Because What the GOP Needs is a Career Lobbyist...
by Jonathan Singer, Thu May 21, 2009 at 03:35:48 PM EDT
It must be great news for Republicans!
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will make a trip to Iowa in late June, a visit sure to stoke talk of a potential 2012 bid by the Magnolia State Republican.
Barbour will headline a Republican Party of Iowa fundraiser on June 25, according to a report on the Iowa Republican blog.
Barbour is widely seen as one of the most able -- if not the most able -- political strategist within the party and is being looked to in the wake of two straight devastating electoral defeats as the man with a plan to bring Republicans back from the brink of powerless minority status.
Haley Barbour might be a very able politician -- but he certainly has been one heck of a career lobbyist.
It seems hard to imagine that in the age of Jack Abramoff, being a former lobbyist may be a good thing for a politician. But the back-slapping prowess of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a Republican who is legendary on K Street, Washington's Great White Way of influence peddling, has proved invaluable to this storm-rattled state.
While Barbour might be able to win the support of the folks back home by using his deep expertise in the business of lobbying to squeeze out as many federal dollars as his state can possibly garner, Barbour has also taken steps as Governor of Mississippi that have, to paint it in the most favorable light possible, not at all been incongruous with the interests of his former clients.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco industry lobbyist, won a long battle in court to withdraw all funding for Mississippi's highly successful anti-smoking program, and last week the last dollar ran out.
"This is truly a case of one man, a longtime tobacco industry lobbyist, using his power to destroy a program that was reducing tobacco use among Mississippi's kids," said Matthew Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a national nonprofit organization.
If the Republicans really think that their road back into power runs through nominating a career lobbyist to be their standard bearer, then all the better for them. But if Barack Obama isn't already ahead in the race for 2012, then I have a feeling than having as his opponent a man like Barbour who symbolizes the types of problems so rampant in Washington prior to his inauguration as President would make his task of earning a second term in office that much easier.