So it’s “crucial” for the Iowa caucuses to be first because Iowans “are relating” to Mike Huckabee’s values? (“I want a president who is willing to wage a war against my checkbook as fierce as the one he’s waging against Islamofascists,” the fantastical sage Iowan muses, “and one who isn’t afraid to use the White House bully pulpit to occassionally challenge me to lose a little weight.”) By that standard, any candidate ahead in any state could make the same argument–isn’t every candidate running for president, with the possible exception of Fred Thompson, convinced of how “crucial” their “values” are?
Yet if the Romney camp sent a similar statement along–and as McCain v. Bush, New Hampshire, 2000 proved, you can’t “buy” the Granite State, either–I’m sure we’d be treated to serveral posts about just how terrible the latest inauthentic, creepy flip flop by the too business-like bionic man–have I missed any of the usual qualifiers?–was. After all, why did he live in Massachusetts all those years if his values were New Hampshire values? Indeed, were the race to become a two-person Guiliani/Huckabee race, I expect Huckabee’s shining reviews here would end rather abruptly.
Not that anyone actually has to worry about that. The media likes Huckabee as a likely-loser insurgent because a mini-culture war within the Republican Party fits the narrative they like best/is easiest to write. What’s not for the New York Times and friends to love about a candidate who they can remind us in every story does not believe in evolution or who, even better, gives them opportunity to posit truly loving Jesus means standing arm-in-arm with Al Gore on global warming? However, as Quin Hillyer bravely and ably pointed out recently, Huckabee is not without flaws. And sure as the words “anti-war” began to be joined by “return to the gold standard” in Ron Paul stories when the man started raising real money, Huckabee’s “aw, geez, he’s such a nice guy” honeymoon will be cut short by any significant rise in the polls, even if the terms he uses to describe himself will be stuck with us for much longer: First George W. Bush told the world “compassion” was a innovation in conservative thought. Now Huckabee says he’s conservative, “but not mad at anybody about it”–you know, as opposed to the rest of us hate-criminals in waiting.
Bill Clinton liked the Huckabee “not mad” line enough to repeat it on a Sunday show recently while praising Huckabee. Since any viable Republican candidate must be by necessity devil incarnate in ClintonWorld, I’m assuming Bill touting Huckabee as the ideal reasonable Republican means the former president is betting he won’t have to verbally mutilate Huck this summer on the campaign trail. Personally, I think it’s a good bet.
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