"Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is the most powerful Republican in American politics — at least for the next three months," say Jim Vandehei, Andy Barr, and Kenneth P. Vogel in Politico. Barbour, as head of the Republican Governors Association, has $40 million to spend on the 2010 elections — more than any other GOP leader — and he's considered an increasingly strong contender for his party's presidential nomination. Is Barbour emerging as the GOP hopeful to beat in the 2012 primaries? (Watch Barbour defend conservativism)
Republicans can't do better than Barbour: If there's one Republican we Democrats should worry about in "what is sure to be a tough re-election campaign in 2012, it is Haley Barbour," says Susan Estrich at Newsmax. He has "a unique blend of insider experience and outside appeal" no other Republican can beat.
"Watch out for Haley Barbour"
The Right-wingers certainly are crazy about him: Portly, "Southern-fried" Haley Barbour is a "deeply reactionary" former tobacco lobbyist, says Michael Tomasky in Britain's Guardian. The state he governs is "49th or 50th in everything" and he seems "perfectly happy about that." Despite — because of? — all that, the culture warriors on the right adore him. As a liberal, I hope that's enough to earn him the nomination, because he's far too radical to beat Obama.
Being a white Southerner won't help: There's a lot for conservatives to like in Haley Barbour, says Matt Hadro at News Busters. But as one of his fans, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, says, the "optics" might not be right for the GOP to run him against President Obama. Democrats are experts at playing the race card, and liberal commentators would have a field day, Scarborough said, smearing Barbour "as a racist white man from the South running against the first black president."
"MSNBC's Joe Scarborough predicts 'certain networks' will 'maul' Haley Barbour if he runs in 2012"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- The culture war finally comes to the Catholic Church
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
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