OPINION: Barbour’s intervention further diminishes Reeves

Northeast MS news Haley Barbour and Tate Reeves who's in charge in MS
Out-going MS Governor Haley Barbour with then incoming Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at Phil Bryant's inauguration. Photo credit: (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
May 1st, 2020     Featured News Opinion

Former two-term Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has publicly intervened in the dispute between his protégé Tate Reeves and the leaders of the Mississippi Legislature.

As described elsewhere today on NEMISS.NEWS and in other news sources, novice Governor Reeves is at loggerheads with Lieutenant-Governor Hosemann and House Speaker Gunn, all Republicans, regarding how $1.25-billion in CARES federal relief money will be spent in Mississippi.

During many decades of public service, Barbour has proven himself a master of the game of politics. He is wise, bold and decisive, and he knows how to get along with people.

The battle between Reeves and the legislative leaders may become heated in coming days.

However, it’s very possible that Barbour’s skills will turn the tempest into a gentle spring breeze. The $1.25-million may be divvied up smoothly, quietly and everyone may act happy, even if deeply disappointed. Barbour has that kind of rare skill. If he makes that happen, Mississippi will probably be better for it.

However, the fact that Governor Barbour has had to intervene is a damning comment on the leadership failures of Tate Reeves. Reeves, famous for his high-handed arrogance, has made a mess of his governorship only four months into a 48-month term.

Sadly, to paraphrase a famous statement of Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, ‘Reeves is the only governor we’ve got.’

Barbour has the leadership skills to keep things running smoothly in Mississippi from the offices of his lobbying empire, BGR Group, in Washington.

But, if Barbour has to do the heavy lifting, why should we pay Reeves a six-figure salary, let him live rent-free in a nice old mansion, and furnish him with transportation and a highway patrol security platoon?


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