Barbour the Elephant
by Jerome Armstrong, Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 08:35:06 AM EDT
Politico's note picks up on Haley Barbour (in the extended entry). Three things.
I can't imagine that Barbour is so out of touch with the national climate that he thinks he's viable. A Corporate Con to a tee, he's the type of politician that would drive many of the economic populists that are Independent or Tea Party sympathizers to look elsewhere. Although, it might be a good thing to root for him to become the GOP nominee, as he could wind up making the opening for a progressive-libertarian Independent hypothetical candidate look even better for '12.
Barbour would help a darkhorse, and hurt the frontrunner, by lingering on a run. He's probably holding money away from going to Romney, while opening the door for some late candidacy to emerge (say, Thune). I continue to hope that Gary Johnson gains traction which is long odds enough-- in Iowa by Paul not running and by attracting Dem/Indy/Lib voters that don't have a competitive contest on the Democratic side.
Most important, notice that the RGA (and the DGA) are becoming massive fundraising vehicles for the parties. This is pretty new. Basically though, money into politics finds a way, and these being set up at 527's allows them flexibility and unlimited funds, like the other party orgs do not. I'm sure that if you took a look at the DGA's funding, it would be as corporate-friendly as is the RGA's. Expect the corporate and millionaire money to river even more into these orgs in the next two months.
TOP TALKER - “The most powerful man in GOP politics,” by Jim VandeHei, Andy Barr and Kenneth P. Vogel: “Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is the most powerful Republican in American politics -- at least for the next three months. Barbour, who runs the Republican Governors Association, has more money to spend on the 2010 elections -- $40 million - than any other GOP leader around. And in private, numerous Republicans describe Barbour as the de facto chairman of the party. It's not just because he controls the RGA kitty but rather it's due to close relationships with everyone who matters in national GOP politics-operatives like Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie and other top Republicans running or raising cash for a network of outside political groups. Together, these groups are essential to Republican hopes of regaining power because Democrats are cleaning their clocks through more traditional fundraising efforts. The political class, in particular, is consumed with Barbour's behind-the-scenes endeavors-this week with the $1 million he got from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
--“Yet the reality is that Barbour has been uniquely adept at leveraging concerns about President Obama into huge contributions from many others. Bob Perry, the Texas businessman who funded the Swift Boat attacks in the 2004 campaigns, has given more than twice as much as News Corp. Barbour's stature has grown at the expense of cash-strapped, gaffe-prone Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele … … Barbour's power is derived from his ability to tilt gubernatorial and statehouse races with his RGA funds. … Barbour's clout is also derived from his serious interest in running for president in 2012, a point he is making clear in private conversations. His logic, one adviser told POLITICO, is simple: when he surveys what most Republicans consider to be a weak field, he sees no reason he couldn't easily beat them. He's a better strategist and fund-raiser than any other candidate currently considering running - and just as good on television and in debates, his thinking goes. … 'A year ago he was saying no way, but now he's saying to [donors and operatives] to keep their powder dry,' [one] friend said …
“But the obstacles to a Barbour candidacy are substantial. A portly, southern conservative who represented tobacco firms and made millions building a lobbying firm isn't the ideal profile for a Republican nominee in this or any political environment. … Barbour is assembling an elaborate fundraising operation beyond the RGA that would prove essential if he were to run. There is talk in GOP circles that with all the money shifting between the RGA and state parties - and Barbour moving so much cash through his own separate operations - he runs the risk of attracting legal challenges after the 2010 race. For now, though, he's just attracting a lot of cash. … Barbour has a huge advantage over Republicans in Washington when it comes to raising money. The RGA is a 527 organization, which unlike the RNC or the federal PACs, can raise money in unlimited sums from individuals and corporations, the latter of which have been barred since 2002 from giving to party committees. That's enabled drug makers and energy companies, for example, to give millions to Barbour's RGA.” http://bit.ly/bW9gMg
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