Mike Huckabee just gave a masterful performance at the NRA conference, not only taking jabs at his opponents on gun rights and asserting his support for the Second Amendment, but doing it with good humor. Although he didn’t put it in these words, the underlying message of his speech was: “I’m one of you.”
He took aim at both Rudy and Romney when he suggested to the audience that they should “look at past behavior” to get a credible idea of whether you can believe candidates and understand their future performance. In obvious jabs at Romney, he said of the NRA that “I didn’t just join last year,” and pointed out that when politicians bring up the issue of hunting when talking about gun rights it’s obvious that they don’t understand gun rights. He said he was a hunter himself “not just 50 years ago”–again, another jab at Romney. Then he followed the rule of show, don’t tell–recounting his own stories hunting ducks, turkey, and antelope. He demonstrated his knowledge by referring to the details of the specific guns he was using. But he said the Second Amendment was about a lot more, including people’s right to defend themselves. Also, he got sentimental, talking about how fathers hand firearms down to to their sons. He has a rustly old gun, that his father gave him, and it brings back a lot of childhood memories. “I can’t see a father saying, ‘Son, when I die, I’m going to give you my Playstation,'” he joked, generating laughs.
He also knew exactly what NRA members get passionate about on the policy front, especially when attacking the U.N.’s vendetta against guns. “We shouldn’t be too disappointed if the whole thing would break off and float away on the East River,” he declared, leading to a standing ovation. Also, he talked about the gun confiscation post-Katrina. Also, taking issue with Giuliani’s new federalist approach on gun rights, he said, “I don’t think the Second Amendment hase geographic boundries.” He blasted such an idea as “laughable” and “absurd” asking the audience to imagine if the freedom of press changed based on location. When asked if he supports waiting periods, he not only said no, that he supports instant background checks–but he personalized it. “Waiting periods only inconvinience guys like me,” he lamented. “When I go shopping, I want what I want, and I want it now.”
Yet another example of Huckabee making the best of every oppourtunity he is given.