If nothing else, Barbour’s consistent

IF NOTHING ELSE, BARBOUR’S CONSISTENT…. A few weeks ago, as the scope of the BP oil spill disaster was as obvious as it was painful, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) blew off rising fears. Ignoring the devastating consequences, the far-right former RNC chair compared the enormous oil spill to the gas sheen found around ski boats.

And while neighboring Govs. Bobby Jindal (R-La,), Charlie Crist (I-Fla.), and Bob Riley (R-Ala.) seem fully engaged, meeting with federal officials, including President Obama, about the response to the crisis, Barbour prefers a far different approach.

Today, Barbour told Fox News that the media is responsible for a “misperception” about the disaster. “The coast is clear,” he told viewers. “Come on down!”

Alex Seitz-Wald reviews what we’ve seen of late from the Mississippi chief executive.

Barbour has consistently refused to accept the gravity of the situation in the Gulf, and blamed the media for supposedly over-hyping the disaster. He’s compared oil to tooth paste, said all the oil on Mississippi’s beaches could barely “fill up a milk jug,” and handed out gas cards to encourage tourists to “[c]ome on down here and play golf, enjoy the beach, catch a fish.” Meanwhile, dead dolphins have washed ashore on Mississippi’s beaches.

Barbour went on to suggest that President Obama was “destroying himself” by not adequately responding to the spill, but he had nothing negative to say of BP. Barbour — who received $1.8 million from oil and gas companies for his gubernatorial campaign — explained, “When we ask BP for something, they try to do it.”

Barbour’s decision to trash the president on the air suggests the governor is moving even further from reality — Barbour had recently offered qualified praise for the administration’s efforts, noting that federal officials have “worked hard with us” to respond to the disaster.

Now Obama’s “destroying himself”? How, by “working hard” with Mississippi officials?

I really do understand why Barbour wants to downplay the problem — he’s no doubt worried about losing tourist revenue, making him more willing to say things that aren’t true.

But given the severity of the situation, Barbour not only sounds ridiculous and irresponsible, he’s starting to sound more like a political hack.

And as an aside, it’s probably worth mentioning that Barbour was a corporate lobbyist in Washington with energy companies as clients, which in turn generously contributed to his campaign. Seems like a relevant detail to keep in mind.