April 11th, 2010
04:18 PM ET
13 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. Mickey, NY

    Yes Mr. Barbour...isn't it a pleasant change from the fearmongering, hate-filled racists from your own party you are so accostomed to?

    April 11, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Xavier

    Barbour is an idiot. He opens his mouth, and then says I didnt really mean it.

    April 11, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. PalmReader

    LIBERALISM - code for GOP leadership talking points aren't working meltdown. . . .

    April 11, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. catmomtx

    Well Mr. Barbour how nice it is to see how quickly you dismiss the other half of the country who do not believe in Republican views. It is really getting on my nerves listening to Republicans speaking for the American people. The American people spoke loud and clear on Nov. 4, 2008 when they elected President Barack Obama. Republicans DO NOT speak for me or anyone I know. I do not appreciate Republicans being the party of no and obstructing everything President Obama is trying to do to move our country forward. I do not appreciate Republicans condoning the unprecedented disrespect, despicable attacks on the duly elected President of the United States and the First Lady.. But understand, the American people WILL reward those they see are looking out for the American people and so far it is not Republicans. I am hard press to find anything the Republicans have done over the past 9!/2 years that has benefited the American people.

    April 11, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. KathyC in MInnesota

    Governing from the Center has shown the Obama Administration to be LIBERAL from how the Bush Administration governed from more of the EXTREME Right.

    April 11, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Squigman

    As opposed to the republican congress and administration, that drove the country and the economy off a cliff. Truth be told, the people of the nation (the working people), need to hold your party accountable for the economy, the lack of security, and the deaths of many young people sent to war, under false/flawed intelligence.

    April 11, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. bs

    Palin: modern day cultist.

    April 11, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Roger Schlaifer

    Crowley let him Barber get away with saying the Bush administration "only" left a 3-400 billion dollar deficit–when he left over a TRILLION off the books for the TWO wars he got us into and the trillions in deficits generated by the deregulated economic disasters that happened under hi brian-dead "watch."

    As for calling Obama a "radical"–isn't that what the country needs? A RADICAL approach to turning around the failing education, job market and bank loan policies of the past ten or twenty years!

    Surely she can conduct a serious interview that isn't just ten minute of political propaganda–with no accountability.

    April 11, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Susan, PA

    Candy did a terrible job of interviewing Barbour. Can't anyone in the media call these people on their nonsense! He is governor one of the poorest states in the union and he couldn't care less about those in poverty. She never even mentioned the fact that Mississippi has horrific health care. What a joke of an interview.

    April 11, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. SMC, central PA

    Was that gust of wind Barbour being a gasbag or all my federal tax dollars being sucked up by the Mississippi welfare state?

    April 11, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. fred

    If I hear one more moron conservative talk about 'limited' government I'm going to scream...lets not forget 2003 and how the RNC forced America into an unjust war that is hugely responsible for the deficit being where it is...where was the American people's voice then? We had no vote or say about that war. Now when Obama wants to try and help poor people the RNC calls is radical and government takeover...give me a break...

    Republicans are so crazed to get back into power that they'll do and say anything they can pass off as legal...We won't forget 2001-2008...we won't go backwards...

    April 11, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    “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.”

    Wow – the RepubliCAN'Ts switched NO to YES!!! So maybe we should switch "Yes We Can" – to – "No We Can't"!!

    No We Can't take back insurance coverage for 30 million people; No We Can't not insure children with pre-existing illnesses; No We Can't not bring jobs back; No We Can't not cover our children until they are 26 years old; No We Can't not reform education; No We Can't not reform Finance; No We Can't NOT, etc.

    All of the "No We Can'ts" mentioned above are "Yes We Cans" from the RepubliCAN'Ts!!

    April 11, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. tochi

    It is Ironic that Governors of some the most backward states, know how to move America forward. To them health care reform, financial reform, energy policy and creating future industry by green technology is a liberal agenda. Please GOP move from 18th century to the 21st century .

    April 11, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Can you spell M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i, Governor Barbour?

    This hick Governor is a left over from the Jarge Bahooooooooosh reign of terror. Obama absolutely MUST appoint a liberal Justice because to do other wise would be a slap in the face to the U.S. Constitution and the authortative allocation of values in our society. It was the conservative side of the court that recently decided that foreign nationals and large corporations can donate as much filthy lucre they can srape up into our political system. These lame brained dim witted fascist pigs need to trip on their robes and fall and get a concussion and die. Governor Barbour needs to shut his fat ass mouth and go back home and drink lemonade and watch some telly.

