This week’s Pickens Podcast is with a friend and ally of many years, Haley Barbour. Haley was Chairman of the Republican National Committee when the GOP took over control of the U.S. House and served two terms as Governor of Mississippi.
Haley was Chairman when Newt Gingrich was Speaker and Bob Dole was Majority Leader of the Senate. But he remembers: People forget that Reagan always had a divided Congress. There was a LARGE Democratic majority in the House, but Reagan still got many important things done.
Even though Reagan had been a two-term governor of California and the president of a major union, people underestimated him because he had been an actor.
On the rabid political divide in Washington, Haley told me, “Reagan used to say: If you agree with me 80 percent of the time, you’re an 80 percent ally – not some 20 percent traitor.”
In 2012 the biggest mistake of the Romney campaign was to allow Obama’s campaign to define him. The whole campaign was “What’s wrong with Mitt Romney.”
There’s an old political saying: If you don’t define yourself, your opponent will do it for you.
I know you’ll enjoy my conversation with a man who started his career working for Richard Nixon in rural Mississippi and ended up being one of the most influential – and likeable – political figures of the last 30 years: Haley Barbour.