Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour the Worst Ever Current or Former State Official?

Yeah, Probably at This Time, Maybe Not For All Time

The Dismal Political Economist has written earlier about the pardons of killers that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour issued just as he slunk out of office, forbidden by the state to run for a third term. 

Since former Gov. Haley Barbourgranted clemency to 215 convicts in his last few days in office, among them more than two dozen who had been convicted of murder or manslaughter, he has found few unqualified supporters here in Mississippi.

Now it turns out Mr. Barbour and his Conservative Republican friends are getting together to give Mr. Barbour the grand payoff.

But on Wednesday, as the outcry was at its loudest, Mr. Barbour was in Miami already hard at work on his next professional act. He was giving a speech to an event organized by Barclays Bank, his first engagement of many as a star client of Leading Authorities, a prominent speakers’ bureau. (“In his signature folksy and down-home style, Barbour addresses the 2012 political outlook and the upcoming election, Republican strategy, the economy, job creation and leadership,” the company promises, listing him in the category of speakers costing between $30,000 and $50,000.)

But wait, there’s more.

That same day, a prominent Jackson law firm, Butler Snow, announced that Mr. Barbour and his former chief of staff were joining the firm to work on government relations and business development, among other things.

And no, that’s not all

That announcement was late compared with the one from the BGR Group, the Washington lobbying powerhouse that Mr. Barbour helped start in 1991. It publicized his return to the firm on Tuesday, the very day he left office.

And even that’s not all

Whatever is going on among the disconcerted Mississippi electorate, Mr. Barbour, 64, has been granted unconditional clemency by the world of high-powered lobbying, fund-raising and behind-the-scenes Republican strategy. It is a world that he mastered as White House political director and chairman of the Republican National Committee, that he traveled in part time as head of the Republican Governors Association, and that is now eagerly welcoming his political and policy savvy.

Now one has to understand that next to providing tax cuts for wealthy people, there is nothing Republicans and Conservatives love more than law and order, and the type of law and order that consists of locking up criminals for life, or longer.  For a Governor to allow murderers who were sentenced to life without parole out on the street violates every principle Republicans and Conservatives stand for.  But if money is involved, well, no problem.

And for the winner of the most out of touch political comment there is this

If anything, said Mr. Castellanos, the Republican strategist, the pardon controversy could help his image among Democrats if Mr. Barbour were to be nominated for a cabinet post in a Republican administration. Few Democrats would be likely to challenge a Barbour nomination, he said, on the grounds that the pardons showed him to be “too humanitarian.”

So what is going on here?  The answer is simple, the monumental hypocrisy of Conservatives is so strong that apparently nothing short of asking wealthy people to pay their fair share of taxes would cause them to turn on one of their own.  But the next time when anyone asks why anyone is not a Conservative, the two word answer is Haley Barbour.

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