The Midterm Election: Haley Barbour, Hypocrisy and the Death of the Tea Party

The Honest Hypocrisy of Haley Barbour and the Old School Republicans

Haley Barbour hit the news today talking about the midterm elections – both on CBS and in an interview with Politico. I’m not sure why the epitome of old southern Republican lobbyist politics was so front and center the day before the Tea Party-driven election, but it was nice to see the old guard out there, honest hypocrites, playing the electoral map game, drooling over the chance to get back into power.

Barbour went on the CBS Early Show this morning and said this to Harry Smith:

“We have to understand they’re not saying ‘Hey, we love you Republicans,’ but, ‘We’re not satisfied with this and will give you guys a chance,’” Barbour said.

Smith alluded to an opinion piece by pollster Scott Rasmussen in the Wall Street Journal which states that any Republican gains represent a voting-out of the party in power, as happened in 1994 and 2006.

How reasonable. Maybe this is a man we can deal with. Isn’t that what he wants us to think? Then Barbour showed up later with Mike Allen of Politico:

Barbour said he thinks the tea party movement will fade as a distinct stripe of the party after a presidential nominee is selected.

“I think our nominee will unite both wings of the party,” he said.

“The good news about the tea party for Republicans is, is they made the decision, almost unanimously, to participate in the Republican Party and in the Republican primaries. If they’d all run as independents, it would have been the answer to Obama’s prayers, because it would have split the anti-Obama vote and split the conservative vote. So, that’s the first good news. I think they will stay in the Republican Party. … We’re given a fair shake.”

Can’t you just feel the old money, wily power brokers taking control of the besotted Tea Party sops? Their moment is done the very second the polls close tomorrow. I almost feel sorry for them. To think some of them believe they can get a man like Haley Barbour out of power. From a Newsweek profile early in the year:

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.

A year ago, when Barack Obama was inaugurated, the Serious, Responsible people who appear on Sunday-morning talk shows agreed that, if it wanted to survive, the Republican Party needed to stop letting men like Barbour appear as its public face.


The most beautiful part of all this is that Haley Barbour, after decades of behind the scenes dealing, actually runs the state of Mississippi as governor now. So after his ranting about Obama’s spending, about how easy it would be to cut federal spending, CBS could find this about Barbour’s budget cuts in Mississippi:

Mississippi has received more than $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds from the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. About $1 billion of that was allocated to helping balance the state budget.

While local school districts have received some grants from the stimulus, Barbour has encouraged them not to spend the money, and instead hold it to use after the current fiscal year, when the loss of the stimulus package will make his state’s budget woes even more serious.

I am most surprised that CBS ran this stuff. It is truth telling that could get them smacked around as some liberal MSM outlet.

But I am almost comforted by Barbour’s horrible hypocrisy. After an election season of Tea Party wackiness and Democratic flailing, it’s good to see some business as usual.

Nathan Hegedus blogs about the changing nature of fatherhood and life on paternity leave in ”socialist” Sweden at Dispatches from Daddyland. He has lived for the past two years in Stockhol more


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