Haley Barbour's written statement isn't going to cut it
When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns' integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn't tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the 'Citizens Council,' is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time."
Is this sufficient to revive Barbour's chances as a presidential candidate in 2012? Oh, puleez. Those who believe, with a fair amount of justification, that he simply doesn't get it on matters of race are hardly going to be mollified by a written statement after more than 24 hours of horrid press coverage.
In the next interview he gives, and in many after that, he will be grilled on this and his other questionable comments. And what GOP staffers would want to join a campaign in which days, if not weeks, will be filled fielding questions on this issue? What donors, prominent men and women in their communities, want to take on the burden of defending all this and trying to pry donations out of friends and colleagues? It will be a very crowded field of candidates, so it's hard to imagine that Republicans, who are desperate to win back the White House, would say, "Well, there just isn't anybody but the guy with the trail of racially insensitive comments!"
In short, Republican voters, activists, staffers and donors will have many choices in 2012. It's hard to conceive of a situation in which they would prefer Barbour, as solid a governor as he has been, over every other candidate, each of whom will have flaws that seem minor in comparison.
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