Our Haley Barbour: The 'Anti-Obama'? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Our Haley Barbour: The 'Anti-Obama'?

Newsweek has a story this week asking if Haley Barbour will be the next president. The story starts:

Haley Barbour is not well equipped for the age of Obama. Just look at the man's office. The Republican governor of Mississippi keeps a large portrait of the University Greys, the Confederate rifle company that suffered 100 percent casualties at Gettysburg, on a wall not far from a Stars and Bars Confederate flag signed by Jefferson Davis. Then there's the man himself. Rather than walking across the street from his office to the state capitol, he rides a hundred or so yards in the back seat of a large SUV, air conditioning on full blast. It's a pity he favors the SUV because, as his friends will tell you and his appearance confirms, Barbour could use the exercise. The cofounder of one of the nation's largest lobbying firms may or may not be the Good Ole Boy Republican Fat Cat his liberal critics make him out to be, but he certainly looks the part.

Unfortunately, the column doesn't say much. Nothing about pardons of men who killed wives and girlfriends. Nothing about his low-income housing slight on the Coast. Nothing about the Council or Conservative Citizens coziness or other southern-strategy shenanigans.

But you can tell the media want him to be a frontrunner. I must admit: We kind of do, too. There are a lot of stories yet to be done. Stay tuned.

(If you're new to studying Barbour, by the way, read my profile of him from 2003: Haley's Choice.

Previous Comments

ID
154886
Comment

Barbour's administration and his continued support in this state is indicative of why we need more critical political discourse here in MS. There is no way that Barbour's views and policies are reflective of the needs and concerns of a majority of the people in MS. Yet, he has been elected governor twice (and probably would again if not for term limits). Why is that? I place the blame in part on political "ignorance". Don't confuse this with stupidity or as a commentary on the mental ability of the citizens in the state, but the fact that certain, more progressive ways of seeing and understanding the social issues are not valued by enough of the citizens in MS, and therefore are not explored enough by the broader audience, thus leading to well meaning, smart people literally ignoring or being ignorant to alternative ways of governing or crafting public policy. For example, instead of trying to understand property crime as a consequence of having communities with high concentrations of people in poverty, the "Mississippi values" dictate that people commit crime are "bad" and are generally not worthy of rehabilitation, or in some instances life (check the "castle doctrine" absurdity). When public policy and social relations are characterized by such dogmatic and closed minded thinking, it severely limits public political action. It also creates apathy in many poor and minority populations out of ignorance and hopelessness, and thus it closes the democratic process to many poor and minority constituents. How Haley Barbour, a person who if not holding his own racist views, is obviously sympathetic to avowed racists sentiments, can be elected to 2 terms as governor in a state that has the highest rate of black citizens in the country, indicates that the political system at the state wide level is pretty much closed for poor and minority citizens. Of course it doesn't have to be this way, and there are things that can be done to turn this around. But first, it must start with a re-orientation of values, especially with the black citizens in MS. I too often come across well meaning, smart, professional black citizens who are simply unaware or are not interested in changing the status quo in this state. They get a house in Brandon or Madison, a nice car, and some level of prestige on the job and are satisfied to run things at their church or fraternity, rather than advocate for more opportunity for more people in MS. The vote for the flag in the early 21st century was indicative of a sad reality of political apathy and ignorance that cripples the black community and thus the broader society in MS. I challenge more black churches to be socially and politically responsive to the needs of the people that attend every Sunday. I challenge fraternities and other civic groups to be more vocal in the political arena to advocate for the community you say you serve. Barbour has the sway he has not because he is all powerful, but because the groups that his policies adversely affect the most are the least politically active and aware in this state.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2010-01-07T12:11:08-06:00
ID
154890
Comment

What happened to "Let's go walking, Mississippi?" Haley, get out of that SUV!

Author
Lori Kincses
Date
2010-01-07T13:52:32-06:00
ID
154895
Comment

good one, Lori - wish we had more public figures promoting biking and walking around our fair city...

