Fox News is reporting today that Haley Barbour will make a formidable opponent in the 2012 presidential election. I personally couldn’t agree more. There are many reasons, including the fact he has rid Mississippi of more than a $720 million deficit he faced when he took office. Oh, and did I mention he did it without raising taxes? Further, and this was something I didn’t know, but he’s running the state on less money. Let’s face it, there are no other governors currently serving who can make those claims.
First things first, I was born and raised in Mississippi. It’s home; always has been and always will be. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in this world. Contrary to the stereotypes that remain, Mississippi is a beautiful state with much to offer. Three of the nation’s best colleges are found in Mississippi, the Gulf Coast offers beautiful beaches, casinos and folks who are warm, inviting and remain true to the slower paced living that’s built on a foundation of faith, hard work and hope for the future. Mississippians take responsibility, we’re prideful, respectful and have a healthy fear and unending devotion to God. It’s just who we are. We love our technology, of course, but there are still more kitchens in this state that don’t have boxed cake mixes in the cabinets, but instead, are run by women who believe a cake “just ain’t a cake” unless it’s homemade (myself included). Mississippi is home to the nation’s largest naval shipyard as well as the nation’s largest transformer manufacturer. And they’re less than one hundred miles apart. We know our neighbors, their kids and it’s quite likely we know their birthdays, fears, joys and yes, even their dirty laundry. They know ours, too.
Here’s what sets Haley Barbour apart: he doesn’t have it in him to overreact. He maintains a steady and consistent mindset, even during Hurricane Katrina and this summer’s rig explosion and ultimate oil spill that devastated us and several other Gulf states. I can tell you from personal experience, it goes a long way, especially for me. A wave forms off the coast of Africa and I’m blowing up the phones with “Run, run, run!!” My family, God love them, calls me Hurricane Central – but I secretly love it. Governor Barbour simply sees it for what it is, formulates a worse case scenario and then runs with it. His politics and beliefs are consistent and if he says it or does it, you can be sure he owns it. Period. Best of all, though, he keeps the collective political arena in perspective. That in itself is a powerful trait to have.
So there it is. I am absolutely for Governor Barbour changing his title to read President Barbour. Besides, it’s time for the White House to have some homemade biscuits and a bit of southern drawl. Speaking of southern drawl, here’s a clip of a presser he made following Katrina and what his goals were regarding insurance rates.