Haley Barbour: Citizens Councils Were “Indefensible”

Well, that didn’t take long:

UPDATE, 12:17 p.m.: Barbour issues a statement cleaning things up and denouncing the Citizens Councils and segregation as “indefensible”:

“When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.”

A retraction was inevitable, of course, but the damage is done. In all honesty, though, Barbour was about the most unlikely person out there to actually have a chance of winning the GOP nomination in 2012 so I’m not sure that this has really hurt him all that much.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Betcha five bucks his poll numbers go up. You’re very naive sometimes about the party to which you give your votes.

  2. anjin-san says:

    The main point of this exercise is that Barbour’s name is now in play in an environment where Palin is denying much oxygen to potential rivals. The fact that Barbour is willing to play games with an issues as sensitive as this for personal gain tells us something about his character.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    Superdestroyer must be crushed, poor guy.

  4. legion says:

    Damage? What damage? As much as I consider Barbour to be an unrepentant bigot and a general waste of skin, his comment didn’t piss off anyone who wasn’t already pissed off at him. Frankly, I’m surprised he even gave this much of a walk-back – what conceivable downside is there to him waving his “freak flag”?

  5. Mark says:

    Why would the author of this post write that “A retraction was inevitable…”???

    Barbour did NOT retract any of his statements, and he didn’t need to, as none of his statements were racist.

    As was quoted here, Barbour said:

    “I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it [racism] and helped prevent violence there.”

    He is reaffirming his statements there. Not retracting.

    Then he clarifies his statements:

    “My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either.”

    As a black person, I found nothing wrong or racist about Barbour’s statements. He said in his town, as a 15 year old boy, he saw the Citizen’s Council in his town fight against the KKK. (Which is a good thing!)

    He NEVER gloried the entire organization as a whole for its racial segregation efforts in other towns. Only the truly racist Democrats would spin this as a “racist” statement by Barbour and claim that it would hurt his presidential election chances (in hopes that it would).

    People with common sense, who read his original statements, and read his clarification of his original statements, know that Barbour did not say anything of malice.