Tell Haley to Run

Everybody wonders if Haley Barbour is going to run for president. At church, in the coffee shop, at the bank, at Habitat, everywhere the question pops up.

Wrong question.

Wrong approach.

Ever miss a boat, a train, an airplane? One of the worst feelings in the world is to stand there and watch it pull away without you on it because you just didn’t do what it took to get there in time. Likewise, I’ve seen entrepreneurs cry over missed opportunities, the great ones they let slip through their fingers because they didn’t act in time.

Dear fellow Mississippians, if you sit back and wait to see what Haley decides, you and your descendants may enjoy the bitter feelings I’m trying to describe.

As he debates the pros and cons of a presidential candidacy, he needs to hear from his fellow citizens. It’s time to let Haley know that you want him to run, you need him to run, Mississippi needs him to run, or, indeed, the country needs him to run. You see, a brilliant and complex man, Haley has this soft spot in his heart for Mississippians. Despite what his pooh-poohers may say, he actually cares about us and what we think.

My reasons for wanting Haley to run may be different from yours.

The fortunes of a nation, like those of a state, ebb and flow. Fate has much to do with that, but occasionally decision points come along where what leaders do, or don’t do, shapes the future for good or ill. Often these occur during times of crisis.

It’s my view that America is in crisis and our leadership is floundering. No, not just the Democrats, but the Republicans as well. Fiscal irresponsibility, lack of integrity, and shortsightedness taint all.

Attention grabbing deficits and debt are symptoms of more our fundamental challenges. Among them: Our economic stability is cracking as imports continually exceed exports, outsourcing keeps moving technology and jobs overseas, and recovery remains geared to consumer spending. Our financial system cracked and remains at risk as credit markets and too-big-to-fail banks struggle, foreign markets fight collapse, and inflation looms. We choose to fight and finance nation-building wars that have no end. We remain dependent upon foreign energy. And, then, there’s China which finances our debt, produces our imports, and could shut us down on a moment’s notice.

There are many unproven, slogan-spewing, ambitious figures posturing for a 2012 presidential run, as there were in 2008. There just aren’t many wise, crisis-tested, highly effective, intelligent, workaholic, frugal, trustworthy, confidence-building, electable leaders like we need.

Friends, let’s not miss this boat. It’s time for a “don’t ask, do tell” policy.

Tell Haley to run (governor@governor.state.ms.us).

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