Haley Barbour’s Priorities

It says something about today’s Republican Party that one of its most powerful members is the governor of the poorest state in the country. Mississippi has been the poorest state in the country for a long time, and after six years with Haley Barbour in the governor’s mansion it’s still the poorest state in the country.

Yet Haley Barbour is considered a great success as governor. This is mostly because of Karl Rove’s political exploitation of Hurricane Katrina — the White House made sure the Democratic governor of Louisiana looked like a failure after Katrina, while the Republican governor of Mississippi smelled like a rose But let’s go on.

Barbour strongly opposes reproductive rights and has put a lot of time and energy into enforcing every restriction on abortion the courts will allow, and probably a few the courts wouldn’t allow if the law were challenged. Yet for years Mississippi has been at the top or near the top in state rankings for infant mortality, a a fact that eludes Barbour’s attention.

As bad as it was when Barbour took office in 2004, under his tenure the infant mortality rates in Mississippi got worse.

Mississippi citizens enjoy the worst health care system in the nation, according to the Commonwealth Fund. It comes in at number 51, behind every other state and the District of Columbia. Mississippians are more likely to die for lack of medical care than are the residents of any other state (plus the District of Columbia), the Commonwealth Fund says.

But according to Gov. Barbour’s website, there was a health care crisis when Barbour took office, but Barbour fixed it. He did this by jamming through legislation that provides doctors and hospitals substantial protection from lawsuits and also by finding ways to kick thousands of people off of Medicaid (in the poorest state in the country, mind you). There — problem solved. Mississippians are more likely to die preventable deaths than residents of any other state, but that is not a problem to Gov. Barbour.

Recently Barbour defended Virginia’s Confederate History Month, in particular the original proclamation that left out the little issue of slavery. If the governor doesn’t think slavery was an important issue to Mississippi when the state chose to secede from the Union in 1861, he should read the “declaration of causes” document drawn up by the state’s secession convention.

In short, Barbour is the quintessential Republican; a Republican’s Republican, if you will. He exists entirely to protect the rich and oppress the poor, and he calls that “governing.”

21 thoughts on “Haley Barbour’s Priorities

  1. I have trouble understanding people like Barbour. What do they believe should be the role of government?

    Can’t be the same as Norquist’s “government small enough to drown it in a bathtub”, not if Barbour wants to impose additional governmental restrictions on half the population.

    Can’t be pro-life when it causes more deaths.

    Can’t promote the general welfare by ignoring the needs of many of its people.

    Can’t be a democracy when it takes from everyone in the form of state and local taxes, but serves only the privileged few.

    Can’t be humane when it condemns the poor for not working, when no jobs are available.

    And it most certainly cannot be Christian (despite the fundies vociferous claims to the contrary) if it violates all Christ’s teachings.

    So…erm…what kind of government are we looking at here? I’d really like Republicans like Barbour to explain that sometime.

  2. What kind of government? In four words:

    High R, low K.

    That’s jargon from population-dynamics biology. R refers to reproductive rate, K refers to quality of parental care. High-R, low-K species like bugs have lots of kids, most of whom die before reproducing. Low-R, high-K like whales have fewer kids, more of whom survive to reproduce.

    Barbour has sided with high-R, low-K. So it isn’t by hypocrisy that he against both abortion _and_ postnatal care, but by internal logic. In the Republican model of the human ecology, high infant mortality isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

  3. I have trouble understanding people like Barbour. What do they believe should be the role of government?

    Simple. To protect the interests of the proper folk. Barbour really is a Republican’s Republican. But what’s interesting, is the rich Republicans living elsewhere who wouldn’t dream of moving to a GOP paradise like Mississippi.

  4. Another Republican’s Republican: Jeb Bush. All sorts of family cred, even some sympathy for having his brother wreck the family dynasty.

    Jeb was running for governor of Florida a few years back, and was asked what he was going to do for black people. His reply: “Nothing”.

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  6. Paradoctor, High-R, Low-K may also figure into the strong opposition to universal health care, as in: Don’t help keep the “termites” alive, lest insufficient numbers die off and they overrun the castle.

  7. High-R, low-K species like bugs have lots of kids, most of whom die before reproducing.

    So Haley Barbour is a cockroach… or at least sees his constituents as cockroaches.

    Gross… but credible.

  8. I can’t believe anyone would give these nutters the time of day. One fundamental paradox I still don’t understand is this: if they hate and mistrust government so much (that is basically the extent of their policy…) why do they run for office? If I were so opposed to it I would honestly run off to a cabin somewhere and grow a big garden. I can think of some homeless camps around town where people don’t pay taxes or worry about government. They ought to think of the options available to themselves other than running for office.

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  10. Muldoon, Joanr16: you both got it. High-R, low-K politics do indeed treat the people as expendible vermin, not worth the cost of protection.

    Crazy About Urban Planning: ostensively they run for the government they profess to despise as corrupt in order to dismantle it from within. In reality they run in order to participate in the corruption.

  11. Moonbat, you have a excellent point. If even the wealthy privileged wouldn’t want to live in a state where the wealthy are privileged, then maybe business as usual isn’t the best option.

  12. Let me add to Barbour and the GOP’s sins the fact that when Republicans were going after Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Democrats for donations from the Chinese and Buddhist nuns, Haley Barbour, as head of the RNC, was a fixture in Hong Kong, accepting donations.

    The hypocrisy, as well as the failure of our political system and the fault of both political parties, is breathtaking.

  13. Barbour is also one of the leading proponents of “Trickle-down-economics.” which sounds so much better than “Piss-on-the-poor.”
    And yet, we as a country learn nothing, with Republicans poised to make huge gains in The House, and maybe more than a few in The Senate.
    We, as a nation, will get what we deserve.
    I say, let them leave the Union again. PLEASE!!! As a matter of fact, we should start encouraging them to do so: “Haley, wouldn’t you much rather be the new President of the Confederate States of America, than the Governor of Mississippi?”

  14. A Bloomber article by Marthe Fourcade, “Maternal death rate up in U.S.” appeared in this morning New Orleans Times-Picayune. While it is true that this particular statistic has been rising in other coutries (e.g., Canada, Norway, Austria, Denmark, and Singapore), the rhetoric of late has been that we have the best care in the world. Really? Italy has the best when it comes to maternal mortality. Perhaps we have been too naive about conservative anti-abortion and pro-life views. Is it possible that they believe it’s wrong to kill unborn but okay to kill the mothers? Just wondering.

    • Is it possible that they believe it’s wrong to kill unborn but okay to kill the mothers? Just wondering.

      That’s exactly what they think. If it comes down to a choice between risking a woman’s life to save a fetus, they vote for the fetus.

  15. muldoon – your “can’t be hunane when it condemns the poor for not working, when no jobs are available” caught my eye.

    A sign at a recent tea party gathering read “give away my work ethic, not my wealth” which is a universal belief of Republicans, and probably some Democrats that the poor are poor because they’re lazy, indolent, improvident, immoral people whose only purpose in life is to suck money out of the rest of us – the hard-working, god-fearing, moral, honest, trustworthy rest of Americans. (And Barbours ‘mission’? To protect us from ‘them.’)

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