The Weekly Standard: The Boy from Yazoo City

Written by admin on December 20th, 2010

In a wide ranging interview in The Weekly Standard, Republican Haley Barbour make the case for why a successful lobbyist makes for a good politician.

The Weekly Standard

“When I first ran for governor,” Barbour told me, “my opponent attacked me as a Washington lobbyist. So we did some research. It showed that people thought I’d be a better governor because I’d been a lobbyist. Before Katrina, 37 percent of the state budget of Mississippi came from the federal government: Medicaid, highway funds, aid to education. People knew I understood the federal government. People knew I had a lot of friends in the federal government. And they knew it might come in handy.”

Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the morning of August 29, 2005. It is by some measures the greatest natural disaster in American history. It was surely the governor’s finest hour. After 20 months in office Barbour was already popular with voters and—a neater trick—successful with a strongly Democratic and hostile legislature.

“People will tell you there are a lot of handicaps,” he said. “I’m governor of a very poor state. They’ll say that’s a handicap. People will tell you it’s a handicap to be from the South. I had an office in Washington for 19 years, working as a lobbyist. I have an accent. People will tell you those are handicaps.”

He leaned back and folded his hands across his chest, looking to me like a man who’s made up his mind.

“But I don’t think so.”

 

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