We need Haley in the White House
“But I don't feel any time pressure over the next few weeks or months. We'll see if Marsha thinks it's a good idea and whether others think it's a good idea.”--Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, November 2010.
First of all, thanks Haley for inviting me to weigh in on whether it's a good idea for you to run for president of the United States. Let me sum it up: Put down your bourbon on the rocks and get your act in gear. Now. Only the future of the world is at stake.
I know you deserve a bit of R & R. You've fought the good fight. You were one of a handful of key political aides to Ronald Reagan. Then you helped turn the country around during the Clinton administration. As head of the Republican party, the Republicans won Congress for the first time in decades, leading to six years of prosperity.
As time passes, people have begun to realize how much of that success was your leadership. But you didn’t take credit for it. That's just your nature.
You were also instrumental in the Bush campaign and succeeded once again. Then you cashed in. Within a few years, you had built one of the most successful lobbying firms in D.C. There’s no arguing you don’t know the ropes.
After making your fortune, you returned to Mississippi. Your sophisticated political machine was a juggernaut, a blitzkrieg of competence, the likes of which our state had never seen. For 100 years, we all knew the governor of Mississippi had no real power. Within a few months, you were running the state with an iron hand. We were all better for it. You didn't subscribe to revenge or bitterness. Working together for the benefit of all. The real thing.
I wasn't surprised in the least. I remember watching you on a plane ride from Dallas to Jackson 30 years ago. I was a few rows back as you held court, bourbon in hand. Everybody huddled around as you regaled them with war stories, calling everybody by name. I vaguely knew who you were, but I knew right then and there you were going to be somebody big.
I remember meeting Bill Clinton when he was 32 and the youngest governor in the country. Clinton and I chatted as we walked through a buffet line together. Hours later, I heard him speak. No notes. Total command of whatever subject was on the table. Same as you except for one thing. He was more bull and you are more substance. I told my father that day Clinton would be president. He laughed out loud. I got the same reaction when I wrote four years ago that you could be president.
I appreciate your aw shucks humility. That is just one of the many reasons America will embrace you. But there is such a thing as fate. Katrina. The Great Recession. Obama. Mark Sanford. The oil spill. The mid term elections. Events have thrust you on the national scene at just the right time.
After two years, Obama’s glib superficiality is wearing very thin. In two more years, Americans will cringe every time he opens his mouth. Obama is tall. America will want short. Obama is skinny. America will want fat. Obama is Democrat. America will want Republican. Obama is Yankee. America will want Southern. We will want the anti-Obama. And you are it.
I know what Mississippians say. You are too Southern and too fat. I beg to differ. We had the Mr. Charisma contest and look where we ended up. It is time for competency to supplant charm. A skilled political operator will defeat a glib face man every time. It's just we haven't had anybody competent enough to prove it true.
But you know all that. The real issue is fire in your belly. It's hard work. Extremely hard work. And you have already paid your dues. Why you? Why can't you just relax and enjoy the laid-back role of elder statesman?
I can't really answer that question, Haley. And I am sorry, Marsha, that this burden has been placed on a down-to-earth couple from Yazoo City. But it has.
Romney? A leveraged buyout honcho that looks so slick and pretty he could be a caricature. Palin? A glamour queen. Huckabee? All hat and no cattle. Pawlenty? Too aloof. Too Yankee.
Some say you are too fat. That’s a laugh. Sixty-four percent of Americans are overweight. They can relate. William Taft was 335 pounds.
Some say you are too Southern. That makes no sense. Of the past nine presidents, four have been Southern governors. Two of them - Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - had zero Washington experience compared to your wealth of success and savvy. By the way, they had thick Southern accents too.
Look at it this way: Southern governors have the best track record of getting elected president. The Rasmussen poll shows you are one of the most popular governors in the country, with a 70 percent approval rating.
A recent Rasmussen poll asked Americans who they would vote for for president if none of the big names ran. Eight percent named you. And you haven’t even gotten started!
Just last month, as head of the Southern Governors Association, you spearheaded the election of at least 30 Republican governors, an increase of eight new Republican governors. When you set out do something, it gets done. You would deny that for our country?
Freedom. Prosperity. American exceptionalism. We are the shining light of the world. We are not meant to be a stifled, bureaucratic, governmentally-controlled mediocrity like Europe. America is meant to be great, free, bigger than life. The promised land. Obama doesn't see that and America will ultimately hate him for that. Reagan saw it. You see it.
Go for it Haley. The full monty. No holds barred. It has all led up to this. Grab your destiny. You are Mississippi’s best chance. You are America’s best chance.
Did I mention the world?