The Atlantic's good ol' boy Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed good ol' boy Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) today, and the two got right down to good ol' politics.
Barbour said he wasn't worried about some of his party's more colorful nominees, like Christine O'Donnell. When he was RNC chair in 1994, "Our policy was that we don't endorse candidates. My view is whoever the Republicans nominate is who we're going to support. Cause we're better as a bottom up party."
"Is there anything beyond the pale?" asked Goldberg. He cited Sharron Angle's musing about using "Second Amendment remedies" to deal with problems in Congress--and Carl Paladino in New York, who has a bundle of baggage.
"I'm going to be for whomever is going to be the nominee," he said.
In other words, ain't no way that Haley's gonna criticize anyone who might be in a position of power in the Republican Party.
Barbour believes that the Tea Party is "almost totally driven by bad policy." The single biggest mistake of the Obama administration was when "we had a 15 month debate about health care reform when jobs was the number one debate facing the country. Then they found that no only were they not talking about jobs ... they were going to make health care cost more money."
Goldberg asks: "Is there anything that could happen in the next five weeks that could cause Republicans to blow this?
"I don't think the big political environment can change between now and November 2nd," Barbour answers.
Barbour predicted that Republicans would pick up at least four gubernatorial seats for a total of 30. (He's low-balling this.)
Goldberg asked Barbour whether he was implying something nefarious about President Obama when, a few months ago, he said he "took at face value" his claims to be a Christian and that people knew less about Obama than any other president.
"When you compare Ronald Reagan his childhood, boyhood, college...life guard." Barbour trailed off.
Goldberg: "Are you running for president?"
"Well, it's nice of you to ask." He gives the standard "I'll wait until 2010 is over" before he thinks about it.
"Do you think there's something to think about?"
"I haven't thought about it enough."
Full session below
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Marc Ambinder is a contributing editor at TheAtlantic. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.