Josh Marshall weighs Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour's Presidential chances in 2012, and wants to know why anyone inside DC thinks anyone outside DC is even remotely considering the guy for anything other than Fastest 2012 Campaign To Crash And Burn.
In the wake of Haley Barbour's Jim Crow face plant last week various commentators are weighing in to take stock of whether it's a bump in the road or the end of his hopes of running for president in 2012.
Back on Planet Earth, though, a different story can be told.
Let's state it flat out. You have to be deeply, securely, and no doubt permanently encased in the DC cocoon ever to have thought that Haley Barbour was a serious presidential candidate. Really, people. Any number of things would have to change to make Barbour a remotely credible presidential candidate -- starting with erasing the image of Boss Hogg from the cultural memory of every American over the age of 30. And that would probably be one of the easier tasks on the list.
On first blush you might say, how is the Governor of Mississippi a creation of the DC cocoon? But the governor gig is just a recent flourish. Barbour made his career -- and a very impressive one on its own terms -- as an establishment Republican political operative and high-powered DC lobbyist. He co-founded one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the city -- now BGR Group, formerly Barbour Griffith & Rogers. And he's brought that high-flying lifestyle -- sometimes literally -- to the governor's mansion in Mississippi, one of the poorest state's in the union. Every elite journalist in DC knows Barbour -- many of them socially and over a long period of time because as you can see from his demeanor glad-handing is a big part of the guy's charm. And the same applies to pretty much everyone else from the city's power grid.
With everyone in Washington knowing him, why shouldn't he run for president? Everybody likes him. He's had a successful career. He's the governor of a state. So why not? What could go wrong?
Personally, Sarah Palin has a better shot than Haley Barbour. And that's really, really saying something. Barbour still has a lot of lobbyist/insider cred among the Village, so much so that people are still asking the "does he have a shot?" question seriously.
The answer is an unqualified "No way in hell." This is Village Fail 101 that anyone is even remotely taking this clown seriously.