JONATHAN CHAIT APRIL 20, 2010
Thanks to some great tips from several readers, the Boss Hogg file has expanded.
While our official policy at Jonathan Chait is to refer to Haley Barbour exclusively as "Boss Hogg," a reader points out his striking resemblance to Sheriff Stuckey from "Mississippi Burning" (see above). As I've said before, I can't imagine Republicans would be crazy enough to nominate a White southerner who keeps a flag signed by Jeff Davis in his office. But the same reader makes an interesting case for why Barbour could likely be the nominee. He is personally very well liked in the establishment GOP circles, maybe even more so than Mike Huckabee: "Mention his name to people who have worked for him, or who have professionally interacted with him, and you will hear terrific things. It's sort of like the sort of things you used to hear about Bob Dole, and the opposite of the kind of things you heard about McCain in 2000." In addition to his likability, he may be able to get as much establishment money as Romney and Pawlenty. That said, the reader thinks Barbour has no shot in the general election, something I agree with.
His failure in the general election also seems inevitable in light of what another reader reminds us of: Barbour's connection with the Council of Conservative Citizens, a reincarnation of the White Citizens' Council movement. After attending one of their fundraisers, the group posted a picture of Barbour on their website. While he later called some of their views "indefensible," he refused to ask them to remove the picture. The reader recommends "In Search Of Another Country: Mississippi And The Conservative Counterrevolution," which explores how the right-wing opposition to civil rights in the South morphed into the Republican establishment.
I'm sure a Barbour presidential run would prompt more of this. He's a conservative Mississippian who has been involved in politics since the 1960s.