Haley Barbour Decides Against Futile Run for GOP Nomination

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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

If you want to know why former RNC chairman and current Mississippi governor Haley Barbour announced today that he won't run for president, despite the expectations of many people that he would, you need only to read the opening paragraph of this Newsweek article:

In an age that favors optics, he looks every second of his 63 years, is recovering from back surgery, and is overweight to the point where even he jokes about being a “fat redneck.” At a time when voters are suspicious of Washington’s unholy alliance with Wall Street and big business, he’s grown rich as a corporate lobbyist, carrying water for the tobacco and oil industries, among other powerful interests. And although he is, by many measures, a successful politician, he’s governor of a tiny state (population: 2.9 million) that ranks last in such indices as median household income, academic achievement, and health care; and first in obesity, infant mortality, teen birthrate, and sexually transmitted diseases; and boasts a troubled and violent racial history that still shapes its identity.

So, to sum up: Fat Mississippi lobbyist. Not running is a good call. Barbour hasn't managed to pull in more than 2 or 3 percent in the polls, and though it's still very early, he never had a good chance of making those numbers rise — while Beltway types are impressed with his political acumen and fund-raising abilities, those aren't traits that tend to generate a lot of passion among voters. Barbour is a serious person, not an attention-seeking ideologue who would run just to "be part of the conversation" or to sell books. He would run to win, and he couldn't win this race.

Haley Barbour Not Running for President [Roll Call]