Author
Izzy
Date
2010-01-07T16:28:18-06:00
ID
154897
Comment

Second, Blackwatch. And let's not forget the media. They, or their corporate owners, assume that MIssissippians are stupid and apathetic and can't handle the truth and a higher level of thought and discourse, the lack of which benefits a relatively small privileged segment. People don't get the information, small young people want to return the first chance they get, people don't form coalitions to benefit the larger population rather than just the privileged, and we stay on the bottom. It's a travesty. We assume that MIssissippians want the truth no matter what party or powerful person it pisses off, and we have proved to be correct. We have to keep pushing for more and more good information and discourse instead of what passes for it -- which is usually some media outlet like the Northside Sun or the Ledger just passing on talking points about a vital issue like, say, lakes/levees. Then the usual suspects attack the messenger for telling the truth, but if the messenger stays the course, then people end up understanding why we pushed the truth to the front. Always works out that way eventually.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-07T17:45:22-06:00
ID
154902
Comment

It would be interesting to see how Haley would play his image to larger audience. Several years ago I heard a rebroadcast of an interview he gave when he was still living in D.C. and chair of the Republican party. He did not have that thick, mouthful of marbles, folksy hitchup yer britches accent that we've heard since he became governor. Sure, it was still a southern accent, but much milder and with a great deal more enunciation. I had a hard time believing it was him.

Author
chaffeur
Date
2010-01-08T01:01:54-06:00
ID
154904
Comment

Nationally, I don't think Barbour will have much appeal north of the Mason-Dixon line or west of the Pecos, despite his deep GOP credentials.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2010-01-08T08:16:08-06:00
ID
154908
Comment

Baquan said Poor whites and educated blacks need to wake up and start paying better attention! YOu know my ol' saying, ignorance is bliss for some, but not this fella! I think there will be a greater chance of moving MS ahead if we expand the target audience to Blacks and "less than affluent Whites" (LTAW). I know that a handle like LTAW is a marketer's nightmare, (it's too long), but the current trends of the devaluation and exportation of local jobs, both skilled and professional, in corporate and small business America, offers an opportunity to create a progressive movement that includes the vast majority of Mississippians. For example, we need more educational outlets, not fewer, as the pending state budget cuts will create. In fact the private sector has identified a pent up demand for education in our state and has announced a major expansion in MS. The expansions are in the form of satellite campuses from out of state universities and the private training schools like Virginia College. Does anyone have any experience or know of examples in successfully getting these groups (Blacks and LTAW) coalesing and working together? Possibly in a unionization effort? I know that the Clarkesdale business partner of Morgan Freeman appears to be courting this potential coilition in his run for governor, even after Freeman's "mule headed farmer" miscue. Also, any ideas on how this coalition can be accomplished, or is the race card still a powerful enough negative force to trump common economic interests in this state?

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2010-01-08T09:43:07-06:00
ID
154911
Comment

Not sure if Mr. Barbour is Anti-Obama but, I would argue that he couldn't be much worse. And it seems that many of Obama's once supporters are jumping ship as we can see in the National News Headlines. And I can see why he's loosing support, mentioning a health care program that has nothing to do with health care, but only about increasing the power of the federal government. We can already see that the govt cant manage the current health care programs, but on top of that multiplying our national debt into the trillions. I don't know about you, but I've yet to receive my stimulus check, but I did receive a call from my CPA noting of all the new taxes that i'll have to pay from the recently passed stimulus legislation? But, I agree that Mr. Barbour may not be the best choice for the republicans but at this time I see no one else tighting their belt wanting to sort out this disaster that's currently underway in washington that only focus is to reduce the freedoms this once great nation had to offer.

Author
tthornton
Date
2010-01-08T10:20:27-06:00
ID
154914
Comment

I forgot to include the link with the specifics of the private sector efforts to expand educational services in Mississippi. Here it is http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20091214/NEWS/912140326/For-profit-colleges-find-homes-in-Miss.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2010-01-08T11:38:32-06:00
ID
154915
Comment

Blackwatch, I third Donna's second and would like to add the following as a possible plan of action. Pivital points in history are always marked by the emergence of a successful, or non-successful, leader. Leadership that is able to sell committing to and carrying through a successful course of action (or the non-successful course of action) to the populace. As any effective course of action regarding the social and economic issues Blackwatch has cited I propose that we, JFP nation, begin discussing the possibility of drafting Mayor Johnson to fill this goal. You draft a leader to either run for office, or follow a course of action by an active, intensive, one on one lobbying effort. I would like to throw out the solution of a COJ committing to a comprehensive effort to fund the necessary, social, remedial, childcare, supervised recreational services needed to raise the educational level of our residents. I am sure that Mr. Barbour will never propose this course of action for the state so let's see what kind of example Jackson can set. Lets focus on JPS providing graduates of such high quality that our local colleges and universities will be able populate their classes with our residents, who after their successful college training, and maybe some out of state/international grad school or work experience, come back to keep the pump primed. Mayor Johnson was successful in getting the financial support of the citizens of Jackson to fund the Convention Center, a 35 million dollar facilities improvement bond issue, and he avidly supported the JPS $115 (?) Million Bond issue. It's time to start investing in the minds, dream and aspirations of our residents, now that the bricks and mortar to shelter them have been erected. Lets give the churches, fraternities, soroities, civic groups, neighborhood associations, anti-crime organizations etc something to coalesce and rally around instead of another "forum", or "march" against the ills of our community. personally I have attended enough marches, forums and prayer vigils. The for action. I think such a comprehensive effort would qualify our community both k-12 and higher for an Obama "Race to the Top" grant. Not to mention interest from the Barksdale, Hardin, Kellogg and Gates Foundations. The key will be our communities up front committment of the seed money.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2010-01-08T12:23:55-06:00
ID
154922
Comment

