Monday, April 27, 2009

Haley Barbour: Another door left open

A WASHINGTON source is reporting that Haley Barbour, the Republican Mississippi governor, has "left the door open" to a candidacy for president in 2012.  In political jargon, Barbour, once the Republican national chairman, is sending a coy signal that he may very well run if the planets line up in his favor.    It's smart politics.  He'll keep everybody guessing that he might be the 25th or 50th potential Republican candidate in the race and lobbyists and donors will tread carefully around him the next year or so  in the outside chance that the will be in the presidential pack. 

The former New York Times columnist Russell Baker once called it the great mentioning game.  And you have little chance of winning a free lunch at McDonald's if you are not at least mentioned on all of the Sunday morning talk shows, particularly by George Will on a good day. Newt Gingrich also says he might run if things don't change.    He had better hope that they do inasmuch as President Obama's latest  ABC News poll numbers gives Barack a startling 72 pct. "favorability" rating with Americans.  Against  congressional Republicans, he leads 61-24.

 But the mere fact that Gingrich is now leaving the door open means he will be a regular guest on conservative talk shows to revive his failed "contract with America."  Right now, there are doubtless 20 others leaving the door open with a promise of letting in some fresh air.  It works wonders with political egos. So if any of them is invited to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, the announcer is bound to say, "Congressman Smiley is from Arkansas and has left the door open to run for president.

One, however, must be careful not to get too far ahead of the curve.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, made quite a spectacle of himself at a photo-op to declare that Texas might secede if the Feds don't leave him alone with stimulus money and other Big Brotherly incursions.  How silly he must look today after he asked the very same Feds for help in combatting the swine flu epidemic. (Sorry, Texas politicians never think they look silly about anything.)

I never left the door open for myself.  Happily for me, when I came home from grade school with a report card with two c's on it, my mother sensed my gloom, but came though with a consoling remark by a dear mother who preferred bingo to books.    "Don't worry," she said. "You're never gonna be president anyway."

She was right.  Mothers usually are.  




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mother's usually are right, but in your case she was wrong. You knew that you could be anything you wanted to be. You just didn't want to be President. Look at your life today. Pretty good, I would say.