April 11th, 2010
04:18 PM ET
4 years ago

Barbour: Obama, Congress 'the most liberal' ever


(CNN) – As Washington girds itself for another Supreme Court confirmation battle, a prominent Republican is predicting that President Obama will use his second high court pick to try to push the court in as liberal a direction as possible – in a reflection of Democrats’ liberal tendencies.

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens announced Friday that he intends to step down later this year, stirring speculation about who Obama will appoint during a midterm election year when Democrats already appear to be facing a challenging political environment.

“The president’s going to appoint a liberal successor to Justice Stevens who's one of the most liberal members of the Supreme Court,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Barbour added that he thought Obama is going to “appoint the most liberal person that he can and he thinks he can get confirmed. And that, that person will be a liberal. That’s just a fact.”

The former RNC chairman and current chairman of the Republican Governors Association told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation process will affect November’s midterm elections by reminding the public where Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress sit on the political spectrum.

“Do I think it'll affect the election?,” he said. “Only to the sense that it reminds the American people of something they already know - that this is far and away the most liberal administration that we've ever had in the White House, and candidly, in the Congress.”

Barbour noted that historically both liberals and conservatives have used Supreme Court vacancies to stir up support and enthusiasm within their respective bases. But he said that Republicans may not need the extra boost that will likely come from a high court confirmation battle during a midterm election year.

“The good thing for Republicans right now is we’ve got plenty of energy,” Barbour told Crowley. “The policies of this administration and this Congress have energized our people.”

Asked whether Senate Republicans should oppose Obama’s nominee at all costs and risk taking on “the party of no” label being pushed by Democrats, Barbour was indifferent.

“I’m not worried about ‘the party of no,’ as long as we’re saying no to what the American people know are bad policies,” Barbour said. “The American people will reward you for trying to stop something they think is bad.”

But Barbour was quick to add that no one knows yet who the president will nominate to replace Justice Stevens.

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. A.V

    Whatever. Is this name-calling? I voted for Obama. I sent him my hard-earned small donations. I want him to appoint a hard-core liberal judge.

    April 11, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Mike in Texas

    Mississippi receives almost $2 from the federal govt for every $1 they send. In fact 8 of the top 10 recipients of % of tax dollars sent were Red States. Only DC and New Mexico weren't. Conversely, the 10 states that received the fewest percentage of dollars back for what the sent all 10 voted for Obama. And I thought that Democratic states were the states looking for government handouts?

    April 11, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    “Only to the sense that it reminds the American people of something they already know – that this is far and away the most liberal administration that we've ever had in the White House, and candidly, in the Congress.”

    And of course, that is because YOUR PARTY screwed things up so bad the majority of the people decided to vote you out of office, eh?

    April 11, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Perusing-through

    Dear Mr. Barbour,

    What is you point to label President Obama and the Democratic Congress Liberal? (Actually I see Obama as a Centrist). What does it matter to be Liberal or Conservative?

    The good thing is that both President Obama and Congress are getting the "long, hard, outstanding problems fixed", and cleaning up the mess left by Bush-Cheney Republican Tea-Party crowd.

    - Signed – - Another Independent voting for "Solutions" in 2010 & 2012; and not GOP skunk-spitting experts.

    April 11, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Edwin

    My understanding is that, to Barbour, Nixon was a liberal.

    April 11, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Im Just Saying

    Why is a state governor getting involved in federal govt? Isnt he one of the ones preaching to keep the fed out of state issues? He needs to keep his nose in his state and earn his paycheck then maybe he can bring his state from being last or almost last in eveything from education to being fat! Im just saying!

    April 11, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Ron in Asheville, NC

    "Most liberal ever"? Nope. And not even close. But Barbour knows that. He's just talking to his base. It would be nice, though, if (and I fault the conservatives more than the liberals currently) we made factual statements in order to address the base rather than wild exaggerations. They just inflame, to no good that I can see.

    April 11, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Gil

    A liberal is what we need to offset the right wing Robert's Court that ruled recently that unlimited funds from here and abround can now be used for contributions to campaigns. There goes all the Campaign Reform that went into decades of work by Congress. Now the rich can buy elections and control the government and the interpretation of the Constitution. The nut case conservatives have to be stopped!

    April 11, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Darte

    The Republican Party is not the party of NO but the party of Hypocrites. For example; its only immoral if a Democrat cheats on his wife, awarding no-bid contracts to Dick Chaney's former company, calling themselves fiscal conservatives, etc....

    April 11, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. vette gal

    Well of course he will. Republicans choose the most conservative, as witnessed by who's on the court now, and Democrats choose liberals. That provides balance, we hope.

    I'd rather have liberals that don't give corporations the legal right to contribute as much money as they want to their "in their pocket"candidates. I'd rather have a court that won't allow corporations choose which politician will get elected. Of course if people would vote on the politicians merit instead of name recognition, it wouldn't make any difference how much money they spent in a campaign.

    April 11, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. hongli

    Thank God President Obama is Liberal. Thank God the Foolish Republicans did not win the Elections or else McCain and Palin would have brought the most beautiful country on the planet to it's face.

