January 16, 2007


The Republican to Watch: Mike Huckabee? (E. J. Dionne, 1/16/07, Real Clear Politics)

Huckabee is the Republican to watch, especially if former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts doesn't gain traction. Like Romney, Huckabee was a governor and can brag about expanding health coverage in his state (even if Romney's plan was bolder).

But Huckabee is also a Southerner with unassailable Christian evangelical credentials: a Baptist minister, he attended Ouachita Baptist University and was president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Huckabee makes the case that he was as an effective governor who happens to be a serious evangelical, not the other way around. "I'm unapologetic with the conservative evangelicals, and pro-life,'' he said. "But if people look at my record, what they're going to see is that the focus of my time as governor was education reform ... transportation ... health initiatives. ...''

An aide helpfully interjects "large tax cuts,'' and after talking about those, Huckabee goes on: "I think the Republicans have got to be engaged in the protection of the environment. We've not been on the front of that. We need to be. From my perspective, that's a position that I ought to have not only as a Republican conservative, but as an evangelical. Evangelicals ought to be concerned about the stewardship of the earth.''

If it all works, Huckabee would become The Next New Republican Thing: an affable evangelical who talks about issues that secular and middle-of-the-road voters care about. The potential downside -- "by trying to please everyone, will Huckabee please no one?'' -- was nicely captured a couple of years ago by the Arkansas Times, a progressive paper that will be must-reading if Huckabee runs. "Will moderates who like his positions on health care and education be turned off by his uncompromising social conservatism?'' the paper asked. There's the rub.

What Huckabee understands better than most Washington-based Republicans is why, with the call-ups of so many National Guard members and reservists, the Iraq War is creating such apprehension, even in the conservative heartland.

He'd have no shot against McCain in NH but can do surprisingly well in IA and make a good showing in SC and then it's just a matter of whether the field is down to two. As the only alternative to Maverick he might win a couple states late. At any rate, he's really running for Secretary of HHS.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2007 7:59 AM

Dionne is always wrong so Huckabee has no chance of winning the nomination. Of course, he has a better chance than Hegel whom Time wrote up as a leading contender.

Huck is from Hope, Arkansas as was Clinton of course. If he would win somehow, it would be pretty funny that one little town in Arkansas generates two presidents like that.

Posted by: Bob at January 16, 2007 12:28 PM

Given that McCain supports the destruction of the first amendment, and Guliani and Romney are too far left on too many issues, I can only hope that Huckabee runs and wins some how.

Sadly, OJ is probably correct that McCain is as close to unstoppable as one can be.

I hope some one reading this YouTube's and links the footage of McCain's asinine comment that "clean government" is more important than free speech.

Free speech is the only thing that guarantees "clean government." An equally well-funded candidate that didn't have Rudy or Romney's baggage could ride that simple point to the White House.

Posted by: Bruno at January 16, 2007 1:30 PM

Studies on corruption demonstrate that it is indeed more important than free speech. That doesn't get him around the Constitution though.

Posted by: oj at January 16, 2007 5:02 PM


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