The Spectacle Blog

Huckabee Is Awful

By on 9.28.06 | 3:39PM

If Gov. Huckabee is making inroads in new Hampshire, we are all in deep trouble. I covered him for 14 months in Little Rock, and rarely have a been so disappointed in a political figure for whom I had high hopes. He is so thin-skinned he may as well have an epidermis of crepe-paper; he is so sanctimonious he makes John McCain look full of self-doubt; his antenna for possible ethical violations by his staff is not only inoperable, but deliberately so: His attitude is, "How DARE anyone question the ethics of ANYBODY associated with me, because I'm a Baptist minister, so I'm beyond reproach and by extension so is my entire staff!!!" This is a warning to all conservatives: If he is the Republican nominee, the press and Hillary (who of course has her entire Arkansas gang loaded up on oppo research against Huckabee) will EAT HUCK ALIVE. He would be an utter disaster. This is just by way of observation, mind you, not an endorsement of any particular candidacy.

The Huckabee Water Cooler

By on 9.28.06 | 2:24PM

Shawn, That is interesting to hear. But as far as these candidates go, my folks are my best litmus test. If my dad knows who he is, but my mom doesn't (George Allen), he's got an uphill battle. If both know, I consider the candidate a national figure (Rudy). But Huckabee? He may be far too late in letting the rest of the country know who he is. (But I'll ask the old man later today and get back to you.)

Oppresively Low Premiums

By on 9.28.06 | 2:10PM

Wal-Mart is cutting back on its health insurance options for new employees, restricting them to two plans with high deducibles but low monthly premiums:

"We've done the math on this, and we have a pretty good understanding of what this is going to mean," [Wal-Mart spokeman] Dan Fogleman said. "Most associates are going to come out better on this."

Of course, you know who is unhappy:

"Wal-Mart is cruelly hurting its employees, cutting health-care options and shifting costs on to the American taxpayer," said Paul Blank, campaign director for Wake-Up Wal-Mart.

Late September Surprise

By on 9.28.06 | 1:23PM

Bob Woodward's latest book on the Iraq War is on the way, and he gives the "retired" Mike Wallace a preview. Among his points:

According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. "It’s getting to the point now where there are eight-, nine-hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," says Woodward.

Geek Water Cooler Huckabee Talk

By on 9.28.06 | 11:46AM

I haven't seen Mike Huckabee on the stump, so I have no personal opinion on his campaigning prowess or national electoral potential, but I have talked to dozens of activists and politically engaged citizens on the ground in New Hampshire at events with other potential Republican candidates and the amount of enthusiastic gushing I hear about Huckabee's few appearances here is pretty amazing. (And caught me utterly off guard--not the best endorsement for a suppossed political reporter.) I've also been told by College Republicans at two separate school up here that he is their first choice for an event speaker this semester.

Of course, these things rise and fall fairly quickly, but while Huckabee might not be on the pundit radar, there is a lot of New Hampshire grassroots chatter about him.

Sorry to add to the geek water cooler talk.

The ‘N’ Word And The ‘M’ Word

By on 9.28.06 | 11:19AM

Notice that the news coverage of the latest Allen controversy refers to the racial slur he is accused of using as the "N" word. News organizations, apparently, want to avoid printing a word that is genuinely offensive to a lot of people. But during this summer's Macaca mania, the word "Macaca" was used repeatedly, plastered on television and in big, bold, headlines. If it was such an incredibly offensive racial slur, why wasn't it referred to as the "M" word?

Re: Allen

By on 9.28.06 | 11:15AM

Philip, though we're a year out from the presidential campaigns getting into full swing, it's early. At this point, many hopefuls are getting overly generous looks. Heck, the other day a former aide to a prominent Democratic hopeful asked me what I thought about Huckabee. Seriously.

I don't put much stock in front-runner status. Right now, this is the political geek's water cooler talk.

Re: Allen

By on 9.28.06 | 11:06AM

Dave, I wasn't saying that that Allen was the clear favorite pre-'Macaca,' but I think it's fair to say he was seen as a top contender (see this March Rich Lowry column). In fact, his Senate race has generated so much controversy precisely because he was seen to be in the running for the presidential nomination. That he even attained that status I found perplexing. So, I'm not arguing against his being an A-level candidate, I was surprised that anybody would consider him even a C-level candidate.

The Conspiracy to Cut Gas Prices

By on 9.28.06 | 11:04AM

I just can't figure out which angle to believe.

Was it the oil companies gauging us when gas prices rose to $3 a gallon?

Or (now that the price has fallen precipitously) is it the car companies desperately trying to save the internal combustion engine by keeping the price of gas artificially low?

Or is it just good, old-fashioned supply and demand?

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