    April 11, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. George Washington

    Thanks, you fat redneck, for stating the obvious. This guy's been a joke since he was head of the RNC. This isn't news, CNN.

    April 11, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    I'd like to know what kind of drugs he's on, because fantasy land abounds. I'm a liberal and I can tell you from where I stand I don't see a whole lot of liberal from Obama. The health care bill is nearly a carbon copy of Romney's in MA, and that of the Republican alternative in the early 90s. Single payer or public option would have been liberal. FDR was liberal.

    Granted, Obama is trying to be the President of both sides, and I have to begrudgingly admire him for that after 8 years of "my way or the highway" Bush. But liberal? Give me a break, Barbour. You need new talking points. That old scary liberal, socialist, marxist, nazi, destruction of our democracy meme is so 20th century.

    April 11, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Hannah

    I keep saying it, if you are a working person and vote Republican you are voting against yourself. Never ever vote for a republican and let's get the blue dogs out of congress.

    April 11, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. addon

    If the previous administration was the most conservative ever, than I will take this administration as being the most liberal ever....as a very very good thing

    April 11, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    Bob (Illinois) – good one!

    April 11, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Debby

    Where has this guy been for 5 years because this is how long this congress has been in charge, and look what has happened in that time the worse economy ever, and the passage of a healthcare bill that most Americans didn't want.

    April 11, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Tori in Texas

    Dear Mr Barbour, Welcome to America! This is where the person who wins a Presidential election gets to choose whomever he/she wants to fill a spot on the US Supreme Court when one opens. Yes, it is a very important decision and I trust President Obama to make a good choice for America. You might remember when a a previous president, I think his name was George something, chose 2 judges on the highest court in the land. About half of America didn't like those choices, but guess what? The sky didn't fall!!! So, remember Mr Barbour, it's President Obama's choice, not the Republicans choice, because elections have consequences. Have a nice day.

    April 11, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Deborah

    Why shouldn't President Obama appoint a liberal to replace a liberal?? The court already leans heavily right. Why would keeping the status quo be such a threat to Gov. Barbour?? Besides, as in the case with Justice Stevens, there is no predicting which way the Justice will vote once appointed to his/her lifetime post to the Court. Justice Stevens was appointed by a Republican. That his voting record reflects liberal leanings has much more to do with the radical right leanings of the Justices appointed after him than his own ideology.

    April 11, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. JohnA Realist

    Wait, didn't Bush push though his ulra-right agenda by appointing two far right judges? So why are they now upset that Obama would follow in the footsteps of their God-Bush? Talk about duplicity. They would make us now believe that Obama will distroy the courts by appointing leftist activists judges. Hey folks, get a grip-all judges are activists. It's the nature of the courts to take an (active) role. If you don't believe that the right leaning judges aren't activists then how about that wonderful judgement that now allows corporations freedom to contribute(buy) all the money they want to their canidate. The reasons we had those restrictions in the first place was to try and stop or slow down the buying of the cannidates. Now that is being activests par excilants.

    April 11, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Perusing-through

    Dear Mr. Barbour,

    What is your point to label President Obama and the Democratic Congress Liberal? (Actually, I see Obama as a Centrist). What does it matter to be Liberal or Conservative?

    The good thing is that both President Obama and Congress are getting the "long, hard, outstanding problems fixed", and cleaning up the mess left by Bush-Cheney Republican Tea-Party crowd.

    - Signed – – Another Independent voting for "Solutions" in 2010 & 2012; and not GOP skunk-spitting experts.

    April 11, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Walter

    Apparently, the Governor has never heard of FDR and the New Deal. Either that or he is speaking only to people who are historically ignorant and terminally gullible.

    April 11, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. MLH

    Ooh – a president from the Democratic party nominating a liberal judge? Wow, Barbour really has some insight into the political wheelings and dealings of D.C.

    April 11, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Blake

    Ah, Republican logic:

    Replacing a liberal with a liberal = moving the court to the far left

    And saying that Obama and Congress = the "most liberal EVER" is funny if not a sad Republican talking point.

    Considering they said the same thing about FDR (whose New Deal was far more "liberal" than anything Obama's attempted), Truman, Kennedy, Johnson (when the cry baby Southerners left the Democratic party and moved to the Republican party because he dared to pass the various Civil Rights acts), Carter, and Clinton

    But keep throwing out that "most liberal .... EVER" as a valid talking point. It's sure to bring in the dittoheads of the conservative movement but thinking Americans–the true heirs to the Founding Fathers (thank god for their distrust of the common man's ability to select the president directly and created the electoral college).

    April 11, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Jacqui

    Mr Barbour should have started his comments about the new supreme court nominee where he ended it. Everything is hypothetical until you have a nominee.
    This clearly shows that the Republicans are not interested in the best person to serve, they are interested in being antagonistic towards the Obama administration.
    Finally, I would like to remind Mr Barbour that Republican presidents nominated extreme right-wingers and if Mr Obama doesn't nominate his choice, then I would think that doesn't understand what it means to have been elected by a substantial majority, who had had enough of Republicanism.

    April 11, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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