Analysis: Barbour’s strength at play in stalemate

When Republican Haley Barbour was first elected as Mississippi’s governor in 2003, he knew he was assuming what traditionally had been a position with limited powers.

Like many states in the South, Mississippi’s 1890 constitution intentionally gave its legislative branch more power. Barbour, a proven political strategist, figured he could find a way to tip the legislative process in his favor.

“I used to tell people even though we have a constitutionally weak governor that doesn’t mean we have to have a governor with a weak constitution,” Barbour recently told a Boys State assembly.

The speech came as House and Senate members were locked in a stalemate over a state budget plan for the new fiscal year.