Why Haley Barbour Needs To Quit Mulling Over Race Speech


It wasn't long after I pushed the "submit" button on my article over at Big Think this morning that I saw this headline:



over at The Daily Beast.

Mr. Barbour, you need to stop payment on the last check you wrote to your political consultants if this is the kind advice you have been getting.

Maybe its about time you hired a firm like Blacksheep Political Consulting. We can help you turn some of that ridiculous PR strategy you've been engaging in lately around.

But before we will consider taking you on as a client, you've got to accept some hard truths.


Hard truth #1: White Southerners, especially those like you, who were oblivious to the civil rights turmoil that saturated the atmosphere in your home state in the 50's and 60's, cannot lay claim to being on the right side of history after the fact.


Hard truth #2: Unless you registered black voters in the 60's, or advocated publicly and openly for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, you have no moral capital to lean on when it comes to even thinking about making a speech
on race.


Hard truth #3: You look like a good ole boy. You sound like a good ole boy. Simply repeating phrases you've heard on PBS documentaries, even with a tear dripping from the corner of your eye won't be believable.


Hard truth #4: The best you can do with a speech like this, if it is the kind of speech that is heartfelt and earnest and sprinkles in some of your personal shortcomings in the way the political pundits like to see the kinds of things, is alienate your base. And if you screw it up, you will get the added bonus of having no one else believe you anyway.


In fact, Mr. Barbour, we ran one of our ideas for your image rehabilitation past our unofficial council this morning. "Maybe Barbour should go to Haiti and adopt 5 black kids. Move them into his house, and stage a few photos of him taking them to school, making them breakfast."

Our counsel didn't miss a beat. "Haiti? Haiti? He could adopt five black kids from Mississippi who are in the same situation."

And with that observation, Mr. Barbour, we had to grudgingly admit that this sticky wicket you find yourself in is just too damn hard to overcome when you are the governor of a state that has too many African Americans who might as well be living in Haiti.

Good luck on your speech.

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