Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, whose been active in conservative politics for going on five decades, called the infighting among Republicans “the enemy of victory.”
In an interview with TheBlaze contributor Mallory Factor, Barbour lamented that some conservative organizations are spending too much money trying to beat Republicans in primaries, resulting in Democrats winning the seats in the general election.
“That’s bad for our country, I would rather have Olympia Snowe today than Angus King. I mean, I would celebrate, I’d buy them drinks if we could have her back compared to left-wing ‘independent’ who took her place,” Barbour said in a video interview (below). “Purity in politics is the enemy of victory.”
Barbour said Republicans must put the most emphasis on what they have in common, and manage the differences.
“When you go out and say ‘look here’s a guy who’s a lock-synch to get reelected,’ and you say ‘well he isn’t perfect so we’re going to beat him in the primary,’ and you turn out losing the seats to the Democrats, at least admit you shouldn’t have done it.”
When questioned by Factor about supporting ‘Republicans In Name Only,’ the former RNC chairman said he was more than willing to support the most conservative Republicans in liberal areas like Jim Jeffords in Vermont, who upon leaving the Senate was replaced by a self-described socialist. Barbour emphasized that recent Republican candidates or incumbents he supported like Mike Castle in Delaware and Dick Luger in Indiana, who were defeated in the primaries, would have been “so much better” than the left-wing Democrats who took those seats in the general election.
Referring back to his former boss, President Ronald Reagan, Barbour said “at the end of the day he never let the perfect be the enemy of the good, he never allowed us to be foiled on getting really good legislation that did good things for the country because it wasn’t exactly what he wanted.”
Barbour has been active in Republican politics going on five decades, serving roles on Republican presidential campaigns, in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, as RNC chairman during the 1994 Republican revolution, two terms as Governor of Mississippi, and Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
In the interview at TheBlaze newsroom in New York, Barbour also discussed his work on immigration reform with the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“I think immigration reform is really important if we’re going to have economic growth,” Barbour said. “We’re in a global battle for capitol of labor, we need to win that battle, but our immigration reform is making it harder.”
Major keys for immigration policy for Barbour include bringing more workers into the country from both ends of the skill spectrum to improve the economy, in addition to giving the American people total confidence that the border will be secured.
Barbour told Factor the border can be controlled, and “if it can’t we’re a failure as a nation.”
That said, he doesn’t think there is anything easy about passing any immigration reform bill without compromise. Barbour alleges that President Obama has kept immigration reform an issue for political purposes, while the GOP has made mistakes damaging their credibility on the issue, like Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” comment during the Republican primary debates.
Looking at the shockingly high number of Hispanics, but also Asian-Americans and Indian-Americans who supported Obama, Barbour says there can only be one explanation.
“They had the feeling ‘they don’t want me here.’ Well, we do want those people here, they contribute to our economy, they contribute to our schools, they contribute to our communities.”
Watch Barbour’s full interview here: