Emmett Tyrrell

Barbour, while in Chicago, acknowledged the lousy economy that Obama inherited but then skewered the president for his two failed years in the White House: "It's not a failure of business or a failure of free enterprise; it's a failure of government policy." He went on to attack the Obama energy policy as a "perma-torium" on deep-water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a piece on Barbour's potential candidacy to be published shortly in The American Spectator, Philip Klein quotes Ed Gillespie on the kind of candidate the governor is likely to be. "He's a policy wonk, which a lot of people don't realize," says the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. People "tend to think of Haley Barbour as very politically savvy and good on television and smooth, but he really is a policy wonk at heart." The piece goes on to report the wonk's doings. His steady hand during Katrina and the resurrection of the hurricane-wracked state. His proposals for immigration reform, entitlement reform and health care. And Klein asks him whether we could get our debt under control without raising taxes. Barbour answers: "I don't think it's possible if you raise taxes. You've got to grow revenue. You've got to have economic growth and more job creation. Higher taxes make that harder. ... My own view is that low taxes are essential to generating economic growth. ... Reagan used to say we can grow ourselves out of the deficit, and the Democrats would snicker. Well, I can tell you this: We can't spend ourselves out of this deficit."

"President Haley Barbour," it has a ring about it. Moreover, I would relish the debates preceding his election. A policy wonk who slips in a few "y'alls"? Let the race begin.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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