Haley Barbour Refuses to Denounce Long-Deceased KKK Leader

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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

One would think, after getting himself into a big mess over comments he made about the white supremacist Citizens' Councils, Mississippi governor and potential presidential candidate Haley Barbour would go out of his way to take a somewhat enlightened position on racial issues in the future. But no. Barbour is now refusing to take sides in the controversy over a proposal to issue Mississippi license plates to commemorate Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general believed by many historians to have served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Why? Why can't you be opposed to this license plate? "I don't go around denouncing people," Barbour explained to the AP. Oh, okay. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin posits that while Barbour may not be racist, he seems "clueless as to how racial issues play outside his home state." Which is probably true, and also sad, because denouncing a KKK leader should, ideally, play well in every state.

Haley Barbour in KKK plate uproar [Politico]