Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke at Steve King’s Conservative Principles PAC Conference on Saturday.
He immediately set forth what was essentially the theme of his speech: That the focus of the 2012 campaign must be on policy. Citing the 2010 election as evidence, he said “The American people agree with us on policy”, and referred to the “massive repudiation” of the President’s policies that was reflected in the 2010 election.
He related a story of how Conrad Hilton appeared on Ed Sullivan Show many years ago. He said that Sullivan asked Hilton “that if he could tell one thing to the American people, what would it be?” Hilton responded: “Put the shower curtain inside the bathtub”. Barbour said, “now there’s a man who knew what was important to him”, and suggested that what is important for us is to elect a new president. Noting President Obama’s earlier stated intention to raise taxes and let the Bush era tax cuts expire, he asked how employers were going to decide to hire more people when they think they’re going to get hit with a huge tax increase.
Recalling the extension of the Bush tax cuts, he took a bit of a shot at the media, referring to them as “the ones in the back talkin’”. He mentioned that the media had concluded that Obama had moved to the center, a notion that Barbour clearly thought was incorrect.
He asserted that the Obama administration put “unlimitless faith in an limitless government”, but that we need to “cut spending to grow the economy”. “You can’t spend yourself rich”, he said.
Barbour pointed out that the government will be taking in 42% less than it spends. If you ran a business that way you could “write a book about it. It would start with Chapter 11”.
He said uncertainty about Obamacare stifles job growth. He asked how employers could hire people when they don’t know what the cost of their obligations are going to be.
He suggested that the Obama Administration really had merely an “environmental policy not (an) energy policy”. A real energy policy means more American energy production inclusive of oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and also alternative sources.
Barbour said that cutting spending is a means to an end, and said that the “goal is to grow the economy”, and make it possible to “live the American dream”. He mentioned that his friend Fred Smith (CEO and founder of FedEx) has a saying: “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing”. And the main thing, according Barbour, is economic growth and job creation. “Do the math on what 4.5% GDP growth would do”, he said.
He mentioned again the need for private sector growth, and lamented the lack of private sector experience in the Obama Administration: He wished that some one in the Obama Administration had ever signed the “front side of a paycheck”.