Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I Still Heart Huckabee

Oh, yeah!

Talk about perfect timing! Mike Huckabee has been busy since the end of the GOP primary - writing a book. And, he drops it even before Barack Obama is inaugurated. Unlike most political books -- which are filled with anodyne copy designed not to offend anyone (except, perhaps, one or two folks in the opposing party) -- this one takes no prisoners. He goes after Mitt Romney, the Club For Growth, John Hagee and a few other, ahem, "sacred" cows in the Republican/conservative firmament (if I may mix metaphors). Intra-party fights of this nature are somewhat unusual.

Romney, by the way, again demonstrates why he will never be president: He responds to Huckabee with a, "these attacks are beneath Mike Huckabee; we need to come together" line that is so wimpy that it could have been written by a veteran of the Dukakis, Gore or Kerry campaigns, i.e. losers who never realized that the best way to respond to a punch in politics is with one of your own.

Hmmm...this whole Republicans-in-the-wilderness thing could end up being fun.

UPDATE: A reader asks: "Does this mean Huckabee has given up the idea of running for president? Otherwise, why burn so many bridges?" Actually, he's not burning that many. Evangelicals will likely never get behind Mitt Romney -- either because of flip-flopping or because of his Mormonism is still a problem. Pat Robertson squandered whatever credibility he had left -- even with evangelicals -- with his endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. He'll be past 80 and not much of a player in 2012. Huckabee doesn't need John Hagee, who proved more of a headache than a help to John McCain anyway. Thompson isn't going to run again.

Economic conservatives will have to figure out what their respone to Obamanomics will be. My sense is that Huckabee is going to adopt the "Grand New Party Model" of Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam -- go after the "Sam's Club" members/Main Street folks rather than Wall Street. Frankly, the Club For Growth doesn't relate to those people.

Huckabee obviously wrote the bulk of the book before Sarah Palin was selected. However, this book is partly designed to clear the decks and knock out early the one other potential '08 rival that might think about '12. Just writing this now shows that Huckabee isn't just a "joke" candidate, but someone who's a lot more strategic and tactical than his detractors might have thought. He was the "happy warrior" in '08 because he had to be, but he's not going to be relegated to the "Kumbayah" role going forward. He's happy to start a fight and dare anyone else to mix it up with.

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