Haley Barbour: Ideological purity is the ‘enemy of victory’

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NEW ORLEANS — Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour warned Friday that ideological purity is the “enemy of victory” and that the GOP must broaden the Republican coalition to win elections and to enact conservative policies that will change the direction of the nation.

Speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference, Mr. Barbour, a top GOP fundraiser, said that Republicans must understand that they are not going to agree on everything, and emphasize the things that unite the party.

“Being the purest, most conservative loser does not allow America to improve one iota,” Mr. Barbour said. “We have to be careful to remember in the mathematics winning is about addition and multiplication. Losing is about division and subtraction. Our party has lost ground in the last few years that we need to get back.”

The comments come as the party goes through another primary season in which a number of tea party-backed and anti-establishment candidates are challenging incumbent Republicans — fueling concern that the races could hurt the party’s chances of picking up the six Senate seats they need to flip control of the Senate.

Mr. Barbour said the party should learn a lesson from the 2010 Delaware Senate race, where Sen. Mike Castle was knocked off in the primary by Christine O’Donnell, a tea party favorite, who had the backing of outside groups such as the Club for Growth.

“We defeated a guy who was going to get 60 percent of the vote, and we gave that seat to a left wing Democrat who doesn’t vote right five percent of the time,” Mr. Barbour said. “We have done that more than once in recent times.”

He added that in a two-party system, “purity is the enemy of victory.”

“Purity is the enemy of victory,” he repeated for emphasis. “Victory stems from unity.”

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