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The Barbour Impeachment

Haven't heard? Hayley's going down

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, August 29, 2007.

One of my great current joys now is watching so many of the GOP’s favorite hypocrisies crash together. This must be a Perfect Storm for people who’ve always thought themselves morally superior to the rest. I do, by the way, remember the corruptions when the Dems held power for forty years, and they were revolting. But the Dems never merged religion with their corruptions quite so nauseatingly as the GOP.

There are, counting the Idaho Senator, three sex scandals bubbling for the GOP, two of them gay, an added deleterious feature. This is only in the last month or so. And these atop the federal investigations into Senator Ted Stephens - and his family - in Alaska to former national Republican Chairman and current Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and his family.

Barbour was suggested for impeachment yesterday by none other than Bloomberg’s, a highly respected financial authority started by the current mayor of New York. If the stuff they have on Barbour is true, it’s a major horror.

Today is the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the can opener to a container of worms to blanch the creator of Dune. While the nation watched, horrified, Americans died by drowning and governmental incompetence that would stutter the worst in the Third World. Well, at least in New Orleans. In equally oily Mississippi, home to Trent Lott’s front porch, Hayley Barbour moved with quiet efficiency to brace up his state and get things done, like a true red blooded American. Mississippi was indeed hit hard, and harder than New Orleans, but then again there was less there. When Hurricane Camille, the largest storm ever to hit the United States came ashore in 1969 with her over 200 mph winds, it hardly made a financial beep to the nation because land was cheap and so were the structures torn up. Not so anymore. Katrina took out various redneck Rivieras that lacerate what was a beautiful coast. But there was only one New Orleans.

Like Ted Stephens in Alaska, and various war profiteer contractors in Iraq, much of the prime Mississippi renovations went to members of a clique, generally reflective of Republican power, and this included Hayley Barbour’s family or friends. From Bloomberg:

A nephew, one of two who are lobbyists, saw his fees more than double in the year after his uncle appointed him to a special reconstruction panel. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in June raided a company owned by the wife of [another] nephew, which maintained federal emergency-management trailers.

Meanwhile, the governor's own former lobbying firm, which he says is still making payments to him, has represented at least four clients with business linked to the recovery.

It gets worse. Like most politicians, Barbour has to put his financial concerns in a supposedly blind trust so that he can not knowingly benefit himself by policy decisions supposedly made for benefit of the people who elected him. He just didn’t. Like fellow GOP’er and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - who dropped out the political world because of just those questions (along with a vote of complete incompetence by fellow Republicans, and this atop his Terri Schiavo fiasco) Barbour seems to continue an uncomfortably long tradition of Southern sleaze. He still receives $300,000 a year from the parent company of his former employer, the lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, now very much in the news for its representation of former Iraq Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. This, despite Barbour saying he had severed all ties to the firm but was getting a "retirement payment."

I’m sure that getting out of a particular business to avoid conflict of interest does not satisfy the spirit of the law if you still are part owner of that business’ parent company and knowingly sending business its way. It’s bad enough when Cheney does it for Halliburton.

When nation saw the detritus of New Orleans left by Katrina, they saw a lot of obese and demanding black people, not without reason, but while it played on the left’s guilt it also firmed up the white right’s delusions of superiority. When the nation saw the corruption of Hayley Barbour’s Mississippi coast…….well wait, we haven’t yet. This is a breaking story. Well, when we do see this story, with comfortably fat white folks moving back into their rebuilt homes, it will firm up the Left’s belief that the white establishment has again kept the power and screwed over the poorer and blacker elements of the state. And that the guys who always come out on top have again in direct contravention of the rules of the marketplace they always talk about, just as their morality proclamations are so much dust.

They couldn’t believe in the God they claim, because by the values he espouses, they’re toast. Literally.