    April 11, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. bts

    Why is "liberal" such a bad word to Republicans? America has evolved from slavery. Blacks don't have to sit at the back of the bus anymore. Blacks and women even have the right to vote! But the GOP would like nothing more than to turn back the clock. WHY? What are you afraid of? I honestly believe the reason they are so anti-big-govt is the fact that bigger govt usually translates into PROTECTING ALL citizens from big businesses that would abuse the environment and the citizens just to make a buck. It would also educate and with the passing of the HCR law begin to invest in the health of our nation. Then wonderful things can happen. Out of the masses can arrive, independent thinkers, inventors, leaders.....you know, ...just like in the old days when America was young.. but if you're uneducated and sickly you wouldn't FIGHT the GOP crap they're trying to peddle. This reminds me of the old slave master mentality...keep them ignorant and beaten down and they will obey.

    April 11, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I don't get it – that is the republican talking point- but how is it the most liberal ever. Then does Bush's era mean it was the most conservative-I don't think so. It spent money like a drunken sailor and these same people never opened there mouth. The bottom line is and this is a white woman saying they can't get over he is black. I live in an very nice area of california and the snide remarks tell me it is wide spread – they will deny it put it's there.

    April 11, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Fupped

    Excellent observation and attempt to incite more Fear Barbour:

    Replacing a liberal with a liberal – kind of makes sense.Hmmm...

    Do you not think a conservative would replace an extremist with an extremist?

    April 11, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Chris

    The problem is the Republicans have go so far Right that even the middle seems like the extreme Left to them. Obama is very much a Centrist. Just ask an enviromentalist about Obama's decision to allow more offshore drilling. They'll tell you just how little a Liberal Obama is.

    April 11, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Jim

    The GOP does nothing but label others. It is time to stop labeling people. It serves only one purpose, i.e. to demonize anyone who holds a "learned or conditioned" view which is different from your own. Demonization leads to hate. Hate leads to violence.

    You change conditioned behaviors and policies that hurt others through eduction, not by guns and intolerance. When egos and the need to be right exist, wars and killings ensue. Anytime an individual, religious group or country seeks to dominate or control another human being by forcing their views upon that person, it's a form of slavery and must be avoided to have justice and peace in the world. If you seek peace, give peace to others. If you want lasting prosperity, give prosperity to others.

    April 11, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. CharlieG

    First, does CNN still use proofreaders? “The president’s going to appoint a liberal successor to Justice Stevens whose one of the most liberal members of the Supreme Court,” That should be "who's' as in 'who is'.

    Secondly, when Justice Stevens was appointed to the Court, he was appointed as a CONSERVATIVE, by Republican President Gerald R. Ford. The fact that he is considered the most liberal of the Justices says more to the idea that right-wingers have been appointed to the Supreme Court on a regular basis and moved it to the right than it does about Justice Stevens' liberalism...

    April 11, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. MarkPA

    I Hope he appoints a gay or lesbian, Muslim or Asian person.
    The court NEEDS diversity to reflect the diversity of the nation.
    Too long the GOP'ers have harrassed and harangued the country into reflecting THEIR closed and overtly biased inner circles.
    It is time this nation became a more liberal nation, reflective of the original ideas of the forefathers.
    For some reason, the GOP is under some manic illusion that the founders of the nation were a bunch of Christian zealots and this couldn't be further from the truth.
    The nation was a haven AWAY from the zealotry and biases of the Anglo-Christian Monarchy of Great Britain.
    Thanks to places like Texas and their strangle hold on educational text, the truths of our nation are becoming lost in their same Christian Zealotry. Next thing you know, we'll all be drinking high tea and calling each other Nigel while we have the Vicar in to inventory our larders.

    April 11, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. TonyInLargo

    I'm sure that the Republicans have plenty of energy. Over the past 5 decades they have shown plenty of it directed at breaking-up unions, which their wealthy, behind the scenes supporters have urged them to do.

    Yeah, yeah, some Republicans demand Immigration Reform BUT they don't ever get anything passed, because their big shots who are really calling the shots have wanted to bring in cheap labor. If that wasn't enough, they then provided incentives for companies to take their manufacturing jobs abroad.

    If you want to stay home, and jobless, keep voting for Republicans, who speak like the Cherokee Indian described: "...with forked tongue".

    April 11, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Bob (Illinois)

    Well, I guess that settles that! And from no less an authority than Governor Barbour.

    April 11, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. BobInIrvineCA

    Pray tell, how would Obama's choice, even if he nominated Che Guevarra, "move the court to the left?" Seeing as how the conservatives are entrenched with a 5 vote majority already and that won't change. What Barbour is really saying is anyone not moving the court further to the corporate-lovin', civil rights hatin' right is the equivalent of moving the court to the left. My head is gonna explode with that kind of logic.

    April 11, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Jeaton

    The RATS (Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia) are the worst ever appointed to the Supreme Court. Thank the Bush's for that.

    April 11, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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