacco, foreign government lobbying, racist remarks, low name recognition and so on and you have somebody who isn’t likely to win. His only saving grace is that the field is so weak that even what would normally be vanity candidates are going to get serious looks this time around. nevertheless, he look like someone running for the VP slot.
the key word is “serious”–of course he has a chance. Hell, YOU have a chance, you dumb motherfucker with a drinking problem and a slew of unpaid debts and three ex-wives and two bankruptcies. What you and Barbour have in common is a Chinaman’s chance of being elected President.
With Obama, people said he had two significant handicaps to overcome: His color and his name. Well, also his level of experience, but that’s cured easily enough, and is no barrier to “he’ll be President eventually”. With this guy, there’s a much longer list to overcome.
The Sunday after the 2006 midterms, when the Dems regained control of both houses of Congress, I opened the Washington Post to the Outlook section, to see what their take on that rather significant change was.
You know what was plastered across the top half of the front page of the Outlook section?
Hillary v. Obama
This was two years, minus a few days, before the 2008 election. And already, he was regarded, at least by the inside-the-Beltway press corps, as one of the two prime contenders for the Democratic nomination.
And if you go to the PollingReport archives, you will notice that, at this point in the last cycle, Obama was already running a fairly strong second to Hillary in the polls for the Democratic nomination. While so far in this cycle, Barbour has yet to score above 3% in any poll showing on PollingReport, and usually does worse. He’s down in the white noise.
I voted for Obama, but in Oakminster’s defense, I think if you had mentioned even five years ago that our next president would be some guy whose last name rhymed with Osama and whose middle name was Hussein, many folks would have been stunned.
Hell, I was one of those skeptics who was saying, “There’s no way this guy’s going to become president. He may be smart, but that name will just turn off too many people and be a ripe target for his opponents.”