Former lobbyist and current Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has decided not to run for the presidency in 2012. This caught some people off guard; at least one pundit had him as the shoe-in and real deal against President Obama.
Other than the fact that the self-described “fat redneck” was polling in single digits and has a long record of making some pretty naive statements about race relations, Dan Balz of the Washington Post notes that Mr. Barbour decided not to run because “he had come to the conclusion that Republicans can win only if they are totally focused on serious issues and not distracted by some of the side issues, such as Obama’s birthplace, that have arisen in the early going.”
In other words, he thought his candidacy would get lost in the banshee chorus of wingnuttery of birtherism and secret Muslim soshulism. And in what can only be called serendipitous, Ron Paul is planning to run again. In the current climate of the GOP, he’s probably going to be considered the centrist in the campaign.
Buy lots of popcorn, folks; it’s going to be a long ride.
HT to Balloon Juice.