Barbour laments GOP tactics on budget

Lauren Wood | Buy at Former governor Haley Barbour speaks Thursday afternoon during the Tupelo Civtans lunch at the Summit Center.

Lauren Wood | Buy at
Former governor Haley Barbour speaks Thursday afternoon during the Tupelo Civitans lunch at the Summit Center.

By Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Former Mississippi governor and Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour on Thursday called GOP tactics resulting in a partial government shutdown “foolish” and “stupid.”

After speaking at the Tupelo Luncheon Civitan Club on the topic of the state’s energy policy, Barbour, an influential politico nationally, turned from policy to the politics of the recent partial federal government shutdown in response to a question from the audience.

Barbour said the aggressive tactic could hurt Republicans and could have an impact leading into mid-term elections in 2014.

“I think the way the Republicans went at the budget was really stupid,” he said. “In my business of politics, you don’t pick a fight you know you’ll lose.”

Barbour, who was national Republican chairman during the last government shutdown in the mid-1990s that led to GOP election losses, is among several high-profile Republicans critical of Sen. Ted Cruz and other party members who pushed for a shutdown as a way to leverage bargaining power against the health care law passed three years ago. Republicans failed in the effort to delay further provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Among Mississippi’s congressional delegation, Republican U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker voted for the legislation Wednesday to fund the federal government and raise the debt ceiling, as did Republican U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper and Democrat Bennie Thompson. GOP congressmen Alan Nunnelee and Steven Palazzo voted against it.

While not disagreeing with opposition to the ACA, the Yazoo City Republican said tactics used by Cruz and some House members didn’t seem planned or well thought out.

Barbour said a “foolish” element of Republicans’ stance was taking the spotlight away from many problems associated with the health insurance exchanges that opened about two weeks ago, around the same time as government shutdown talks began.

“For six weeks, Obamacare has been trying to be birthed and it’s the worst miscarriage you’ve ever seen,” Barbour said. “We knocked Obama’s bad news off the front page doing something we knew we couldn’t win.”

Barbour’s main purpose for his visit to the Civitan Club was to tout the benefits of Mississippi Power Co.’s controversial Kemper County lignite coal plant as part of a diversified energy policy for the state. Barbour’s Washington lobbying firm has represented Southern Co., parent company of Mississippi Power, along with other energy companies.

He also addressed efforts to bring a labor union presence at the Nissan plant in Canton. He said he believes the chances of Nissan workers voting to bring organized labor to the plant are slim, saying the hoopla came from left-leaning politicians and activists.

“It’s being led by Bennie Thompson, not the auto workers,” he said.

As for state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who formally declared plans to run for the U.S. Senate held by Cochran, Barbour attributed the Tea Party-oriented McDaniel’s decision to run to a reason other than ideology.

“I think it’s much more about the ambition of youth,” Barbour said of McDaniel, 41.

Three decades ago, some people in Mississippi accused Barbour of the same thing when he challenged longtime Sen. John C. Stennis, a Democrat and one of the Senate’s longest serving members. Barbour lost the race by a 2-to-1 margin.

When brought to his attention, Barbour didn’t deny parallels between himself and McDaniel.

“Maybe because there’s one there,” he said.

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  • DoubleTalk

    Lets see. The House passed the budget to keep government going but did not include funding Obamacare. The Senate did the opposite. So who is really to blame for government shutdown ?
    Many look but do not see……..listen but do not hear……… all but do not understand.
    Real deal on Repubs is a new group is bucking the “We have it like we want it” crowd both Dems and Repubs.
    Politics a business ? You said it and the consumers (taxpayers) are getting screwed.
    Get rid of all “Business Politics” for the sake of the country and your individual livelyhood.

    • Guest Person

      The Republicans are really to blame for the shut down. They tried to hold the full faith and credit of the US hostage for what they could not do through the political process, the courts or the last election. They lost on all fronts so they hatched a crazy radical stunt to force their ideals on the American people.
      If you want to get rid of the AHCA then win an election and change it the way our founding fathers desgined it.

    • MidTennDog

      Actually, DoubleTalk, the House does NOT get to appropriate money for Obamacare. It’s mandatory spending. That’s why the Senate and White House balked. They may as well have sent the Senate a bill that defunds Social Security. The House, Senate and White House all passed Obamacare a few years ago. You don’t have to like it but that’s how the system works… and is supposed to work. One of the three blackmailing the other two is NOT how it’s supposed to work. Hold the House, win 60 in the Senate and win the White House. THEN repeal, defund, re-work, etc. Obamacare. The Republicans had that chance last year and it didn’t work out. They will have the chance again in a few years. I’m not a democrat or a republican. I’m a moderate who has voted for members of both parties. But don’t give me this garbage about “many look but do not see…listen but do not hear”. I see, hear and understand just fine.

      • DoubleTalk

        You really make my point very well. I did a quick search for a simplified description of how it works, kinda a Windows for Dummies version of the budget process.
        By the way, Do I recall Obama being over 2 months late getting his part of this process in ?
        See, Hear, Understand…….You will not be suckered as much in life.

  • 1941641

    Barbour is an icon to many Mississippians. But to me he’s still just “Hog Jaws” Barbour!

    • barney fife

      Mississippi’s version of ‘Boss Hog’.

  • Kevin

    Barbour ought to shut up, cram his mouth full of more mash potatoes and go pardon some people.

  • Jerry Patterson

    This is the man who sold out to the gambling industry.

  • Winston Smith

    I’ve got zero respect for anything a lobbyist has to say.

  • d1comment

    Has the DJ done any stories on the ObamaCare disaster…?

    • Kevin

      How is it a disaster?

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