Guess Haley Barbour doesn’t wanna be President after all

(Cahill flack Jordan Gehrke posts to RMG.   – promoted by Garrett Quinn)

I’ve always liked Mississippi’s Governor, Haley Barbour.

If you had asked me two weeks ago who I’d like to support in the Republican Presidential Primary in 2012, Barbour would have been near the top of my list: He is intelligent. He is a good communicator; he is conservative, he distinguished himself as a leader in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. America needs leadership like that.

That was two weeks ago. This week, I have been trying to figure out why Gov. Barbour, who might need the support of conservatives in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina someday, has come into Massachusetts to save the GOP ticket headlined by pro-choice, gun grabbing Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei. (Tisei has a 100 percent NARAL rating and was the only Republican to vote against the income tax rollback.)

Here’s Baker explaining why there’s no way he is going to pander to conservatives after being forced to disavow running mate Richard Tisei’s sponsorship of the so-called “Transgender Bathroom Bill”:

“He’s pro-choice, he’s pro gay rights and gay marriage, he selected an openly gay man to be his running mate in the Republican Party, in the Republican Primary–I think it’s pretty hard to argue that I’m suddenly turning into a social conservative.”

There you have it, Conservatives! That’s our guy! He can’t even bring himself to pretend to like us. You can check out the full video here.

So I’m mystified: Here’s Haley Barbour–one of the most important conservative voices today; head of the Republican Governor’s Association; with 31 races to fund in 2010, shilling for a liberal like Baker.  

Aren’t there better targets, like helping John Kasich who is in the fight of his life in Ohio? I bet Kasich could use a million bucks for his campaign. So could Henry McMaster, or Andre Bauer in South Carolina who will try to hang onto the Governorship following the Sanford scandal if they are nominated. How about Tom Emmer in a swing state like Minnesota? Couldn’t he use a million bucks? I’m not the only one to have asked this question.

In order to get why Barbour is doing this though, a little context is in order: In March, David Axelrod and the White House called out Scott Brown’s reluctance to support ObamaCare, arguing that Obama’s plan was patterned after Governor Romney’s plan in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill defended Brown, saying that he believed RomneyCare, the pilot for Obamacare, could eventually bankrupt the Commonwealth. By extension, he argued that ObamaCare would wipe out the American economy in four years if passed. This all happened in the immediate run-up to the vote on Obama’s bill. Meanwhile, Charlie Baker sat in the tall grass, only poking his head up long enough to say, “I would not say (RomneyCare) has bankrupted Massachusetts” in a Globearticle.

Treasurer Cahill’s comments made national headlines. He received hundreds of thousands of dollars in free media, and endeared himself to conservatives across America.

Fast forward a few weeks later to the Boston Tea Party. Baker claimed he couldn’t make it because he had a candidate forum to attend. Cahill went to the forum too–and still managed to make the Tea Party. Afterward, he wrote this column, “What I saw at the Tea Party”and got great press for attending.

A few weeks later, two polls came out. Rasmussen showed Tim Cahill still in third, but the beneficiary of a nine point swing. Cahill was second in the next poll, ahead of Baker. A week later, Haley Barbour began a barrage of misleading attack ads on behalf of Charlie Baker, recycling cheap shot Boston Globe attacks that simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Here’s a fact check debunking the charges.

So for those of you keeping score at home: (1) Independent Tim Cahill opposed ObamaCare; (2) took a fiscal conservative position and (3) went to the Tea Party. Republican Charlie Baker (1) is courting social liberals (evidenced by his his radical liberal running mate) and is openly contemptous of conservatives; (2) avoided taking a clear position on the Obama health care initiative until after the bill passed; (3) ducked the Tea Party.

Obviously, Cahill’s numbers have jumped the last two months. What was not so obvious was that a conservative like Haley Barbour would go out of his way to attack the independent, Tim Cahill on behalf of the most liberal GOP ticket in America.  

After all, it’s not like Barbour doesn’t have better things to do.

Jordan Gehrke

Political Director, Cahill for Governor

About jordangehrke