Career Lobbyist Barbour is the Answer for the GOP?
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 03:51:24 AM EDT
Reading some of the coverage of the Mark Sanford scandal, and watching the cable news dissect the story as well, it appears that the common wisdom is settling on the notion that the fall of the South Carolina Governor will serve to boost the presidential ambitions of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Go figure.
Don't get me wrong, I can understand the logic. Going into last week, Sanford was poised to be the new Southerner in the race for the GOP nomination, leaving little room for someone like Barbour to step to the fore -- particularly with Mike Huckabee seemingly angling for a second run in 2012. Barbour was trying, no doubt, scheduling trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. But his path to the nomination pre-Appalachian trails days seemed quite arduous. Now, with Sanford out of the way, perhaps Barbour does have a shot at becoming the GOP standard-bearer.
But is he really an answer for the Republican Party? As I have detailed before, Barbour is a career lobbyist. That's what he did before becoming Governor of Mississippi. It's not as if his current position erases his past ones. And I do wonder, can a career lobbyist really win the Presidency? It's hard for me to see that happening, particularly in a period not too far removed from the Jack Abramoff scandal and its spawn. But if the Republicans think that the best face of their party is a conservative white Southerner who spent a career in lobbying all the better for them.