Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, "Why Haley Barbour pulled the plug". April 25
OF course the bad news for big-money GOP donors for 2012 is they'll have to back a Republican.
Now, for me the bad news is we don't have Haley to kick around any more. Except, of course, we do and always will. I sure would have preferred a Fred Dumbo Thompson story--who wouldn't?--with months of artificial excitement followed by a spectacular fizzle, but Barbour's an old pol, not somebody from a dinner-theatre production of All the King's Men. He got in, took one look, and skedaddled.
We'll miss him, but we'll always have the excuses: No fire in the belly! Family opposed! As though Haley Fucking Barbour didn't know what was involved in a Presidential campaign! As though he became the top un-indicted Republican fixer by soliciting his wife's tender feelings at every turn.
“I was surprised,” added [the putative candidate's putative campaign manager, Rob] Collins. “Ultimately I think that while he knows we need a new president, he just didn’t think it was the right time for him.”
Yeah, again: when the Republican campaign promises to center on crypto-racism, maybe running the poster boy for Explaining Racial Gaffs might not be your best bet. That, or The Donald coming over the top called his bluff.
Anyhow, assuming for the moment that you are one of those big-money Republican donors, how's your digestion? You just lost your favorite bridge troll, or so says Politico, and now you're left with his shorter, smirkier brother? You've helped create an America that can't tell the difference between 24 and geopolitics, between fast food and edible substances, between astroturf and real grass, and, now, the one thing you can figure it does know, besides what time coverage of the Royal Wedding starts, is what a President is supposed to look like. That's gotta sting a bit.
Haley Barbour's surprise announcement Monday that he won't run for president now turns all eyes upon Indianapolis. Without his good friend Barbour in the race, does this now make it more likely that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will run?
For the hell of it, let's ask that question as though, oh, Haley Barbour had just taken a look around and realized he wasn't going to be the GOP nominee, as opposed to soliciting the advice of his duodenum. I realize this is a little cynical; after all, Republicans take the President at his word about that birth certificate business. But let's pretend. If your twin brother, the insider's insider, decides he isn't gonna make it, do your chances look that much better? I mean, Daniels can play the Ho Ho Ho I'm a totally un-photogenic candidate (therefore I must really have something) routine all he wants, but the fact is that while Dull and Diminutive might wow 'em at Politico, and CPAC, it's not proven a big winner in Presidential primaries. Daniels tried to establish his national persona--I'm sorry, I mean, other people tried to encourage him to establish his national persona--as the competent alternative to the populist crazies. But now, if the race ever starts, it turns out he's running against Mitt, Newt, and Some Guy From East Dakota, and the Crazies can't decide among themselves who's crazy enough to run. So Daniels--who, by the way, is getting plenty of opportunity to put the Culture War on the back burner in his own state (including an upcoming defunding of Planned Parenthood that'll cost the state real, honest-to-goodness Rand Bucks), without noticeable effect--has already gone out of his way to distinguish himself from the very people he's not running against, as well as the people who'll decide the thing.
And if you're a Republican, from either the big-money donor or small-animal torturer wing, and you look at that field, and you avoid the impulse to cut your throat while shaving, why would you bother? Put your money into Congressional races. Sure, sure, anything can happen, but what it looks like is going to happen is McCain/Palin II: Electric Batshit Boogaloo: What Passes for Competence on the Right coupled with someone so fucking crazy the base will hold its nose and turn up at the polls. (And that's the good news; the alternative is Trump.)
Daniels has already signaled his willingness to go down fighting the good fight ("if the money's right" is never spoken, a nod being as good as a wink); I really can't wait to see Mr. Culture War in the Background introducing Michelle Bachman as his running mate. But really, now: is this the culmination of the fifty-year Prairie/Dixie coalition? Pure insanity, low tax rates, and a party that can't govern?