Thursday, October 16, 2003

It's All Over Now But The Cleanup

I blogged earlier [Scroll to "Xenophobic Democrats" if the permalink is bloggered.] about the Mississippi governor's race. Democrat Musgrove has been running bizarre, nativist ads attacking Barbour for being a high-powered, international lobbyist. It's the only kind of ad Musgrove is running and Barbour's run few ads at all. The race is too strange to call right now.

Tuesday past, the two debated. It was a fiasco. The Green candidate, who was not invited by the Democrat/Republican controlled forum, attempted to walk up on stage to join the two main candidates. He had to be escorted out by security; his supporters remained and heckled Barbour througout the night.

Musgrove basically played Barbour. He "... pushes Barbour's buttons on purpose," said one observer, and Barbour fell into the trap. He looked an angry fool.

I waited until today to write this up because I wanted to see if the Commercial Appeal would cover it. They finally did, today, but in a roundabout way. They used an Associated Press article that covered the brou-ha-ha after the debate. I don't know where the CA thinks we learned about the debate that we're already discussing the aftermath, but there you are. The AP story has no mention of the Green Party candidate, and carries a bit of pro-Musgrove slant. He's quoted at length early, and Barbour is put in the position of "denying" charges.

But it all may be for naught. Chris Lawrence of Signifying Nothing has been blogging up a storm on the latest development. Start there and then go here, then here. Then go to the top of the blog.

Barbour was photographed with the "White Collar Klan," the Council of Conservative Citizens, at a fund-raising event. It's a Trent Lott moment for sure. Chris has lots of links and details that I won't try to reprise. Go read the whole thing. He thinks it's enough to cost Barbour the election and it's been enough to force Chris to move back into the "undecided" column in his choice of candidate.

My take is that Barbour has just handed a loaded gun to the Democrats. Regardless of circumstances, it will be hammered from now until election day. Barbour's response to the "Washington lobbyist" charge was rather weak; how he deals with this far more grave challenge will make or break him.

It's not good, at all.

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