Corporate lobbyists, Klansmen and opposition researchers everwhere are crying in their beers tonight. Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour has announced that he won’t be running for president.
Here are five simple reasons Barbour probably made the right call:
1) His Google Autocomplete Problem*
2) His “Watermelon” Problem
During a 1982 campaign for U.S. Senate, a Barbour aide complained about the presence of “coons” at campaign rallies. Barbour warned him to knock off the racism … or risk being “reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks.”
3) His “I Just Don’t Remember It as Being That Bad” Problem
That’s Barbour’s recollection of the bloody Civil Rights struggle that roiled the Mississippi of his youth.
A sign of the times at Barbour’s alma mater.
4) His Stars and Bars Problem
Barbour’s announcement that he would not run for the White House just happened to coincide with Confederate Memorial Day — a state holiday in Mississippi, whose state flag looks like this:
Barbour keeps an exemplar of the original Stars and Bars flag in his governor’s office — signed by Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
5) His K-Street Problem
Barbour has been loath to denounce the KKK — he pointedly refused to condemn an effort to honor the Klan’s founding father with a state license plate — but his loyalty to K-Street might well be his biggest political roadblock.
Barbour was once a top lobbyist for Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. As the New York Times put it: “Years before [Jack] Abramoff became this era’s most infamously well-connected Republican lobbyist, Mr. Barbour was Washington’s man to see.”
Barbour has recently maintained that his K-Street past primed him for life in the Oval Office. “I’m a lobbyist,” he told Politico earlier this year. “The guy who gets elected president will immediately be lobbying. That’s what presidents do for a living.”
*Hat Tip, Justin Elliott, Salon.com.