Some commenters to today’s morning links post are insisting that Haley Barbour has no connection to the white supremacist, neo-confederate Council of Conservative Citizens.
In fact, he does. In 2003, Barbour attended a barbecue fundraiser sponsored by the CCC. Money from the event went to buy school buses for a “private academy,” the term for private schools established in Mississippi so white parents don’t have to send their kids to public schools with black kids.
When the CCC posted a photo of Barbour at the event on its website, Barbour refused to ask them to take it down. His defense:
“Once you start down the slippery slope of saying, ‘That person can’t be for me,’ then where do you stop? Old segregationists? Former Ku Klux Klan?”
Even if you buy that argument (and I’ve argued that I don’t think politicians should necessarily return campaign contributions from questionable sources), there’s a difference between refusing the support of someone with racist views and allowing your likeness to be used on a racist organization’s website, particularly for fundraising purposes, or to show off the group’s connections to political power.
Barbour also claimed he didn’t know what the organization represented when he attended the barbecue, a dubious proposition given that the CCC had repeatedly been in the news in prior years due to its connections to other GOP politicians.
Barbour’s going to have to come up with some better excuses if he wants to run for president. And the GOP ought to think long and hard before it considers him a legitimate contender for the 2012 nomination Unlike his unfortunate comment about black people and watermelon back in the 1980s, this is all relatively recent.