Haley Barbour is running for President.
No, he hasn’t announced yet, but his intentions are well understood.
The best thing that happened to Haley Barbour and his aspirations for the presidency came when Mark Sanford decided to be an idiot. When Sanford was knocked from his post as head of the Republican Governors Association, Barbour took over and turned it into a powerhouse.
When all was said and done, the RGA had plenty to brag about come November 3rd.
Republican Governors have won control of the majority of 2012 swing states. The following states that held gubernatorial races are considered swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The RGA spent $49.5 million in these 10 swing states we deemed critical to 2012.
And while it’s not a swing state, the RGA also was forced to move into South Carolina and provide some reinforcements to ensure Nikki Haley’s victory.
There’s something awfully interesting about some of the states listed above.
Iowa. Nevada. South Carolina.
Well, it just so happens that the GOP primary calendar undertook some slight revisions this past year in order to guarantee four states had the first primaries.
New Hampshire. Iowa. Nevada. South Carolina.
Additionally, the new calendar emphasizes the importance of delaying the beginning of primary season and ensuring there isn’t a kind of national primary that provides a candidate with an insurmountable lead.
Now no one would think a man with as heavy a drawel as Barbour could compete in New Hampshire. But Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina? Those seem like decent possibilities.
Now take into consideration the massive amount of political capital Barbour gained among the new Governors in each of those three states by investing so heavily into their races. Branstad, Sandoval, and Haley all owe Haley Barbour. And they owe him big.
Is it enough to bring a hugely important endorsement? That much is unclear, but Barbour clearly has every reason and right to put the pressure on all three.
Now consider what happens if Barbour is able to finagle the early endorsements of people like Corbett, Kasich, and Scott in PA, OH, and FL. In the horserace that is primary politics, that provides quite a momentum shift.
No one doubts Barbour can raise money. No one doubts his abilities as a tactician. His record in Mississippi is exemplary. The only question is his background as a lobbyist and I’m not quite convinced that’s the Achilles Heel many seem to believe.
If Barbour can manage to pull down these endorsements, watch out. Without a doubt, he’ll be the man to beat for the 2012 GOP nomination.
UPDATE: Here’s Fox’s recent interview and profile of Barbour as they begun their discussion of likely GOP presidential candidates…