Monday Political Notebook
The state’s junior Senator recently held a forum on insurance for Coast residents as experts presented ideas for an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program. Wicker said that he supports the multi-peril bill being pushed by Rep. Gene Taylor; saying he would sponsor an amendment to adopt it in the Senate. Showing that legislators can be partisan even when they is bi-partisan support for something, consider this: Wicker has called out Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) for not holding a hearing on the issue in the Banking Committee he chairs. Taylor, however, seemed to blame Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking member on the committee, stating that he is holding up the bill.
Bryant added some firepower to the citizen led healthcare lawsuit filed by State Sen. Chris Mcdaniel (R-Ellisville) and others when he was added as a plaintiff on Friday. Bryant, who said he is doing this a a private citizen and not as the Lieutenant Governor, said, “If Congress can mandate health insurance, then it can even mandate Americans buying an electric car. The Federal government has no business in regulating the rights and freedoms we hold dear as Americans. I have joined this lawsuit as a private citizen, not in my official capacity as Lt. Governor, and I intend to fight alongside Sen. Chris McDaniel to protect our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Also on Friday, the Attorney General (and lone Democratic statewide officeholder) opted against joining in the healthcare lawsuit being pushed by Florida and a dozen or so other states (no shock) saying he doesn’t see any basis for the suit. Hood, who originally said Haley Barbour could not join the lawsuit until his office made a decision, did state that Barbour could take action “on behalf of the Office of the Governor in your own name.”
Barbour continues to make headlines and show why he will be a national player in 2010 and 2012. Chris Cillizza with the Washington Post summed the two-term governor up well when he called him an “effective politician and savvy strategist.” He also listed Barbour as the most influential Republican over Mitt Romney (2) and Sarah Palin (3). Barbour is not going away after January 2012. I believe that he will not be running for president or any other office, but will be in a prominent role with the Republican National Committee (and/ or other Republican groups). Barbour has looked good by default over the past year (see Mark Sanford and Michael Steele for example), but his competence and steady leadership is something the GOP has missed and can surely use.
Barbour was also in the news for his prominent role at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans over the weekend. Among other things, Barbour called Barack Obama’s policies a “man-made disaster,” told Republicans to focus on 2010- not 2012, and said the GOP needs to be united if they are going to win.
Here is a very cool video that preceded Barbour’s speech on Saturday: Click here
Also, of note, the media blasted Republicans for not mentioning Katrina on Friday. It was the first thing Barbour mentioned in his speech.