Frank, you're a riot. People have been playing the race card for decades in Mississippi. How on earth do you plan on getting those "LTAW's" to join into this movement?

Author
Ironghost
Date
2010-01-08T15:34:42-06:00
ID
154926
Comment

Iron, Basically you are right...a coalition between Blacks and Less Than Affluent Majority Americans (LTAMA), is a pipe dream...unless you activate that greater propensity of Majority America. Take a proven successful or admirable idea originated by African Americans, for example (on a shoestring budget or most likely no budget at all), re-name it, organize it, fund it and away you go. Examples? Black Jazz becomes Majority America's Swing Black R&B becomes Majority America's Rock and Roll Black James Brown & Jackie Wilson become Majority America's Elvis Presley (no that's not fair..Elvis was truly unique!) Black "In Living Color" becomes Majority America's "Mad TV" Black "Poetry Jams" become Majority America's "Spoken Word Competitions" Black "Kings of Comedy" becomes Majority America's "Blue Collar Comedy Tour". Black Jackson 5 becomes Majority America's Osmomd Brothers Black Male solo singers (50's) become Majority America's Pat Boone (tune covers) Black "Roots" become Majority America's "Ancestry" Black Mississippi's "Chitlin Circuit" becomes Majority Mississippi's "Blues Trail" Black Institute for Racial Cooperation @ Smith Robertson Museum becomes Wm Winter Racial Reconcilliation Institute @ Ol Miss. Black Farish Street Festival becomes Jubilee Jam (that's right the Farish Street Festival came first) So with past being prologue...if a ground breaking financial commitment to revolutionizing k-12 education by a majority Black city like Jackson is remotely successful, the majority community will re-name it, organize it, fund it and away we go! Say what you want about majority America/Mississippi, they will capitalize on a good thing when they see it, no matter where it originated..after they sanitize it first of course. So Jacksom progressives..."Let's Get It Started"?

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2010-01-08T20:45:56-06:00
ID
155013
Comment

I enjoyed reading your perspective Blackwatch; however, I disagree on some level with some of your assertions. I don't think that Barbour and similar officials are in office because of a lack of political participation by minority groups and progressives; rather, I think that people who think like Barbour outnumber us. It's hard to see that if you live in Central Mississippi. If you travel outside of central Mississippi to the coast,the eastern parts of the state; pretty much all of the state except parts of the delta. This is the case in most southern states as well as in the plains. With the exception of the last presidential election, in almost every national election the bulk of the progressive vote comes from urban areas. The Obama campaign saved the Democratic party because it found a way to reach the masses. Unfortunately, eventhough most Progressives have the masses at heart, we can sometimes come across as intellectually elitist and clickish (i am inventing a word). In order to prevent an eight year run of another "Barbour" we must begin now identifying a candidate and making a push toward the homes of all Mississippians to put out a positive message. I think Bill Luckett is a viable choice who can reach people and effect change.

Author
Powerman
Date
2010-01-13T12:30:07-06:00
ID
155033
Comment

I see your point Powerman. There may appear to be more people thinking like Barbour in this state. But, even in those instances, can we honestly say that they are supporting the leaders that have ideas and policies that benefit them the most? I think not. A more progressive message and discourse is sorely needed in this state. Urban areas have more people, and therefore more progressives, but that doesn't mean that there are simply more conservatives in MS. I think the conservatives are more politically active, but I don't think there are just simply more conservatives. There are too many poor people in this state to think that many are just ignorant to social, political, and ideological realities concerning poverty. Obama won because he was able to get more people who thought like him out to vote. I see that as the issue in MS as well.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2010-01-13T15:02:41-06:00

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