Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant wears black cowboy boots and pinstriped suits like a certain Republican president from Texas.
In discussing public policy, Bryant frequently uses the phrase “bright-line issue” to describe legislation that’s important to him like a certain Republican Mississippi governor from Yazoo City.
Bryant – the folksy former deputy sheriff and Rankin County legislator – is mastering the look, the speech and the moves of a GOP politician heading for the express elevator in Mississippi politics.
But if there is a difference between Bryant and Republican role models President George W. Bush and Gov. Haley Barbour, it is this – Bush and Barbour are second-term executives who are adept at saying “no” to political friend and foe alike even if it makes an enemy or garners bad reviews in the press.
Bryant – barely five months into a first term in Mississippi’s second-highest political office – doesn’t have that luxury. Saying “no” to both political friends and foes alike carries consequences for a man who is almost certainly headed for a 2011 gubernatorial bid to succeed Barbour.