In the same interview, Barbour also tried to distinguish the citizens councils of his hometown from the Ku Klux Klan, even though historians have amply documented how citizens councils spent much of their energy using economic, and sometimes physical, intimidation to prevent racial integration. Although Barbour sought to clarify his remarks when they triggered a political firestorm, the fallout is likely to continue given the long and complicated history of conservatism.
"My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints either," Barbour said. "Their vehicle called the Citizens Council is totally indefensible, as is segregation."
As a Southern governor who lived in the civil rights era, and as a possible presidential contender, Barbour has no excuse for not understanding racial history or these tactics better. Barbour is an intelligent man and a keen politician; he can't play dumb. He could be -- and should be -- playing a key role in healing the wounds of past racial discrimination in the South.
Take the battle to Barbour's Twitter account: http://twitter.com/haleybarbour
As 2010 is coming to an end, this might be the MOST racist comment of the year. Is it? Tell us what you think...