alien & sedition.
Friday, March 09, 2007
  Huckabee: Still on the Radar

I missed this post from the American Scene when it went up on Tuesday, but it's worth a read. As you may recall, your loyal blogger was quite impressed by the performance of one Mike Huckabee, late of Arkansas, now an inexplicably-dark horse in the Republican presidential race. Despite his bludgeoning by the Club for Growth, I've had a hard time seeing why a candidate with his manifest skills isn't doing better in a cycle when conservatives all seem to be grumbling about how there's nothing good on the menu.

So anyway: Ross Douthat notes, first of all, that the reason might be related to the fact that it seems to be mostly liberals who find Huckabee so fascinating. And yet: let us not forget the subplot wherin Paul Weyrich and the "secretive" (in the sense of being "secretively publicity-seeking") Council for National Policy have been embarked on a quest for a real hero. Now, it seems, the storylines may be about to come together:
Some heavyweights within the Council for National Policy and other conservative coalitions are weighing an effort to galvanize behind a socially conservative second-tier candidate, such as Huckabee or Brownback, in an attempt to catapult him into the top tier. "There is a very strong feeling that we have to assert ourselves or we're going to end up with somebody we can't support," says Paul Weyrich, a longtime conservative activist and cofounder of Moral Majority. Weyrich says Christian right leadership is currently split "around fifty-fifty" over whether to pursue such a plan or to adopt an every-man-for-himself approach, in which activists would gravitate toward the candidate of their choice.
Ah, says Douthat: but the plot is somewhat thicker than that:
The trouble, of course, is that Huckabee isn't the only second-tier, socially-conservative candidate in the race, and while he might be a more plausible nominee than Brownback - sure, he has no foreign-policy experience, but neither does the man who's going to be the Democratic nominee - the two are going to be lumped together in just about every national-media account for the next six months, which will mean that they'll have to look for ways to subtly tear the other down, and use up valuable time that could be spend going after the big three in the process.
And don't forget Jim Gilmore!

Huckabee might need a bold move to "step up to the A-League": a Feech La Manna card game to crash - risky as that can be. I think that's what the Huckster was trying to do by endorsing the flat tax, which is a big plus with the conservative crank base, but a big risk in a general election. At any rate, it certainly hasn't been enough to propel him into the top tier.

Douthat also notes Michael Scherer's description of Huckabee as "a sort of Dr. Phil-meets-Ned Flanders for the political arena." This may the governor's real problem.

Still, it's worth watching to see whether Weyrich and the CNP can make something out of Huckabee. Some analysts are arguing that the tectonic plates within the GOP are shifting in favor of Giuliani - that social conservatives may not need their "own" candidate this time around. I'll look at that debate later this afternoon. But if that argument is wrong, the result may be something of a rebirth for the born-again Huckabee.

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Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

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