In another sign that he is serious about a White House run in 2012, Gov. Haley Barbour will head to President Obama’s hometown on Monday and offer an alternative to what he sees as the administration’s reckless economic policies.
According to prepared remarks to be given before the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Barbour says America needs “commitment to economic growth, not government growth” and blast the president for presiding over a time of “explosive spending, skyrocketing deficits, gargantuan debt, calls for record tax increases, government-run health care, out-of-control regulations and anti-growth energy policy.” He will also talk about his time in Mississippi, admitting he still as “much more to do” in the Deep South state but that his administration has “made great progress” and is “laying a foundation for the future.”
A popular two-term incumbent governor, Barbour also notes the president’s shift to the center in the wake of last November’s historic Republican victory. “The recent election seems to have given the president the zeal of a convert who just heard the Gospel,” he says. “Now he’s meeting with CEOs. Extending the Bush tax cuts. Even speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce!”
But for all of the president’s recent pro-growth rhetoric, Barbour believes that the administration is still pursuing a liberal economic agenda: “despite all the talk, there’s no change in policy. And the policies embraced by this White House show little understanding of how our economy actually works. They seem to have no trust in business. No sense of how entrepreneurs build new companies. No insight into how small businesses create jobs.”
“Think about it,” he continues. “Is there anybody in the current administration who ever signed the front side of a pay check?”
The Obama administration, Barbour says, has ignored the growing national debt and the need for entitlement reform due to what he calls “a failure of leadership.” His solution: a new president “who is actually committed to change.”
Barbour, a former Republican operative and high profile Washington insider, has an unconventional resume for a presidential candidate. Still, despite potential political liabilities such as his lobbying work on behalf on tobacco companies and foreign governments, he seems unwilling to shy away from his past.
“I’m proud of the work I did,” he says. “I saw the sausage factory up close.”