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. David from Wisconsin

    Obama ain't no liberal, nor this Congress. They are solidly moderate in the best American tradition. The problem is that the GOP and the Tea Party are full of wackos.

    April 11, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Frank

    Barbour is a very silly man, inasmuch as he uses the term liberal as though it is negative. Virtually all progress out nation has ever made has been because of liberals. FDR was by far the most liberal President, as well as one of the best. Obama is a very intelligent, well-educated political pragmatist, hardly the most liberal ever. We certainly need more liberals on the Supreme Court rather than another old white guy like the Bush appointees.

    April 11, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Patrick

    I am sick of this liberal-o-phobia channelled by the mass media!

    Since when has "conservative" become the new "normal"? In a democracy, political opinions from both sides should be respected by people who don't share them. It's a shame to see conservatives spitting on liberals at every occasion they get.

    April 11, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Kate

    I used to be a conservative, but not anymore. The Republicans have put a new twist on conservatism. Call Obama liberal if you want, but he is fair and honest and is trying to do the right things for the American people.
    By the way, conservatives got us into the economic mess.....that is CONSERVATISM????????

    April 11, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Laughing

    Politicians are too funny. You'd have to be a complete parrot to believe what this guy is saying. Of course this isn't the most liberal administration and Congress in history; for crying out loud the health care bill was originally part of the Conservative agenda. If you want liberal administrations you need to look to FDR or Lincoln.

    Politicians are politicians and this is just another play for the votes of the weak-minded. I wouldn't get too concerned about it.

    April 11, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Ha, Mr Barbour thinks most republicans are liberals. The term Mississippi says it all. If they move more to the right they'll fall off they earth. The 60's good old days...segeration

    April 11, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. Sameer

    What's wrong with pushing a liberal justice? The judge will be making decisions on a diverse nation and way into the future. It only makes sense that the judge should be progressive and have a viewpoint that is way ahead of our time.

    I say this as a conservative Republican by the way.

    April 11, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. A keen observer

    The founding were liberal radicals so what is Barbour trying to say? Also, the republican tea partiers lost the last election so they don't get to have their way.

    April 11, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. frank

    When I worked for the State of Missouri, we always said, THANK GOD FOR MISSISSIPPI or Missouri would be dead last.

    So this bozo is head of the Republican governors of the South?

    This guy forgets FDR? Who started the New Deal and saved this country from ruin? You know sort of like how Bush left the place for Obama? At least we didn't have the Second Great Depression, but we came close thanks to idiots in economics like the current crop of Republicans. No surprise, they know nothing about economics. Or anything else. He thinks Obama is liberal? Really? We still have the Patriot act, Bush and Dumbsfeld, Rove , and Cheney are not in jail. We are still in Iraq. We just had miners murdered in W Virginia. Liberal, yeah, real liberal. Sounds like GOP lite.

    April 11, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Tammy

    Why would "liberal" be a bad thing?

    April 11, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. HELLO? wake up

    Once again another Republican moron spouting out nonsense.

    April 11, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. usualone

    There is nothing wrong with being "liberal" if it means helping out US citizens in need. Some day the Haley Barbous may need help but they are so stingy with their ideas and platform of "no" that they will only think about themselves and most likely won't be faced with hardships of too many Americans.. They play this "liberal" phrase in a negative light to the vulnerable people who don't read or do want others to make their own suggestions. I hope the "silent majority" will wake up to this type of person who has always shown his lack of interest in helping those less fortunate.

    April 11, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Mike Mc

    Hayley Barbour..you forgot your hood and burning cross

    April 11, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. Slavery doesn't amount to diddly?

    Haley Barbour doesn't amount to diddly!

    If you can read this, thank a liberal for supporting public schools vs. segregation academies.

    If you have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, thank a liberal who opposed the fascist oligarchy to secure them for you.

    If you have Medicare, thank a liberal who got it passed.

    If you now have healthcare, thank a liberal and the late Ted Kennedy, who labored tirelessly for fifty years to get Universal Healthcare. We're not there yet, but we're on our way.

    And be sure to thank the Republicans ... without people like Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, etc., we wouldn't be assured of Democratic majority rule for generations to come.

    April 11, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. blm

    The truth hurts...and liberal truth hurts the entire country.

    April 11, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. simplefact

    It's less of a hypocrisy to tap a liberal justice. Trust me, they all (including Barbour) beat off! 🙂

    And when Alito's seat becomes available, it should go to the lawyer with the highest bid – foreign or domestic! 🙂

    Alito, I hope you read this! 🙂

    April 11, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. John

    Strange how liberals are decrying that freedom to spend for corporations decision from the supreme court. One of the biggest vote buying scams is NEA, and they are hand in glove with the democrats. Hard to tell the difference between the two corrupt organizations.

    April 11, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. simplefact

    Tapping a liberal justice is less of a hypocrisy because they all (including Barbour) beat off! 🙂

    When Alito's seat becomes available, it should go to the lawyer with the highest bid – foreign or domestic! 🙂

    Alito, I hope you read this! 🙂

    April 11, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Desmond in Canada

    These guys are such pains. If they were a little more liberal, they would do theselves and the USA a world of good.

    April 11, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. Deb from Virginia

    Redneck go back to Mississippi and stay there. Please fellow Americans in Missisippi get rid of your racist Governor.

    April 11, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Aviate

    Of course, Barbour would have called Abraham Lincoln "the most liberal" president ever if he'd been around back in the 1860s, which is apparently where his politics and morals are still located.

    April 11, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. Oh, Really?

    yes, Democratic presidents appoint liberal justices, and Republican presidents appoint (extremely) conservative justices. Can you say "5 to 4 conservative majority on the court?" Or are such clear and inescapable facts too information-based for your talking points?

    April 11, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. Aviate

    From today's NYT review of The Bridge:

    Later, when he taught at the University of Chicago Law School, [Obama] won the respect of conservative professors there, including Richard Posner — “especially,” as Posner tells Remnick, “after one of my clerks, who had worked with him at The Harvard Law Review, told me that he wasn’t even all that liberal.”

    So this is the guy Barbour tells is "the most liberal" President ever? Not FDR, JFK or LBJ? Heck, not even Carter, the right's favorite boogey man?

    Why do I suspect that "liberal," in Barbour's lexicon, like "Socialist" in tea party-speak, has an entirely different meaning? Could it have been something else he said?

    April 11, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. Sgj

    I hope he does to counter everything that that half wit bush and the dark lord cheney did.

    April 11, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    The Republicans sound like a bunch of childish, spoilt brats to me, and much worse!

    April 11, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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