Hopes for a world in which all people can be free, happy, prosperous, productive, friendly, healthy, good-looking and at peace were cruelly dashed earlier this week when Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced he would not be seeking the Republican nomination to be president.
Barbour had shown strong indications he would seek the presidency in 2012. He had lined up potential donors, hired a campaign manager and even shed 20 pounds in preparation for a run. But nine days ago, after speaking at a Republican county convention in South Carolina, Barbour was seen grabbing a donut before heading for the door, according to The New York Times. That move turned out to be a foreshadowing of the announcement he made Monday.
“I don’t have an absolute fire in the [still substantial, to the point of hanging over his belt] belly,” Barbour said. “I have concluded that I was not ready to dedicate myself to the all-consuming effort a campaign would require. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.”
“Plus,” he added, “there’s the whole donut thing. I gots to have my donuts, and I don’t want the powdered sugar to cause my finger to slip when it’s time to push the nuclear button.”
Following the surprise announcement, loud wailing was heard throughout the streets of America. In Europe, leaders of the allies were distraught to the point of interrupting their illicit affairs with underage women. In Asia, Africa and other emerging areas of the globe, more primitive peoples emerged from their grass huts and dung homes, beating their chests with tree branches. Antarcticans gnashed their teeth, though that may have been due more to the intense cold than to distress over the plump Southerner’s surprise decision.
“Oh, whatever will we do?” asked Seattle attorney Mark Abrams. “The fate of humanity had rested in the hope that we’d soon have a President Haley. I now see no other fate for our fragile world than its complete and utter destruction.”
“I’m thinking I’ll just end the suspense and eliminate the likelihood that my family and I will have to face a post-apocalyptic hellscape come Jan. 21, 2013,” said Arne DuPre, a Paris architect. “I’m thinking murder-suicide.”
“Se me olvido mi cuaderno,” offered Hector Rodriguez of Mexico City. “Donde esta la biblioteca?”
Most of the world had pinned its hopes on a bright and secure future on the prospect that the veteran mega-lobbyist could usher in a new era of prosperity and justice. It was felt in many quarters that election of the former Republican National Committee chairman and segregation sympathizer would result in a world where the lion could lay down with the lamb, where every day was filled with sunshine, where everyone could thrive on a diet of lollypops, ambrosia and liquid gold.
Despite a past viewed as checkered by a handful of critics, Barbour had risen to national prominence by leading the nation’s poorest and dumbest state through the effects of Hurricane Katrina. His Washington-based lobbying firm, the BGR Group, pressed meteorologists hard in the aftermath of the storm to never predict another tropical storm landfall on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
Some have also questioned his commitment to integration and racial equality, in light of several incidents in his home state. In April 2010, he told CNN that slavery was a “nit” and “not significant.” He later clarified his stance by adding “anybody that thinks you have to explain to people that slavery is a bad thing, I think that goes without saying. So I won’t say it.”
Later that same year, he said of racism in his hometown of Yazoo City “I just don’t remember it (racism) as being that bad.” He credited the racist White Citizens’ Council with keeping the Ku Klux Klan out of town. The council had publicly named and blacklisted individuals who petitioned for educational integration and used its political pressure, as well as violence, to force African-American residents to move away.
However, in light of his withdrawal from the 2012 presidential sweepstakes, all that now pales beside the reality that Barbour will not inhabit the White House.
“Really, it just makes me sick,” said incumbent President Barack Obama. “As soon as he had formally declared, I was prepared to resign and move back to Kenya. Now I — and all Americans — will have to find the strength to struggle on. It’s going to be …” The President’s voice broke as he contemplated the future. “It’s going to be a major blow to the entire world. The universe will be a much poorer place without a President Barbour.”